Wednesday, December 31, 2008


The day I arrived in Mendoza we went to a Tibetan restaurant at the suggestion of Lhawang, an accomplished guide of Tibetan descent who lives in San Francisco.  The restaurant, Karma, is run by his friend who moved here with many others some years ago when they filmed Seven Years in Tibet in Argentina.  I very much enjoyed my Indian curry (vegetarian) in this Tibetan restaurant in Argentina listening to... Alanis Morissette.  Yep.  Sort of funny, all around...

After a few days of packing and adjusting to the late-night dinner schedule (parents with kids sitting down at 10:30pm), we're off to the mountain tomorrow morning.  Back in a couple weeks!  We're team 6 - cybercasts at: 

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Going, going...

... almost out of town. Haven't seen the sun for at least a week, and it's supposed to start raining in Mendoza the day I arrive in Argentina. You've got to be kidding.

And just in case you're curious, no, the UPS people don't know if they have a package for you, or where your last Christmas package is, or how the main roads are. And they're tired of
running up your un-shoveled walkway and getting the truck stuck in the snow and trying to work through a jam-packed
cargo area while answering these questions. Just hold
on and try to remember that Christmas will still be here whether you get your presents or not.

With all of the snow that must be falling in the mountains, I haven't actually gotten to go skiing, just working to recover financially from three months of playing! But I finally got around to waxing the skis and getting them ready to go for my return from down south - more ironing than I've done since... the last time I waxed skis. Priorities.

A huge thanks to those friends who have given me a place to live for the last month. But I'm definitely excited to get back to guiding work - being in town is really hard on me. The last time I was in one place for more than 10 days was two winters ago in Utah! Time to get out...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

But it's getting better

This is what winter in Seattle offers for those of us who foolishly risk Seasonal Affective Disorder and Vitamin D deficiency - snow!  Mary and I went for my first foray into the mountains (yikes!) since Thanksgiving and were rewarded with a perfect day - quiet, fresh fluffy snow, and just enough of it to be fun.  

I finally made it to Annette Lake - the trail crosses some major avalanche paths so is unsafe and sometimes unfindable for much of the winter.  We brought snowshoes but didn't need to use them, preferring instead to enjoy the feeling of ankle-to-knee-deep powder.  Fun!  Plus I re-found a great hat I'd forgotten about, which added to the ridiculousness.

And now it's snowing in Seattle for the second time in a week!  Totally uncharacteristic - it's usually warm here next to the water with plenty of snow in the mountains - but nice because of that.  Won't be biking today - work is going to be interesting!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

December in Seattle

Really isn't all it's cracked up to be.  And it's not cracked up to be much, so there you have it.  The nature of guiding and expedition work makes it highly subject to change, so instead of going to Argentina this month, I'm making ends meet here.  Fortunately I have incredibly generous with whom to stay whether they're in town or not, so have a roof over my head.  Thanks!!!

Got a job for the month with UPS during their busy holiday season, and signed up to do deliveries by bike in a small neighborhood in Madison Park.  Interesting, yes.  Fun?  Well, only when the weather's nice.  *grin*  I guess it's getting me used to cold and obnoxious weather again after some time in India.

But it's work, and I'm grateful for that!

Monday, December 1, 2008


Went to Phoenix for Thanksgiving week to visit a friend there and get some much-needed Vitamin D (ie sunshine).  Of our six days there, three were rainy.  Here's some pictures from when it wasn't raining...

Mary and I went for an overnight backpack into the Superstition Mountains - does range-naming get any better than that??  Being rainforest dwellers, we were fascinated by all the dry and pokey things.

It politely waited for us to be back in town before raining for three days.  But we went to Sedona anyway, where we felt right at home in the cold mud.  The top of Wilson mountain was less than vista-filled, but Kim assured us this was a rare treat - usually people are getting second-degree sunburns on this hike!

But the sun came out for our last day in Phoenix for one last dose of Vit D before heading back to Seattle - you guessed it, 48 degrees and misting.  Ah, the Northwest in fall.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A quick tour of the east

Unpack, repack, and head three more time zones over to see folks on the east edge of this continent. Is it still considered a red-eye flight if you're already not sure what time it is?

Jordan is still adjusting to life back in the States, specifically Connecticut, having recently finished her Peace Corps stint in Samoa. We walked around her new campus, met similarly adventurous friends and peers, and I got to enjoy the remains of a New England autumn, as did she, apparently.

Back to Boston to see old college/Seattle friends, run along the Charles River, and appreciate the city. We finally made it to the beach for a gorgeous sunset walk - though cold and windy, it was fun to be out with no agenda, just catching up.

Down to DC to visit my folks and some old Seattle friends living in a surprisingly nicely wooded neighborhood just minutes from the Beltway - a deer wandered through the yard! Some quiet catching up time with my parents a little farther south and one more chance to enjoy the crunchy leaves. This is my half of the annual family picture, which has turned slightly less serious in recent years...

One last stop in Denver/Boulder to see my sisters, both going to school and settling in for a hopefully less-severe Colorado winter. Sunny and warm during the day, cold at night, and a huge sky with amazing sunsets. What's not to love?

Thursday, November 6, 2008


…is being particularly hard. Flew through Seoul on my way back to Seattle, catching the election results as I got off the plane for my layover. One of those where-were-you-when moments.

But though I have only been in India for less than six weeks, the same as last year, everything feels more familiar, and my jet-lagged brain isn’t ready for the States just yet. It’s weird, having become automatic even in such a short time, not to:

Flip light switches down to turn them on
Walk and drive on the left
Bring my own toilet paper everywhere
Use fingers to eat
Pay next to nothing for good food
Be different than everyone around me
Engage the organized chaos of traffic
Decide if directions or advice are actually accurate
Expect random crowds of staring onlookers, anytime, anywhere

Oddly enough, I’m still dreaming in India – waking up, I’m confused by the readily available English all around, the coats and fancy shoes, the briefcases and sense of self-importance, places to be and things to do. Ramblings about why and how are more than need to be discussed here…

One day in Seattle, and I’m off to visit friends and family on the east coast. The grey and rain and cold of the northwest was a bit of a shock, but now that I’ve traded my sandals for warm shoes and sparkly pinks and oranges for brown, I’ll figure out how to adjust, eventually.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Spent a week in Bangalore visiting friends from the bike race, doing a little climbing, a little running, a little biking, and meeting their friends in the city. The camera charger I got to replace my missing one wasn’t exactly functional, so I’m again lacking pictures, but am hoping other folks who took some will come through.

Walking past a climbing wall outside Kanteerava stadium my first day, I saw three women resting at the base – three Indian women, climbing! I talked to them for a bit, and
they turned out to be two of the South Indian climbing champions, headed to nationals in Delhi next month. They were the first outgoing Indian women I’ve met yet, and it turned out that one of them was our guide for a day of bouldering south of the city later that week. Shanti was an amazing climber, fun to watch, harder to emulate, and always encouraging.

Having brought my shoes and pedals, I borrowed a bike to join Samim and Nilesh and Rohan for a ride at Nandi Hills – Sam rode there, caught up with us on the hill, and rode back to Bangalore while we took the car to the bottom of the hill to ride up and single-track down. Nellie really wants to develop the mountain biking in the area, so they negotiated with a local woman to figure out when and how ladders could be built to make a few too-rocky sections ridable.

Otherwise, spent my time running in the morning with Sriram and other new friends who recognized me on the path (nice to be overly conspicuous sometimes!), seeing a few sights, and wandering around my area of the city. One evening I got to be the trailing car for a ride to Nandi hills! Driving on the wrong side of the road wasn’t bad, as I was following them at cycle speed to keep everyone from getting run over by traffic – exciting nonetheless.

Now back to Delhi for a cycle friend’s brother’s wedding – should be interesting, as I haven’t seen the whole Indian wedding scene yet. Meeting up for lunch with a client from this summer who was climbing Island Peak with Alpine Ascents in Nepal and is flying out of Delhi the same day I am. What a funny, tiny world! Still haven’t seen the Taj Mahal, let along Rajastan, Goa, Sikkim… I’ll have to come back.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Check it out...

Took the overnight bus to Bangalore this weekend, and have been hanging out with friends here that I met at the bike race. For now, check out this link to a CNN/IBN special on the bike race we did. 15 seconds of fame, baby!

This YouTube link is best:
(the second half is in "Related Links" to the right)

(broken up into four segments online - click on Videos: 1 2 3 4 below the frame)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Hands on rock

Note: Lin generously supplied photos due to a mis-match of my technology. I promise to put more up next week on returning to Delhi...

There are times when it seems like the whole world has been discovered, mapped, tapped, and been-there-done-that, looking for the next thing. But if there has been one overriding theme here for me, it's that the natural places of India haven't been tapped at all. Toni, Japanese, living in Hyderabad, has been developing boulder problems in the large rocks just four minute's walk from his apartment. He's working to map climbing problems, meet and encourage new climbers, and help protect the park from development, a serious threat in this rapidly expanding tech-boom city. Solang sees an incredibly small amount of mountaineering traffic, and has tons of potential for un-skied backcountry terrain. The climbing in Hampi is practically limitless, and there is rock in Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore...

I forgot how fun it is to climb when you've actually been practicing! Two days in H'bad, four days on the sharpstone in Hampi - this might be more rock than I've been on all year! My (and Lin's and Nishit's) fingertips got hashed for a few days, but now they're starting to toughen into the callouses I used to know. I'd better get out onto the artifical wall here in Bangalore tomorrow, just to use them.

Hampi was a really neat place - I'd heard lots of serious climbers talking about it, read about epic trips there, but didn't really know what to expect in terms of terrain, people, climbing, etc. The town itself is based around ruins from about 1350-1550 AD (I think), with tourists of all nationalities coming to see temples, carvings, etc scattered from the main center on the river to sites many kilometers away. But on the other side of the river there are still rice fields and water buffalo, graceful white birds and bananas and papaya being sold by the road. The climbers all stay here, where it is peaceful and quiet and less than half an hour's walk from the clean-enough (maybe) tin-roofed room you've paid just two to ten dollars for, mosquitos and all. So what that the power is off daily until noon, and again from 6-7pm? Food is cheap, you can avoid the stoned Israeli population with a little work, and there's really not a lot else you have to do. A local rock guide (the only one!) showed me and Lin some easier problems, then we hooked up with bike-race friend Nishit and his mentor friend for some problems that made me remember how good it is to finish a challenging line. My fingers are a little torn up from the sharp granite, but it feels great.

The funny thing? The guide and our two friends (from Pune) were the only Indian climbers in the whole place. The season is just starting, so things aren't crowded yet, but of the 20-25 climbers I met and saw, they were the only ones! There are plenty of historical and social and economic reasons for this that I could ramble about for a while, but here I'll just say that I look forward to an expanding national climbing community growing from the work and encouragement of those who are out there. Keep climbing.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Another glorious adventure

Well, once again, the mountains do what they want, regardless of planning. The monsoon stayed late this season, and the fall weather patterns have continued to be generally unusual. Generally September and October are a great time to climb in Manali/Solang and the northwestern Himalaya, but the rains stayed well into September, and the weather has been uncharacteristically unsettled throuch most of October.

So Lin and I set our sights on a shorter-expedition peak, only 4-6 days, but I again managed to get sick on day 2 (this isn't a habit I'd like to cultivate), this time with Giardia, a nasty stomach/digestive bug. Check that off on the life list of things I don't need to do again. Concerned with being alone at base camp in a compromised physical condition, I headed back down to Solang to recouperate while Lin headed up Shitidar peak, about 17,500'.

They had fabulous weather through summit day, climbed well (nice job Lin!), then got chased down the valley by clouds and snow the next day. Perfect timing! The weather forecast was for continued unsettled weather. Sure enough, I saw a newspaper story on our return flight to Delhi about the rain and snow that arrived there just as we left. I'm feeling rather thwarted by these mountains, and may have to spend April next spring just camping out, skiing whatever looks good when the weather clears.

On arriving in Delhi, we spent the day doing laundry and going to the IMF, the Indian Mountaineering Federation's headquarters where they have a climbing wall and bouldering area. It has been a while since I've spent much time on rock, so we figured we'd warm up before our next chapter of adventuring. In one of those only-in-India moments, however, we ran across the production of a segment of Indian Sesame Street about climbing, on location at the IMF! Grover and his young friend had just finished a climb and were feeling rewarded but tired, Grover falling asleep on his friend's shoulder. How funny!

From Delhi we headed to Hyderabad to start a more south-Indian itinerary of touristing and climbing. Today we just wandered around this tech-central city (there's actually a district called Cyberabad!), checking out Charminar mosque and the garment variations introduced by a predominantly Muslim population here (as opposed to mostly Hindu in the Delhi area). A different type of architecture from a different historical background - beautiful.

Tomorrow we'll sightsee for a bit, then meet up with a local climber for some bouldering - there are beautiful rocks scattered on low outcrops throughout the city, so there must be some good terrain somewhere. Looking forward to getting hands back on rock...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

What a ride

That was, indeed, interesting. One never knows what to expect from an event like this, so it's always interesting. Unfortunately, I had a crazy stomach bug for two days during the race, so didn't complete days two and three, and therefore wasn't in the running for any competition. But there were a total of six women riding at various levels, and about seventy men - Indian Army guys, an organized Aussie group, the barefoot farmer who completes this every year, and many amazing Indian riders from Bangalore, Delhi, and Pune, some competitive, some here for the same reason I was, just to see if we could do it. Nine days, 32,000' elevation gain and loss, 650 kilometers.

The actual logistics included staying in canvas tents set up for us each night by an industrious crew in various school grounds and cricket fields, and mostly Indian food served buffet-style until we couldn't eat any more. Each day saw a variously ignored start time, usually with a freeride section before the first of two or three race stages. I'd never done a stage race before, but the idea is that you have to ride the whole distance over the day, but only certain sections are started in a race format and timed. Finish that section, ride along at your leisure to the next section, and race again. Eventually, get to camp, take your bucket of hot water into a little personal bath tent, splash around with the soap until clean, and get ready to do it again tomorrow.

Terrain? Well, in the mountains there's rarely much flat ground, so days were spent variously climbing and descending 2 to 10% grades, sometimes in race stages, sometimes at whatever pace you wish. On a good day (for me), the road was decently graded, with at least some sections of pavement, making for relatively smooth going. On a bad day, the road was either broken rock or these incredibly obnoxious slate cobbles, laid with the sharp edge pointing up, or an 11km bike-and-hike through steep forest and hillside. Most of the time it was a mix of dirt and gravel with the occasional large rock or muddy section thrown in, and of course a landslide or twenty.

The monsoon this year stayed much later than normal, ending perhaps only a week before the start of the race, so there were a huge number of landslides all across the state of Himachel Pradesh. One or two days saw the entire course rerouted to get past still-closed roads, and every day saw many spots where rocks and dirt had been mostly pushed aside, leaving compacted bumps to remind you to look up to the fresh dirt of the collapsed hillside. Local workers were clearing this stuff by hand, piling rocks and scraping mud aside to open the roads that keep them connected and supplied. Fun times.

The most enjoyable aspect of the ride for me, however, was the people I got to meet. From all over the world and mostly all over India, there were sponsored racers, casual riders, adventure racers, military branches, and a few who had just started biking. And being around the same people for ten days, you get to see a lot about them, much like climbing in the mountains. What they're like when they're tired, hanging out, hungry, overheated, cold, frustrated, racing, taking it easy... You get past the barriers of pleasantry and start to glimpse peoples' motivations and weaknesses, dreams and disappointments, vision and history. We're all standing around waiting an hour or two for dinner - how did you come here? Lin's friend is the hub of the Delhi cycling community and I ended up hanging with a cadre of Bangalore racers and riders, learning and joking and having time to just be.

Probably 30 people were actually competing (the prizes were not-insignificant sums), but many others were there largely for the experience of riding that far for that long and seeing some breathtaking terrain. It is beautiful here, and everyone I ran into was great. Stops for chai, kids cheering by the side of the road, women in fields, men watching us ride through their village - what a amazing way to see this place. The race was actually incredibly organized, in an Indian fashion, with water and road markings and people to help just when it was needed. An incredible experience awaits if you ever want one...

Lin and I have stayed on just north of Manali, in Solang, preparing for our next phase of mountain climbing. The weather has been a little strange this fall, so our dayhike today will buy some time to see what the weather will do. If all's well, we'll leave in two days for a week or more trip to whatever the weather and snow conditions dictate. The good news is we're well-acclimatized and feeling strong, but we'll have to wait and see what the mountains let us do.

Friday, September 26, 2008


Wow. Having been to northern India last year, I remembered much of the idiosyncrasies and chaos inherent in doing anything here, but trying to participate in an "organized" event such as a mountain bike race is a whole other ball game.

We arrived in Shimla from Delhi yesterday after a 11-hour drive that was supposed to be 8 (only 11 due to Ram's creative driving and explanations - I've never been a diplomat from the embassy before, at least not since last year), and I crashed out after we reassembled our bikes, still a little jet lagged despite a wonderful yoga session in Delhi. Today we had a nice short ride down and back up some hills here with a posse of other (Indian) riders, feeling good and excited about starting the race tomorrow. Following that, a little frisbee and a puja blessing ceremony for the ride. Then Lin and I were asked to accompany one of the organizers to the residence of the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh State for an audience asking him to be at our start tomorrow morning (international delegation here to see you, sir) only to be turned away. Bummer. Then off to tonight's orientation (two hours late, much to a German rider's dismay in waiting punctually) and headed for some good sleep.

Essentially, nothing is on time, even for an event such as this. Leading up to the ride, the schedule was for a rest day on Day 5, Sept 31. When we all finally realized that September only has 30 days (huh...), the decision was made to just push back the end of the race a day - something that would never fly in the States, but didn't cause much notice here. Essentially, whenever I start to wonder whether something will actually happen in any sort of functional fashion, the advice is to just wait - eventually it will get itself ironed out. And crazily enough, it usually seems to. Not necessarily on time - in fact, that's nearly guaranteed - but eventually. Hmm. We start the race tomorrow, landslide detours and all, and I'm sure, in the end, we will get there. Not quite sure how, never quite sure how, but here goes nothing... More in 10 days!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Closing down the mountain

Two last trips up the hill to finish off the Rainier season. The first was in beautiful weather, the wind dying down just as we got up at 1am. A beautiful full moon, and a good pace to the top with a nice crew. What more can you ask for?

After a day off, my second trip started with more great weather, and an entertaining group of people. By the time we were at high camp, only four climbers and three guides were left (one twisted his knee a few days before, one turned around above Paradise, one reached her limit on the snowfield, and the fourth spent all he had getting to Muir and stayed there). Alas, the weather turned as we went to bed, with wet snow and fog throughout the night. We got to the top of the DC and turned there, happier to get down safely than get up in dangerous shape. A few hours sleep, then down to Paradise in the spitting rain. Summer, officially, is over - India, here I come!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hike for Discovery

If you ever want a really neat group of people, find some folks with the heartfelt goal of helping others while succeeding at something they've never done before. This weekend was the culmination of a summer of hiking for those to whom it was completely new, raising money for cancer research through the Leukemia and Lymphoma society. This program started with marathons and triathlons (Race for a Cure, etc), participants training toward a personal challenge, and has expanded to activities like hiking to allow those who might not run a marathon to reach the same goals of personal achievement and helping raise funds for cancer research.

Guiding through Cascade Adventure Guides with good friends Kim and Kelly, I took some of the 40 hikers on outings ranging from 7 to 24 miles - that's a big day! Under beautifully clear skies, we followed a newly-completed section of trail from White River campground to the Wonderland trail, then up through deep forest to the high alpine of Panhandle Gap. Perfect weather, a great crew, and mountain goats to boot!

Thanks to the organizers for an amazing weekend, and many thanks to those who are contributing time, energy, and money to make a difference in research, care, and a cure.

Friday, September 12, 2008

More summer!!

Just got done spending a few days in Ashford at the house Alpine has for guides to use. Went biking - on the Elbe Hills ATV paths, Osborne Mountain, and today up to Paradise and back. Since the India ride isn't a hardcore mountain bike course, I'm calling it good with road, logging road, and some trail riding.

Hiked up to a lookout near Osborne Mountain, High Rock Lookout (very imaginative naming), at the high point of my ride for a beautiful view and the first ripe blueberries and huckleberries of the season! (It has been such a cold wet summer that flowers and berries are very late this season, hence the bears still actively looking for food.)

Today's ride from Ashford to Paradise and back was long, but not as hard as I expected for 50 miles. The 12 miles from Longmire visitor center (2700' elevation) to Paradise (5400') took 2 hours to ride up and 30 minutes to ride down!! It's a good ride when you've got bugs in your teeth from grinning all the way down...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Summer redemption

Wait, it's back! Summer has taken pity on us poor Northwesterners after months of being coy (ie non-existent) and given us a redemptive week of beautiful weather.

Not without working for it however. Our 6-day hike of the Northern Loop trail started with a hike out of Sunrise in the sideways-blowing snow. Welcome to Washington! Ten folks from around the country joined Kim and I for a week of deep forest and alpine meadows and generalized mountain appreciation. Unlike many groups, this one had no decompression time, no day or two of wondering where their Blackberry was or learning to look around. And (coincidentally or not) many of them had never been backpacking before, ever! But also unlike many groups, this didn't seem to make a difference - those who were new dived right in and came up looking like they'd been doing it for years.

After that first day, the weather was cold at night but otherwise nearly perfect. The summer was so cold and wet that wildflowers are still in full bloom and we even had to cross a patch of snow! This also meant that the blueberries were late in arriving, so we not only got to see amazing flowers, but lots of bears! Presumably they're still looking for food as autumn approaches and their berry supply has yet to materialize, keeping them searching closer to trails. Everyone in the group saw at least 6 bears, and one near Mystic Lake put in several appearances. Marmots, a deer, and the occasional pika - a good week.

On the last evening we hiked up to Skyscraper Peak for sunset, which has been an amazing after-dinner adventure every time I've led this trip. True to form, the mountain drew clouds around her to accent color and contour, obscuring and revealing for the hour or more that we watched the light change and fade. It's nice to see the mountain from below occasionally - sitting in a field or on a lower peak, looking at the snow slopes of camp and crevasse. A nice change, and beautiful end to a beautiful trip.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Summer going, going...

Back on Rainier for a few climbs, and the weather is less than cooperative. I stayed up at Muir for two trips in a row, and our first had great summit weather. A bit of new snow gave the mountain a fresh dusting of white to show off features and cover up some of the dirt that blows off the ridges. It made for a bit of work - high camp had been taken down because of the storm and had to be re-set up, and two of our guides went and shoveled out a path on a steep section the afternoon before our climb. My next trip had good weather until summit night, when freezing rain was followed by high winds and a couple inches of snow. Potentially hazardous climbing conditions and likely avalanche danger kept us in camp - no summit this time around. We got off easy though - two days later they got another 2 1/2 feet of snow at high camp! Happy August...

I stayed in nearby Ashford (where there is a company guide house for us) for a few days after my climbs, just reading and trail running and making good food. There's a chill in the air even though all the snow hasn't melted from the lower elevations yet, and that sense that the flowers are about to be covered up again. A few more trips up the mountain for me, then time to think about plans for upcoming seasons.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I'd been up once before and wanted to go back, so Mary and I headed up to the Bugaboos, an alpine rock climbing playground on the eastern edge of BC in Canada. A relatively short drive and relatively short (though steep!) hike in with lots of gear, so off we went for a week.

It was spitting rain as we hiked up, then full-on sleet and wind as we arrived at the Cain Hut. This is no kind of weather for a tent, so we forked over the $25 per person to stay in a nice warm hut half-full of friendly climbers instead of hiking another hour to set up camp in freezing rain. This is what we call a "no brainer" - the day before, marble-sized hail had destroyed several tents camped above! The next day was similarly crappy, so there was lots of playing cards and napping and being social, wondering if we'd aver be able to climb.

When the sun finally came out, several parties set out ahead of us for the West Ridge of Pigeon Spire, an uber-classic 5.4 that's a great orientation climb for the area. Alas, the preceeding days had coated it in ice! Rather than make a very enjoyable climb epic, the 15 of us stared at it for a while, unwilling to turn back right away, then wandered off to scope out the conditions on other rock. Mary built a scary little snowman, then we wandered around the glacier for a while and took the long way back. Maybe tomorrow...

Went up the Cain route on Bugaboo the next day - I'd descended the route last time I was here, but that meant we skipped all the fun climbing. An interesting pitch or two made it much more fun than I remembered coming down. The next day, back to Pigeon Spire for a lovely day of ridge scrambling. Both days, we took far more time than most people do, and met (waylaid, harrassed, chatted up) pretty much everyone coming or going on the Snowpatch-Bugaboo col that accesses most climbs. Far more entertaining than actually climbing!

On our last day, we decided not to go for the big alpine traverse that we had gotten excited for and spent the day mostly wandering around again, traipsing around glaciers and sunning by a lake. We met some cool folks from Seattle, Boston, Mexico, France, Australia... While I don't support huts in the Cascades or most areas in the US, it is fun to have areas where they exist. Even without big objectives, this is a beautiful place - 'til next time...

Saturday, August 2, 2008


Six-day courses, a backpacking catch-up trip, and a climb for fun - time flies when you're running around like the proverbial headless chicken.

Nice to come back from Denali to some nice days - the first weather-cooperative glacier course of my season was a great distraction from Alaska.

Then to the Enchantments with Lin. Neither of us had been to this limited-access, quota-governed, much-talked-about area, so off we went, no climbing due to my wrenched shoulder from a bike mishap. It's beautiful, it's true, but there are a lot of beautiful places in the world, and I've been to many of them. It is amazing for its access and proximity to I-90, but similar to other high alpine zones. We spent a valuable couple of days catching up from winters spent elsewhere, enjoying the lake and quiet.

On to Rainier with Rob and Erin and her friend Wolf. Despite working on the mountain quite often, it was nice to climb with friends, people who I'd trained with before and looked forward to hanging out with. Erin's friend's knee took him down early, but we had a beautiful summit day with few others around - nice to have the mountain largely to ourselves.

Now off for a little more work before some play time...