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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Kilimanjaro Preparation: Yellow Fever

Tanzania is on the WHO list of Yellow Fever Endemic countries. Zanzibar is "safe". Moshi or Arusha is iffy.

If you are from the United States or UK (yellow fever free zones) you can theoretically enter Tanzania with no layover or recent trip to another yellow fever endemic area, you can "legally" enter Tanzania without a yellow fever certificate.

If you are only going to arrive at JRO and go straight to your hotel, then straight to Kili, then from Kili straight to your hotel, then straight back to JRO, you "probably" won't need it, according to the International Travel Health Doctor at the University of Utah.

But if you're going to do a safari, or hang out at the hotel for more than a day either side of your climb, it's probably better to get it.

Potential side effects include "mild flu-like symptoms" which I can attest to includes aches and pains and intestinal complaints that actually can impact your training. I heartily recommend getting it early in your training, at least two months before you head to Tanzania.

Not like I did and get it 11 days prior.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Kilimanjaro Preparation - Clothing Top



Again, from the last post, I'm climbing Kilimanjaro in Tanzania Africa, at over 19,000' it will be my personal high point.

For the top of my body, my clothing selection is:

1) patagonia t-shirt. works good.
2) smartwool midweight zip mock turtle
3) Vuade softshell. got it in Germany. Seems more for aerobic sports.
4) montbell micropuff - they don't sell it here, got it online clearance (this one has fleece panels under the arms)
5) montbell midweight parka (clearance montbell website)
6) solomon polarloft jacket (clearance steepandcheap - giveaway)
7) rei waterproof parka - about 10 years old (giveaway)

also, seen is a tourist "moab" fleece vest (giveaway)

Head:
1) 2 buffs
2) cloudveil fleece balaclava
3) TNF windblock fleece cap
4) TNF nylon baseball cap

Hands:
1) OR polarfleece gloves with reflective panels (great in the tent at night)
2) OR wool/fleece blend gloves (my new favorite)
3) OR gore mitts w/ OR 300 weight fleece liners (and #1 fits inside as well)

Is so many thin layers of micropuffy a luxury?

Kilimanjaro Preparation - Clothing Bottom



Planning for Kili and having looked at several gear lists, I came up with the following combination for bottom layering:


1) patagonia briefs - 3 pair
2) smartwool midweight base layer
3) alpine designs fleece pants (clearance at Gart)
4) rei mistral schoeller pants
4a) black diamond "hex" belt (clearance gearexpress)
5) montbell waterproof pants (clearance at mountainworks provo)

I also have a pair of montbell puffy pants that I might take (clearance on the montbell website).

for feet:

3 pair silver thread liner socks
3 pair REI expedition wool socks
1 pair vasgue trail runners (clearance rei)
1 pair scarpa charmoz boot

luxury item: fleece socks for camp/sleeping

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Extra-Ordinary Mom Goal0 Video Contest Finalist

Angie is a finalist with Goal0's video contest "What Powers Me?" with her "Extra-Ordinary Mom" video.

Take a look:

Click to see What Powers Me Video Contest.

Please vote by adding it to your Favorites (click the favorites button) and rating it (click the 5th star please).

Enjoy the video, some of which was shot in Utah, some on Mt. Rainier, some by the condo in Colorado, and shows some of the adventurous things you can do as a mom with a spirit of adventure.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Back to the Gym at Momentum Climbing in Sandy Utah

It's been great to get back to feeling good. After all the stress of the Summer and Fall, after all the death and illness, after all the traveling, it's been good to get back to the gym.

Last Saturday we got to Momentum and climbed. Of course, like I've said a dozen or more times, the routesetters there are too lame in the 5.9 and under range, and sure enough, I did a 5.6 that totally sucked, and a 5.8 that totally sucked, but then I decided to do a SoIll 5.10a for kickes. I managed to onsite it with lots of good rests. I was amazed. DW got in some great climbing as well, working her way back into the 11's where she belongs, even though it's been about 2 months since we've climbed.

Tonight (Monday, Nov 30) we managed to get back again, and this time I did a really pumpy 5.7 on the curvy front wall, and it totally got my fingers tired. Then I got on a 5.10a SoIll route by a different setter, and got pumped about halfway up and couldn't get my heart rate down by hanging, so I came down. I then got on a really slopey 5.10a on the short arete and actually really liked it up to about 2/3 of the way up. I worked that crux hard, and stuck it, but then came down, wasted for the night. Angie got on it, but she'd been working a really crimpy 5.12a so she was pretty pumped and shook out a lot on the way up, but she did really good. It's cool to think she's working a 12. Awesome.

Anyway, just have to not take the lower rated routes seriously, keep a good attitude, and get all those 10's out of the way.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Light Saber Lobotomy

Awesome irony.

A couple neighbor kids have been bragging about the fully functional lightsabers they're building and our boys asked me about it and I explained that no reasonable interpretation of existing physics would allow for such a thing and explained why.

HOW TO BUILD A LIGHTSABER THAT WORKS note: 1) reference to very large power supply 2) reference to rocket engine style power supply 3) reference to Mr. Fusion style power supply 4) reference to magnetic interference ie: speaker magnet disrupting plasma field.

The boys of course needed to share that with their friends and the response they got?

"Your dad is dumb. He doesn't know anything."

That hurt the boys feelings pretty bad. Me? I've been called worse by better people, but you have to love the solid belief in fantasy at that age.

I won't discount it completely though, notice I said "existing" physics. If you apply Moore's Law to Lightsaber Construction, we're about 300 years out.

IF there is any reason to build one besides proving it's possible. I mean, a relative handful of clone troopers wiped the galaxy clean of Jedi assisted by a couple Sith. Just because you're packing a lightsaber doesn't make you invincible. Nor does pseudo-mystical power. Even Yoda cowered in self-imposed exile in a dank swamp after confronting one single sith with lightning and teleporting skilz.

;)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Orizaba Mexico Volcano Solo Climbing Trip - 1 Planning

Again, I'll be heading to Mexico to attempt Orizaba. I think I have the kinks out of my system this time, with better boots and clothing systems than last time. I have a much better idea of food and water and cooking than last time. Last time I think was a bit premature for a solo, but I did manage the traveling part pretty good with my meager Spanish.

Of course, fly to Mexico City, go to the Estrella Roja terminal and get the bus to Puebla, then go down to the central CAPU terminal and get tickets to Tlachichuca.

There is a reasonable (by Western Standards) hotel across from CAPU if you want to spend the night in Puebla. According to the Estrella Roja staff you don't want to take the overhead walkway at dark, or leave the immediate vacinity of the hotel (though I did walk down the block a short ways to the convenience store at night but the pizza delivery guys were right there watching the whole time). If you want, this is a good time to take the cab to Walmart and stock up. I've heard (but can't confirm) that you can buy gaz containers there. If you want to go cheaper go to the Zocalo, but be careful not to miss your morning bus and plan time for morning traffic.

If you want to stay in Tlachichuca instead, there are a couple of inexpensive places to stay and the two "outfitters" there. Notice I separated those two concepts. If you are going to use one of the outfitters for your ride, they leave at one set time each day (assume around 11:00 AM for general planning purposes). If you get to Tlachichuca before this, you can go. If you arrive after this, you have to spend the night. I've read various dirtbag accounts of camping in the foothills etc. but don't do it. You should be able to scrounge up the $15 to spend the night in town.

If you get a ride with the outfitters, you shouldn't even bother with a backpack (unless you plan on a high camp). Just take as much crap as you can in a duffle or two. Go luxury this way with thick foam mattresses. It's all going on the roof of the truck.

Or, you can take a taxi to Hidalgo at about 11,000' - the furthest a passenger car can go. You'll have to hike in a ways up about 3,000' but it's great acclimatization. You'll have to take your own stuff all the way though, so you'll have to carry a large weight-efficient backpack and be careful of what you take. This option is a LOT cheaper than the outfitters. The road is obvious and not hard at all on foot, even with a very heavy pack.

In either case, you'll probably want to pick up some water - plan on 5 liters per day. There is water available with a short hike, but you'll have to treat and/or filter it and that gear is probably heavier than the empty plastic bottles. Last time I drank tap water using a UV-C pen and it worked out good. YMMV. Some people just grab a 20 liter per person (dang cheap) and you can bum some off them.

Once at the hut you can either stay at the hut assuming there is room (it probably could hold more than 50 climbers with gear), or camp. If you camp, be aware that you want to be a fair ways away from the hut. The general waste disposal method near the hut is "squat and dump". Yep. Just find a couple square feet without anyone else's waste and let her rip. Wad up your paper (assuming as a first world nation citizen you use it) and let the wind carry it away. I'm not kidding too much. Seriously. So if you camp you'll want to be far from the hut, since I doubt anyone would waste much time in trying to dump away from it very far. Though I did see a huge ginormous human waste product in the middle of the trail at 15,200' the last time I was there, but I imagine it was an emergency, and not that they hiked up 1,300' for seclusion. Not in the middle of the trail. In spite of the size it was made by a girl. That's sexist isn't it?

It's possible that in the last 18 months that's changed. I'll let you know. Wouldn't that be one of those really cool "improve the third world nations" projects? Install a really good solar toilet at the hut? Anyone seriously interested? Oh, btw - there is a really old stone toilet good for about 100 dumps that looks like it was full about 10 years ago and not emptied.

So plan on your 11:00 AM takeoff or take a taxi and walk. Spend the night in Mexico City, Puebla, or Tlachichuca. Shop in Mexico City or Puebla. Yes, you can buy some things in Tlachichuca, at the few farmacias or the mercado (all small and no English).

Tip: it's cheaper to get a phone card at the farmacia and use the pay phone than it is to use your cell.

Note: with careful planning it's possible to take a redeye flight, the bus to Puebla, the bus to Tlachichuca and the outfitter ride at 11:00 AM - but it's really really tight. You won't have time for shopping and if traffic is really bad, you'll miss your ride. Only try this if you want to take the taxi so you have a few hours leeway and can get to the stores for food and gas.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Climbing Gym Owners

I got this in an email from SteepandCheap.com

The guy who checks me in at the climbing gym was complaining to his coworker about their boss the other day. Apparently the staff member had worked for about 15 minutes before he remembered to punch in, so he punched in and then asked their boss to adjust the time to move it back 15 minutes.
Instead their boss pulled $2 out of his wallet and slapped it on the table and said, “This should cover it.” I know there’s something mean and hurtful in there, but that story really cracked me up. I’m glad I don’t work at that gym.


Lol, I guess they're all the same.

Friday, September 11, 2009

IMPORTANT - Utah Climb 4 Life Hera Foundation Event

Sept 18 and 19, HERA Climb4Life fundraiser. Ovarian Cancer is an orphan cancer, with almost no money being poured into research, since unlike breast cancer, there is no profitable cut-and-dried series of treatments.

Angie will be climbing with the pros again in one of the canyons of the Wasatch Front. Please support her in reaching her fundraising goal for this year. She's over half way. Even $20 will be a great help.

CLICK HERE TO DONATE

Thanks.

Above is Angie on Problem 7 at the Citizen's Comp at Teva Mountain Games, 2009 in Vail Colorado

Monday, August 10, 2009

Junior Football Etc.

Back in the day. Just driving home from Salt Lake and had a random thought. Not sure where it came from. When I was a kid, non-varsity sports was how you discovered talent for varsity sports. Wrestling was how you discovered varsity wrestlers. The coaches picked out the biggest meanest looking guys and had them tear up the rest. Any survivors were varsity wrestlers. They didn't care much if you learned anything or not, because it was just a means of discovering varsity wrestlers, so no technique, no skills, unless you were in that top 5 or so, in which case anything you needed to learn would happen in the next few months or so of varsity wrestling.

Same for football. Have everyone slam into everyone else, throw the ball while someone tried to tear them apart, run like crazy while being chased by the varsity wrestlers, have the ball slammed into you at full force while you were running. Again, no real skills etc. unless you somehow qualified.

Same for baseball. Every pitch was aimed for your head at 70 mph. Every bat was tossed at you. Every tag was a spike in the crotch. Again, the winners....

Now things are quite a bit softer. Everyone gets a trophy. Everyone has the ball held for them while they try to aim for it with a foam bat. People with skills are kicked off the team. I think you get the idea.

It will be interesting to find out in 20 years or so which approach worked best when we either have leagues of super players beating all the records, or the whole pro sports thing falls apart because no one can hit a moving ball.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Rainier Climbing Clothing

Rainier is the big one of North American Mountaineering. Nearly every highly regarded climber in the US has cut their teeth on it. Has tested themselves first on Rainier. It's roughly 9,000' high. About half or more of that is on snow and ice, much of it glaciated. In addition to navigating crevasses, you have to cross really crappy rock and gravel bands in crampons (in the dark, uphill, with a headwind, in a blizzard as Grandpa always said about school).

Normally, you would have special equipment, either purchased or rented just for this climb. If you know yourself, and your equipment needs, and have committed to a future of doing mountaineering, considered by many to be merely insane or even socially detrimental, then purchase is a good option with many long term benefits. If you have any doubt at all, then you really should rent.

You can rent almost every single last bit of gear and clothing, including long underwear at one of the many REI's in the greater Seattle area (if you go to their website, store locator, and click on the little map icon for Washington, you can find their stores, then go from there to the Rent Gear page where you can get a list of items available at each store - the list sucks a bit, Mountaineering Gear is as close as you can get, and I never called one to find out what that means). Feathered Friends and Second Ascents may be good options as well. Alpine Ascents has their office in Seattle, but International Mountain Guides and Rainier Mountaineering Inc. have stores and rental offices in Ashford (the last small town before Paradise in Rainier National Park).

If you are a backcountry skier you probably have much of the required gear, and in fact, you might be able to make your AT boots work. I've seen many guides climb it in Scarpa Denali's. If you are a serious skier you might have some of the basics. If you aren't so serious about winter sports (or your idea of winter sports includes firearms and/or small gas motors), you'll probably need a lot of stuff.

From Liberty Ridge Rainier 2009


Starting from the inside and working out:

Undies: some people wear them and some don't - underwear by Patagonia, REI, Smartwool seem to be the best overall. Some of the sports underwear are meant for moisture transport while running, which you won't be doing. Those will get soggy and you'll lose heat too fast. Same for cotton, heavy wool, wool/poly blends, multi-layered, etc. Don't do it. You'll need one. You won't be changing.

Bra: IF you need one, again, be cautious of those that trap moisture because they're designed to have a constant 10 mph breeze as you run in them. One. No changing.

Base Layer: fancy word for Long Underwear. This is the root of your clothing system. Most manufacturers make three variations. Thin, Medium, Thick, sometimes with fancy names like Cap2, or Expedition, or 260g or whatever. Simple enough to figure out. You will need one for the top, and one for the bottom. I myself think even the thinnest wool from Smartwool is too thick and traps too much moisture for a multiday trip, but ymmv. Wool smells better overall after several days, but some of the others aren't too bad. Unfortunately they vary depending on your body chemistry and you don't know till you try. You won't be changing these either. Some people like turtlenecks, and some like zip mock turtles. Make sure the fly is useful for you - some are skimpy or in odd places, depending on your anatomy. If you're a girl who will be using a pee funnel, you might have to use men's bottoms.

Mid-layer Top: A second base layer, though it's not a base layer if something is under it? A mid-weight baselayer, expedition weight baselayer or very thin softshell or wind shirt are all common for this application. If you don't know, you may be happiest in a PolarPro fleece designed for running. My personal preference used to be a wind shirt but I've been using The North Face Apex Bionic softshell for almost a year now. It's thin, light, zips for ventilation, is about 80% wind and waterproof, and breathes better than most fleece imho. In mild weather I can wear it for my outer layer.

Softshell Top: Your main outerwear top. A mid-weight softshell like the Marmot Sharppoint, Mountain Hardwear Alchemy, or Arcteryx Gamma series. Abrasion resistance, breatheability, water resistance, wind resistance, and warmth are all features to keep in mind. The North Face and a few others also make good choices. Go try some on. Remember, you will be wearing this over everything above probably all the time, so make sure it is big enough and that you can move freely.

Softshell Bottom: Abrasion resistance, freedom of movement, warmth, water and wind resistance. You will be wearing this the whole time. I have a pair of Cloudveil ice climbing pants I wear a lot, a pair of Mountain Hardwear Syncro I wear sometimes, and a pair of TNF Apex Bionic Bibs (no longer made) that I absolutely love. Make sure the fly works for you with all the above on (and with a harness on if you can) and if you're a girl using a funnel. Some features that are love it or hate it, are moon drop seats, zippers that go from front to back, various ankle closures that can take the place of gaiters (if you don't know I won't be teaching you now - stick to gaiters if you're a beginner). Ski pants suck - the ankles are too big and you'll trip over them with your crampons. Crampon patches are normal on pants meant for this use - you WILL poke holes in your pants. It's a war wound. It shows you really do walk around in crampons. Yes, you paid $400 for your pants. Oh, well. Duct Tape.

Goretex Pants: This isn't the place for experimenting if you're a beginner. Goretex is the standard (but completely equivalent membranes can work too so long as they are as durable). It needs to go over everything above. You will most likely keep it in your pack the whole time and only put it on when the wind picks up or it starts snowing or raining bad. Hence, you will need to be able to put them on, with a harness, with crampons, in a windstorm/blizzard. Full length or 80% side zippers help. Make sure you can actually put them on in the store. I've seen lots of people show up and not be able to put their own pants on because they never did it and don't know the trick of lining up the zippers.

Goretex Jacket: See goretex note above. It needs to go over everything above. Some people also like them to go over their parka, see below. Keep that in mind when sizing. Since goretex is neither waterproof nor breathable (that's a little bit of a joke I picked up in Alaska) you want to make sure that your pit zips are good enough, and that you can operate them in a blizzard, etc. with mittens on. I have a jacket that has a hood that zips up into the collar. I should keep it there because it's annoying to me anyway. You probably don't want that, so make sure the hood is sufficient to cover your helmet and provide visibility. You'd be surprised at the expedition goretex out there that doesn't work right with helmets. Same for "Ski Jackets". You don't want a lot of extra crap, like pockets - you won't be using any pockets in a blizzard. Trust me. You also hope it never comes out of your pack.

Puffy Jacket: Your main survival outer layer. Down or synthetic? How thick? For Rainier, most people can make do with whatever, your life doesn't really depend on it like in Alaska. Patagonia DAS Parka, OR Chaos are great synthetic. The standard down jacket is the Mountain Hardwear Subzero Parka, but I think I'd rather have the Mont Bell down parka - better baffles and down. Lighter. You will pop this on and off at every rest, at camp, and as you near the summit. It will get a lot of wear and tear, wadding it up in your pack.

Gloves: Get a system unless you know yourself well enough. OR, MH, Black Diamond, all make good systems. A system is a liner and shell integrated so you can use any combination to make three separate gloves. Wear the liner in camp or when it's warm. Wear the outer when it's colder or windier and maybe wetter. Wear them both when it's colder and windier still. Most of these come with "moron straps" use them correctly. Ask someone (but not at an REI, they most likely don't know) how to use them to prevent glove loss. Some people like an extra liner pair - you can get something a bit thicker, or with a patch of rubber for better climbing ability, and make sure they also fit the outer shell if you like. You will most likely be doing a lot of equipment things with your hands, so a slippery palm/finger area sucks.

Mittens: The gear lists suggest a pair of very big and heavy mittens on the summit. I've never used them. Most people I know have never used them. But then divide the weight and price by 10 fingers. I've used heat packs before but didn't like them. Maybe I've never been high enough or cold enough when I've had them. Your call, but if it's your first time, do it just to be safe.

Socks: Sure, wear socks. What most experienced people I've talked to that were in love with their boots do is buy boots that fit. Then fill them with socks. Simple. But for the rest of us/you, get the thick expedition weight socks. Pile or loop, wool or wool blend, but not the ragg wool. Ragg wool will never dry out in your sleeping bag at night. Acrylic hunting socks don't work good either. Most ski socks will be too thin, and since they aren't meant to be walked in, might bunch up from friction and cause pain. You probably want to have at least two pair, so you can be drying one with body heat while the other is on your feet. Some people have a "sacred summit socks" pair that they only put on for summit day. For a three day trip that seems excessive.

Hats: Generally, a wool or wool blend hat that fits under your helmet is best. Some lists put in a separate balaclava. Synthetic balaclavas work good, but like socks, ragg wool is out. Some people bring just the hat and then a buff to double as the balaclava, but they're often not as wind resistant. I prefer a thinner lighter polyester hat and a buff, but that's just me. YMMV.

That's it for clothing. Really.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Rainier Beginner Logistics Guide

Rainier is the classic test of North American Mountaineering. You need to do it before you go any further.

If you've never done it before, there are really only two standard routes. Disappointment Cleaver and Emmons Glacier. Emmons is longer, with more vertical on summit day, but not quite as steep. It's also a bit more remote and offers a better wilderness experience, since the Park Service keeps the number of overnight campers along the route fewer than along the DC route.

The DC route, being more popular (a few thousand people a year try it) is also better marked and maintained, often with all the crevasses and bridges over them very well wanded (the little 3' flags), and in those few spots where you go along or over rock there are sometimes fixed ropes. Sometimes even in a whiteout you can just stay in the trench that hundreds of feet made along the path in the previous 24 hours.

There are a few other seasonally "easy" routes, such as Gib Ledges and Ingraham Direct, both of which are in condition early in the season - April or May even, and then as quickly out of condition. If you are an experienced Ice or Steep Snow climber, the Kautz or Fuhrer Finger routes can be fun in May or June.

The route you select determines a lot. Emmons is entered from the White River entrance, and a long but pretty hike with not a great deal of serious steep vertical leads to Camp Shurman, at 9,500', where you'll find a relatively nice toilet, barrels to dump your blue bags (on Rainier, if you aren't using an authorized toilet, you have to do your more solid business into a blue plastic bag and haul it with you - it's not as hard as it sounds) and about 30 tent spaces relatively sheltered from the wind. From here on summit day, you'll ascend through the crevasses along a path called "The Corridor", pass the bergschrund (the large crevasse at the top of the glacier - sometimes amazingly deep and wide and far across with the narrowest and winding bridge across of firm snow) at around 13,000', then angle back to the summit, Columbia Crest, at 14,411'.

The DC route leaves from the Paradise Lodge parking lot at 5,500' and goes up to Camp Muir at 10,000', a steep climb in a short distance. From Camp Muir, on summit day, you climb up through Cathedral Gap to the Ingraham Glacier, over to Disappointment Cleaver (a large and crappy rock feature). Depending on the time of year, you would go up along the cleaver, or along one side and up to the Emmons Glacier for the hike to the volcano crater rim, where you finish by hiking about a half mile to the summit.

If you're going to camp anywhere on the mountain, you'll need a wilderness camping permit (specifying dates and campsites), available online, in the mail, or from a couple of the ranger stations. If you're going above either Muir or Shurman, you'll need a climbing permit (unlimited use for the year in which you buy it) available as above. Guiding companies normally take care of this for you (so it's only significant if you're not using one).

Important skills to have include walking comfortably in crampons. In the dark. On ice and snow. On crappy gravel mud and rock. If you're in really good shape and have good balance and coordination you can figure this out on the fly, but I've seen V4 climbers break down in tears at walking on 4th class terrain in crampons. Rope management is essential - part of the safety system is to keep the rope a certain level of tight. This keeps your falls below a Fall Factor 1. Way below. You have to walk the right speed to do this, while watching your footing, while keeping your ice axe in the right hand, pointing the right way, while breathing thin air. In the dark. Uphill in a headwind. Yeah.

Self-arrest is important as well. The ability to stop your own slide from a number of angles is helpful. Stopping a ropemate's fall or slide is normally done only one direction and on purpose - not as tough to learn.

Climbing a rope using a prusik knot ascension system is helpful, though with a guided group there will always be a few handy guides to haul you out. The myth is that you can't go anywhere on Rainier where you can throw a dead cat without hitting a guide. Keep that in mind - always bring a dead cat in case you fall into a crevasse.

Most guided groups will take time out either before or during the basecamp stay to give a quick course in these skills, but it's probably a good idea to pick up whatever you can however you can beforehand - you can't know too much unless you try to "share" it with someone who doesn't really want to know how smart you are.

As far as equipment, Wal-Mart is pretty much out. I've had some sad team-mates before who tried that route with potentially life-threatening results. You'll need special clothes, special boots, special equipment. Most of this stuff can be rented in Ashford Washington, where two of the three guide companies authorized to guide on Rainier keep their headquarters. Otherwise several good stores in Seattle rent as well.

If you balk at the price of the boots and gloves, remember to divide it by ten for your "dollars per toe" figure to compare it to the long-term cost of amputation. If you go to the guide company sites you'll find really good equipment lists based on the average climber. If you really know yourself at altitude in the cold, in a storm, then do your own thing, otherwise, sticking to the lists is the safest course of action.

If you're going with one of the guided groups, that's about it. If you're going up on your own (in which case you're obviously wasting your time reading this since it's way too basic for someone as cool as you) or with a friend or whatever, besides the above gear, you'll also need to consider food, tents, and cooking equipment and fuel, since the guide companies normally take care of that.

Anyway, that's a good first thought logistics guide for Rainier.

Harry Potter and Taekwondo

Interesting combination.

A long time ago, I used to teach an obscure little martial art that no normal person was really very interested in, though I had a following of about a dozen devoted non-normal people back in the day in Kansas City. When I came to Utah the realities of owning a business meant I had to give that up, in case anyone is interested and meaning to ask (other than a few of the non-normal people I'm still in contact with that is).

Anyway, one oddity among potentially non-normal people who came to visit me to find out what I was made of, or how tough I was, or how skilled, or how smart or whatever, was that they would start ripping on Taekwondo and other 20th century martial arts.

1) it's not really a martial art
2) it's not authentic, but is rather made up in response to Karate, itself made up blah blah
3) they're just in it for the money
4) it's contest stuff and doesn't work

etc. etc. etc.

I never really wanted to argue any points that were in fact rather obvious, but I did say this:

"I respect Taekwondo immensely. They make tons of money. Have millions of fervent adherents. Are everywhere you look."

How can you argue with that?

It would be like ripping on Harry Potter, and you know what? I say the same thing.

Tons of money (for bookstore owners as well as whats'er'face).
Millions of readers.
Everywhere saturating society.

Anyway, all the respect in the world to all of them, Harry, Edward, Sookie, etc. etc.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Red Rock Draper Climbing Evening

Last night we headed up after work to the Draper Red Rock to do some climbing. Angie took the Vaude pack she's planning on taking to Fuji, and I took mine as well. I wore my Keen hikers to test them out (have had them for 2 years but have only mowed the lawn in them - lol), and she took her La Sportiva trail shoes.

Dallin and Brennan wore backpacks with toys and snacks. Tan just wandered along picking leaves and smelling dusty flowers. It was pretty hot, so we had it all to ourselves for most of the evening.

Angie wasn't feeling like climbing from her various injuries, and none of the kids felt like climbing tonight, so I decided to get in some lead time.

I led the 5.6 on the far left "Baby Teeth", then the 5.7 next to it "Facial Fracture". I enjoyed both, and Angie said I looked good on my feet, much better than last year. While I rested up some I switched from my Acopa Aztecs to my La Sportiva Solutions I got a couple years ago and never quite fit into right until this past few months. My Miura VS have taught me a lot about fitting shoes, as well as some great advice from Adam at Mountainworks in Provo at the Quarry.

At that same time a family with kids about the same ages as ours showed up, so I gave them that section of wall so they could toprope their kids, and we moved over to the other section to the West.

I went up "Liken Z' Planus" which says 5.6 on the plaque, but Mountainproject.com has it at 5.7 by consensus. I have done it before, but not strict. This time I went straight up the hanger line, which gets a bit hairy at the last bolt before the huge mantle. I stemmed way out, with my toe on a really tiny edge, and my left hand on a 2-finger crimper, and my right on a slopey sidepull. I managed to stick it to get my right foot on a huge steep sloper, and then clip right at my chest. It was my scariest clip yet. Felt more like a couple 5.8 moves. I think if you go over to the left up the arete or to the right up the crack it's 5.7 or less.

I then mantled and decided that was the top - the last wandering bit of route shared with a few others is just 3rd/4th class and is really meaningless climbing. so I leaned over to the top of Shark Teeth and clipped that anchor.

Lowering sucked, since it was off-angle, but I clipped a draw on so I could follow the rope down, but had to clip to an anchor for a bit while Angie repositioned, since the other angle was pulling her downhill.

At the bottom I tinkered with the idea of doing Shark Teeth, a 5.6 next to it, but decided I was tired and another day. Later I discovered MP had it at 5.7+ and sucky, so probably for the best.

So overall, three good leads, a few scary moments, a bit of stress, and some cool moves. It's great to be on the sharp end again. There's nothing like looking down at the rope in your anchor 5' below you, and 5' below that sharp rocks, as you reach over your head for a small hold, and put your foot up by your navel on a little pocket of rock and stand up on it. Oh, yeah.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Liberty Ridge Epic Pictures up at Picasa

Pictures Up Now Click Here

Got the pics up. Some are captioned - enough to help you figure out days/times etc.

It was so amazing and I'm still recovering. Not too bad. Numb toes, tingly fingers, eating like a pig and not gaining weight. Got below 190 lb (which is totally cool). Getting back into working out slowly - did cardio two days in a row now, but not strong enough feeling for weights yet.

Thanks Ann, Claudio for being great team mates. Thanks Jeff and Mark for being great guides. Thanks Eric and Josh for coming up to show us the way home at great risk to yourselves.

Thanks Angie for putting up with, supporting, and believing in me. Thanks George for managing this whole thing.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Liberty Ridge Update

Guess I shouldn't have titled my last post "deadness" - too real.

Angie put the story up on her blog pretty accurately, so I guess I can just relax and not stress over typing it all up again.

It's pretty wild to be home, back at work, and getting used to being back in the world.

Claudio and I emailed and he said it's "surreal" to be back after going through that.

I'll see about getting pictures up later.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Liberty! or deadness

woohoo!

got my pack packed last night for liberty. I have two different "concepts" going here.

1) the gear I prefer, or philosophy, or experienced
2) the gear on the list

I put together my primary, or compromise, kit, and it's in the duffle and the whole mess weighs 33 lb (everything except water, boots, and helmet). I also have emergency backup - in some cases warmer, in some cases lighter, in case I can "get away with it" or "didn't get away with it" in another duffle in case I have to switch stuff out (or can get away with switching stuff out).

Jeff Ward is a totally cool guide and I've been with him before when I did Kautz, also with IMG. I've had mostly good experiences with IMG (in Ouray you have to take one of their prefered buddy guides along for the ride, which can be odd at times). RMI has been mostly negative, but they do manage to drag a few thousand people a year up Rainier, so props for that. Mountain Madness has been excellent (for what I did). AAI has decent instruction. AMS has really good instruction.

Anyway, happy to be climbing with Jeff as leader and Mark Allen as the other guide. I think he was on Kautz as well. This is the hardest guided route on Rainier and is a test piece (a route that you do to find out where you stand as a legend in your own mind - a gateway to the next level so to speak). It's in the "50 North American Classics of Climbing" group.

Anyway, assuming I survive it (there will be three clients and two guides, and I've talked extensively with one of the clients over the past few months, the other one just barely signed up) I'll have a day of rest in Seattle with relatives, then off for a "honeymoon" weekend with Angie out rock climbing, rather than steep crappy ice snow and rock climbing.

The weather looks like it will be cold up high for a few days to make the snow solid, then warmer on summit day for an easier time (and lighter summit clothing).

More later...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Holy Smurf - More Momentum Climbing

Today we went to Momentum again - last time before I leave for Rainier.

DW was there for Dal's climbing team practice, which for some unrealistic reason is on Thursday afternoon.

Anyway, when I first got there she was consoling Dal over his successful V0 climb, and she showed me her V3 she's working, and I tried the first couple moves on it, then tried the first couple moves on the evil blue V1 I just can't get the next move on. Well, I did get the next move, but with the wrong hand.

I went over then and tried the first few feet of a new orange 5.9 put up by RM, which of course means there is at least one 5.11 move, and sure enough, the first few feet were impossible, which I suppose makes his ego day complete.

I went around then and did a new 5.8 by "TN" whoever that is. Really awful sequencing, but I did do it. I then got on the standard blue 5.10A and it totally blew me away at the first move. Weird. After shaking it off I got on a SJ 5.10a orange and onsited it. Far out. Amazing. But then SJ really does know how to set routes, which unfortunately their primary routesetter is clueless about.

To wrap up I did the yellow 5.9 in the book corner by the cracks and just ran up it, so good enough.

What an amazing day. Can hardly wait for Leavenworth.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Climbing at Momentum in Sandy, June 16

Still recovering from my heavy-duty workout yesterday (Monday), so I was planning on climbing slow and gentle. Also, getting ready for Liberty Ridge on Rainier next week, so have to keep my recovery ability in mind.

DW climbed the yellow 5.8 with the overhung arete start on the wall by the former cafe (now an empty future climbing museum er, junk room to help someone clean their garage). I decided to do it too, and did okay. D stopped by and said hi to us.

Can't remember the details of DW's climbing - like a handful of 10d's and 11's of various sorts, working them hard, and still getting over Teva (though Teva did help her bouldering a LOT - she was here Monday night working some V3's).

I did the green 8 on the curvy front wall. Again, not bad. I wanted to do a 10, but the one I wanted to try (the brown on the curvy front wall that kicked my butt before) was just busy tonight, so I got on the yellow 10b with pockets. I managed to get up halfway, doing a bad sequence and coming off, so I got back on and worked past that to the next sequence and came off, so I bailed - new project.

I got on the beige 9 to the left of the doorway in the kids wall, and managed to get to the 2nd to last move before coming off - so close, but again, new project. So I have a handful of uncompleted 9's to wrap up. Three that I remember now coming off at the last move or so. Endurance.

8's are fairly uncomplicated now, so that's progress anyway - last year I was happy to do half an 8 in one go without coming off or bailing in agony from my hands. lol.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Climbing at Momentum Indoor Rock Climbing Gym June 13

We were going to go outside this morning and climb with Nathan up BCC, but the sky looked threatening and we didn't feel like risking the thunderstorms that have been a staple of Utah weather for the past 3 weeks.

We headed up to Momentum for their "5.14" event. On 6 13, but details aside, they were having a raffle, so we signed up for that, then ran over to REI for their Garage Sale - which overall was as lame as ever. The usual. Climbing shoes someone bought two years ago, wore for two years, then brought the shredded remains in so REI could give them a credit on this years model, then put them at the garage sale for $35. If you're going to pay that much for totally smurfed up shoes, you could get some new Madrock Shoes at their OUTLET. I have some I got there that are great for rain, mud, snow, ice, etc. And for $19 with free shipping, you really can't go wrong.

Anyway, when we got back to Momentum, we decided to get our climb on. DW did a couple of 5.10 that totally sucked. RM routes, of course.

One of the route setters, RM has like this weird trick move he does where he locks off with a backstep and front flag, only like really high and low. The backstep and flag are at the same level as his hips, as is the lock-off - totally odd looking, but then he reaches out and up with the inside shoulder and sets his 4' long arm on a hold that otherwise cannot be reached since there are no feet anywhere else. When asked about it his response is "if you get your feet high enough it's easy" and doh! if you're 6' 4" - and climb 12's. lol.

Anyway, for some odd reason this move goes into all his routes. Even the 5.6's (which because it requires a V2 bouldering technique is not really a 5.6 anymore, and while there might be some sick satisfyingly superior humor in watching everyone flail on 6's, the idea is to inspire new climbers, or older fatter climbers, to progress and grow, rather than smugly sandbag them and make dumb cracks about how easy it is for you). So poor DW had to endure that. (I've spoken to several of the pro climbers who are regulars at the gym and every single one said the RM routes are so odd and random they're not worth doing)

I was trying my new Miuras today, and was going to torment myself by working a 10, but she convinced me to go back to the classics. I got on the green comp 5.7 that most people hate, and did a decent job, purposefully choosing the smurfy feet whenever there was a choice, and felt good.

I got on the black 5.8 just down the wall a bit. Again, smurfy feet on purpose, and again, did good. I moved around to the kids side and did my classic 5.9 red SJ route. In general, SJ has a decent feel for setting an interesting route on-grade. A little bit of training for one or two techniques, and do-able by anyone who can climb that grade.

As an aside, one of their "future" route setters made some comment about how when you climb 5.12 you really have no idea what a 5.6 looks like anymore, so you really have no idea how to set a 5.6. Even Chris Sharma said in an interview that he'll go out and do a pretty 5.6 for the view and just enjoy it. Joe Kinder has told us the same thing while we talking to him once. To say you're better than they are, in that you don't even know what a 6 is anymore is just silly.

That might explain why some route setters can't add any new 6's (the last three attempts I know of were all graded at 5.8 by consensus), but really, SJ is there all the time puttering around, and they could pay him to actually set some decent routes, since he doesn't seem to have that problem. It really would be good for the gym. Seriously - think future business, not ego.

DW did some more cool route work, and I was impressed by how she's working through her recovery from Teva and being sick this past week.

I had just enough time to crank on one last route, and I went over to the blobby, slopey purple 5.9 that has eluded me for some time now (since the MORC/DORC contest). I was able to stick great, and managed, like the previous climbs, to keep my heart rate down and manage my pump, but when I got past my previous high point I popped off, since I didn't have a sequence down. I got back on after a minute rest and started lower, working past that sequence and topping out - for the first time ever. I think I can do it next time if I can remember the sequence correctly.

We headed home to rescue the sitter and cook some fish. See DW's blog -- link at right.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Indoor Climbing - Momentum June 11

Got to Momentum about 5:00 but with the daycare issues going on there wasn't able to check the kids in till 5:20.

DW did some laps starting on a 5.8, but after a few she switched to a 5.9 on the same rope. Good job.

I started up a new 5.10 on the curved front wall, but the last 6 moves were evil slopers and I couldn't get my left hand to stick (still rehab'ing it) so I had to bail. Wish the route setters wouldn't do that. I could stick the first two, but then ran out of steam. Though it does feel good to almost send a 5.10.

DW did a 5.10C, red, blocky, on the narrow wall that used to have the speed route, that she described as "awesome" to her sometime climbing buddy Dan.

Then I decided to try a slopy 5.9 that had kicked my butt before - the off-white one on the tall end of the kid wall. Actually pulled it off. Good job me.

DW worked a 5.12A she'd worked before, but that one crux area still needs work. Other than that she did great on a really crimpy small route.

I tried a brown 5.9, slopy, near the off-white one above, that had kicked my butt before, and made it almost to the top when I finally couldn't hang on anymore - 3 more moves. Drat. Anyway, it feels good to almost make it.

DW worked a red 5.10C over the doorway to the maintenance room in the middle of the kid wall. The first few moves really suck and she really worked them hard.

I moved over to the brown 5.9 with small holds and bad feet a bit to the left of that. I did get above my high point, but managed to get my toe stuck between two holds and it pulled me off when I high-stepped with the other foot. That toe was still sore from bumping it when I came off the last 5.9, so I bailed.

All in all a good enough night - really sore, and I did manage to finish a route that I had failed on before. I'm well on my way to getting all the 9's done.

A couple weeks ago I started using my Lasportiva Solutions more, since the Acopa Aztecs have taught me to use my feet better. There was a shoe demo at the gym on Tuesday and I tried on some Miura VS in 41.5 - which I thought would be way too small but it works. I even hung around in them without climbing or tearing them off in agony - but of course, demo shoes are pretty beat up and stretched out - about what they would be after a few weeks of climbing. Synthetic leather doesn't stretch too much after all. DW says I have to buy a pair, since they seemed to work better than anything she's seen me in ever.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Teva Mountain Games 2009

Citizens Bouldering Competition. Angie took 3rd place in her division. Far out.

Took some cool video, here's a sample from working Problem #7:



For the rest, go to: Tripeak Production Youtube Home Page

Enjoy!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Rock Climbing Update

Done a few more sessions at Momentum.

Lapped that red 5.6(?) for 3 laps - not bad. I worked a few others, but didn't get far. I did some bouldering, and pieced together a V1 on the first cave inside the door, but didn't link it.

I got outside to meet CM from my earlier Rock Canyon The Wild adventure. Met him at Tinker Toys. I got there early and was going to Trad Rope Solo Tonka Truck 5.6 but he showed up and I let him lead Barbie 5.8. I tried Barbie on toprope but it kicked my butt. He then did K'NEX on toprope and I ran down the trail in my 35 lb pack (not bad at all) and went home, then on to Momentum (Wed night).

Had the horrible Forgot my Stuff Fiasco that night when I grabbed the wrong bag, but I did do an old 5.9 in much better style than ever before.

Thursday, I managed to send that purple 5.9+ and sent 3 V0's in a row, nonstop. I worked on the first few moves of my V1 project, but didn't link it yet. Devon watched as I did the 5.9+ and he and DW were talking and cheering me on, though I didn't hear anything other than "don't stop" when I was resting...

Recovery has been tough with the more harder workouts, but I'm looking forward to getting in shape for Liberty, and of course, for DW's entry in Teva.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Rock Climbing Digression

Not done with the Alaska Blogging by a long shot, but wanted to get in some rock climbing sharing time here.

Since I got the Acopa Aztecs and they've been supporting my feet, I've been feeling pretty good and generally strong. I've been attempting the "mystery routes" the ones with no rating. I did a really cool yellow in the corner by the 5.9 dihedral and it didn't feel too bad. Turns out it's a 5.10.

I did that green maple route - had to work it, but made it bottom to top no hangs on the 2nd or 3rd try, and it's a 5.10c.

I did a nice new blue, and it's not rated yet, so dunno. I say it's a 5.9+ and Angie says it's a 10 from her climb of it - she did work harder than I've seen her work 9's so maybe.

I've been working that horrible purple 5.9 sloper-fest, but haven't made it past my sticking point yet, though I think I know how to now.

I've been working an evil 5.10a beige on the curvy front wall, and finally managed to stick the evil slanted slippery block that I keep getting stuck on, but haven't made it past it. Maybe next week.

I did a purple 5.9+ that works up the inverted section of the main wall, but hung once.

I did a new blue that DG says is 9+ or 10- and got to a really yucky sloper (on the left hand - doh! like all of them) after hanging twice. I restarted and ran up to it, having picked a better line based on my previous attempt. I think I can send it within the week.

I've also done a few of the new 8's and 7's, but nothing memorable.

There is a new yellow (oops!) red that I did, think it's a 5.6 but we'll see, and oddly enough, it has some cool pockets on it that I actually took as a lockoff. Best of all, it's like the first route in a long time I think I can lap on - so I'll see about doing that soon.

Still recovering from Alaska I think.

Got out to Rock Canyon and did a lead rope solo on Gazelle 5.5 in "The Wild" a relatively new moderate limestone area in Rock Canyon just outside Provo Utah.

First one of the year.

So, it's been a ton of fun working and sending some 10's

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Alaska Day 1 part 2 (May 2, 2009) - Anchorage to Talkeetna

Sean got up missing breakfast bar, so we went for a walk about a mile to the Tesoro quickmart where he got a carton of chocolate milk and I got a carton of orange juice. On the way back Troy met us along the road and took us back to the Microtel to get our crap and head over to his office where he had to repack after his recent Wilderness First Responder course.



Naz was getting in at 3ish, and would ride with Amy and Leah. In the meanwhile, we guys would head out as soon as Troy was done. On the way out of town we stopped at the local classic diner "Lucky Wishbone" and I had a halibut burger and onion rings - carbing up for the 12 day adventure.

We got into Talkeetna, where there was still snow on the streets and checked into Talkeetna Roadhouse, where I had a reservation for Sean and I, and Troy got a room for he and Amy. Naz and Leah are going to stay in the bunks.



Sean and I wandered the streets looking for a great view over the river while Troy napped in his room to catch up on his sleep.



Amy rolled into town with her crew and we all walked and talked around town getting to know one another, then had our first meal together in the Roadhouse.



(from left, Sean, Troy, Naz and Leah)

We went to sleep in the midnight-sun duskiness with a breakfast planned at the Roadhouse, then on to AMS to meet our Guides and get on the way.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Alaska Pics Little Switzerland Pika Glacier

Got my pics up - before I put up the "diary" version, just though I'd put this out first.

http://picasaweb.google.com/Charles.Miske/AMSPIKAMay_2009#

I'll see about putting up my "diary" later when I catch up at work.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Alaska Day 1

Made it here - flew in with Sean (who flew from TN) and arrived at midnight. The baggage carousel took almost 45 minutes to spit out our suitcases - guess the hamsters were tired.

Took the Holiday Inn Express shuttle to the Microtel where Sean had a room reserved. Checked in easy, went to bed around 1.

I got up at 7:30 and came down for a snack at the breakfast bar while Sean slept (He's about 5 hours behind here in Alaska - I'm only 2 - jetlag going back will suck best for him).

It was cool coming into Alaska along the fjiord-like coast and seeing the midnight sun on the edge of the Northern horizon. Gorgeous red and blue light in the sky - wonder if Rupert is the reason for the red?

Anyway, going to call my dearest DW and then see when Sean wakes and hook up with Troy for the trip to Talkeetna.

Maybe more later, maybe not til the 14th? Cya!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Lame Climbing and Alaska

Climbed at Momentum Tuesday Eve. while Dal was in Basecamp (the Jr. Climbing Team). We went back over the comp routes again. First of all, they set that green Maple Route I redpointed as a 5.10c - totally the highest redpoint I've ever done and that feels cool.

Second, I managed to get up that purple sloper-from-smurf 5.9 up to the same spot again before my left hand gave up and told me to stop. Though this time I did it in much better speed and style. I was wearing the ancient Acopa JB Hightops I got off mountainproject a couple years ago. They felt slippery and didn't edge well. Probably too worn out. I switched to the new Aztecs and they felt much better.

I got on the old yellow 5.10a that I've been working for a year now. Got past all the lower sticking spots and actually only about 8 holds from the top when my left hand gave up and I popped off. I think I need to work my left hand for endurance more. Maybe lap some annoying 5.8 or 5.9 or just consecutive redpointing on the evil purple? Something.

But then we get to the whole Alaska thingy. I'm going to Alaska to do some advanced glacier training. Going up to Talkeetna and from there in a small plane to a remote glacier where I'll spend two weeks with our crew of 6 climbers and 2 guides. We'll be doing whatever is "in shape" to climb while learning advanced rope, avalanche and rescue skills. Should be fun.

So I've had to change my workouts to allow myself to recover enough (stopped doing weights) but increase my cardio for long days hiking with a pack. This time I didn't do any pack-weighted hiking or treadmills like I did for Kautz or Ecuador. We'll see how that plays out. On top of that, the minute I come home I have to get back into it because 5 weeks later I go to Mt. Rainier for the Liberty Ridge climb. Three clients and two guides. Hardest guided route on Rainier. Once you start you have to go over the top. There is no bailing. No way down. Lol. Tons of fun.

Since we have to go up and over (climb Liberty Ridge, descend Emmons Glacier) we have to carry everything on summit day (normally on a climb like this you would carry only emergency clothing and minimal food and water on summit day - maybe 10 lb), so we're limited to 30-ish pounds of our own stuff and about 15 pounds of group gear and food. I can go forever on the flats with that little load, so I just have to work on the whole 70-degree slope thing. About the same as on Iliniza Sur, but about 1,000' longer.

Anyway, DW did pretty decent on her climbs on Tue, but was also feeling a bit weaker than normal. Must be something going around ...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Hardcore Gym Climbing - Comp and Not

Momentum had a Jr. Comp on Saturday the 25th of April, but they had a Citizen's Comp to Pre-Climb the routes on Friday Night. It was overall a real pain, and I managed to climb a 5.7 I didn't like and a 5.8 that I did. DW didn't really climb up to her full potential either.

We were going to climb outside as further training for me for Alaska, but it was pouring rain and then snow on Saturday, so after the trampoline adventure (another reason to be waiting on the roof with a shotgun on Christmas Eve) we decided to go to the gym and then out to eat.

We ended up going to Smith's first, because they had a bike sale on and there were a couple that Angie wanted to show me. Then we went to Momentum and got climbing. Angie climbed hard, starting a 5.13 just to see what it was like, plus a few good sends. I sent a green 5.10 (another one of the SoIll Maple Routes - seems like it's my thing) in only two tries - amazing. Then I did two attempts on a purple 9 that was really just awful slopers in bad sequences. I managed to get to the 2nd to last hold when my hands were done. So next time ---

We went to Red Robbin as our last meal out together as a couple before I go to Alaska for a couple weeks. This is going to be a rough week as I get stuff wrapped up at home and work so I'm ready to go. I'll be completely out of communications the whole two weeks - great Himalayan training I guess.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Draper Red Rock Climbing - 1st time 2009 season

Wed. Apr. 22, 2009 - this evening we took the boys up to the Draper Red Rock for an "intro to outdoor climbing" since they've both been such gym rats this past year.

While I went up to the top of the 5.7 to set a toprope and rappel down, they bouldered in the little cave under the 9 and 10's.

We sent Brennan up first, and he had to be talked up pretty hard, but he made it and did a decent job. Then DW went up, and she did an excellent job considering she doesn't really like outdoor climbing that much. We sent Dal up next and though he's been toproping 8's in the gym for his Momentum Climbing Base Camp Jr. Climbing Team, he was a bit disconcerted to be climbing outside on sharp pointy rocks that can cause great physical damage, but he did really good in spite of his fear. Then I went up and boogied up the center of the route, and thought it was a lot easier than last time - guess it's the shoes? Then Bren took another shot at it and just flew up it - no fear at all this time.

I took Dal up on the hiking trail to the top with a sling and locker so I could show him how to clip in at the top and take down the toprope anchors. He needs to start young. He loved leaning over the edge and waving at his brother and mom. Then we hiked down, gathered everyone and left the rock to two guys who showed up to climb. Good job all!

DW should have the pics up on her site before long.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Amazingly Great "HEALTHY" Egg/Fish Salad

I discovered, quite by accident, this amazingly good recipe:

In a Microwavable Plastic Container that seals tight, place:

1 chopped up hard-boiled egg
1 grilled just-done (not overcooked) pollack fillet
1/2 chopped avocado
2 diced oriental snow pea pods (yes two pods)
1 tbs Johnny's Jamaica-Me-Crazy sauce (though any dressing would do)
1 slice cheddar cheese diced

Put the lid on and shake till it's gloppy-gooey. If the pollack is not overcooked it will shred into flakes as you shake it.

YUM!

I mixed mine with a Spring Green Salad Mix and devoured it.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Lead Climbing Training

Last night (Wednesday April 15) I took Mark, a neighbor, down to Momentum to teach him Lead Climbing. He asked me about it on Sunday at church and I said "sure, I can do that", since I have done it before (teach lead climbing that is).

We talked some about it, and I told him that lead climbing would quickly make his 5.6's outside feel like 10's and he was a bit skeptical of that.

I took him in and found a hanger about 2' up on the short wall of the middle island of routes and had him practice clipping with both hands from both sides of the quickdraw, then had him take the draw up to a hanger about 9' up and boulder up to it and practice clipping and unclipping from about chest height while hanging on holds, then I had him come down a bit so the draw was barely within reach and again, clip both hands both sides.

Then he felt strong and confident so he tied into the toprope and headed off up the black "yinyang" 5.10 there. At the first clip he couldn't do it so he switched to "rainbowing" the route (Angie's nickname for 'any color hold') and made it to the top. I had him clean on the way down and then gave him some helpful advice to help him do it more efficiently (particularly outside where efficiency and protecting yourself from potential injury or loss is very important). He said that leading was a whole different world and that it felt much harder because of the whole one-hand hanging one-hand busily doing a higher motor skills task. Well, not in those words anyway...

I switched him over to the green "Maple Route" a pebbly 5.10 that I really like. He did good enough and made it, but his main focus is bouldering (in which he says he's working V4's at The Quarry in Provo) so he isn't "efficient" - if you only have to go 12' or so, you can waste energy on all kinds of odd contortions, but on a rope, especially multi-pitch, you need to conserve energy and use better technique and I offered some advice on how to better switch hands and feet rather than making cool-looking crossovers and stepping through with full rotation.

I was trying out my ancient LaSportiva Tradmasters since I'll have to take them to Alaska with me next month. They want me to wear rock shoes I can wear wool socks in and I don't really want to buy new shoes, and these are very sturdy and solid outdoor trad shoes.

La Sportiva Men's Tradmaster Climbing Shoe (Spring 2009)
Click for Details or to Purchase at Moosejaw.com



I decided to get on the black 5.8 that Dallin is working, and it wasn't too bad, just odd without pointy toes. Mark said he'd never done a 5.8, which is too bad, since I think the best learning is from doing 5.8's. Even Jeff (gym owner and major FA/routesetter in Utah) says he's bailed from gnarly 5.8's outside. I explained that to Mark and sent him up the red blocky 5.8 on the other side of the Maple Route without Mock Leading (since it's wild enough without trying to lead it).

He did pretty good, got into some much better positions. I had noticed on the Maple Route that he was resistant to stemming and backstepping, so the ultimate route for that is the black 5.9 in the corner by the 5.9 layback crack. I had him Mock Lead (mock lead is when you're on toprope hauling a second rope and quickdraws up so you can clip and clean as you go up and down - the belayer would typically leave a small loop, about 4' of slack, so that you feel at-risk and understand better the feeling of leading) the route. He did good - really good. I gave him a bit of beta here and there "STEM LEFT" or "BACKSTEP REALLY HIGH RIGHT" and he had a few "gripped" moments, which was cool. When he came down he was pretty wasted.

I ran up the purple 5.7 on the short end of the overhanging wall of the middle island (next to the infamous yellow alien-planet 5.11+ that Angie onsited to cause a near fist-fight when someone dissed her as being unsuitable for climbing anything over 5.9 and she pointed out that was ironic coming from a "flailing gumbie" - LOL!

Feeling much more comfortable in old-school shoes and wool socks. Mark mentioned he used to climb in Madrock Phoenix - about the same deal and very popular shoes.

Mad Rock Phoenix Climbing Shoe
Click for Details or to Purchase at Altrec.com



I sent Mark up the mystery 5.x black route I onsited last week, and he didn't use the arete at all (like I did) and did a decent job. I told him then it was late (after 8 PM) and that I had stuff to pick up at REI so he could go boulder and I'd be back later. I told him he'd learned enough for one night and that we'd take him outside for a real lead on a 5.7 before he got psyched to take the lead test at Momentum - an overhanging 5.10a (but really juggy).

When I got back he was working a V3 with some friends and I gave them some cool beta and Mark just barely grabbed the top hold on his final try. We headed home then. Good night!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Buying a Condo in Keystone Colorado

Economy barely affects vacation condo market in Summit County Keystone Colorado


"Based on several factors like a strong housing rebound in California and incen­tives from the economic stimulus package, Yun said the market is bottoming out. Sales volume and prices could climb 10 to 20 per­cent in the second half of this year"


Read the article for more information, but the firesale market seems to be drying up quickly.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Scarpa Mago Momentum Climbing

Scarpa Mago Cliimbing Shoe (Spring 2009)
Scarpa Mago Rock Climbing Shoe Extreme Sport Bouldering



Angie got a new pair of Scarpa Mago Rock Climbing Shoes on Wednesday night while we were climbing at the Quarry. We went to climb, but since it was "Mutual" and "Single Ward" night, every rope had a dozen people on it at once, mostly NOOB, so I was out. She bouldered hard, and sent most of the v0 and v1, even trying a few v2 and v3. Good stuff.

She was wasted and needed a break, and remembered that I had offered to buy her some bouldering shoes if she progressed up to v2, so I went down to see who was on duty. Christian. Far out. He's a great guy. He and Adam are pretty cool, and I go down and try on shoes with them for "fun" and they dig it.

So we went down, and dug through their stuff to find a shoe that would be good for inverted, pockets, steep, and had a good camber and pointy toe, while considering her marginal "Morton Toe". She tried quite a few, and ended up with the Mago, and the Testarossa as her two finalists.

La Sportiva Men's Testarossa Climbing Shoe (Spring 2009)
LaSportiva Testarossa Rock Climbing Sport Bouldering Shoe



Christian had his hands full with a family from down by Nephi buying equipment for two older teenage boys, and we of course offered our two cents, and I believe helped him close the deal while still doing his best to serve his customers. In the meantime, Angie slipped into the bouldering room and compared the two shoes. The Mago won. (though I preferred the Testarossa, but it's way too much shoe for me at my humble level)

So on Thursday, during basecamp (kids climbing team) she did some toproping in them. She started on a new 5.8, but didn't like it at all so switched to a 9 that felt good to her. I went around to the other side of the wall and did a nice new 8 that I really liked. Onsited it. Then she did it and loved the pockets with her new pointy toed Magos. She got on then and tried a couple of evil 10's but didn't really feel like she was getting the best out of her shoes, threw them a few times (not at me this time) and I got on then and did the 9 she had finished first - again - onsited it (one of the few onsite 9's I've done).

I talked to her about some advice Adam gave me about cinching up the laces at the forefoot to draw the leather into the crease of the folded toes, so she broke down and tried it, and did the small brown 9 near the arete and then the yellow 10b. She did completely different footwork and took different holds, and it was great watching her step into the new world of high-end climbing these shoes would carry her into (and that's some mixed metaphors there).

She can hardly wait to get on it some more, so we're going to climb Saturday. I think the Pauls will be there - since they have a sitter and he at least is eager. Wonder if I can ever talk him into Rainier? Anyway, my wrist and fingers are sore, but hopefully I'll be back in shape for Saturday.

It was totally cool though to flash a 9.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tiff & Tyler: Momentum Climbing Double Date

Tiff & Tyler: Momentum

Tiffany put up some pictures from our "double date" climbing at Momentum last Friday night. We had tons of fun. There is even a pic montage of Tyler "cheating" the V5 - far out!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Angie WERC Promo Video

Good Things Utah ran a contest for viewer-submitted about-town videos "Your Good Things" and we decided to enter with a Promo Video for WERC at Momentum Climbing. WERC = Women Experience Rock Climbing.

While we shot and edited this, the TV Station canceled the contest, presumably because we were the only entrants. We sent it in anyway and now a year later, here it is:



Remember if you're interested in WERC or Momentum, either go to Angie's blog or Momentumclimbing.com.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Friday Climbing Wtih Tif and Ty

Last night we used our "bring a friend free" passes to take Tif and Ty to Momentum for a night of climbing. Ty had climbed before at the Quarry quite a bit, and was working V4's by the end of the year there, so this was all quite "simple" for him. Tif was wearing running shoes and going barefoot at times, which limited her a bit, but she did some great climbing and we hope she sticks with it and they can find a way to climb more together.

Ty did this wild trick that a guy there showed us for getting up a V5 about the same difficulty as a V1. Far out if you're tall. He also did a 5.10d on the wall by the future-museum-formerly-known-as-the-cafe, and with a little working out and practicing, he'll be doing great. Good job.

I managed to squeeze out sending that horrible red 8 with the blocky edgy holds on the short wall. Angie had beat the smurf out of herself bouldering on Thursday, so climbed somewhat conservatively, but still managed to get in some great V2 and V3 work. It's so cool that the folks back in the bouldering "cave" are taking her seriously now.

Anyway, we had tons of fun and hope to do it again.

(oh, forgot to mention in my post a couple days ago that I managed to send that black 9 that when I first did it seemed like a 10 to me, but a 9 to Jake, back in the corner by the first 9 crack and old speed routes)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wed Climbing Lessons

I decided to tag along for kicks, and since the only other option would be to set Anne free and make dinner for the kids and put them to bed. Besides, Dallin begged to spend the evening with Anne.

We started off getting them belay certified. There was S, who had climbed in WERC before, and her friend who took pictures. Her friend's daughter D, and S's friend from work, J. Neither J nor D had climbed before, and while J had a 6'5" height advantage, and seemed to have at least a minor amount of athleticism that helped him work his way up to 5.9 before he really started hanging, D was like the total opposite.

We gave them all lots of attention, and pointed out different ways to use the tools each had, and got them all into the bouldering room, where S and J both tried their hands at some V0's and even an evil V1 (the blue along the edge of the cafe roof that neither I nor DW have finished yet). In the middle of all this I onsited a V0 and Angie totally sent a V2 on her second try. Amazing girl. One of the other climbers there told her she should be working V3's and she did start one - great project as she lines up for the TEVA games in Vail this summer.

They did great, had a lot of fun, got some cool pictures, and hopefully will come back for more (pretty sure S will, not sure about J and D - but if they read this they need to keep it up - practice will get you to the top).

When all was said and done, it was a ton of fun for us too. Great experience and totally cool to give back to the NOOB community. We both ended up getting a great deal without smurfing off the gym management.

Anyway, just proud of my baby on her V2, and happy I did some bouldering for the 2nd time in this year of healing. I decided to take Thursday night off from Dallin's basecamp climbing team and heal my hands some. Instead I stayed home and did a workout while watching the other kids, so DW could boulder or help the team or treadmill or whatever.

It's kindof fun because I work out in the basement, and the kids came down to play with their Thomas Train Table together while I rode the elliptical. Afterward we went to Costco together to catch up on supplies and got home just as DW and Dal came home. They had a great time, which I'm sure she'll mention on her blog when she catches up.

Friday night we're going to climb with Tif and Ty. I'll keep you posted...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Miscellaneous Climbing Post

Since the last post I've been knocking off some of the 8's and 9's that have been troubling me for a bit.

There is a grey nine that is a bit "short". I did it once with great struggle and effort and thought I was at the top. Then I discovered I was one move shy. A few days later I did it with that one more move, only to discover there is actually just one more, way off to the right. I haven't finished it yet.

I finished the grey 8 on the wall facing the former cafeteria, now unstarted climbing museum project (garage cleaning project for Jeff I guess). The last few holds suck, but I got past them with only minor struggle.

I finished the brown 9 next to that evil short grey one on the first go. Not bad.

I finished the grey 8 that DG set for the kids on the lead wall to the left of the window. It wasn't too bad and I imagine if I weren't so tired last time I could have done it in spite of the little flat pyramid holds that seem to abound on the left hand.

I onsighted the yellow 8 that was the speed route at the comp. Didn't really like it though. Too many "flat" holds at an angle that's tough on my left hand.

I started the orange 9 from the speed comp, but got stuck at the cup-handle jugs below the dyno. Couldn't see my feet. Oh well, maybe down the road.

I started the new dark brown 9 by the kids wall, but fell off about halfway and decided to bail - the holds are new and have fiberglass fibers sticking out - ouch. I'll try it again when they wear down a bit. The holds are small crimpy jugs and work good for two-finger pulling.

I might have tried a few 9+ and 10, but can't really remember anything memorable except I probably failed since I can't remember them.

Hands have been up and down a bit - I've experimented with working out and climbing, and have had some trouble recovering. I noticed recently that most of the 50+ crowd there has a ton of fun doing the 6's and 7's and making them look really tough. And actually, they're all lifers just keeping the climbing muscles going. I don't think too many people my age actually start climbing from scratch and keep with it for very long. It's really tough on the body. When you're young making your tendons strong is fairly easy and just takes time under tension with little regard for recovery. When you get old your tendons get tight and dry and it takes a lot of work.

Speaking of which...

We went to Jake's B'day party and Matt and Shannon showed up. We loaned them shoes and harnesses again and got them going on a few routes. They were working the grey 8 that DG set for the climbing camp kids when Matt stressed his pinky. It was swollen and hurt his forearm, so we got him some ice from the museum-formerly-known-as-cafeteria (thanks Ty!). Since the night was still young we took Shannon back to try her hand at bouldering.

She didn't mind falling off, which I think is half the battle. She did some great work on some V0's. Afterward she said that DW and I are great coaches. Thanks.

Last summer my son Tristan came down from MT to visit and we had a great time climbing, and I remember coaching him to do 10's in the gym and even lead a 7 outside in AF Canyon. I remember his great lead fall trying to lead a 10 on Draper Red Rock too. He did a soft-bounce foot-first deck in the little cave under the 9 next to the infamous rock of head-first death. That's where that gumby with the inside-out upside-down harness flipped over while his belayer had about 8' of loop hanging out. They resisted being rescued too. Oh, well....

Sometimes climbers can be so funny. They can accept a 19 year old who is 6'2" and 150 lb working 10's within a week as being a "climber" but resist a 30+ year old woman at 5'2" and of average build onsighting 11's after two years very hard work and training, and will actually pick a fight and almost coming to blows in front of everyone at the gym over it. And to think - she's starting to work 12's now.

In my case they generally don't think of me as a "climber" of rock, simply because though I'm working 9's and 10's, I am 50ish and haven't paid my dues like the other 50ish guys and gals at the gym, who are working 6's. ;)

But I do get some grudging respect from them over my glacier and high altitude exploits, though those are on semi-hold at the moment. I'm working up to doing Liberty Ridge on Rainier this summer, and that's going to be dang exciting sustained exposure on mixed terrain with no way out except up.

More later....

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Back to Climbing Again...

It's been interesting.

After getting my Aztecs I immediately felt a world better. I practically ran up the "Maple Canyon" green that they finally established at 5.10. Everyone I talked to said it's rated correctly, though I joke "if I can do it there's no way it's a 5.10".

After that I cooled my jets some and have been doing some of the more evil 5.7's and 8's - with a 6 or two tossed in for good measure.

With my arches fully supported I can actually stand on holds and use my leg power to raise myself, rather than my arms.

Toadally Kewl.

Tonight I did try a 5.10b(?) that didn't look too bad, but I fell of about 10' up on some really smurfy sloper. Smurf it - I decided to bail after that. Coincidentally to that DW was being poked by a somewhat "friend" and didn't know I fell till I hit the end of the rope - so good belay - it worked.

Then she took a turn and came off just above that spot - but did finally get up it - it was a Jeffries special - side to side slopers. Oh, well.

I redid an evil 5.8 then, and called it a night - good enough for me.

I've been working my legs to improve my strength in standing up on the holds, and my hands - after finally getting a handle on some of my tendon issues and working to improve it.

More tomorrow maybe at DW's amazing "Rick's in Mexico and I'm Lonely Party"...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

DW Tag Q's

Okay, fine - my "FIRST"s...

1. Who was your FIRST prom date?
Didn't go
2. Do you still talk to your FIRST love?
No
3. What was your FIRST alcoholic drink?
Strawberry Dacquari at my uncle's in Illinois at a family party - I think I was 12
4. What was your FIRST job?
Tie - Paper route for "the Milwaukee Journal", and kitchen help at an A&W in Lake Geneva WI - think I was 10
5. What was your FIRST car?
First one I owned that ran was an Isuzu Trooper in '85. Till then I used borrowed cars.
6. Who was the FIRST person to text you today?
DW
7. Who was the FIRST person you thought of this morning?
Me - I said "holy snot - you're still alive?"
8. Who was your FIRST grade teacher?
Miss Ring - and she was dang hot!
9. Where did you go on your FIRST ride on an airplane?
From Milwaukee to Chicago - I was on my way to San Antonio.
10. Who was your FIRST best friend & do you still talk?
Gosh, it was so long ago - maybe kindergarten, and no, I haven't talked to anyone from my pre-20's since the year it happened.
11. Where was your FIRST sleep over?
I don't remember ever having one, but I did go to camp a few times with the YMCA.
12. Who was the FIRST person you talked to today?
Angie (aside from Q 7 above)
13. Whose wedding were you in for the FIRST time?
My sister Cyndy AFAIK.
14. What was the FIRST thing you did this morning?
Checked to make sure I was intact and able to crawl out of bed without causing too much damage.
15. FIRST tattoo?
Lol, Never...
16. FIRST piercing?
Lol, Never...
17. FIRST foreign country you've been to?
Tijuana! While in San Diego.
18. FIRST movie your remember seeing?
Doctor NO - my dad took me when I was 6, then bought me all the toys from it. Far out.
19. When was your FIRST detention?
I was an odd child - I got like these perfect grades all the time so they just let me do whatever I wanted so long as not too many people got hurt.
20. What was the FIRST state you lived in?
Wisconsin, if you can call that living. Poverty, if you can call that a "state"

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Six x Six Photo Tagging

DW's Six by Six Image Tag Game

I was tagged.

Since I didn't have 6 folders on this pc, I just started clicking folders in order till I counted 6 and ended up with this one:



This is Super DW speed climbing in the comp. It really is the sixth image in the sixth folder.

Here's the "tag" details:
1.Go to my documents/pictures.
2. Go to my 6th file folder.
3. Go to my 6th picture.
4. Blog about it.
5. Tag 6 people to do the same.

Six People:

1) Obama (it _can't_ be some Illinois scandal)
2) Hilary (unless it's Janet)
3) GW (okay, shooting for a dog pic here)
4) Romney (unless it violates copyrights)
5) Huntsman (duty now for the future)
6) Buttars (take one for the team Buttars!)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Spring Corn - or why I quit skiing

John was at Momentum last night, bouldering and hanging out with Nate and Alisha. He was wearing a t-shirt saying something about Spring Corn in the Morning, and we got to talking for a few seconds about that.

About 5 years ago I decided to try taking up skiing again. When I was 19, 20, and 21 I worked at some ski resorts in Wisconsin, skiing about 100 days a year. I was pretty obsessed with it, and could ski some simple black diamonds at western resorts, just like a midwesterner - you start at the top at 12,000' and rip down making little 20' turns for a few hundred feet before passing out.

I got into a family situation with no real resolution, so I ended up not skiing much, maybe 10 times in 15 years, and it was an odd situation, having to adapt to a different mindset - you know, the whole birds in the trees and pine cones crap.

So after passing through a few different situations, I finally ended up 3 years ago trying to really ski, and found out I had no idea how. I mean, on shaped skis you just lean left and right and down you go, right?


Altrec Outdoors - Satisfaction Guaranteed


I managed to get in about a dozen days a year for 2 straight years, and near the middle of last year, I discovered it really wasn't much fun skiing at 10 degrees with 20 mph winds on ice. That's one of the major differences between 30 years ago and now - perpetual ice. I guess it crept up on everyone else, but I, being tossed into the middle of it, noticed real quick.

I guess on a snowboard, if you're totally lost and confused and don't belong on the hill, you sideslip down, leaving a patch of hard crusted snow about 6' wide and 50' long or longer. So skiing at places where lots of clueless boarders go you pass through some loose granular, then into ice, then back into the granular. So an unskilled "noob" like me has to ski one way for 6', then another way for 6' then back and forth all the way down. Every time I hit one of those skid marks my edges slide out from under me and I head for disaster, then recover just as I hit the loose pile of granular and my skis practically stop in their tracks, and then just as suddenly head back into the ice.

I tried skiing only in the granular, but that is tough to do when you're barely in control as it is. Worst of all, my poor mind is still 20 and it's very frustrating skiing like a drunk girl in the 70's, when you used to bomb down black diamonds. LOL

I could just ski at ALTA?

If I were to get better at all, I'd have to invest about 50 days a year into skiing for about 5 years, and that would be tough with any kind of work schedule. So I guess I'll see if I can do that as a retirement project - I could still have "fun" while cruising easy greens well into my 70's. At least "fun" is what I'll call it to avoid sour grapes (and refuse to admit the pine cone fan won).

In the meantime, I think I'll stick to that week or two of spring corn where there is no patch of ice after 10AM or so when the sun hits it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Training For Mexico

That's about all I'm doing right now. A little bit of climbing when I can. A bit of ice climbing here and there. I'll let you know more later about all this as it happens. Just an update in case anyone is interested.

Friday, February 6, 2009

More Ouray Ice Climbing February 2009

In the "Five Fingers" area of Ouray Ice Park, Nate works a WI5 pillar:



John working the short pillar climber's right of that route:


Bottom right is top of ramp I used to exit

None of me btw. I was working the camera on this trip.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Ouray Ice Climb, Sunday February 1 2009

Got up for an earlier start. Not sure what's up with the Victorian Inn. Lady claims she's the new owner but seems like she's trying to run it into the ground. Breakfast set to start when most good climbers will already be setting up their routes, letting everything run out and then quietly asking if anyone is interested in more before putting dishes away. Hopefully she'll figure it out and start having breakfast at a decent time and provide at least the same quantity and quality of food as the other places in town and possibly save the Vic. Being at the foot of the trail isn't enough anymore in this economy when there are two or three others right there for almost exactly the same price, and much newer.

Anyway, enough rant.

Met Nate and John at the 2nd lot and we headed out for 5 Fingers Area, though Nate and I were both feeling pretty knackered and wanted to just lap some WI3 for a warmup. John said the bottom of this route (1st chain at bottom of 5 Fingers) was pretty mellow, and we could work our way out over a short (20' or so) WI5 section. Pretty candlesticked, new crunchy chandelier ice. Yuck.


Shelf lower right, leads to ramp and crack mentioned below

Nate did pretty good, and John did great, but I decided to make the bottom into WI4+ and wore myself out, and I pumped out on the short section of 5, and ended up downclimbing to go around onto the face, and pumped out worse there - fell off and swung good for some great bruised shins and cut lip. Blood everywhere!

I was on a autoblock belay and was going to have Nate lower me to a little shelf at the bottom of the icicle so he could switch me to regular belay and lower me (much less hassle). While standing on the ramp, looking down 70' to the ground below along a mixed WI2/WI3 ramp, and then up to the left along the 2' wide ramp heading up to what looked like a 5.4 exit crack to the plateau above, I got an insane flash of insight.



I untied, then walked up in crampons to the crack. A bit more exposure than I liked. More like 5.8, but at the roof it was only about 15' of bouldering, so I tried it. Decided I didn't like it in crampons and tools, so I took them off and harnessed them. Then tried it. About that time Nate was looking for me, having pulled up the empty rope and freaking. He passed a rope down to me and that made it much nicer with a belay. Thanks John and Nate.

That pretty much did me in, so I wiped up my blood and wrapped it up for the day.