Saturday, January 31, 2009

Ouray Ice Climb Saturday Jan 31

This morning I called Nathan and set up a meet by South Park, but I somehow managed to beat them there and found it packed, with the river high enough there was no belay spots anyway.

We ended up down in School Room, where John remembered seeing an open anchor - #2. We hiked back down and set up an anchor there, with Nate and I walking down the ladder, which has a lot less ice on it this year than last, and John rapping in.

Nate working the overhung, melted-wax, airy ice over the cave by anchor 2 in School Room (forgot to turn it - lol).

The ice on this area was wild, with lots of hollowed out pockets between melted-wax consistency ice - an M6 and a few WI4's. Even though it hung over a bit with little roofs, it wasn't too bad.

Self-Portrait from above New Funtier (the walk-in is washed out and you have to rap in).

I climbed 4 routes, and took pictures with John's camera - the battery on my Olympus died today, and I left the Canon in the room, so didn't get too many of my own. These are from the Oly before it died. John took some pics and I managed to get them on a thumb drive, but I don't want to abuse the internet here too bad, so I'll post them later from home.

So far fun fun fun. I'm holding out good, though I did fall off the last route I climbed while at the crux on the roof - my left hand totally pumped out. Oh, well, need to work endurance on that one for sure.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Hello from Ouray!

Drove down at 4PM pretty much nonstop. Saw some radical gnarly cave-type ice on the way, and the Dirtcicle is in for sure.

Tristan texted me some from Montana, and that was cool. Listened to some Spanish Audio Book and talked to Angie after her great night climbing with friends. Stopped at City Market in Montrose and got a few turkey subs for the next few days and a jug of orange juice - my favorite travel drink.

Staying at the Ouray Victorian Inn - my favorite place in town right at the foot of the trailhead to the Ice Park. Great. Can hardly wait to hook up with Nate and John tomorrow.

Off to bed now!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Speed Climbing Training

Tonight after my massive treadmill workout (getting ready for Mexico?) I belayed Angie while Dallin climbed at Momentum Climbing Basecamp - which is essentially the Junior Climbing Team. He's really been enjoying it and has made a lot of progress. The traversing games I made him play on the kids bouldering wall have really given him an edge, and he's growing more and more comfortable on the rope every day.

Anyway, Angie wanted to do some training for Speed Climbing, so I put together some drills based on various climb better books (I'll put a list up sometime next week - max'ed out for time this week) and some of the moves the 8-second people made.

I beat the heck out of her, having her do about 12 laps on two different 5.6's, then she did two laps on the yellow comp route rated 5.8. It was great and she loved it and has a better idea now what she can improve on.

I seriously think that if she keeps this up once a week for the next year she can get dang close to 10 seconds.

Time will tell....

For me, then when she was done I decided to test my new tape concept - different from the old one but just about as supportive without being quite so restrictive.

I got on the blue 5.7 (that used to be a 5.6 back when I was lapping 5.6's) and did it, not too bad, decent on my feet, not so much on my hands, though I tried to keep my ring fingers up off the holds some. Then I got right back on to do a beige mystery route (different from the one that blew out my hand a month ago). I put a bit more weight on my hands, but didn't do quite so good on my feet, though I did pull off a toe hook on the arete. But I did it, that's the most important. I'd say it's a 5.7, but I might be a bit low, since it has a few tiny holds if you're too short to reach the juggier ones.

And that was our fun night of climbing.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

All the way up to 5.6 Indoor Climbing

Been a month now of healing for my poor left hand. Not sure if I mentioned it here or not, but for a little while I was working some great 5.10's at Momentum Climbing in Sandy, Utah. I had made it up two, but had hung on the rope a bit, so I wanted to get them done in one go. As part of that I was climbing some 5.9's (one of which I could nearly speed climb) and the mystery routes.

At Momentum one of the guys who puts up new routes, the routesetter, would leave the tag blank for a few days till general climbing consencus would determine the grade. I liked to give it a shot so I could put in my own $.02 worth, since I am like the 5.8 master.

My own system (fwiw):
5.5 or under = up in one go, not much thinking or moving around
5.6 = up in one go, a bit of thinking and moving
5.7 = one crux that I have to think around
5.8 = about 25' up I don't like it a lot
5.9 = about 15' up I don't like it much
5.10 = about 10' up I don't want to finish
5.11 = about 6-8' up I bail
5.12 + = I look at the little crimps and off-angle slopers and don't even think about going up

So far this system has been pretty much right on at Momentum anyway.

Anyway, about a month ago I was moving some stuff at work and in the car and it really stressed out my left ring finger. That night I got on a new beige route, that from the looks would go at around 5.9. I reached up with my left hand and touched the hold and "boing" my left arm sortof twitched and wouldn't hang on. I tried it again and my fingers were limp feeling. I quit and just belayed the rest of the night.

I was Angie's belay slave for a month. Not even ice climbing this year so far. I finally figured I could squeeze stuff lightly the other day and for the past week have been doing a light-duty Power Web Hand Exerciser workout for both hands. 100 reps of open-hand squeeze and 100 reps of narrow-hand extension both sides. This is a great device for hand workouts. Get one.

Anyway, so last night I decided to try it. I got on a yellow mystery route that I had climbed once before and would put at around 5.5 (didn't read the tag to see if they rated it yet) on the short wall on the north side of the center section of the gym and sent it. I kept the pressure light on my hands as much as possible and only took nice jugs with positive edges (as opposed to the juggy round holds that have a lip around 4" in diameter that fill your hands and keep them fairly open). Angie said I had good footwork and stayed on my feet more than usual, which is probably because I didn't want to put too much pressure on my poor ring finger joints. (I'm normally the king of overgrippers). It worked, and now today after a couple of rowing machine workouts with lots of "pulling" on my fingers, I'm still okay.

Hope that means I can slowly get back into it. Slowly being the key word here. I think last time I took time off to heal I pushed too hard on it when I got back into it. I'll see about staying at 5.6 or so for a month, only a few routes per day and see what happens. Thanks for the support of those who have shown it.

Friday, January 23, 2009

High Altitude Mountaineering Quote of the Week

On my Amazon Christmas wish list, I had the following listed:

The other side of Everest, by Matt Dickinson, set in the 1996 climbing season - the disastrous one that made Krakauer and Brashears famous. Unknown to most people, the storm also fatally affected the North Side.

From base camp on the North Side of Everest, Dickinson directed a video shoot for British TV of British Climber/Actor Brian Blessed, who previously was filmed by David Brashears on Everest.

Anyway, commenting on the conversations among old pros at base camp, Matt says:

"...spent long hours swapping news of who had climbed what, by which route, and who had died since they last met.
...these high-altitude mountaineers discuss avalanches, falls, and ferocious storms in the same matter-of-fact way that normal mortals discuss the football results. A death here. A camp obliterated there. Fatalities are reported with the same sense of inevitability that casualties are reported from the front line of a war, the news digested with the barest nod of the head, or a raised eyebrow.
Inside they must be wondering when their turn will come."

I was reading that and thinking of all the people I've talked to about climbing high, on glaciers, in ice and snow and mist and crappy rock. Most look at me like I'm either a hero or insane or both. I do something they may dream about but not realize what it really means.

I tell them about falling into several crevasses, and how it's not a big deal. About trusting your rope mates, or if you are solo, yourself and destiny. About climbing something in the dark, then seeing it in daylight and being surprised you are alive. Hearing some people describe the same route you "just walked up" with terror shaking their voice. About lightning buzzing in the air, and cracking a rock into gravel not 50 meters from your feet. About the mist lifting and seeing 200 meters down a crumbling, overhanging slope just a meter to your side. About a man dieing 150 meters from you in seracs on a Cascade peak.

Some get a little glow of adventure lighting their eyes, but then spouse, job, children work their way to the front of their vision and the glow dims, perhaps lit at night in dreams in a quiet spot where no one else can see their secret wish.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Angie's 123 Amazing Diet Plan

Well, it has helped her a great deal to lose an amazing amount of weight while staying healthy and growing more fit.

Rock climbing is to blame to some extent, but you need fuel, and starving yourself near unto death isn't going to cut it.

The plan works because you're getting plenty of macronutrients spaced out over a 4 day period, and it's been proven time and again that despite any food pyramid schemes that your body will store and process macronutrients as they come, and you don't have to eat them all in the same bowl.

Day 1:

5 meals of white meat and white fish with veggies, and over the day 1/2 cup starch (rice or grain or yam) and 1 plain salad (oil and vinegar okay).

Day 2:

All the fatty meat you want. Over the course of the day 1 plain salad.

Day 3:

6 meals of white meat, medium fat meat (salmon, halibut, dry pork, 99% fat-free beef), veggies, yams, dry salad and over the course of the day, one official 1 oz serving size of a whole grain cereal.


The recommended rotation is:

1 2 1 3 1 2 1 3 etc. ad infinitum

You can switch it around a bit to force a day 3 when you have to go out to eat with family or other occasions.

If you need a more effective quick loss, it's better to double up your day 1's:


though Angie says this is dang tough.

Weight loss of 25 pounds or more in a year is not totally out of the question - more if you adjust your workout to suit this type of diet.

This is a simple adaptation of a type of carb-cycling diet done by Professional Natural Bodybuilders (this means no illegal drugs to make diet and exercise more effective - lol).

Anyway, hope that helps someone - I know a few of her friends have asked simple questions about it, so I decided to just post it once and call it good.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Great Diet Idea - Simple Lunch Casserole

Eating for weight loss can be a real drag sometimes. Especially if you're going the "whole healthy foods" route. Since losing 35 pounds in the last two years, I've learned to eat this way much more happily.

Here's one of my best lunch at work selections:

Preliminary Work:

1) get a "george foreman" type grill. We use a Cuisinart model.

Cuisinart 12x9-in. Griddler Express Contact Grill, Brushed Stainless

2) go to Costco or Sam's or your own personal preference (or even Walmart or Smith's - they all have much of the same stuff) and get some bags of easy to prepare and store frozen food.

My favorites:

· Wild Alaska Salmon and Salmon Patties (avoid Chile or Atlantic)
· Mahi Mahi and Tilapia fillets
· Unbreaded Chicken Breast "tenders" or strips
· Frozen peas and corn
· Large Tub of Low-fat Cottage Cheese
· Large container of salsa

3) get some microwave containers - we like the ones that come free with sliced turkey - essentially the Glad reusable disposable thin containers.

Prepare ahead:

1) Turn on the "george" to medium for chicken or low for fish. Cook til just barely done - if you cook it too long it will be dry. I like to spray the grill surface for fish. Keep rotating meat through the "george" till you have about a weeks worth.
2) Cool, then dice the meat into 3/8" or so cubes. This makes eating much easier.
3) Lay out the microwave containers and put about an inch of meat in the bottom of each one.
4) Put about a tablespoon of salsa in each container
5) Put about 1/2 cup veggie in each container
6) Put about 1/3 cup cottage cheese in each container
7) Pop the lids on, stack, and refrigerate.

Voile! You have your food for the week all premade. Just grab one as you leave in the morning, put it in the fridge at work, then nuke it for 90 seconds with the lid loose, stir, then 90 more seconds and it's done.

In addition to this, drink one or two protein shakes. My favorite is BSN Syntha 6 protein. It tastes and mixes great. If you get it from Amazon, you get the best price I've found on the net, you can get free shipping, and if you "Subscribe and Save" you get even more of a discount (note: the list on that link has some from Amazon, some from outside vendors with outrageous shipping, and some from outside vendors storing their product in an Amazon warehouse, so you get a good price and decent shipping, just can't "Subscribe and Save").

Remember, eating a reasonable amount of good healthy balanced food is much better for you than a fad diet. It might take longer, but it's easier to keep it off afterward.

Utah Snowshoe Hiking Adventure

Snowshoeing is a growing winter sport, especially in Utah along the Wasatch. Snowshoeing is overall cheaper and easier than skiing or snowboarding. You can enjoy it as a family without a huge expenditure in time or money. The learning curve is short and quick. If you can walk you can figure out how to snowshoe.

1) get some snowshoes. The smallest you can get away with are the easiest to deal with.

MSR Denali Classic Snowshoe

Some simple facts:

You will want more surface area if:

· you are in loose powder type snow
· you are heavier (include weight of pack)

You will want less surface area if:

· you are mostly on groomed areas, like roads and snowmobile tracks
· you are smaller or lighter than average
· you are "running" on snowshoes

You will want narrower snowshoes if:

· you are hiking in rough country or between trees

You will want "crampons" or metal rails if:

· you will be walking on steeper icy terrain

2) get some optional trekking poles:

MSR Denali II

· Trekking poles are optional.
· I actually only carry one and switch hands
· try not to support yourself on them - use them only for balance
· in snow you will not need "shock absorbing" poles

3) You will need a place to go

If you live in Utah there are hundreds of places to go. You can probably think of them right now with little effort. One of my favorite places is up Provo Canyon, between Orem and Provo in Utah County. At the Heber Railroad turnaround in Vivian Park turn South and follow the road to the fork where the sign says "end state maintenance" and go right. Park in the lot above the building. There are miles of trails and plenty of opportunities to bushwack.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Snowshoes 4 Lunch

Today we were testing out a new sitter, so DW took the morning to do some much-needed grocery shopping, and then came down to get me, and we piled into the yellow beast and headed up Provo Canyon to snowshoe.

We saw a lady coming down the trail rather quickly on skis and that she was "chasing" a dog. At the bottom the dog stopped to say hi, and it turns out that the dog bowl of water was frozen, so we gave them some of ours (had a gallon jug in the front seat).

We headed up the trail at a rather brisk pace, and kept it pretty steady for about 35 minutes, then headed back down. All the while, DW is doing various gear education things for Rainier - how to adjust for heat and cold, how to stay dry at the base layer, how to stash and store gear, how to walk in snow. All the good stuff.

Anyway, when we got to the car it turns out she'd left her hat up the trail in a bad gear stash situation, so I ran up the trail in my boots (the snow was pretty hard, and only a little slippery) about halfway and got the hat.

Back at work it's the same old hassle, but it was a fun trip on a beautiful day.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Climbing Misery

What a month I'm having! (think Dr. Kornbluth on "Splash")

When I was climbing two weeks ago, I had gotten to the amazing point of being able to onsite most 5.8 and a handful of 5.9. I was working a few 5.9, and even a couple of 5.10. I managed to finish a couple of 5.10, but had to hang a few times. It was pretty cool, and outside the gym I was working my grip trying to bring it back up to where it should be.

I was also doing "mystery" routes - new routes not yet rated. One was a blobby looking route I'd put around 5.9 if I had to rate it just by sight. I reached up with my left hand and immediately let go. It hurt. No noise or popping, just hurt.

I haven't gotten back into climbing at all (though I have tested a few holds to see what it was like - and it still sucks). I've even had to cancel a few ice climbing dates. That really sucks since there are only a few weeks of ice climbing left.

In addition to that is the stress of starting a new sitter. But Angie will be climbing in Nationals again this year, this weekend (January 24 & 25) so it's been decent for her training for me to just be a belay slave. Though it's very frustrating for me to not be able to climb.

In the meantime, I've been working on logistics for Aconcagua, and getting to think that maybe going back to the Orizaba plan would be better. Especially since I got the annual Mexico flight sale email and it's even better than last year. I might even be able to get in both Orizaba and Ixtaccihuatl since I'll have a few more days this year.

Anyway, haven't posted a climbing report in a while, so thought I'd just quick catch up. Thanks.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

SlideShow@home - Ecuador Volcano Climbing

One of our neighbors missed the slideshow at Momentum, so we decided to rerun it for them, and anyone else who missed it. We did it Monday January 12 2009 at 7:00 PM. I set up the tv with my laptop and ran the little trailer I created out of three videos I cranked out in Adobe.

That's the HERA Climb4Life teaser.

And that's the Danielle Children's Fund teaser.

I ran that and a small loop of other smaller things while waiting for everyone to be ready.

I played my CD of Incan music I bought in Ecuador, but by the time the kids all arrived (I think there were about 20 people crammed into our little living room) it was too noisy, so I stopped it - no one could hear it anyway.

I started up, and right away had questions - much livelier crowd than at Momentum last time.

One of my favorite (if I must say so myself) slides was the flight to Ecuador, inspired by Mythbusters and Lonely Planet.

We got it over, all 400 or so slides, around 8:15, then quick had to eat our potluck snacks, answer more questions, then everyone hit the road. Surprisingly enough (sorry if that sounds rude) our house was cleaner than when we started. Thanks all!

In the middle of the end, when a few people were feeling inspired and itching to get out and fall in a crevasse themselves, to see if it really is as wild as I described, I offered to take anyone who wants up Rainier. Wonder if there are any serious bites on that one?

I'll be heading up the last week of June and doing Liberty Ridge, and if I survive that, I'll be coming down (there is no way off Liberty Ridge - once you start you are committed [and probably should be] and have to go up and over, coming down the Emmons Glacier route), spending a night in Ashford to recover and get a shower and change of clothing, then take DW up the Disappointment Cleaver route on a 2-day. We'll spend the night at Camp Muir (hopefully staying in the hut to lighten our load), then if the weather allows, take off at 1:00 AM to hit the summit around 7:00 AM. If bad weather, spend a day doing glacier training and try again next day. It's the "trade route" that IMG, RMI and AAI use to haul their inexperienced clients up after a day of training, and aside from my rescue training, there will be guides all over the route who are compelled by National Park regulation to assist anyone in trouble. They actually fantasize about that. Really.

Anyway, rest assured, I'm serious if anyone who was at the slideshow is interested, and if they want some training guidelines, I'm happy to post them.

Thanks again for listening to me ramble about Ecuador and my experiences there.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Slide Show Results

The slide show went great. We started setting up at around 8:30. I had gone out to the car to bring the projector in, since I thought letting the bulb come to room temp a while beforehand would be "safer".

When I went out at 8:30 to get the screen and speakers I got covered with snow, thanks to the quickly-falling snow from the storm that night.

I got it set up, plugged in my Tascam 122 USB Audio Interface mixer to amplify the AKG Dynamic Cardiod Microphone and push the sound from the pc to the Behringer Digital Studio Monitor Speakers, which I stacked under the table.

I had created a looping slideshow in
Adobe After Effects CS3 Professional for Windows

that I ran at the beginning to warm up the lamp and adjust the screen. It showed the charities, the guides, Angie, and was a bunch of fun to make - I may youtube it later.

I started the slideshow about 10 minutes late, due to the weather and the University of Utah game on TV. Right up front was another animated movie - like from Lonely Planet, showing me flying to Quito like a head from Mythbusters.

I had split the slideshow up into three segments, and it played out for about 45 minutes, pretty much as planned. Then we had some questions...I remember a couple.

1) Why do you start hiking in the dark (like midnight)?

a: because in an Alpine setting, high glaciated terrain, you have to consider the effects of the sun and increasing warmth on the glacier or snowpack - whether it will turn to mush and be hard to walk on, or just affect the layers in the snowpack and increase the chances of avalanche hazard, both in where you descend, and the snow above you.

2) What's the hardest thing you've climbed?

a: (I waffled for a bit, then DW said "Kautz") Um, Kautz, on Rainier - it was a great epic, involving over 20 hours of climbing, much of it in the dark, on about 4 pitches of AI3 ice.

3) What's next?

a: Scheduled - Rainier Liberty Ridge in June, then immediately afterward taking Angie up the Disappointment Cleaver Route on Rainier.
Tentative - solo Aconcagua via Routa Normale

I also mentioned that I would love to go back to Ecuador to visit with the schools associated with Danielle Childrens Fund dot org (put the words together and visit - they don't like direct links for some reason) and teach English for a month or two. Yeah, that would be a cool thing to do when I retire.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Slideshow at Momentum - High Altitude Ecuador Climbing

That's a shot of the poster for my slide show at Momentum Climbing in Sandy, Utah, Friday, January 2nd, 2009 at 9:00 PM. "Thumbs Up - High Altitude Ecuadorian Climbing"

The slide show will cover my trip to Ecuador in November 2008 during which I climbed Guagua Pichincha, Iliniza Norte and Iliniza Sur and attempted Antisana. All but Pichincha are over 5,000 meters - high altitude indeed. Ecuador has 10 peaks over 5,000 meters.

This slide show will be about 40 minutes long, give or take, includes over 300 slides, many of cultural interest about Ecuador, the people and history.

We will be taking donations for Hera Climb4life (Ovarian Cancer) and Daniellechildrensfund .org - helping displaced children in Ecuador and Nepal. 100% of donations will be forwarded to the respective charity.

Please come and support Momentum Climbing by attending and filling the cafe, and buying a drink, either from the cooler, from the smoothy or Italian soda selection, or the hot drinks, including hot chocolate and hot cider.

I'm hoping you will have a good time.