Saturday. I float the Upper Kenai in my tiny Dory and thoroughly enjoy the say. It feels like summer; the sun is shining brightly and the salmon are rolling underneath my boat - I even manage to catch a couple. The Upper Kenai is pretty calm for such a nice day. Everyone sits around in the sun enjoying the weather... life is good.
Then Eric calls. Like a true yuppie I pull out the cell phone on the river and chat it up.
"Hello?" - "Climbing tomorrow sounds good." - "Talkeetna mountains?" - "Weather looks good?" - "Lower Spire?" - "See you in the morning!"
I get home at midnight, throw the fish in the fridge and crash. The alarm wakes us up at 6:30 and i stand in the shower trying to wake up. Eric shows up at 7:30 (he practically lives across the street) and we're off.
We reach the Reed Lakes parking lot around 9ish and soon we're hiking up in a thick cloud. Conditions do not look so hot but the joke is it will burn off. Somewhere in the back of my mind a tiny voice whispers about climbing in inclement weather but i manage to silence it. ( Read more... )
Yvonne and I have been rock climbing in the Shawangunk Mountains (or The Gunks) twice. The climbs in the Gunks are famous for wild overhangs with huge handholds. Even the 5.1 lines have overhangs on them! Both times Yvonne and I visited we climbed at the Near Trapps and concentrated on the super classic steep exposed lines like High Exposure and Shockely's Ceiling. Below are photographs from a few of our climbs.
While we were in the Tetons in 2001 my old college roommate and climbing partner David West, drive up from Evergreen, Colorado to join me for a climb. We opted for a moderate day route and went and climbed the SW Ridge of Symmetry Spire. The route was straight forward and fun with awesome views of Owen and the Grand. We topped out and were back down to Jenny Lake in about 6 hours RT. ( Read more... )
For a final mountaineering adventure for the summer of 2001, Brad and I enlisted Jeb Tilly for an ascent of Mt. Moran via the CMC Route (III, 5.6). Mt. Moran is a rather isolated peak in Teton National Park and can only be reached via a canoe ride across Leigh Lake. So we rented a canoe and one afternoon paddled across to the peak where we hiked up to "CMC camp".
We made camp on a nice sandy ledge and the next morning got up at 6 am and worked our way up 3rd class boulders to a perch on top of "Drizzlepuss" - a spire of rock that sits above the actual CMC route. From the spire we rapped 150' down to a col where we regrouped and actually began the climb.
The climb is very straight forward: you ascend 5-6 pitches of moderate excellent compact rock on a giant slab above the Falling Ice Glacier and to the left of the Black Dike - a huge geological formation you can see for miles in all directions. ( Read more... )
In the summer of 2001 Brad Hornung and I traveled and climbed for 2 months in Alaska and Canada. After freezing in Alaska and scaring our wits out in Canada we opted to head south to the Tetons to climb warm alpine rock. Along the way we picked up Brad's sister, Christina, in Calgary and then headed south to Jackson where we met up with my brother John and his oldest son, Matthew, who was 13 at the time. ( Read more... )
Rock climbing around of Canmore, Alberta is the polar opposite of mountain climbing in the Canadian Rockies. The rock is generally solid, there is good protection - and the sport routes are bolted like gym climbs! A great way to pass a day, after being terrified out of your mind on some route in the mountains, is to hit the many sport areas around Canmore and clip bolts all day. Once you tire of bolt clipping head over to Yamnuska for long (5-6 pitch) routes that have decent protection and where you know you'll be off before dark! Below are photos from Grassi Lakes, Mt, Rundle and Yamnuska. For more information pick up Bow Valley Rock by Perry, Martin and Dougherty.
After years of reading and dreaming about the Bugaboos, Brad and I decided to hike in and try a couple peaks. The trailhead is about 4 hours away from Calgary and at the end of a 28 mile gravel and mud road. When you reach the parking lot the first thing you notice is every car surrounded by chicken wire and rocks! Turns out that porcupines all over the place and they have been know to crawl up under the car and chew the brake lines out. So at the parking lot there are rolls and rolls of chicken wire that you stretch around your car and anchor with rocks.
After fortifying our truck we shouldered our packs and began the hike in. The tail is hell! 4 miles and 2000' of elevation gain. We climbed up ladders, cables and concrete steps poured into the rock; all with an 80lb pack full of 6 days of food, camping gear, 2 ropes and a full climbing rack! We got to our campsite in about 3 hours, set up our tents, cooked and went to sleep. ( Read more... )
Well I left Anchorage friday night around 8pm and got to the Mint trailhead around 9pm. It was wet and miserable -- the rain coming down like crazy and the trail muddy and nasty (which makes all the trees hanging over the trail soak you to the bone). Pharaoh and I started hiking and within minutes we were soaked. I was wearing a crappy windbreaker (since my jacket is lost in the mail somewhere) and was getting quite cold so I booked it and slogged the nine miles to the hut in 3 hours (not a minor feat considering I was hauling camping gear, a rack, rope, a quart of scotch, dog food, and other odds and ends - one day I'll learn to pack light).
There is still a ton of snow there for July --- snow is all the way up to window level! The Talkeetna Mountains got over 300 inches of snow this year - twice as much as the average year. ( Read more... )
The gift was causing me to slip away. Bob had given us a look into the life of a dreamer who had abandoned all to live in the present. This is the life he was offering - a life outside of the dull realities of work, taxes, family and debt. A life where the days blend into one, where the only reality is the present and the voices calling out from your past are bottled, buried and forgotten. A life alone where the realm of caring is pushed into a forgotten zone and the only thing that matters is the next sunny spell when you can escape into the mountains, your passion inching upwards while tethered to the earth with a thin rope... ( Read more... )
...Beyond The Man's hat 1200' of rock intruded into the dawn sky. The sun was just beginning to rise and the east face turning blood red and we lay in the dirt and watched the shadows drip... ( Read more... )