Monday, October 8, 2007

My room at the us grant in san diego

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

What's Next?

Great question. I had such a great time that I will definitely keep going. We are currently discussing another Mt. Washington trip this winter, and either Baker or Rainier in July.

I will keep posting because it amuses me. This is absolutely a hobby I will keep up with. As i told my wife, I am 42, so its either a trophy wife, a sports car, or climbing. And climbing gets me in shape and keeps me healthy!

So, in all seriousness, what else did I learn?

We made the right decision to turn around. The mountain went into total whiteout with huge winds. the climb would have been extremely dangerous had we continued.

We also met a climber who started from the trail head the same day he planned to summit by a ridiculously hard route by himself and underdressed. Stupid decision bud!

So, I learned what to do, and what not to do.

Day 2, the end

so we were going to camp for one more night while all the wusses on the mountain left. By 3:15 pm, when the wind was about to rip my tent off the moutain side with me in it, we decided to make our second smart decision and hike out.

Angela had to close the toilet for the season for the ranger (and his friend Ant). GROSS!!!!! At least she had plastic gloves.

It rained and snowed on us the entire time we packed out. We ran into a unibomber and a boy and a girl hiking. It made no sense to hike, so we decided the unibomber guy was out to kill people and the boy was going to propose to the girl. Big Huge WHATEVER!

New Phrases I am Hoping to Introduce into the Climbing Lexicon

  1. Grandma's Overlook
    1. an easy to get to overlook
  2. Road Crevasses
    1. Potholes on roads
  3. Holing Out
    1. Stepping into a crevasse on a glacier.

How to put them all together?

"Dude, I totally holed out on a road crevasse by grandma's overlook"

One rule when combining them, you MUST use at least one "DUDE"

Things I learned on my trip

  • When winter camping, you spend a lot of alone time in your tent
  • You want the rope to make a smiley face between you and your rope partner
  • Water does NOT boil quickly
  • There are mice on the mountains in the Northern Cascades
  • Prussiks are for rescue -- use friction hitch to attach to rope
  • I love high altitude outdoor toilets
  • Do NOT pee in running water sources
  • I don't love wind that blows snow in your face
  • Climbing is all about you, not about anyone else.

Mt. Baker Climb - Day 2

So, day 2, summit attempt day. The alarm went off at 3:15 am with the goal of being out by 4. It was pretty easy to get up, as it was FREEZING!!!!! I made some pitas with cheese (which I found in my pack 2 days later), ate some watery oatmeal for the first time in my life, drank some black coffee, used the AMAZING toilet with a view. I borrowed the stove for some coffee, and melted plastic from my new pot all over the fire holes. Can you say moron? By the time Angela sawed off the hard plastic shell now sitting on the stove, we headed out.

We hiked up to where we would crampon up. The only light was our headlamps. It was amazingly cool and beautiful to be walking on a huge glacier in the dark. We kept going forever, but I was having a blast. The foot of fresh powder was a killer, but I loved it anyway. We crossed snow bridges over crevasses, and walked around quite a few huge holes in the ground. I did pretty well keeping up with Angela's pace and only taking a few mini stops. (I had to keep up, I was roped in).

We got to about 9500 feet, and the team in front of us said they were going back down. We turned around and saw why. White clouds covered the mountain side and the trails we just made. We went a little further and decided attempting to summit wouldn't be smart so we turned around. Getting down was tough. The winds were very strong and covered the trail we had just followed. The snow was filling in the crevasses, and I actually "holed out" 3 times on the way down.

I was slightly dissappointed not to have summited,but I had an incredible time and learned a ton. My favorite quote about climbing is from Ed Viesturs, "Getting to the top is optional, getting down is mandatory." Looking up as we descended, the upper mountain was covered in clouds and we could see the high winds swirling.

All in all, I loved it. I learned a ton about climbing and glaciers, and experienced making good decisions. Angela was awesome. I will definitely be back to get to the top at some time.

Mt. Baker - A Toilet with a View

So, as an aside. The campsite had toilets which were basically a box with a toilet seat out in the open. The views were fantastic! I would have to say to experience a toilet at 6000 feet with a view of the lights of Vancouver is as close to God as I might ever imagine being!

Mt. Baker Climbing Trip Day 1

So, today was Friday, 9/28, the first day of my adventure. I had to be at AAI at 7, so I woke up at 5:10 to make sure I was packed and to eat. In honor of Mike Bauer, I went to Denny's and had a huge omelette, taters and toast to bulk up for the climb. It was gross but great! While eating, I enjoyed reading how the Mets were completely choking.

I got to AAI and met Angela my guide. She was great, extremely nice and knowledgeable. There was another group of two guys and a guide too, and both of them had good climbing experience. Angela and I stopped for burritos and headed off on the drive to Baker. It poured the entire drive until we hit the trail head, where there was a blizzard! Who knew, snow in September!!!!

The hike in was beautiful. Tall old trees, creeks and waterfalls everywhere. We made great time and got to camp around lunchtime. We couldn't see the summit the entire day because of the weather. We camped at 6000 feet at Hogsback and worked on some skills, specifically roping, crampons, ice axes. We decided to try and summit on saturday as the weather for sunday was forecast to be horrible.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Climbing Mt. Baker

Slideshow of Mt Washington Climb

Recording about the Mt. Washington and New Hampshire Trip - 2/11/07

6 Minutes of Video of the Mt Washington Climb 2-11-07

This is long but will give you a feeling for the climb on Sunday.