June 28, 2009

Adams with Adams

I've always wanted to climb a mountain with the same name as one of my climbing partners. Check that one off the list, as I successfully summitted Mt. Adams with Jake Adams. Jake, Will, and I skied the standard South Side route on Mt. Adams a few days after Dad and I climbed Mt. Hood. We only had to hike about a mile from the car before we could start skiing, and I was able to ski all the way to the summit and back! On the first day, we got a late start and set up camp at about 7,000 feet. The following day we skied up to the top and all the way back to the car. Much of the route is comprised of a steepness that pretty much maximizes the hold of a pair of climbing skins, which made for some fun and challenging skinning.

Will charging up to camp on the first day

Billy (We met Billy late in the first day. After setting up camp, we hiked up our route for about 1,500 feet to get some turns in, and Billy decided to join us.)

Marching up towards the false summit

Jake on the Summit at 12,281 feet (his highest summit to date!)

Chilling out about 10 feet below the summit (We got real fortunate with the weather, being above the clouds in an unsettled weather system.)

Mt. Rainier from the Summit

Jake Carving some Corn

Some Changes are Good

Old Office

New Office

June 15, 2009

Mt. Hood

Last Thursday night, Dad and I left his place at 10pm and began climbing up from Timberline Lodge at 11:45. Dad had attempted Mt. Hood once before, about 30 years ago with the Mazamas, and turned around due to severe weather conditions. He's spent the last 6 months getting in shape and preparing for his second attempt, over 30 years later.

After beginning our hike, I immediately noticed that Dad was moving faster than usual, which I attributed to his losing 90ish pounds since the last time we hiked together. He kept up the pace through a cloudless night, and when the sun began to rise at around 5am we were nearing the Hogsback and the beginning of the actual climbing. Clouds began to form as soon as the sun came up and concealed our view of the summit. As we were confident in our ability to descend in a whiteout, we roped up and continued up the route most commonly referred to as Old Chute.

Just starting to get light on the way up

Nearing the summit on the steep section

At 6:45 am on Friday morning, we stood on the summit after 7 hours of hiking/climbing uphill.

Summit Photo!

Dad did awesome, traveling as fast or faster than most everybody else on the mountain that day. Our views from the summit weren't great due to the fog, but considering how bad the weather can get up there, it was really pretty nice.

Classic Hogsback Shot on the Descent

It took us 4 hours to descend 5000 vertical feet to the car. We promptly drove down the hill to Calamity Janes where I proceeded to eat a 1 lb burger topped with cheese, bacon, and avocado. . . mmmmm. I miss that place.

Career Change

I've got some serious catching up to do with this blog posting thing. From May 4th to June 8th I was taking a NOLS instructor course, which was designed to take experienced outdoor people and turn them into NOLS instructors. We had 12 students and 3 instructors on the course, all of which were amazing people.

We spent the first 19 days backpacking in the Wind River Wilderness, which was still mostly covered in snow at that time. Much of our time was spent learning how to teach the NOLS curriculum as it relates to Leadership, Environmental Studies, and Outdoor Skills. Without writing a book, I'm not sure how to summarize my experience on this part of the trip. Suffice it to say that we all had a wonderful time and became very good friends while learning a lot.

Shelter at 11,080 on Peak 11,098

Sun setting behind the Tetons from Peak 11,098

One of our many classrooms

Hiking across Burro Flats

The next two weeks were spent at a rock climbing camp near Split Rock, a couple hours south of Lander. Here we learned NOLS institutional standards for climbing, building anchors, and self rescue. I learned a great deal and managed to be one of the few to get checked off as a rock climbing instructor (everyone in our group got checked off to teach backpacking courses).

Freemont Canyon

Base Camp at Split Rock

Rainbow in a crack
My first contract will be teaching an Outdoor Educator Course in the Wind River Wilderness starting July 14th! I'm super excited to be involved with work where I feel I'm benefiting both people and the environment. I'm also optimistic about my potential for future work with NOLS, so I plan to cease being an engineer for the time being. For those who are curious, I no longer have a phone but should be getting a new one in about a week. I'll email the new number out as soon as I have it.