Thursday, September 1, 2011

Its aboot time!

There is a perfectly good explanation for our lack of blogging.  We left the charger to our computer in Salt Lake about a month ago.  It is pretty much customary for us to forget a least one thing at every place we stop.  So we have been bumming charges any chance we get.  Right now however, I am writing from a computer in the Squamish Library, because we havn't found a charge in a while.

The last month or so has been busy.  My brother Dylan and good friend Tim asked us if we wanted to climb the Grand Teton with them, we just finished working in Salt Lake so we said we would see them the next day.  Luckily we left with some extra time because the van proceeded to have a severe coolant leak and we had to return to Salt Lake so I could fix it.

With perfect timing we arrived in Jackson at almost the same time as Dylan and Tim.  We climbed a little at a local sport crag and then went up to the campground to prep for tomorrow's accent.  We scanned over topos and read route descriptions with all the confidence in the world.  Then after checking over our packs we went to sleep early.

What I didn't realize until morning was that I was the only one who went to sleep early.  Turns out that Beth, Dylan, and Tim couldn't fall asleep, so they all got only an hour or two of sleep, the perfect way to start an alpine adventure.  We all got up at 3:00 am like we planned and drove to the trailhead.  Spirits were high and we hiked quickly up the switchbacks, watching an incredible sunrise over the valley below.  We reached the meadows and were encouraged by the mountain we saw, it looked different than from the valley floor, it looked much less intimidating.  So we hiked along a trail straight for it, and soon realized that rising up to our right was the actual mountain we came to climb.  Moral was breifly stunted, this mountain looked HUGE and far away,  but we kept pushing forward.  We got a little off route, reached the moraine and climbed the fixed lines to the lower saddle.

Decision time on the Lower Saddle

This is where things went downhill.  The wind at the lower saddle was 40 gusting to 60, and the mountain still looked huge.  Beth decided she didn't want to go any further, so she stayed and waited at the lower saddle while Tim Dylan and myself headed for the upper saddle.  After a few hundred yards Dyland and Tim decided the were done.  Dyland was haveing trouble with the altitude, maybe having spent too much time at sea level, and Tim's knee was giving him problems.  I kept going on my own, thinking the climbing was of an easy grade and maybe I could climb it solo.  I made it to the upper saddle and looked at what I thought was the route, but the wind, exposure and not knowing the route convinced me to turn back.

The hike out was pretty uneventful, we did some glissading down the snowfields, and a few hours later we were at the car. Totally exahsted we went into town for dinner and went to bed early.

Next we found ourselves back in Lander climbing the amazing pocketed limestone of the Wild Iris.  When I hurt my finger climbing in July I noticed a route that looked good, but hadn't been bolted.  Someone put the top anchors in but never finished the route.  Beth, Tim and I decided to bolt it.  We rappeled down the route, cleaned it and looked for crucial holds. We both climbed it on toprope and marked out where we thought the bolts should go.  The next day we tag teamed the route, Tim would drill the holes and clean them out and I would be right behind him hammering in and tightening the bolts.  Tim did the first ascent that morning followed by me and our freind Mike.  Later that day Beth completed the route, her third 12a this summer.  It was the first route any of us had bolted and we think it turned out great.  Technical, sustained climbing moving in and out from slabby to vertical to just overhanging at the top.  We named it Rooster Cogburn.

We needed to be in Seattle in late September to go to Mexico,  but we didn't want to take the standard route on I-90.  So that is what we have been doing for the last week or so.  We visited our friends Kitty and Eric in Missoula, Montana.  Missoula is a city full of hipsters and hippies, and because of that they have the best farmers market I have ever seen.  we had lots of fun floating the river and playing music late into the night.  Eric is a really good musician, and turns out the ukulele and banjo go really well together.

After Missoula we went through Glacier National Park, which was a little underwelming to be honest.  I mean it was pretty cool, but not high on my list of amazing places to see.  We only stayed one day and went on 13 mile hike, called the Highline Trail.  It was a great hike and it left us tired for a while.  We drove across the border and slept in a small town in Alberta for the night.
A Glacier in Glacier Naitonal Park

Saint Mary Lake

We got to Calgary at around 10:00am and spent a few hours exploring the city.  Calgary is really cool, some cities just feel good, and this was one of them.   The downtown is probably about the size of Seattle's downtown, but much easier to walk.  We headed out for Canmore that afternoon and ended up drinking homebrewed gingerbeer and a rootbeer float at a cool local brewery called the Grizzly Paw.

We tried to climb at a crag near Canmore in the morning but it started to rain and there was booming lighning, so we left.  The hot springs in Banff was our next stop, they were developed to look like a pool, which is too bad, but they felt great.  We took in the sights of Banff, which are amazing, shopped around the downtown and treated ourselves to a nice lunch.

Downtown Banff

Not far from Banff is what I thought to be the coolest place we saw on the trip.  Lake Louise and Lake Moraine.   Lake Louise is set beneath towering mountains with glaciers perched on cliffs above.  The Fairmont Hotel is incredible, it is right at the end of the lake.  You can see the lake, the mountains, and the glaciers, from the rooms.  It's the best view from a Hotel that I have ever seen.

Lake Louise

The Dining Hall in the Fairmont Chateau

Lake Moraine, doesn't have quite the star power that Louisa has but is just as great.  The water is much darker, a super rich blue color, it looks like it belongs in some tropical Island destination.  It gets its name from the moraine that was being pushed down by the glacier, that is now holding the water back.
Moraine Lake
This is a chipmunk.  

Atop the Moraine

Not wanting to pay for camping in Banff so we went to Golden.  We found this campsite up by Cedar Lake.  We got in late but in the morning realized we had stumbled upon a nest of bike trails through the forest and around the lakes.  We took our old beat up bikes out and had a lot of fun, only a few crashes.  We walked through Golden and waited for the farmers market to start.   An old lumber baron had told us that there was timber-framed bridge in town, so we had to check that out too.  It is quite the structure, and was built with the help of over one hundred timber-framers from around the world.

The Timber Framer's Guild Bridge

 We left Golden and drove most of the day to get to a small campsite near Ashcroft BC, and today we drove one of the most gnarly highways ever, between Cache Creek and Pemberton.  Full of hairpin turns while going down, and, I quote, "Extreme Grades".  Anyway we are now in Squamish and ready to climb.


  1. aw dudes. you should have told me you were in missoula, i would have loved to see you! next time?

  2. I love hearing about your adventures. Beth, you are crushing it on the wall! That's so awesome that you set a route. One day, when I am strong enough to climb .12a, I'll be on it!