July 14, 2009

I know what I'm doing!

So, after my first day of briefing, I now know that the course I will be leading will be in the Beartooth Wilderness in Montana. This is about a 5 hour drive from Lander, WY, and is unique because NOLS runs about 2 courses a year there. In comparison, we have 46 courses out in the Wind River Range as I'm typing this - I have no idea how many a year go there. Anyway, I now have a general idea of the route we will take for the next 22 days and it looks totally wicked!

To add to my excitement, I got an email today notifying me that I've been accepted to participate in the North Cascades Mountaineering Seminar on August 17-27, which will make me eligible to instruct, you guessed it, mountaineering courses in the North Cascades! I think this will pretty much be the ideal course type for me to instruct, so I couldn't be more stoked about the opportunities that successful completion of this seminar will open up!

One more day in town, and I'm off to the Beartooths with 2 co-instructors and 12 students, who range in age from 18 to 50. We've got an unusual distribution of the sexes, with a total of 10 females and 5 males - should be interesting!

July 12, 2009

Sinks Canyon

Sinks Canyon climbs up and due west of Lander (comparable to Boulder Canyon in Boulder). I've been up there a few times now as there are many sport climbing routes to play on, but I never bothered to stop at the visitors center. Well, today I did.

As it turns out, the river running down the canyon literally "sinks" out of site into the limestone cliff bordering the river, hence the name of the canyon.

I've never seen such a queer river in all my wanderings. To add to it, the river re-emerges 1/4 mile downstream - on the other side of the road, it turns out. You would think that a river traveling at the velocity observable in the video wouldn't take long to travel a quarter mile, but die tracers indicate a 2 hour lag time from entry to exit. Subterranean explorations to understand this have been unsuccessful for obvious reasons. Weird.

The Curtain

After spending almost 2 days with Grandma, my vision was realized. My vision was to construct a curtain in the back of my 4-Runner to: 1) Block out light, 2) Create some privacy, and 3) Give the back of the 4-Runner a bit of a hippy vibe. I believe all 3 goals were accomplished. Thanks Grandma!

July 06, 2009

Mt. St. Helens

The day after the "Adams with Adams" trip, Will, Jake, and I met up with my Dad to climb Mt. St. Helens. We generally followed the standard Monitor Ridge route with some of us skinning up adjacent to the rocky ridge. Once again, Dad displayed his prowess as a 56-year-old stud by cruising up to the top.

Skinning up

Approaching the crater rim with Dad

At the top we were above the clouds and had some pretty sweet views of the surrounding volcanoes (Rainier, Adams, and Hood), not to mention into the crater of St. Helens. At one point while hanging out on the top, the ground started to shake in mild earthquake style. This made me quite nervous, but it soon stopped and the mountain was still there.

After a round of PBR's on the top and several photos, we started down. Will, Jake, and I carried skis and had a super fun ski down. Dad hiked back down the ridge, passing a couple hundred people on their way up.

Summit PBRs

One of the many fun, natural terrain features

Classic Cascade Corn Snow!