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Hans Travis

Mentor for an aspiring alpine climber

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Hi everyone!

I'm 18 and just started at Western in B-ham, and I don't have much in the way of experienced partners up here.  This is pretty long and haphazard, so, TLDR it would be amazing if someone were willing to mentor me on winter and alpine climbing, and maybe drag me on a few adventures.

I'll give a little background to my climbing and outdoor experience up to the present.  I also want to say that where I am is really the result of an insane amount of good luck and amazing opportunity that has been presented to me, and in no way mean to spray about what I have done.  I have never really written down the progression of my climbing, so here it is, as well as where I want to go next.

I started out doing weekly classes at Vertical World Seattle when I was 5, and kept it mostly at that for the next 10 years.  I started going on yearly week long trips down to Smith Rock with the gym in middle school, and thats where I got really hooked.  Thats when I knew I wanted to be a climber, and also where I found a deep love for the big, beautiful, awe inspiring landscapes of mountains and deserts.  By the time I was 15, the trips to Smith were the absolute highlight of my year, I had watched most of the climbing videos I could find on youtube, and started spending a two or three days a week in the gym, and that summer got hired as an instructor at VW.  That same summer, on a trip to Mazama, my long time instructor taught us the basics of gear placement, and the following fall I convinced my parents to drive me and a friend to the crag a couple times, armed with a set of TCUs and a set of nuts that my dad had bought and then used once to climb the Tooth.

The next summer marked my first trips to Index and Leavenworth, getting rides from the parents of the only kid at the gym I'd met who seemed to be as psyched on placing gear as I was.  We started with stuff like Classic Crack in Leavy and Aries and the GNS at Index, and just worked up through 8s, 9s, and low 10s.  Early in the summer I knocked off the Tooth, which was the first time I used an ice axe, and then later climbed Outer Space.  Right from the beginning, climbing was about more than just the act of moving over rock, it was about being in the mountains and interacting with the landscape in a way that not many people get to, and climbing things that inspire me.  That fall I took my first real whip onto gear off the top of Slow Children.  At this point, I was climbing V8 boulder and mid 12s on lead at VW, but took it slow working through the grades at Index without much expectations, and just slowly learned and fell in love with the style of Index.  Another year of mostly hitching rides with the same friend, and he started to get more busy, but I also finally got my driver's license.  I had finally done a bit of harder sport climbing and bouldering outside, as well as continued to build my technique on Index slab.  My send of Iron Horse was when a lot just clicked together, and I really started feeling like I had managed to achieve some degree of mastery, and got a lot more confident about trying harder and harder climbs on the sharp end.  Moving over rock had never flowed so easily, and had never felt so good.  Last fall I started climbing with a lot more partners, and ever since then I have fallen more and more in love with the climbing community as a whole, and getting to share awesome experiences with amazing people.  The last year I've managed to climb something like 95 days outside, and plenty more in the gym, and I've spent a total of about 50 days at Index up to this point.

So, I am at a point in my climbing where I have gotten very comfortable on technical rock and enjoy all of the disciplines a lot, but big, awe inspiring mountains have always drawn me in a different way than climbing rock does.  I will always love climbing on rock, but I want to expand my horizons and continue learning and pushing myself towards harder, more distant summits.  I see stories and pictures and videos of the alpine side of the Cascades, the Canadian Rockies, the Alaska ranges, Patagonia, and elsewhere, and boy oh boy do I just want to go be in those mountains.  I kind of decided recently that a long term life goal of mine is to climb the Cassin Ridge, whether thats in two years or 20.  But I've got a lot of learning to do and experience to gain before that.

My experience in the alpine has been mostly on rock climbs like the East Ridge of Forbidden, Acid Baby on Aasgard Sentinel, the full Liberty Traverse at Washington Pass, and Thin Red Line on Liberty Bell.  I have quite a bit of hiking and backpacking experience including some 25+ mile days.  I have done a few mellower snow climbs, the Cascadian Couloir and the South Spur on Adams, along with soke approaches involving a bit of snow.  And I've been skiing for long enough to have decent cold weather layering knowledge and to know how awesome snow covered mountains look. 

So there you have it.  I am always beyond stoked to go be in the mountains, and taking things more alpine seems like the next step.  Up until here, I have figured a lot of things out on my own, but avalanches, bad weather, cravasses, and moving quickly through all the terrain that alpine and winter climbing will throw at you are things that I certainly have no intent to jump into without someone to show me the way.

I would love to go out ice climbing and tackle some winter objectives with someone that knows what they are doing.  I can generally take care of myself, I learn fast, and can carry my own weight, so let me know if you want to drag some fresh meat along for some adventurous winter sufferfests or big alpine objectives.  I know a lot of you on here have a wealth of knowledge, experience, and stories you could pass on, and it would mean the world to me if any of you were willing to do that.

If you have made it this far, thanks for reading and I hope to see you out there!

 - Tavish

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Hey Tavish, I'm also at western. I lean far toward the alpine and ice side of things but would be psyched to climb with you. Ive done some alpine rock (really dont feel good leading alpine rock harder than 5.9 on gear tbh) but I seek out alpine ice whenever it exists. (Bakers N Ridge, Lib Ridge, Colfax etc...) I also guide on Rainier and in the N Cascades so I have spent lots of time on glaciers and have my glacier skills (and teaching) pretty dialed. Sounds like you crush rock like no other! Shoot me a text and we can talk. My normal climbing partner is graduating after winter so I'll definitely be looking for someone to get after harder stuff in the alpine. 

~Porter McMichael

(509) five 5 for - 3744

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