Moai on Easter Island

Moai on Easter Island

Monday, June 11, 2012

5 Guys, 4 Legs, 3 Wars, 2 Generations, 1 Mountain

I met a pretty amazing group of people today.  Five guys that I will be guiding up Denali over the coming weeks.  There are only 4 legs among them!  It has brought upon me a whole new perspective on life and mobility and our bodies and I've spent less than 8 hours with them.  After 25 more days with this group my life will be profoundly changed.

It didn't quite hit me until after over 7 hours with them today about what it might be like to have no legs.  I had only imagined this.  Last night I looked down at my legs and tried to imagine that they were not there.  I truly couldn't.  After some time with this group today I only began to try to understand what that may be like.  Right now my legs are the only thing that drive my life.  From running to climbing to getting out of bed in the morning.  And how easily things could change to having to put on a leg to do such things.  We spent some time going over ideas on how to charge their battery-operated legs and what might happen in the cold and high altitude.  We came up with few answers on how to deal with stuff.  We'll just have to get out in the mountains and see what we can do to try to climb this thing.  But it all really hit me at the end of the day as I was standing behind the group watching them listen to another guide lay out the plan for tomorrow--looking at all the people and only a few legs.  Looking at people standing on artificial limbs.  Looking at truly having no legs.

However, it does make it a lot easier to fit crampons on a boot.  The climber that I happened to be doing a gear check with sat down and said, "I bet you haven't seen this before," and simply rotated his leg 180* upwards so that the sole of his boot was staring me in the face.  Crazy.

There won't be another post from me until early July, but in the meantime there are plenty of other sources of info on our climb.  These guys have been able to gather lots of publicity for this climb.  Below links for they interviews with CBS and CNN and their personal blog.  Mountain Trip will also host a blog for them and AP will have a story coming out soon.

Mountain Trip:
Spot Location:

Friday, June 8, 2012

Some photos from the band Closely Watched Trains (Portland, OR)

Here are some photos of the 2nd night I got to see Closely Watched Trains play this weekend in Portland, OR.  Lanie White, Heather Brule, and Alan.  Full of great cover and original songs they draw a solid group of regulars every Sunday and have a knack for drawing numerous people off the street too.

Yep, it is summer time in Portland.

Heather's first time on bass

Videos coming tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Spur of the moment to Smith Rock

 I had a week off and some extra airline miles to use so I decided to take a spur of the moment trip to Portland to see some friends.  I was on a plane to Portland within 12 hours of that decision and on the road to Smith Rock State Park a few hours after the plane touched down.  Sometimes big spur of the moment decisions are exactly what a person needs for a reminder that life doesn’t always need to be planned out.  Just like Malcolm Gladwell says in his book, “Blink”, your best decisions are made instantly based solely on your gut feeling.
Cool Clouds at Smith Rock, OR

Finding the shade in the summer heat

There were five of us packed in the car on the way down there.  And for some reason every day that we climbed all of our packs were filled to the brim and super heavy.  Everyone else around us seems to have a tenth of the gear we did.  Not sure what we were doing wrong except for that each of us is or has been a guide or climbing instructor and we were all being stubborn and had to bring EVERYTHING. 

Dinner cooked in the campfire complete with a chunk of firewood for a plate

Lanie on a fun 5.10 lead

Baby Rattlesnake.  We had to have one person keep an eye on the snake while others were climbing and belaying.
I haven’t been rock climbing very much in the last few years due to some elbow injuries and lately I have really been missing it.  This was just the trip that I needed to propel me back into it.  Too bad I’m heading up in a Denali expedition where there won’t be any rock climbing at all.  

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Back from the Alaska Range

After nine months away I finally got back into the Alaska Range.  This time to teach a 12-day mountaineering course.  Quite a bit more mellow than teaching a 42-day course down in Patagonia.  Instead of writing too much on this one I’m just going to post a bunch of photos from the trip. 

Mt. Foraker from the summit of Control Tower

On the way down from the control tower

Denali.  On the way to 7800' Camp

Busy Day at Base Camp