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Nick Aiello

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Nick Aiello last won the day on August 25 2021

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About Nick Aiello

  • Birthday 09/06/1998


  • Occupation
    Hospital Tech
  • Location
    Seattle, WA

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  1. Yo Pete! I've got a Houdini in size Small that I don't use too much. It fits me really loosely, though it might be a little snug on you. Hopefully I will see ya in Talk. again and you can try it on. Also, I lost your phone #, so shoot me a text if you get a chance! Nick Edited to for spelling.
  2. Just dropped the price to $165 or best offer. This thing is in incredibly good shape, a testament to the quality of Arc'teryx gear. The shoulder straps and hip belt show zero wear. Used (but not abused) a total of 41 days. Again, full retail is $400 + tax. Thanks for looking.
  3. For Sale: An Arc'teryx Nozone 75 liter pack, size small. This pack is in really good condition with one tiny (6mm long) rip in the side that has not grown at all and could be patched with a dab of Seam Grip. I'm 5'8" with a shorter torso and the pack fits perfectly. This thing is a great, lightweight gear hauler for big loads on expeditions or winter trips. I used it for two Denalis last summer and it was just a bit too little volume for guiding. For a personal Denali trip, I think it would be a perfect pack. All padding in the shoulder straps and waist belt are in perfect condition. All buckles are intact and I added two straps that fit crampons or snowshoes. The fabric is still in great shape (less the little tear) and didn't even fade at all. The pack weighs just 4.8lbs but still has a super cushy suspension system. $175 $165 OBO. I live near Greenlake in Seattle. $20 shipped. Payment in cash or PayPal. Thanks for looking! Edited to say: Retail price would be $400. Also, email Nick[@]synnottmountainguides.com for fastest response.
  4. Ahhh, a fellow dirtbag in pursuit of Alaskan suffering! Now is a good time to contact the air taxis and see if they will cut you an early season deal on the flight in. They're small businesses and don't have a giant profit margin, but offering to pay 100% up front for you and your partner(s) can often help them out at this time of year. Sheldon Air Service has been good to lots of people on tight budgets, and TAT is always the gold standard. Plane tickets to Anchorage vary wildly depending on when you buy, but I haven't paid more than $500 RT from Seattle or from Boston. For a May trip, I'd be all about a 0-degree bag with a couple sleeping pads and my single boots. Cheap snow boots with rubber soles will be way better around camp than pricy down booties. And if all you have are leather boots, they will do just fine with a little bit of Nikwax leather-proofing and a little extra care to dry them out in nice weather. I've used my old, beat-to-crap Nepals in a couple different parts of the Range as early as early April with good results. I'd bring both jackets since weight won't be a huge problem if you're base-camping (Air taxis do have baggage limits, though, of 100 to 120lbs per person, and charge a dollar or more per pound after that). You may well spend equal time in t-shirts and with all your layers on. I don't think I've ever worn my big puffy at KIA though, even in April. Oh, and bring ear plugs: If the engine noise doesn't drive you nuts, the spraying just might! KIA in 2010
  5. Yeah, fair point, $8 is like, almost two beers! But if you want to come learn something and get some info that just might help expand your climbing, drop by. Totally up to you.
  6. Spend all day dreaming about far off peaks in remote places, but feel like only the pros and trust fund babies get to go there? Does your minimum wage job keep you at the same local crag year after year? Has all your searching for a sugar-momma been to no avail? Then join us at Backcountry Essentials in Bellingham Thursday, 1/23/14, at 7:30PM. This interactive slideshow is all about how to go out and climb high, without breaking the bank. Years of shoestring budget roadtrips to the Alaska Range have taught me innumerable lessons about low-budget, high fun climbing, and I want to help you achieve your goals without selling a firstborn child. So come on by for some comical stories of misadventure and dirtbag climbing! $8 at the door.
  7. Trip: Denali - Messner Couloir Date: 6/10/2010 Trip Report: Here's a very brief description of my attempt at climbing the Messner Couloir on Denali. This route begins by deviating left from the Upper West Rib Cutoff above the 14,000' "Basin Camp," or Advanced Base Camp, on the mountain. The route ascends up through a chokepoint in a giant Y-shaped couloir that is clearly visible towering above 14-Camp. Twice, avalanches from this couloir have come close enough to me at Basin Camp to send most people running for their lives - as though they're fast enough to outrun an avalanche of that magnitude!! Thus this route, like most any other, has a certain degree of objective hazard that must be continually assessed for a safe attempt. However, I feel that it is a striking, semi-technical, underestimated direct line from 14-Camp to the edge of the Football Field, above 19,000'. I cannot wait for a second go at this route. When I was 20 years old, I was doing poorly in college in New Jersey. By working part-time as a bike messenger for a small company in Manhattan, I saved up for my first trip to Alaska. My best buddy Paul and I did the trip on a shoestring, spending under $2k apiece round-trip, from the Boston area. We had the incredible adventure of driving 4,800 miles to Alaska through the Yukon Territory. The venerable Mark fuckin' Westman did our Denali orientation! And then flew into the Range. Photo by Paul Calabro I got the idea to climb the Messner after doing an acclimatization day trip to High Camp at 17,200', and back to 14-Camp. Selfie climbing the West Buttress headwall, off to the side of the fixed lines The idea really germinated because I was star-struck. Colin Haley and Bjørn-Eivind Årtun were skulking around Camp, waiting to climb groundbreaking new shit. I was incredibly humbled and impressed when these heros of mine asked, with honest interest and humility, what we were up to. They seemed truly psyched to share their report of climbing the Messner a week prior, and were amazingly nice to nobodies like ourselves. Paul was having some difficulties acclimatizing, and one other member of our party of four was hell-bent on a summit pic - his way or the highway. 14-Camp in 2010 So, I decided to go for it on a night of cold, clear weather. The Messner Couloir is the obvious Y-shaped gully at center. Leaving at midnight to take advantage of cold conditions, but twilight at the darkest hour, I followed Colin and Bjorn's skin track towards the Rib, then branched left in to the Messner. Climbing solo through a complicated bergschrund was trying on my nerves. I had to stand atop the lower lip of several crevasses, plant my tools on the steep opposite (uphill) wall of the crack, and then frontpoint for several feet before pulling myself onto lower-angle terrain. The blue-black, silent void of those cracks still tugs at my heels to this day. 400-speed, 35mm film at a slow exposure around 3AM. I climbed through the chokepoint, and the steepness of the snow and ice relaxed. But as the snow became deeper, I hopped from rock island to rock island, growing wary of avalanche risk. Basin Camp can be barely seen in the middle-right of this picture from roughly 18,000' I felt as alone as a solo astronaut. At 5AM local time, was I the highest person in the hemisphere who wasn't in an airplane? With each step, I felt more alive. But the snow kept feeling worse, until I could bear it no longer. The windslab was too deep, and getting worse as the ridge rounded off. As much as my ego and I wanted to press on and summit, it was time to go. I bailed off from approximately 19,000', +/- 250 vertical feet. High in the Couloir. I began the laborious, scary task of traversing off to the left, North, towards the Fantasy Ridge. From there, I descended to a slumbering High Camp at 17,000', and made my way back to Basin Camp. Near High Camp, defeated. But I had not come for a summit photo, I had come for adventure. The descent to base camp was yet to test me, and it would be a hard gauntlet to run. And then, Paul and I drove home in his trusty Ford Ranger in just 4.5 days: far more dangerous than most of our time on Denali. To finish, a gratuitous quote from Apocalypse Now!: "Sell the house. Sell the car. Sell the kids." I'm never coming back from Alaska. "Forget it!" Gear Notes: One ice tool and one axe worked great for this route. Overboot, mittens, daypack. Approach Notes: Take 2 to 10 days to climb to 14,000' Camp.
  8. Oh and also slam at least one beer at the Fairview. ... It's sad that anyone even needs to be told....
  9. I humbly suggest that anyone going to the Ruth keeps their eyes wide open and doesn't limit his or herself to the guidebook. Spend a day at the NPS in Talkeetna looking through perhaps the Greatest Anthology of Climbing History that is not digitized, the new route binders. Bring enough food and comfort to basecamp so that you don't want to leave when the first storm comes up. And bring enough gear so that one bail doesn't force you to end your trip. I'd also recommend the Messner Couloir on Denali as a way to acclimatize while also doing some semi-technical climbing. It's also a good way to test out how you do on a big day starting at 14,000', and has some beautiful views! Basin Camp from about 18,000' on the Messner Couloir, 2010. I bailed off left at roughly 19,000' due to increasing windslab.
  10. Wow I am pretty damn jealous of that ice mushroom! We encountered pitch after pitch of steep snow and snice (to 85 degrees) that had to be tenuously cleared away, revealing only poor thin ice underneath. The only vertical powder snow I'd seen like that was under a giant chockstone while attempting the Cornhole Couloir on the nearby London Tower a few years ago. That bail lead to one of the sketchiest rap anchors (a small bollard in sugar snow) of my life. As for the time of year, it's a crap shoot. Three years ago, it was so warm in the Ruth in late April and early May that we couldn't even skin -- much less climb -- until the sun went down. Most of the ice routes melted out fast that year.
  11. Trip: Central Alaska Range, Mooses Tooth - Ham and Eggs Date: 4/5/2013 Trip Report: After a long 10hr day working my crap job as a high-rise window cleaner, my mind can't help but wander back to the Alaska Range, where I've explored, worked, suffered, and smiled each Spring since 2010. Here's a brief report from one of this year's expeditions, when my partner Paul Calabro and I climbed the 3000' route "Ham and Eggs," on the Mooses Tooth, to the col, making the first ascent of that route of the season. My trusty all-wheel-drive Chevy Astro work van was outfitted for the 4,700mi drive from North Conway, NH, to Talkeetna, AK. This is the second time Paul and I have driven from New England to Alaska. Entering the Yukon on day 4 of 5 of driving. We hit a good April snowstorm here. The frigid sky in Talkeetna was clear as I've ever seen, and we could easily see Denali from the river. Paul Roderick of Talkeetna Air Taxi tried to get us into the Root Canal airstrip right below the route, but some insane turbulance landed us... At the Mountain House, where we waited for 3 days.... In temps of negative 40 to negative 15 (low and high) Fahrenheit. Until Paul (Roderick) could swoop in and bump us up to the Canal. Here's a shot looking South down the West side of the Ruth Glacier's Great Gorge, where I spent a couple weeks bailing off stuff in 2011 Coming in to land at the Root Canal Finally at the Root Canal! But it's still crazy cold. But the views of Denali are to die for. After a few more days for temperatures to finally get above zero degrees F in the daytime, an interesting event occurred. We were amazed as a pair of very strong climbers, Fabrizio and Roger (sometimes called Lil' Rog.) of Colorado, were repulsed low on the route! When they descended, their report was dire: Deep unconsolidated snow leading to a giant snow mushroom that blocked the typically-easy ice ramp on pitch 3. The route follows the central gully, approached from the left. Photo by Paul Calabro, used with permission. Luckily, I was moving out West, and had all of my climbing gear in my van with me. Most of that I had flown onto the glacier, and so I dug out my aiders, cam hooks, daisies, and tiny cams, intent on taking up where Fabrizio and Lil' Rog. had left off, aiding around the snow mushroom. The next morning, I was treated to one of the scariest, spiciest pitches of my 12-year climbing career, replete with aiding off of pickets, a bolt from the original Krakauer ascent 40 years prior, and scratching ice out of a crack so that my cam hook would bite. I won't bore you with the details, but it was so weird that I had to take selfies. But, we had made it above the mushroom! Here's Paul following, I think he freed the icy crack. We then climbed a few pitches of easy snow to put in the boot pack up to the base of the AI4 crux pitch, which looked fat and good. A solid recon done, we retreated to camp. The next day, a storm blew in, and dumped yet more snow on our route. Thankfully, Celine Van Breukelen and partner Brian Shum (of Wasilla and Anchorage) were chompin' at the bit, and went up the route next. Though they only got in a handful of pitches that day due to the deep snow, they were instrumental in the ascents of the parties that followed by cleaning deep drifts from the route. A day later, Paul and I got an early start and gunned it for the top. The first six pitches flew by quickly. But then, the AI4 crux turned out to be a bastard. The "fat ice" we saw was nothing but a crust over powder snow, which was plastered over the prior years black, bulletproof ice. Oh, and there was another honkin' snow mushroom near the top! This 100' of "AI4" took me nearly an hour to climb. A single ice screw took nearly 20 minutes to place. I thought this was supposed to be a trade route! This is the kind of rat's nest that we had to dig out from under all the powder snow while searching for belays in the rock walls. There were very few other visible cracks for rock pro. After a couple more spicy steep steps, which required serious excavation of vertical snow to climb, I'm feeling better. A couple more pitches of wallowing in deep snow... And we've made it to the col! That's the East Buttress of Denali in the background. Now just sixteen rappels to go to get down! We made the trip in 16 hours round trip. Check out that thin, bulletproof ice! Back in town, we rub shoulders with the "real" climbers; guys like Scott Adamson and Pete Tapley, who'd just made big first ascents on the 5,000' East Face of the Mooses Tooth. I later heard from a friend who climbed Ham and Eggs a week after us that conditions were perfect for him. The weather had warmed, the route had avalanched and sloughed, and he even mentioned that there was plastic ice! I don't believe this to be a case of better timing, as my prior trip to this part of the Alaska Range was in late April and early May. People that year were getting stymied by the too-hot conditions, and Ham and Eggs was declared "out" pretty early. You get what ya get! As for me, I had to guide two Denali trips before I was done with Alaska this year. After a long season, I was ready to swear off glaciers forever. But just a few short months later, I find myself jonesing for it all over again.... Thanks for reading! Gear Notes: We carried something like 6 cams to 2.5in, 8 nuts, 4 pins, and 8 screws (mostly stubbies) and two pickets on our ascent. I would consider this a very heavy rack for the route, but I was glad for the extra gear since we had no info on the condition of rappel anchors. With two 60m ropes, every rappel was a serious rope-stretcher. Next time, I'd bring a 70. Approach Notes: Talkeetna Air Taxi is the best for flying to the Root Canal. Parties did ascend the icefall from the main Ruth Glacier, and found it not crazy difficult, but objectively dangerous.
  12. Brand new to the forum, but here's my two cents: After spending far too much time on Denali (5 expeditions over 4 years, mostly (but not exclusively) guiding), it's my opinion that most people tend to spend far too much time planning and far too little time training. Your pack and sled weight will be the heaviest of your life, so try to minimize your kit as much as possible. But think about that while you're on the stairmaster, or better yet, while hiking uphill in double boots in the wind and cold. Minimize, minimize, minimize... but bring warm mittens and boots. Spend more time researching how to train for long endurance events, rather than finding a carbon fiber pee bottle. I hope this helps! I'm sure you will have the time of your life.
  13. Hello All, My name is Nick and I've just moved to the PNW at the end of July, coming from New Hampshire via Alaska. As the ice season approaches, I'm getting anxious to get out and climb, and so far I haven't met anyone who's done more than a handful of days of ice climbing. I've spent the last couple years guiding in North Conway, NH, and up Denali, so being in the city is a real fish-out-of-water experience for me. That, combined with not knowing anyone out here, leaves me jonesing for a partner. In any event, if someone is interested in getting after some WI4-5 ice or alpine routes, let me know. I'm definitely no badass, but I can promise to bring a safe, level head and a lot of experience with me. And I have a sweet AWD Astro work van. I've been up Denali 5 times now (one personal trip, 4 guiding), and have spent the last 4 seasons climbing in the Central Alaska Range. So, if you're interested in AK, maybe we can trade your knowledge of the Cascades for my many stories of misadventure in the Range. Finally, I may be a decent climber, but I consider myself an excellent bailer. I pride myself in the ability to turn tail and bail safely from almost anything! See ya out there! Photo: Me at the col above Ham and Eggs on the Mooses Tooth, April 2013. First ascent of this season (to the col). Denali's SE Buttress in background.
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