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Everything posted by Alex

  1. Trip: Dolomites - Various Kid-friendly routes Date: 7/20/2014 Trip Report: My wife and I wanted to do a cool mountain trip with the kids that would be super kid friendly, allow my parents to participate (they live in Austria), but still be inspiring for us and not make our heads hurt too much with logistics or drama, so we chose to visit the Dolomites, Italy for a few weeks this Summer. We rented an apartment, which is what the rest of Europe does in this area, in the Summer and Winter. Having an apartment with a kitchen is important, as South Tyrol is very expensive and you would not want to eat out every day, or ever. We ate out twice the entire trip. It was the way to go! We've been training our little boys Max (6) and Zac (5) last few years and they really turned out to be very fast in the mountains and unafraid of the situations we put them in. Probably the hardest challenge with the kids was working on their motivation to do even short approaches. So, in hindsight, the Dolomites was perfect as the access is unrivaled! The weather was pretty unsettled in July so we fell into a routine of having about the first half of the day dry, and the latter half of each day threatened by thunderstorms, interspersed by rain days where we would just hang out. There were a lot of rain days, where we just went to the local market, or went to the ropes course, or some random playground. Day A We arrive in and stayed in Campitello di Fassa, a small commune just a few km down the valley from Canazei, which by any measure is a complete zoo. Campitello is much better. Day B We chose some easy stuff for the kids at first, as we did not really know what to expect. So we did the easiest via feratta there is: Grand Cir on the Gardena Pass. Hardly a feratta. The kids did it in fine style, were pretty bored, passed a lot of the adults going up and down the hill, and had the most FUN EVER! jumping on the trampoline at the Jimmy hut for hours! So, a success. Day C Summer and I decided to try some real climbing while my parents hung out with the kids, and this day turned out to be the best weather day we had the entire trip. We chose the Trenker route on the First Sella Tower, as a warm up. It is rated V, so...who knows what that means? It is very aesthetic looking, taking a large dihedral that divides a big face. The climbing was steep and basically only protected by fixed gear. Belays were mank. I got to lead the crux pitch, which was probably 5.7. We got in a queue behind some slower climbers but that was ok, until two Brits and their local guide showed up and we listened to the Brits slag the parties ahead of them for an hour or more while we waited. The local guide tried to be diplomatic but the Brits were complete dbags. Eventually, we all topped out and the route was fun! It started raining about a half pitch from the top. Day D We decided to do more of a mountain hike with the boys, and took the tram to Sass Pordoi and did a loop to the top of Biz Boe, the highest point of the Sella Group, and back. It was a decent day but at 3000+ meters quite a bit colder than the rest of the trip. We took a look at the Via Maria and it looks awesome! We wanted to do this route the entire trip but never actually got a full dry day. Day E Clearly Grand Cir was too easy for the kids, so we opted to go back for Picollo Cir/ Cir V, which is a bit harder, especially since we knew the kids would say yes if there was a trampoline party at the end. Day F Summer and I took another half day to ourselves, and, in the interest of doing as much terrain as possible, we elected to do a feratta instead of a roped climb. We launched into the Brigatta Tridentina, which all the doers of via feratta seem to rave about, it is very famous, at the Gardena Pass. The climb went very quickly for us, and it was really amazing to both see how much steep terrain one can climb very quickly in the Dolomites, how long the queue was to climb this famous thing in high season, and how many noobs were on this route completely freaking out because it was the first time ever in the mountains. It wasn't easy to help people here, as the thing is pretty much one-way, but it goes quickly. I found the deproach much more interesting and scenic than the ascent, but it was fun doing all that climbing at maximum speed, essentially soloing. Day G Its hard to keep track now of what order stuff happened, but we went to Venice for a rain day. Day H Summer and I ran for a quick half day and climbed the Steger route on the first Sella Tower, hoping to do the trip that mvs did at some point in the past, climbing Steger and then climbing the second Sella Tower via the Right Crack, which we saw up there on the first outing. Unfortunately, the rain started pretty much in earnest on second to last pitch, which is quite steep (Summer's lead) and then was really coming down on the last pitch, my pitch, through a wet overhanging chimney. The fixed pro was pretty good, and the crux move was a wet slimy hand jam but it got us to the top, and we bailed on climbing Sella II that day. Day ? We wanted to push the boys a little bit more, as Picollo Cir had turned out to be a walk in the park for them, they climbed literally as fast as we did on the feratta, and we also felt that Brigata Tridentina was a little too long of an outing for a 5-year old, so were looking for something steeper and longer but not TOO long. We opted for Piz da Lec, which is a Feratta on the exact opposite side of the Sella group from Campitello. After an hour driving and a couple of ski lifts and so on, we arrived at the base of what turned out to be a very steep climb. These things are equipped for adults, and adults reach, and so the kids cannot typically use the iron to advance on the rock on the steep sections; Piz da Lec was definitely like this - they had to climb the whole thing like a rock climb. The ladder at the top has yawning exposure, and we had the only child-meltdown of the trip at the top of the second ladder. Still, highly recommended as the walk-off is kind and the whole outing very balanced. Day ?? Winding down towards the end of the trip now, one more outing to the Lagazuoi Tunnels for a bit of World War 1 history. It was already drizzling when we left the parking lot but were able to motivate the troops enough to get to the tunnel entrance, and the latter half of this climb is entirely inside the mountain. We emerged in a full blown thunderstorm, and ran for the tram station between strikes. Wrap up This was a great adventure for our little climbers, and was a pretty easy trip for us. We brought a full assortment of climbing gear but ended up using not that much of the rack. For the trade routes, seems you can get by with just a few supplemental pieces. The kids did great, it was pretty easy trip for them too they got lots of treats on the rain days and there were a lot of family friendly things to do Approach Notes: Northern Italy. Take a right.
  2. The close up of the N side of Hood looks very regal!
  3. Late October Ski Descent

    ...if the weather is good... Sulphide on Shuksan is a basic one You could ski a fair amount of Adams all the snow is going to be age hardened though, so ymmv.
  4. New Guy

    Post posts like this in "Climbing Partners" forum in future http://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/forums/12/1/Climbing_Partners
  5. Cilogear 45L Height and Compression

    What I do on lightweight overnight trips where you are carrying on the approach, and then trying to minimalize on the climb, is one partner takes a "normal" 45L pack, and one partner takes a completely lightweight collapsible ultralight pack (like the Lowe summit series, or the one made by Serratus). While approaching, the rack goes in the normal pack, and the other guy carries the rope and the ultralight pack. At the base of the route the ultra light pack is emptied and put inside the normal pack. The leader now climbs sans pack (maybe with shoes on harness) and the second is now the only one encumbered with a pack, the "normal" pack. When you lead in blocks, it minimizes the number of pack transfers too. This is a good system for something like Backbone, Serpentine, or the like when you might actually want a dececnt rack and water, but not want the leader to climb with pack while leading 5.9 or ++ pitches. This is how I climbed Slesse NE Buttress with Jens, some years back. It worked well, even carrying 6 L of water up the route. While climbing, the only thing in the pack is bivy gear and water and maybe some eats. If you are really fast, you can generally get away with smaller day packs, but same strategy
  6. Nice. I and Gene tried that trip back in 2006 and it was a very intimidating place, in the end we did the SE Route, still a great time and definitely "different" up there on that vast summit plateau
  7. skis!

    We started our kids at 2. Get a Big S pass for kids to Snoqualmie, just for the kid. The Magic Carpet at Summit West is perfect for 2 year olds. You will spend a lot of time there hiking up and down as your trooper gets the hang of it. Once they graduate from the Magic Carpet, you can ride Little Thunder, at Summit West, which works out really well. Buying boots that were small enough and fit was the crux. If you go to Stutevants they have used equipment on consign every fall.
  8. ISO full body harness

    sent email
  9. That is very fast. Good job! Great TR. This one is still on my list.
  10. [TR] Dragontail - Backbone 8/16/2014

    Nice effort. It's still best as a day trip. Going down Aasgard, the key is to pick up the first set of cairns at the top, which is further over towards CBR than you might think, and that after that you need to trend all the way over to the CBR side, the switchbacks go to the cliff itself, from the summit of the pass to at least half way down. Once you're on the path, doing it with a headlamp is very doable.
  11. Ah I see, he is dealing with Canadians. But if you have a US passport, you do not require proof of residency, since you are already a US citizen and there are no grounds to deny you entry into Canada. Or, is this not a US Passport?
  12. So does the route go past the prominent buttress in your pic, and then up the snow couloir/gully to it's right? Or where? Or is the prominent buttress the left skyline in that pic?
  13. Does anybody recognize this crag?

    cougar dyno'ed for a climber rappelling past the mouth, no doubt
  14. So you looked like a couple of complete dirtbags, and didn't have passports. Canada doesn't want you (though you'd fit right in in Nelson, B.C.). Go get that passport, you'll not have any hassle in the future.
  15. Climbing Gear for Sale

    PM sent
  16. I am surprised your name can even fit in a summit register, I propose that from now on you just sign your name "Anastasia Bla" !
  17. The following circuit has worked for me Icicle and Tumwater -------------------- Mountaineers dome, lower and upper R&D route on Icicle Buttress, the BOB Wall above Roto Wall XY Cracks Barneys Rubble Castle Rock stuff as mentioned Index ------ Great Northern Slab Inner Wall routes if he knows anything about jamming
  18. Barneys Rubble and especially the tooth-y boulder over to the right which you can rig a toprope on and TR 2-3 different sides with the same rig. We like Mountaineers Dome if there is no one there (eg midweek). The lower crag has a very blocky 4th class thing you can simulclimb with a small kid, and the upper part has the right crack at 5.2 which is doable for the 4-year old. To the left of the "Left Crack", just left of the deproach gully, is a short face at about 5.0 that you can set up with a little trad gear. X Y cracks right off the road by 8-mile campground is a nice spot if no one is there. There is a single slabby thing with a short 10a bolted arĂȘte on the right side, right at the start of a trail on right side of road going up canyon, but I don't know what it's called. The beginner route is 5.0 and easily top-roped (but rated harder in the guidebook) is good practice for small kids, and right next to the road. But its the only thing right there so doesn't last all that long. Roto Wall can be ok if you are climbing with/right behind your tots and showing them where to step. We've found Playground Point to be easily climbable by little kids despite the ratings, because the slabs are really easy... if they can survive the hike. The 4 year old should make it, you might have to pack the 2 year old.
  19. this personal smack talking is a joke, take it to PMs, email, or go duke it out in the Feathers parking lot. when you meet in person you might find some common ground and actually do something positive that benefits climbers, rather than this continuing spew on the internet. thx
  20. [TR] DRAGONTAIL - Triple couloir 5/3/2014

    good job to all the teams running up it, it's a great route and looks in decent shape for May, but I think it will very quickly go out now next couple weeks, if we get any more rain up high.
  21. re: avy, glad the climber made it re: snowmobile, Ive done it that way too and honestly all the futzing with the sled doesnt buy you much in the end over skis n skins re: ski out, yeah hi value