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Everything posted by ptownclimber

  1. altitude training?

    Week one of training in the altitude room at Evolution. I haven't read up on altitude or exercise physiology in over a decade. Any good resources, articles, training plans, etc. out there?
  2. Looking for recommendations, experiences, etc.
  3. 8:15pm Beer Fabulous prizes Beacon/re-bolting update Madrone wall update Movie night! Wear green!
  4. Thank you mentors

    This May during the long, slow, cathartic, soul-cleansing slog up one of our local volcanoes, I began reflecting on some of the experiences I’ve had in the past 15 years of climbing. My thoughts moved to the people who have expanded my horizons, pushed me to overcome bigger challenges, and taught me the craft of climbing. I thought about people like Rick Posekany. Within a month, I was shocked and saddened to learn that Rick had passed away. In 2003 I was a young, headstrong climber at the start of my career. I signed up for Posey’s climb of Aconcagua. I was in over my head, even more than I realized at the time. Soon after arriving at Plaza de Argentina basecamp (just under 14,000 feet), I started feeling lousy. Really lousy. Rick took me to see the camp doctor, who confirmed what Rick suspected – I had acute mountain sickness. They put this little contraption on my finger, which recorded the oxygen saturation of the hemoglobin in my blood. While at sea level this would read around 99%, at that time it was in the low 80’s, which somewhat explained why I felt about half as good as normal. Imagine a bad hangover with a dose of heavy lethargy. I was physically, mentally and emotionally wrecked. I was twenty years younger than the other guys, and yet I was the one who wasn’t going to make it anywhere near the summit. I had a deep, sinking feeling about all the time and effort that I had committed to this trip – for naught. They started me on Diamox and told me to rest. In his gruff, terse, gentle way, Rick kept tabs on me and told me not to give up hope. The next day Rick, Mark and John carried loads to camp 1 while I rested. The following day the pulse oximeter read 88%. I was feeling better and cleared to keep ascending. We moved on to camp 1, then camp 2. I moved a little slower, humbled by my own frailty. We got pinned down by a bad storm at camp 2 for 6 days, testing our patience, supplies and determination. We had carried a load to another camp called Piedras Blancas, at about the same elevation but closer to the ascent route. Nearing the end of our allotment of time and supplies, the weather began to clear. We scrapped our plan to move; instead Posey and Mark retrieved our cache of gear from Piedras Blancas. It was a short, flat traverse, but the wind was such that they had to break trail through the snow both ways. The skies opened and camp 2 turned into a bustle of activity as nearly everyone mobilized for the summit. After so much bad weather and luck, I could hardly believe we were actually headed out. It was an incredible day – dark, blue, cloudless skies and no wind – hard to believe after the weeks we’d spent there. On Aconcagua the wind is a nearly constant figure. It blows tents away. You can hear gusts coming, like an airplane. It is visible in the form of lenticular clouds – the viento blanco. I was getting used to the cold, the wind, not eating enough, and hanging out in those stinking tents reading Atlas Shrugged. Rick was exhausted from breaking trail to get our boots and stuff from Piedras Blancas. The trail out of camp 2 was deep with snow. The day seemed long as the sun cut through the high, thin air. The final approach is a dusty slog. We labored slowly up the slope, fighting the thin air. Rick was unselfishly carrying a lot of group gear – first aid, extra food, extra gloves and so on. He was falling off the pace. I waited for him; we fell behind the pack. After many, many rest stops I finally convinced him to switch backpacks with me. There was no way in hell I was going to the summit without Rick. After all the extra work he had done for the team, I would not have made it without him; I would not have earned it. Our pace picked up a bit with the weight redistributed. As we climbed higher, the views opened to the northwest, west, and southwest. We reached the summit around 7pm and spent all of 15 or 20 minutes on top, after two weeks of hard effort. Coming down the sunset was pretty amazing. Rick and I didn’t make it back to camp until after midnight. It took us 19 hours to climb 4,000 feet. I had never felt so physically and emotionally exhausted. I can’t say I was elated that I summited, although I know I would have been disappointed to come all that way, put forth all that effort and expenditure, and never make it past Piedras Blancas. More than anything I felt a great sense of relief about not going home empty handed. Together we made it to the summit. That climb taught me a powerful lesson – that climbing is a team sport. Life is a team sport. The things I learned on that climb helped form the foundation of my climbing experience. We talk about climbing in terms of mountains, cliffs, routes, grades, ratings, buttresses, glaciers, faces and couloirs. New climbers quickly accumulate the latest, most-improved gear, mileage, summits and routes. With maturity we begin to appreciate more and more the importance of partners and community to the climbing experience. To quote Gaston Rebuffat: “the choice of companion is as important as the choice of the climb.” As specific climbs fade in memory and significance, the bonds forged between partners only become more meaningful – and transcend the climbing experience. Very soon two of my mentors will be heading out on an epic adventure. They’ve motivated and inspired me to be a better climber and a better person. Our mentors are not always older or more experienced. Wherever you are in your journey of life, stop and take a moment to reflect on who your mentors have been, and how they’ve influenced your life. Thank them, and pass it on.
  5. Thank you mentors

    He and she are heading to Patagonia. I'm one part jealous and 99 parts stoked for them.
  6. Trip: Johannesburg - '57 NE Rib Date: 7/4/2015 Trip Report: Like many other people who've climbed in the Boston basin area, I've been wanting to climb this one for some time. I'm glad we got it done. More photos and the full story: http://www.mountainshop.net/johannesburg-trip-report-by-preston-corless/ Approach Notes: Recommend boots over approach shoes
  7. [TR] Johannesburg - '57 NE Rib 7/4/2015

    Tom, we were going off Steph Abegg's photos with the ~4,400 start for the '51 route and about 3,900 for the '57. We traversed the snow apron, we didn't really ascend any of the CJ Couloir. I think we started about as low as possible for the '57 route...pretty much at the bottom of the snow apron in this photo: It was a bit of exaggeration to say we'd spent a couple of hours reaching the start of the '51 route, but from that vantage point it certainly looked like the '51 would have been a lot shorter.
  8. [TR] Johannesburg - '57 NE Rib 7/4/2015

    @Ivan We had almost that exact picture. In spite of it, we headed up too far right, then traversed way too far left, then worked back right along the ridge. We were gaining elevation the whole time, but it would have been faster had we followed this beta. And I think we probably went over the ridge below this point (too far left/north).
  9. [TR] Johannesburg - '57 NE Rib 7/4/2015

    I think we crossed at about 7,150. It was pretty good scrambling at first - 3rd class. Then we encountered a rap anchor (really old) and used it (+ backup). We ended up doing a second rappel to avoid loose, dirty 3rd-4th class. Then a third to get over the moat onto the snow. Maybe we were too far north (and too low)...?
  10. [TR] Johannesburg - '57 NE Rib 7/4/2015

    I'd love to hear the RIGHT way to go up and down Doug's Direct. I'm pretty sure we did it wrong.
  11. Trip: Jefferson - Jeff Park Glacier Date: 6/21/2015 Trip Report: A lot of people are asking about Jeff, so I figured it's time to write it up. What we found was a LOT of melt out from this TR last month... May 15 Jeff Park Or what we saw a couple years ago in a high snow year... June 2011 The approach was snow free but the mosquitoes were out in force. We camped at about 7,200 on scree. Plenty of nice bivy spots. We found running snow melt but there is lots of silt - bring some coffee filters. There was just enough of a breeze to keep the mossies at bay. The solstice sunset and sunrise were pretty epic. We started climbing at 1am. We ascended the far left (east) side of Jeff park, and turned right at the base of the bergschrund. There is a lot of rockfall - streaks of debris and rocks melting into snow. Even at that hour there was running water up at the bergschrund. We crossed the bergschrund with a ~waist high step up into the debris runnel (then immediately out of it). This move will likely be getting higher and higher and may soon be impassible. Once we gained the ridge, we simul climbed from snow onto rock with crampons on. The rock section is fairly easy climbing. We had some rock pro and used it. The ridge turns back to snow, steep in some places. We found a few ice screw placements. The summit pinnacle still had a good bit of ice coverage. We'd gotten some good parking lot beta to avoid rapping off the EAST side. We descended to red saddle with two raps and a traverse, then walked down and around the whitewater glacier. We saw lots of debris and rockfall on that side of the mountain. We were really glad we didn't try that descent. We were back at camp around 3 and back at the car around 5. I was surprised how little snow was left on the mountain, and how much fun it was without the snow. Gear Notes: We had 5 pickets and used 4. Used one ice screw, a small cam, a couple stoppers and tri cams. Also long slings. Approach Notes: long sleeves and bug spray advisable.
  12. [TR] Jefferson - Jeff Park Glacier 6/21/2015

    Jae, a 35m rope will require you to build another rap anchor. The anchors we found were set up for 60m.
  13. [TR] Jefferson - Jeff Park Glacier 6/21/2015

    Sorry. Got beta not to rap off the EAST side. So we rapped off the SW corner towards red saddle. The snow was firm enough for a good descent there.
  14. Trip: Adams - South Face/SW gullies Date: 5/2/2015 Trip Report: We got some great turns last weekend. I'm starting to feel a benefit from altitude room training - moved pretty easily higher up the mountain. We descended from the false summit as it was pretty windy up there and skiing from the very top did not appear to offer great snow. We started descending right around noon. We found the top of the SW chutes pretty icy, so we traversed back to the SE, descended nice soft snow, then cut back over to some really beautiful snow. I can't think of many times I've had a better combination of spring snow and terrain. We followed tracks down to the round-the mountain trail, which led to some tedious traverse skinning on snow and some pine needles. We only took skis off once. Once we hit the main trail, it seemed like we were back in the car within minutes. All in all an awesome outing. Avy damage at the round the mountain trail...big trees toppled like toothpicks: Approach Notes: ski crampons would have been useful.
  15. altitude training?

    There has actually been quite a lot of very good high altitude research since Houston's book, which came out a long time ago. It covers a huge range of topics and is not just focused on narrow issues like whether training in a hypoxic room makes a difference. So where do I find this...books, articles, rumors...?
  16. altitude training?

    John, it's $10 a visit or less. Where else would my money be better spent? In Houston's book, a lot of the research on altitude has been inconclusive. So we haven't learned anything since then?
  17. FS: Approach skis, Mountaineering Boot Compatible

    Deal. What kind of climbing gear are you wanting to trade for?
  18. WTB size 42 double boots

    Sportiva Baruntse or Spantik, Scarpa Phantom Guide or similar
  19. Wanted: approach skis or bindings

    5'7", 150 pounds I have telemark skis but need an approach set up.
  20. Trout Creek - lost hat

    I had a great weekend at Trout Creek weekend before last. We had fantastic weather with a nice breeze on Saturday. Near the top of one of the routes near anorexic doughboy, my hat blew off and away. I made three trips to look for it, but it could have been anywhere in the jumble of basalt and brush west of the cliffs. I was sad to lose that hat – it had been with me through many adventures and good times near and far. It seemed to fit in well climbing in the Central Oregon desert (not to mention the great protection it provided sans the greasy sun block). Of course, I’ll always have the memories, and I can get another hat. If you happen to find a slightly yellowed straw cowboy hat with a couple of brown-grey feathers, drop me a line. Or just send it floating down the Deschutes River as an object lesson on the importance of living good days, and the lack of meaning in stuff.
  21. Trip: Trout Creek - Lost Hat Date: 6/13/2014 Trip Report: I had a great weekend at Trout Creek weekend before last. We had fantastic weather with a nice breeze on Saturday. Near the top of one of the routes near anorexic doughboy, my hat blew off and away. I made three trips to look for it, but it could have been anywhere in the jumble of basalt and brush west of the cliffs. I was sad to lose that hat – it had been with me through many adventures and good times near and far. It seemed to fit in well climbing in the Central Oregon desert (not to mention the great protection it provided sans the greasy sun block). Of course, I’ll always have the memories, and I can get another hat. If you happen to find a slightly yellowed straw cowboy hat with a couple of brown-grey feathers, drop me a line. Or just send it floating down the Deschutes River as an object lesson on the importance of living good days, and the lack of meaning in stuff.
  22. Trip: Chair Peak - North Face...avalanche on descent Date: 1/4/2014 Trip Report: This climb began like many others – ‘what do you want to do this weekend?’ Smith looked too cold. Hood looked too dry. Chair peak jumped to the top of the list owing to a recent trip report and circumstances. The really low snowpack hasn’t left much in great shape to climb or ski. Chair is not too far to drive. A one day climb is so much easier to pull off. We felt comfortable enough with the approach from past trips to the area in summer months. Late Thursday and Friday the plan coalesced with few impediments. “I was ready to vote for Chair Peak until I read the approach notes which state ‘... prone to avalanche. If snow conditions are poor, abandon climb and go someplace else.’ Hmm.... I guess I need to go look at avy forecast and telemetry data to decide if it is worth the drive.” We checked the NWAC forecast, which improved between Thursday and Friday’s forecast – low below tree line and moderate above. The area of concern being wind slab on N-NE aspect slopes. We decided the avalanche forecast was not a deal-breaker. All of the other logistics began to come together. “Do you have any pitons? The book says to bring pitons.” “No…can’t think of anyone that does. Is the mountain shop open this late? I think they’re only open ‘till 8 in the summer.” We agreed on time of departure, where to meet and who would bring what gear. A final follow-up text: bring beacons and stuff. Driving in, we were surprised by the lack of snow – even less than expected. We left the snowshoes in the car. We talked about leaving the beacons. “That would be really stupid.” The fatigue of the early morning hours gave way to excitement and anticipation. We were walking through a winter wonderland. Sunrise hit the tops of the peaks. A couple of inches of fresh, soft, loose powder covered a thin crust of snowpack. It would make for good skiing if there were more of it. A threesome of skiers passed us, carrying their skis to some deeper stash. There was a lot of exposed rock. As the sun hit the snow it sparkled off of the thick crystals on top. “I’m glad the sun is out melting this. It can be dangerous if it gets buried…‘a persistent weak layer’. We made good time on the flat trail. As we gained a view of the final, steeper part of the approach, we saw the boot pack and a party of five on it. Our pace quickened. [img:left]https://fbcdn-sphotos-h-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/1606342_10202504849801060_464893429_o.jpg[/img] The soft snow made travel up the steeper slopes more difficult as our feet started to give way. The wind picked up as we approached the base of the mountain. We caught up to the party in front of us as they stopped to put on harnesses and crampons. We were not inclined to stop. It turns out the party of five was one party of two and one of three. On this last stretch of the approach the snow changed. The powder had been thickening. Here it changed gradually to packed powder, with sections of shiny crust. We glanced at the bowl to our left, the slope angle, the aspect, the snow conditions. The snow was just firm enough to reach the ridge top without crampons. We threw on some layers and the rest of our gear. The party of two headed up the northeast buttress. We followed the party of three around to the north face. The soft snow made the traverse a little unsettling. The climb was fantastic – bright sun, no wind, good ice and firm snow. We hadn’t located any pitons, and didn’t place any of our rock gear until regaining the sunshine on the summit. There we met the party of three – they’d taken a different line, a bit of a hybrid between the northeast buttress and the north face. We learned from them that there had been an avalanche on the approach. We saw the helicopter circling, hovering and dropping rescuers with a litter. The elation of the climb gave way to a sense of dread. “How could we have done this?” After the last rappel we encountered a lot of deep snow. We saw a small crown wall – maybe two feet at the thickest point and 20-30 feet across. We could see the debris field below and more than half a dozen rescuers, a couple of rescue dogs. The first rescuer we encountered relayed the story – a single person had triggered the slide, which had released left (NW) across to the slope we had climbed to reach the ridge at the base of the northeast buttress. The debris field covered the trail down in the flats. Eyewitnesses had called 911. The guy who triggered the slide had been caught in it but unhurt. He retrieved his stuff and walked out. Evidently this happened around 11am. It was now about 3. [img:left] [/img] [img:left] [/img] [img:left] [/img] We felt, at the same time, really lucky and really stupid. We’d had this great, invigorating experience in the mountains. And yet, we could have triggered that same slide. The slope could have released when we were walking below or across it. Why hadn’t we given it more thought on the way in? Why hadn’t we dug a pit or re-assessed conditions? Had we crossed that line between adventurous and reckless? [img:left] [/img] Sharing this invites a lot of second guessing and criticism – not all of it well intentioned or constructive. Criticism is warranted. Maybe critical thinking or evaluation would be a better way to put it. Maybe better thinking and decision making is the best way to put it – the desired outcome. We fell victim to some of the same decision making and group think that leads to tragedies like Tunnel Creek. Thankfully this was just a really sobering close call. We somehow walked through the lion’s cage without waking the beast. I never want to find out what that’s like. News Social