Friday, July 08, 2011

the Rainy Pacific Northwest

My friend Liz and I planned a trip to a world famous climbing area outside of Vancouver, British Colombia called Squamish about 6 months ago. It's a fantastic climbing area, granite rock, with incredible cracks for climbing; but I wouldn't know since we sat in a tent in the rain the whole time. It's also famously rainy; I mean it is right on the coast. If you are lucky enough to get to climb (which many are, just not during the month of june) you can see the ocean sound from the middle of your route. We spent 1 rainy day riding the ferry to a small island on the Sunshine Coast off of Vancouver. That was fun....for a day. We pirated some internet outside of an adventure rec center that evening and found ourselves staring at a very dismal forecast- rain, rain, and more rain. I think that up there it's always misting with periods of thicker mist and heavier rain. I'm told that august and september are actually beautiful with sunshine and puffy clouds. I don't believe it. Anyway, with the moisture getting us down we decided to drive south back into Washington, to a little town called Leavenworth.It's on the eastern side of the cascades and thus has stable, sunny and warm weather. It is one of the cutest little towns ever! it has a Bavarian theme and is very touristy. however the Wenatchee National Forest borders the town and that is where we actually did get to do some climbing. We climbed a route called Outer Space, and it's one of the best routes i've climbed anywhere, ever. So we did end up getting to do a little climbing after all.

coming back liz couldn't fit everything into her bags so she carried on her sleeping bag. we tucked ourselves in for a little nap.

Liz and I at the top of Outer Space with the Leavenworth valley in the background

This is the mountain goat who greeted us at the base of the climb. We named it Patches. When we summited he was there too! (or it could have been his twin...)

our friend Lacy who lives in Bellingham drove over to climb with us for a couple days too. this is on the summit of Outer Space with Prussik Peak in the background.

Liz coming up on the best 5.7 pitch i've ever climbed. The route is called Outer Space, it's about 800 feet tall, rated 5.9 and so much fun!

Liz, Lacy, and I

Patches and Lacy scrambling to the start of the route

Hiking in

On the day in Squamish when it was raining we took the ferry to the Sunshine Coast to a small town called Gibsons. It wasn't that great. We found a park and i found this park bench where i proceeded to read the guidebook about climbing in squamish since i wasn't able to climb in squamish...

We also found this hat shop in gibsons. it was pretty fun trying on all those hats.

The ferry ride...and the dark skies above!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Snow Style-y

It was raining today. And yesterday, when the weather was perfect, I was sick. So I started the day pouting. but Eric and I quickly got to talking about our upcoming trip to Chamonix, France in August. Talking about what routes we want to climb, where we are going to stay...all the fun things you think about before an actual trip. Then we started talking about how we are going to get to the climbs we want to climb....and the words 'ice ax' and 'crampons' started getting thrown out there. Then I started to get scared. :) So we took the middle part of the rainy/snowey day (in june!!) to learn the art of Self-Arresting. or basically : how to stop yourself when you are flying down a slick and hard snowy hillside at an ever increasing rate before you wet/soil your pants. i'm not a fan of mountaineering- too much futsing and too many details that just bog me down. but i have to concede that we will be crossing snow fields and glaciers while in France. therefore, I need to figure this thing out. Mission accomplished!

Colorado White Water

I just returned from a 3 day, 2 night white water rafting trip with my family around the Buena Vista, Colorado Arkansas River. It was an amazing trip. While the exact canyons we were hoping to float were closed due to unseasonably high water due to snow-melt, we floated other sections of the ARkansas River which proved to be as much excitement as we needed! My Uncle Larry and Aunt Jan and two of my cousins came down from the SEattle area. so we had a little family reunion to boot. The scenery was breathtaking, the water very cold, and the rapids quite fast with 6-9 ft standing waves. We had a fantastic guide who took good care of us, and even had breakfast, lunches, and dinners made for us!

a fresh spring bubbling up next to the river

the Family

relaxing during a rare moment of still (ish) water

in and around the Collegiate Peaks area of the Rocky Mountains

modeling our lovely wet suits

Mom and Dad

Nelson trying to pull harder!

cousins Mari-Grace and Mike

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Bike. Climb. Bike

Eric and I have, for over one year, wanted to participate in a 'Human-Powered Climbing Day" where we ride our bikes up into one of the cottonwood canyons and climb a route. Today was the day! We biked from our house to Big Cottonwood to the base of a 400 foot climb called Outside Corner and back home again! It was about a 13 mile bike ride, one way. the rout was 400 ft, and I don't know the elevation gain (it was a lot). We are both very tired tonight, but very happy to have powered our own climbing today!

What would the day be without at least 1 flat tire? Thankfully this happened only about 2 miles from home and Eric is really good at changing flat bike tires (since he has them all the time!)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Two Days, Two Towers

Last weekend my friend Liz and I and her boyfriend Greg and his brother Grant travelled south to the desert towers outside of Moab, Utah. It's a place called Castle Valley, famous for its severely eroded, wind swept, decaying, beautiful, delicate desert sandstone towers. The hikes to the towers are fairly strenuous and the climbing is not easy, but the views are incredible. It is most certainly one of my most favorite places on earth. I've wanted to climb on a couple different towers for a long time, and have just now felt up to the task. It was a perfect weekend!

Liz and I showed up wearing the same outfit. Not surprising, really.

at the second belay on a route called Jah Man, located on the Sister Superior tower group. This might be my favorite climb of all time.

comparing what I see to the route topo

pretty much the best summit jump shot OF MY LIFE!! We climbed the tower in the background on the far right the next day. The summit here is only about 8 feet wide and 15 feet long. The tower itself is about 300 feet tall.

sunset hiking out.

Castleton Tower

First belay, squeezed inside a chimney. What we couldn't see was the boiling, black clouds building on the other side of the tower.

By the time we reached the summit rain was spattering everywhere and we were greeted with static electricty and this view. The sun broke through for a moment. It's scary when this happens since we were standing on top of the tallest thing around for miles. We hunkered down under the only rocks we could find up there, waiting for Greg and Grant so we could all rappel down quickly.

waiting to rappel

signing the summit log

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My Birthday Adventure

Eric and I spent my birthday in Salt Lake, climbing in Little Cottonwood Canyon. The weather was perfect, warm, sunny. So we decided on a long multi pitch route. About 500 feet up the forecasted 20% chance of rain turned into 100% chance of lightening, thunder, and rain. Our route was not supposed to be rappelled, but we managed to get off in record time, stretching our 70 m rope to its max, rappelling off trees, and connecting as many bolted rap stations as we could. We were both soaked, and I was freezing cold! By the time we made it down to the parking lot the sun was just about shining again, and our friend Mark (who was also rained off a different climb) was grilling sausages in the parking lot. He grilled me a happy birthday sausage, which warmed me right back up. It turned out to be a perfect day!

warm and happy....before the storm!

ahhh the desperate rappel as the lightening was striking.....

this pic doesn't do justice to how completely soaked we were..