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Everything posted by Norman_Clyde

  1. How is a small business supposed to plan ahead for the contingency of a 90 percent drop in business for six months? Do you think Microsoft has a contingency for that sort of drop in their business? And if Microsoft did suffer such a loss due to a natural disaster, would they not be likely to seek government assistance? It is not currently possible to uphold an ill-defined ideal of universal access. The road is washed out and is being fixed. If you want to be on the mountain so much, ski in via the White River Road: no hotel or guide reservation required.
  2. The road in question is not paved and is only one lane wide. There are no turnouts and the trees (and snow) come right to the edge. Traffic can only proceed in one direction at a time. Even the snowplow has gotten stuck in the past. All it would take to bring all traffic in and out of Longmire to a halt would be for one car to proceed down this road while another was proceeding in the other direction, causing two cars to meet head on with no way to turn around. It is simply not practical to allow individual drivers in. In my opinion, the current plan offers the most benefit to the most people, within the practical constraints of this small thoroughfare.
  3. According to an earlier post by Mike Gauthier, there is no access to the West Side road except on Sundays from 10 am to 5 pm. This means that for the time being your trip needs to begin, and end, on a Sunday.
  4. Sting is a good description, to know that some groups are getting access to the south side that the rest of us don't currently have. However, I don't see any harm in it; rather the opposite. Anyone who supports MRNP remaining solvent, and who supports the cause of mountaineering on Rainier, should also support access to guided parties at this time, in my opinion. It's not as if their presence somehow keeps the rest of us away. Speaking for myself,it's mainly lack of time that limits my access this season, since I'd have to commit about a week to make a reasonable attempt from 410 or Ipsut, and definitely from the West Side Road, and I'm not willing to give myself a whole week away from family just to have fun in the mountains; but that's another story. For those of you missing MRNP who might enjoy a more sedate visit with family, I highly recommend a stay at the National Park Inn. I took my son and his friend there in early March. We snowshoed a little, sat by the fire a lot and mostly just soaked up the peace of the place in its current limited-access condition.
  5. If you look at the big picture, a couple of extra miles hiking into Ipsut Creek won't add that much time or mileage. Ipsut is lower elevation than White River campground, but I'm pretty sure it's closer to Lib Ridge, and unlike the White River approach, the Ipsut approach is very direct, with no elevation loss and no traversing. If you wanted to add an adventurous semi-circumnav. of the peak to your climb, you could start from the West Side Road once it opens, which it is projected to do in April.
  6. Continuing: We were aground, but at least we hadn't hit with a hard blow. The island appeared to be made of pumice gravel like St. Helens. Probably we had struck a bar and had suffered no damage. Still, we were stuck fast. I went below where I found Kara reassuring the passengers that the captain might have grounded us on purpose. She had seen it done before in this same spot, or at least had seen a ship aground that refused assistance. Sounded like good news. Maybe the engines had been on full ahead, not reverse! You never know. I speculated as much to a passenger who had been on the bridge at the time (this ship has an open bridge policy where passengers are usually allowed there). "I don't think it was on purpose," he said. "Did you perceive an attitude of surprise?" "Oh yeah." "Did he put the engines in reverse?" "Well, he pulled both handles straight back...sure looked like reverse to me." Oh. Except for being unable to move, the ship was functioning normally. We planned a Zodiac landing for that afternoon. At lunch we tried to make light conversation over the roar of the engines, which continued in full reverse, apparently in hope of stirring up current which would wash away sand at the bow and free the ship. It didn't work. The tide was at peak high when we struck, and was now falling. The crew labored at the bow all day, in vain. There was not much to do except wait, and continue with previously planned activities. We explored the abandoned whaling station on shore, ate dinner, went to bed wondering what the morning would bring. The next high tide was at 0400. I figured the time to really worry was if I woke in the morning to find us still stuck. Nov. 16: Awoke to find us under way again. The captain finally faced reality and called for a rescue in the wee hours. He heard back from a Spanish naval vessel, the Las Palmas, which was in the area to resupply a Spanish Antarctic base. After a lot of pulling and one broken chain, they got us off. (According to maritime law the Las Palmas could have demanded a portion of the Orlova's value, to the tune of five million dollars, for salvaging us-- a sum which they graciously declined.) One portion of the Deception caldera has steam vents at the shore which heat the seawater and allow people to swim in Antarctic waters. We went here next. I helped my son to swim and chose not to go in myself. Now I wish I had done it. Maybe next year. Nov. 16, afternoon: Half Moon Island, my favorite of all the places we visited. Sharp vertically uplifted strata encrusted with bright lichens. All rocks are heavily populated with nests and totally off limits for climbing. Penguins, Antarctic terns, Skuas, gulls. Peaks and glaciers on all horizons. Down here even small landforms generate huge ice masses. I haven't been to coastal Alaska but I imagine the glaciology is similar. Unlike the rest of the continent, the Antarctic Peninsula is far enough north to be a maritime environment with significant annual precipitation. The number of stunning mountain vistas was truly overwhelming. I couldn't decide what to photograph, and now that I'm home it feels as if I hardly photographed any. It was easier to photograph the nearest penguin and as a result, I have way too many penguin photos. Inevitable, perhaps. Nov. 17: Cuverville Island in Gerlache Strait. Watched a Leopard Seal eat a penguin, thrashing the limp body back and forth for about ten minutes before it slipped under. Other penguins squirted and porpoised through the sea nearby, apparently oblivious. Took a Zodiac tour amongst ice forms. Neko Harbor, second Mainland landing, in the afternoon. Hiked to 300 feet elevation, highest of the trip. One can only imagine the view from higher. Nov. 18: Cruised through Lemaire Channel. Landed at Petermann Island, furthest south of the trip at 65 degrees 10 minutes southern latidude. Not a breath of wind. Spent the morning in flannel shirt, no gloves. (Temperatures were most commonly just below freezing, usually accompanied by a stiff breeze.) Petermann is site of a small American research project, three lucky scientists summering there in tents. One had a tele setup which she used to cruise the island. She had made some nice turns down the biggest (hundred foot) slope. In the afternoon we sailed on to Port Lockroy and Jougla Point, last landing before return. Bought a few things at Port Lockroy, only retail facility in Antarctica, staffed by three Brits who presumably do research as well. On Jougla Point I filled in for absent staff requiring me to stand still in one spot for 2 hours in a 40 knot wind, keeping track of passengers. This was the only time all week that I felt cold. Heard people exclaim on the radio as a Leopard Seal bit holes in four boats. Just to the west of Jougla Point was a massif called Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, a vertical sawtooth formation festooned with enormous dollops of ice on each summit, one of the most dramatic peaks of the whole trip. My son must have had the camera because I have no photo. Nov. 19, 20: Drake Passage again. I had my sea legs on the return and managed to eat heartily as the ship bucked and tossed. Back to Ushuaia, Buenos Aires, Miami, home in time for Thanksgiving. Still looking at Antarctic photos every day. Visiting Antarctica is profound and unforgettable. The mountains are just one part of an amazingly intact environment. However, the average visitor cannot engage the landscape in the manner of the usual Cascades mountaineer: be mentally prepared to look, don't touch. Take photos of everything. I took about 500 and still I'm kicking myself for the things I missed. I plan to return.
  7. I'm on duty in Ilwaco and can't post photos now but I'll start a narrative. Nov. 8 leave SeaTac 0730 to St. Louis then to Miami, arrive 1730 local time. 2100 local time leave Miami for Buenos Aires, arrive Nov. 9, 0600 local time. LAN Argentina offers complimentary Chilean red wine on all flights. Taxi from Ministro Pistarini International Airport to Plaza St. Martin, a 40 minute cab ride, costs 59 pesos or less than 20 bucks for the three of us. (My companions on this trip were my son Sawyer and his grandfather/my father-in-law.) Find a coffee shop with leather armchairs, Sawyer falls asleep, granddad stays with him, I explore the city on foot for an hour or so. Sun very high in the northern sky, jacaranda trees in blossom. Exchange rate very favorable. Find a mountaineering shop, buy some nylon trousers perfect for Zodiac landings, half the US cost. Taxi back to airport, plane to Ushuaia at 1630. From above, Eastern Argentina is pancake flat; as you approach Tierra del Fuego, the mountains gradually appear in the west, the eastern plains narrow and disappear. Peaks very steep, not that high but heavily glaciated. Look a little like the Cascades, or sometimes with tilted strata like the Canadian Rockies. Many, many first ski descents waiting. Deep glacial fjords. Arrive in Ushuaia 2130; sky is not yet dark. Spend a day and a half in Ushuaia, latitude 54 degrees 47 minutes south. A buzzing little tourist and port town on Beagle Channel, the southernmost city in the world. If I'd ever been to coastal Alaska it would probably remind me of that; but it is not like any other place I've been. Latin and European influences melded and set down in an alpine/subpolar geographic setting. Climate is shifty, cool, maritime. The mountains pretty much start at the water. Timberline about 1000 feet, snowy peaks within walking distance. On a morning run down a dirt road I encounter a mare and colt walking free, two snarling dogs blocking further passage, and am dive-bombed by two beautiful gray ground-nesting birds, species unknown, presumably because I ventured too close to their nest. No more time to explore as I must organize the chaos of the infirmary on board the Orlova. On board personnel divided into Russian crew and Euro/Aussie expedition staff. Friendly Russian crew doctor on board reeks of alcohol at noon, falls out of his chair completely drunk at 3 pm. Expedition staff an able and adventure-ready bunch, mainly Aussies and Brits. Kara, expedition leader, is an American from Alaska with Australian parents, speaks American accented English with the occasional Aussie "Yih" for "Yeah." Embark at 1800 on Nov. 11. Near midnight enter Drake Passage, swells smaller than usual at ten feet. Next morning feel all right at breakfast, then not so well, then puke, then feel fine again. Decide to take a seasickness pill after all. Well enough at midday to try lunch. In afternoon, try to read fine print on medication vials as the ship rolls 20 degrees each way; puke again. Give up on getting any work done. Watch albatrosses and petrels cruise the wake. Lay low in my cabin while ship rolls. Skip dinner. Awake on Nov. 13 to 45 knot winds, 20 foot swells, ship's pitches and rolls doubled in amplitude. Prepare packets of seasick pills from my bed. Passengers begin calling my cabin requesting meds. Make quick rounds delivering pills; during cabin visits,have to duck into passenger's toilet to puke only once. Unable to hide in my own cabin while seasick, I quidkly establish a reputation as the sickest person on board. Skip breakfast and lunch. Around 3 PM first iceberg is sighted, a big tabular. First land also visible, the South Shetlands. All land except for the tiniest islands and the steeper peaks is ice covered. Most dramatic landfall I can recall. Enter the lee of the South Shetlands; swells and seasickness both vanish. First zodiac landing at Aitcho Island. A great nervous excitement to be so close to the Antarctic sea, about to step onto such a new place. On shore find basaltic columns, just like home. Watch penguins drink seawater(really), see a Skua fly by with penguin's egg in beak. Back on board, eat first meal in 24 hours. Nov. 14 cross Bransfield Strait 60 miles to Antarctic mainland. Swells 15 feet or so but I maintain equilibrium. Too windy to land at Paulet Island or Brown Bluff. Topography still basaltic, red, familiar looking, except that huge glaciers cover all but the smallest or steepest land forms. Sail to Esperanza Station, Argentine base at very tip of Antarctic Peninsula. Meet base residents, including doctor; tour clinic. Touch Antarctic seawater on shore, with floating chunks of ice in it; confirm that all that water is in near thermodyamic equilibrium with ice. Mountain above the station known as Mount Flora, because of the fossil flora found in its strata, identical to that found in S. America and S. Africa, supporting theory of continental drift. Peak is dusted with snow, surrounded by glaciers, but looks like a Southwest USA desert butte. Argentine families live on base, including kids under 10 years old, including in winter. Base's primary purpose is to maintain Argentine territorial claim. Base residents had just been told their departure date of Dec. 10 has been moved back to Dec. 28 and are bummed they will be spending Navidad on base. Invite the kids to visit the Orlova where they happily guzzle usually unavailable Coca-Cola. Nov. 15 sail to Deception Island, a nearly singular landform, like something out of Jules Verne. A high-walled volcanic caldera, with one small gap in the ring allowing the sea to enter. The gap is so small that the first several explorers of the island did not discover it, yet is wide and deep enough to admit larger ships. We sail through it into the natural harbor. A heavy wet snow is falling hard. I stand on deck talking with Robert, expedition artist, as we approach Whaler's Bay, once the site of a whaling station, abandoned after a volcanic eruption destroyed most buildings in the 1960s. "We're awful close to shore," he remarks. "Yeah," I answer, "but I'm sure they've got a good chart on the bridge and the captain is probably-" a sudden jolt throws me against the forward rail. The ship lists ten degrees to port and stays there. Engines roar into full reverse. The ship stays put. Robert and I look at each other. "We're aground!" I say. "We're in trouble," he says. More later.
  8. From the Australian Antarctic Data Centre: "Cape forming the S side of the entrance to Flandres Bay and separating the Danco and Graham Coasts on the W coast of Antarctic Peninsula. Discovered in 1898 by the Belgica AE under Gerlache and named by him for Prof. A. Renard, a member of the Belgica Commission and of the Belgian Royal Academy." Una is said to have been a well endowed barmaid in Stanley, Falkland Islands.
  9. It was way cool. Wildness in abundance. So many mountains it was utterly overwhelming. I could hardly take it all in. Massive vertical walls shooting straight up from the sea. So many huge glaciers they didn't even have names. Even more amazing: An ecosystem and food chain actually intact and in balance, from phytoplankton to Leopard Seals. I watched a Leopard Seal devour a penguin, though I missed it a few days later when another seal bit a hole in the pontoons of four different Zodiac boats. It is both easy and difficult to conceive of mountaineering on the Antarctic Peninsula. Dozens and dozens of peaks offer major mixed climbing challenges, many starting literally yards from shore. The "approach" is pretty minimal, until you consider the 10K air miles, then 400 sea miles across the Southern Ocean, plus the fact that a suitable boat for this journey is a little more expensive to hire than a bush plane. Not to mention that getting a permit is probably impossible, and the regulations require you to pack out your own urine. But if a sufficiently dedicated party could manage to get landed on the Peninsula with a big cache of food, they could have a couple of weeks of climbing Valhalla. The upper Antarctic Peninsula is only about 30 mileswide, with mountains on both sides and an ice plateau in between. I myself like the idea of a ski traverse starting at someplace like Neko Harbor and finishing at Hope Bay, Esperanza Station, at the northern tip, with occasional side trips to climb the most appealing mountains along the way.
  10. As ship physician on the M/V Orlova, via Quark Expeditions. The level of adventure is likely to be many notches below your average excursion to the Pickets, but the sights ought to be unique. I anticipate being able to photograph a few unclimbed peaks along the Antarctic Peninsula, just to whet the appetites of those eager for new horizons. As it will cost five bucks just to send an email, I doubt I will be able to post while on board. But anyone who wants to can email me at lyubovmm@skyfile.com.
  11. In my opinion, no joke, she should get a book contract and a speaking tour. She did EXACTLY what she should have done, during her trip and especially beforehand. Someone like Aaron Ralston may be impressive in the fact of his survival, but Ms. Heitman, while her tale is less lurid, is the more accomplished outdoorsman. to you, Sarah!
  12. "The Worst Journey in the World." It's the best adventure book in the world. Don't be daunted by its bulk. It grabbed me in the first pages and didn't let go.
  13. I'll have to catch it on my return from New Mex. How long will it be up?
  14. Cool! The other-worldly quality of the blast zone is still fresh in my mind. I have seen nothing like it.
  15. I was about to say the same thing. What's on your list for September?
  16. I went clockwise. I don't think it matters much which direction you go. The only big descent/ascent is at the S. Fork Toutle, about 1K on each side. The main thing to avoid is having to cross a lava field in the dark because it's hard to stay on trail. If you start from the June Lake trailhead and go clockwise, you won't have any lava fields at day's end. Regarding the WT, I still like the single push idea in theory, but this season I didn't feel quite prepared to do it in style. It's not going to be a realistic goal for too many more years but maybe I'll think about it for 2007.
  17. No strawberries. No salmonberries. Two small blackberries were all I found. There were no flies at all. Many kestrel hawks on the north side. One great horned owl in the woods.
  18. Climb: St. Helens: Up, Down, and Around-Monitor Ridge, Loowit Trail Date of Climb: 7/29/2006 Trip Report: Having ruled out a one day circumnavigation of Rainier for the time being, I found I needed a different objective. St. Helens, once again accessible, captured my attention. The Loowit Trail, at 32 miles and estimated 6600 feet of elevation change, while decidedly lesser than the Wonderland Trail was still a full day's work. Or nearly a full day. I had never climbed St. Helens and couldn't help feeling that if I ran around the peak without going to the top, the trip would be incomplete. I decided to do both. Friday's activities precluded an evening departure from Seattle. I hit the road at 4:30 AM, arriving at Climber's Bivouac at 0810. Cascade Bret of the extra climbing permit was just where he said he would be. I was on the trail by 0830, carrying one light extra layer, wind jacket, several gu packets, cheese, and a phantom baguette which I realized I had failed to pack once I was at timberline. My original plan had been to circumambulate first, climb second. A ranger at the base of the climb tried hard to talk me out of my big plans, encouraging me not to waste my climbing permit. The summit was an easier target so I went for it first, sharing the route with several dozen individuals. Most seemed to have climbed it before. After 20 minutes at the rim I hastened downward, arriving at the Loowit just after noontime. This trail, while not a climb, still offers plenty of sights. It's a geologic tour de force. Fields of lava boulders; huge gaping flood washes; ghost forests; in the blast zone, the closest thing to a desert landscape I've seen in Washington. The combination of landforms was so unusual as to be mildly disorienting. What planet am I on again? Travel was not overly difficult, if you don't mind a lot of deep pumice sand. I missed the trail up the far bank of the Toutle south fork, thereby providing myself with a crux of sorts: a 60 degree dirt and rock ascent wherein all solid objects, regardless of size, rolled away once weighted. I had high hopes for a fast pace, but was not able to maintain it, between fatigue and rough terrain. I would have taken it slower down the home stretch, except that the ranger had told me I had two lava fields to cross at the end. Though I could cross these in the dark by headlamp, staying on trail would be extremely difficult: I might spend the rest of the night searching for the trail on the other side. This knowledge helped me to keep my pace up. I stepped off the last of the lava at about 9:40 as twilight waned. I closed the loop just after 10 and reached the car around 10:30. Sleep beckoned more than sustenance, but with no water left, my neglected baguette too stale to consider, I drove on down. One near collision with an elk and one Dr. Pepper later, I headed north on 5, covering about 30 miles before I pulled over in exhaustion. I slept 6 hours in the driver's seat, woke to a pattering of rain on the windows at dawn, and headed home. Gear Notes: Trail shoes Water filter Approach Notes: June Lake trailhead allows more direct access to the Loowit Trail but is several miles from the climbing route. Climbers' Bivouac offers good access to both.
  19. About five or six years ago I climbed Mystery via Del Monte Ridge. I descended into the Dungeness drainage near the peak in order to gain access to the east ridge, then returned the same way. In mid July this involved moderate snow slopes, easily ascended/descended with one axe and no crampons. It might have approached 45 degrees near the top. If you plan to climb Mystery from the Dungeness approach, I wouldn't bother going around the mountain to Gunsight Pass. Just go up from the saddle East of the peak, between the Dungeness and Deception Glacier drainages. The route is obvious from the saddle. Expect lots of loose rock.
  20. Nice pics. Royal Basin is an interesting part of the range.
  21. I'm blown away to see you already back in form on cc.com. Strong, strong work!
  22. sounds like great fun from this vantage point. Even better if you get to follow it with dirty suncups and waterfalls. Ah, to ski the alpine in July!
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