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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thur Oct 30

Had Bren's B'day party (he wasn't able to do a party with his friends on his real b'day) and I took a bunch of pic's with DW's camera - so look for them on her blog.

Afterward we went to Momentum to climb. DW climbed in her Kangaroo costume for a 5.8 and a 5.10. I climbed a new 5.6 made up out of the old black 5.6 holds. It was really pretty fun. Then I went over to try the black yin-yang route which now had a 5.10 sticker on it. I got up a few moves and that was pretty cool. DW (in regular clothes now) did a 5.11. Then I tried a green 5.10 on the curvy wall. Actually got up a fair ways before getting stuck. Someday....

Then DW did that same route and really worked it. Great Job Baby!

Then I put on my backpack, this time loaded to about 40 lb and my running shoes and hopped on @ 30% and 1.3, working my way up to 1.5 mph. Got 1,000' in 30 minutes, then stopped. This is my first time doing three in a week. (did it yesterday as well with 50 lb pack and my big mountain boots, 1,500' in 55 min @ 24% with 30% intervals averaging 1.3 mph and 175bpm hr) BTW: yesterday and today were the first time I did this w/o holding the handles in a deathgrip the whole time. Woohoo!

More later... look for a report of our dry-tooling adventure scheduled for Sat. early...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Short Climbing Wrapup

In case my memory is lapsed....

When we got back from Rainier, I think we went climbing on Monday and Thursday evening last week.

I don't remember Monday, but on Thursday I on-sited a new unrated climb on the curvy tall wall facing the cafe window. Everyone said it was 5.9, but I on-sited it, so it's probably a 5.7, right?

On Monday I did the treadmill at the gym that goes to 30% of elevation and walked at 2.0 with a 60 lb backpack on and worked my way up to 21% for 1,000' of gain in my running shoes.

On Thursday I did the same, but got up to 24% and work my expedition boots for 1,500' of gain.

On Monday of this week we climbed again, and DW and I ended up climbing with Richard and Rosanne, who have a son on the climbing team and are there all the time. So it's not memory this time - I didn't get to see most of what she climbed.

I got to do the new 5.6 on the other curvy wall, and found it easier than the other one. I also started two new 5.9's and popped off the one about halfway up. I was looking up to see I was a bit more than halfway, when I just suddenly came off. Richard didn't keep my rope as short as DW, so I fell a bit more than normal. LOL.

Then I did the treadmill again at 30% in running shoes with the pack. Amazing. 1,500' again.

I'm hoping to be in great shape for Ecuador in three weeks.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mt. Rainier. October 17, 2008

Got up and finished packing on the 17th and hit the road in the rental SUV.

Drove to Ashford, then on to Longmire where I checked in with the USPS and got an overnight permit - in case this all works out. The ranger was very nervous and said there were crevasses all over the Muir Snowfield and she suspected I would soon be dead. I did promise everyone at work that I wouldn't get dead. Let alone poor DW...

From the road I got some excellent shots of the mountain, standing out against the pure blue sky.



And looked down to see the gorgeous wet green lush foliage.




I got to Paradise and saw the new Jackson Visitor Center, and the soon-to-be-ruins of the old one. Oh, well. It took a while to find overnight parking (no signs, and bad directions from two rangers and I still don't know I was in the right place).

I finally got my stuff together and on my back and hit the trail, of course 200' lower than I would have liked to start, but again, oh well - it's all good for training.





I started up the stairs to the old visitor center, then around behind it to the left and started up the trail to meet the Skyline Trail. At about 6,000' I ran into some deer eating peacefully. I took a picture then alerted the hikers coming down, who hadn't noticed it about 100' off the trail. Oh, well.


At the end of the marked trail, Pebble Creek, the fork off the main Skyline Trail, I ran into the sign for the open crevasses. Woohoo!


Just shortly after this I ran into the first and only climber out that day, coming down. John had run into heavy duty knee-deep post-holing only 5 minutes up and had bailed. We talked about the trail, the attempt on Muir, and for him, a possible summit (?) and he briefly considered traveling with me, then continued on down.

I went up to his post-holed tracks, and saw what I considered to be a better line, and followed it up another several hundred feet up the rock bands and snowfield. It was about 5PM by now (I wasn't moving all that fast, alas) and the cloud had moved in pretty thick. I got a bit more than halfway from Pebble Creek to Moon Rock and ran into a suspicious-looking band of color and texture in the snow that I was nervously thinking to be a crevasse. I whacked the ground with my trekking pole and it sounded deep and boomy. But a few feet over it was sharp and brittle. Behind me it was sharp and brittle, so I decided not to risk it solo and wandered around till I found an area that sounded nice and solid and crossed there. I got a couple hundred feet past that and noticed that it was very dark and hard to see.


Notice you can barely make out the rocks around me at around 7,800' on the Muir Snowfield. Also the faint snow accumulating on my hat.

I decided that it would be pretty difficult in the next hour as it got dark to make it to Moon Rock in the hazy gloom. I had only about 100' of clear visibility, and though I trusted my GPS, I was nervous of the crevasses and knew it would be low going around Anvil Rock where the worst of the crevasses were open. In my efforts to maintain the trust of DW who graciously allows me to go on these solo adventures, I had to turn around.

As it was, the going was slow to the bottom, visibility worsened, and it got steadily colder and windier. I had a sausage/egg/cheese bagel from the Whittaker Cafe in my bag, and had that on the way down, having not eaten much on the way up (have to fix that some day soon). I missed the trail a few times, the snow was misting out of the cloud and made visibility even with a headlamp only about 50' (high-beams in a snowstorm effect).


Along the Skyline Trail I got to turning the light off and on, and eventually had it on pointing straight at my feet since it would only shine about 10' anyway. I got to stopping every hundred feet or so to do a quick circle check to make sure I wasn't going off a cliff or anything and saw two glowing orange eyes staring back at me from a small group of trees. I quietly prayed it was some passive animal like a deer or even sasquatch and walked confidently past it (there were signs all over that they had recently had some black bear issues in the area).

Shortly after I saw some lights along the East loop of the Skyline Trail, and recognized it as two hikers going down, so I flashed my headlamp at them. They flashed back. Fun socialization opportunity on a lonely mountain.

It was tough in my poor condition to find a way out of the old visitor center parking lot, but finally I made it to the car about 8:30PM and changed, ate, and drove to the MIL's house outside Seattle. What with the rain and traffic and all, it took about 4 solid hours from Paradise with a stop for gas and stop for a cell call to alert DW who was prayerfully thankful I was okay.

It was fun; I learned a lot; I had an adventure and it was way worth it in my training and an excellent shakedown for my next big adventure.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Thursday Oct 9,

We had a minor glitch in getting started climbing tonight. It's the evil time of year when taxes must be paid finally. Normally my business taxes get done on April 14th, but I can't file my personal till the business ones are done, so I end up having to extend every year. Like most people then I procrastinate (I know a guy who is in the same boat and actually did his on April 20th, but still hasn't mailed them in), and finally got all my receipts and stuff together and had to take them to my tax guy tonight after 6.

We dropped off our stuff, chatted and explained for a bit, then raced to the gym.

First of all we dropped off the kids then DW did her onsite training, much like mine last time. For an hour I put her on random ropes and she had a minute to study out the route then go as high as possible. Of course, like I mentioned before, they're all hard, and it sucks, but it makes you attempt moves and routes you wouldn't normally do. She found a few that she wants to work later, so that's good anyway. For me (not sure about DW) it's psychologically damaging as well, because you will fail on everything you do. Sucks.

Then we gathered up the kids and Dal bouldered really well. He tried traversing with his eyes closed, but of course cheated, so he said next time I get to blindfold him. Then he worked on no-matching-hands traversing, and did great up to the corner. He worked it great, getting one more move before falling about eight times in a row, making finally about 4 moves past the corner. Good job.

Then Bren was toproping, and Tan exploded, so I took her out to the car to sit with a bottle, so I have no clue how that went. After about 20 minutes in the car they came out to climb in and off we went back home.

Good job everyone.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Climbing Report: Oct. 7

We normally climb during the day on Tue, but Tan was sick, so DW had Tif stay home today. Since this is a WERC day, DW had to go climb tonight anyway, so we headed to Momentum right after work.

Since DW was going to climb in WERC, she belayed me. I first tried the evil purple 5.8 (HAH!) on the arete by the green arete route (which I guess must be a 5.7, since I did send it and haven't sent the purple one yet). And feeling totally whipped from my workout last night I decided to just train today.

(in case anyone is curious, I did 2 sets of 10 hanging abs/knee raises followed by 10 sets of 5 reps at 225 lb good form deadlifts from the floor, followed by 3 sets of 3 reps at 295 lb just for the CNS benefits - totally wasted on the posterior chain)

So what I did was just climb. I got on a rope, and anything that could be reached from that rope I started up. Sometimes 1/3 the way up, sometimes 2 moves, whatever. 5.9, 5.10, 5.11, 5.11d. Great fun. Totally wasted by the time I was done. I wrapped up doing a 5.5 that took everything I had.

We gathered up the kids and they climbed for a while. Tan did some great bouldering and Bren is on the verge of figuring out the overhanging corner to make the traverse, and Dal did the traverse each way, then on a challenge from the front desk, did it both ways without stopping. I told him the next challenge is to try to do it without matching hands (putting two hands on one hold at the same time), which is very difficult to do for some widely-spaced holds. I taught him how to reach under and turn his shoulders with his feet positioned forward (I'll see about getting a picture sometime) and he made it to the corner. Far out.

We got drinks and split a cookie, then we took off and DW stayed to manage her class. I think like 12 people came. Guess that proves a point to those who contended that the new WERC plan that Jeff came up with wasn't the right one. I think that's the most attendees since Laurie left for Colorado. Anyway, no more gossip...

At home we had a Sponge Bob marathon. We all cuddled up on the couch together until 9PM, then I put Tan and the Boys to bed and thanks again to the wonder of DVR, watched the uber-classic House of Dark Shadows.

DW came home, also totally wasted and went pretty much straight to bed. I stayed up for a little while longer, then packed my poor hands in various inflammation-reducing creams and gels and went to bed. Whew!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Thursday Night Climbing

Since we're getting back into the normal routine, we took the boys climbing, since they haven't climbed in a while.

Dallin was great. He traversed back and forth on the smiley-face route and did a great job working the corner in reverse of how he normally does it. He took beta well and used it. He's really come a long way and his technique rocks. He said "Now that I'm taking gymnastics and rock climbing I'm going to be really strong".

Brennan did some traversing, and I managed to talk him going to the top a few times by saying "don't forget to climb up and kiss the buffalo". He also climbed to the top a few times on other routes off the traverse wall, and once got scared about downclimbing the "lightbulb" holds and I said "just jump" and he did from about 6' up. Good boy.

Tan didn't want to boulder tonight, she had DW put the harness on and rope her up. She ran up the rainbow route a ways then swung on the rope. Good to get the fear factor down.

Then it was our turn. DW said most everything on her BLOG, but I'll add in a few comments.

I did the evil unrated green arete from last time and sent it this time. It was tough getting past the spot I stopped twice last time, but good enough - done.

I started the evil maroon 5.9 DW did last time that K despises, and went about halfway when I got to thinking about my cramp from Tuesday. Youch. I have done a few small slopey/crimpy holds in a row here and there, but 20' sustained small/slopey/crimpy was as much as I felt like. Nice project though.

DW did a great job on her evil 5.10 green route. Amazing. She did just about everything she could think of at each of the dozen or so mini-cruxes. Good job.

And that's about all I have to say about that...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

5 Things you might not know about me.

I don't think this counts as an "adventure" but DW has one of those "tag" games going on with her BLOG and I thought I'd participate maybe to jumpstart others into playing along.

1) I grew up in a swamp. Felt like it. On the edge of a small town in Wisconsin, it was very wet, despite being at the top of a hill. Our basement and yard flooded every year. Once the basement had 4' of water in it most of the summer. All our stuff floating around. Poor stuff. There was a real live wetland area at the bottom of the hill along an abandoned road (now grown over and almost gone) and I used to go play with crayfish and various nematodes. Far out.

2) I participated in one of those 10-year studies as a child. When I was 18 I got a copy of the results that mentioned one deluded reality-denier that wanted to grow up to be an oceanographer. HEY!

3) I was the 1st chair 1st violin player for nearly 3 years, setting a record at the time for my High School orchestra. I don't think I was all that great technically, but I withstood challenge matches better than the others.

4) I've lived in Montana, Washington, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Missouri and Wisconsin since I turned 18 and "ran away from home". I might retire in the Florida Keys.

5) I've been on TV, Radio, Newspaper, Magazines and in Film Festivals for various things several times each. After all that I don't really care one way or another if I ever do any of those again.