Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Back to Cali

Once again I was back in California visiting Brad. After my trip in January, I told myself it would have to become an annual trip. I think it will become much more than that. With the abundance of recreational opportunities combined with amazing weather, I can't help but want to spend much more time down there.

As expected the fun began the moment I stepped off the train. Brad dropped me off with some friends at a local brewery while he sailed and we enjoyed some drinks before heading to their camp site on the beach for dinner. We dined and drank well while enjoying the sunset and surf crashing onto the beach.

Most of the week we followed a routine of getting up early, checking the surf report, then headed to what we thought the best break would be. The days of surfing were usually broken by a beach run or lounging around while we waited for the tide to head out so we could get back in the water.

Sunset from Pine Mtn

Camp at Pine
Over the weekend Brad took me up to Pine Mtn behind Ventura for a night of camping and two days of bouldering. We nearly had the entire place to ourselves and even thought Pine is far from the coast, we were high enough to get a view of the ocean.

Our camp site

Enjoying a beer
With my remaining time there, Brad and I spent more time surfing and climbing. And or coarse sampling great wine. With the more time I spend down there, the more I can see myself living there. Maybe just a bunch of trips will satisfy that craving...

Bouldering at Pine

Bouldering behind Santa Barbara

Looking down on Santa Barbara

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tarkio with the Camera

I mounted the camera same as my last flight, but this time I wanted to try using a flash. I set the camera to spot meter and adjusted it to meter off the back ground. I wanted to catch the scenery with out over exposing. The problem with this is that it would most likely silhouette me. To compensate for that, I thought using a "fill flash" would work nicely. That way I could capture the background as well as the foreground. I think it worked. The images turned out better than the one that I previously posted. Oh yeah, evening lighting helps too.

Aperture priority, ISO 400, F18, Flash -3.0, Auto WB, Spot meter

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Different Perspective

Friday I skipped out of work early and caught the guys for an afternoon flight. I mounted my camera off the corner of the control frame. Unfortunately the lens I have isn't wide enough and the mount isn't quite long enough. Time to get my wide angle lens repaired as well as build some new mounts.

Passing over the "M"

Over the LZ

The base leg of my approach

On final

Shapiro on final

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Bugaboos 8 Years Later

For 6 days the sun was shinning, routes were dry, and glacier travel was perfect for tennis shoes. Those were the conditions I experienced 8 years ago when I last visited the Bugaboos. Unheard of conditions! Two weeks ago, Kyle and I experienced a different story.

After 6 days of work since Washington, weather in the Bugs was looking good so Kyle and I thought we had our second chance. When we got there, things looked a bit different. Warm temps had the glaciers melting out earlier in the season causing bad rock fall and sloppy conditions to travel on. The main access to the Vowell glacier, snowpatch-bugaboo col was experiencing horrible rock fall and nearly no one was using it. The alternative was a nightmare of an approach. We chose to take our chances with the rock fall.

Applebee Dome
We ascended the col at about 6am minimizing our exposure to rock fall. Everything went fine. We were heading to North Howser so we started traveling through a maze of crevasses heading for the north col. We descended from the north col on what appeared to be the correct path. After awhile, it was clear that we were lost. We retraced our path and after 8 hours on the go decided to bivy at the col and try again in the morning.

Approaching the Snowpatch-Bugaboo col

On top of the col

Navigating through crevasses

It was obvious when we started the next morning we were still exhausted. With little energy and minimal food, we decided we'd chalk this one up to "paying our dues" and head to snowpatch to climb.

Bivy at the North col

Sunset from the col

Looking down the Vowell glacier

Climbing went smooth, but weather was starting to move in. We descended quickly, grabbed our other gear and headed for the "long way" descent to camp. The weather finally caught us during 600ft of rappeling. It broke for a bit, but really slammed us when we neared the hut. We took refuge in the hut for an hour while the weather passed then headed to camp. The forecast had turned bad so we decided to get one more short climb in the next day then hike out.

Looking down mid route

Kyle on the final pitch

Celebrating climbing and not slogging

When the rain stopped

We woke up to clear skies and dried our gear out. When everything was dry we headed to McTech Arete to climb "Energy Crisis". A beautiful two pitch stem corner...awesome! The climb was great and afterwards we packed up and hiked out.

Approaching McTech Arete

Energy Crisis

We weren't too far from Lake Louise so we headed there for a day of cragging before coming back to Missoula.

Lake Louise


Cragging in Washington

Early August, Kyle Neeley and I had plans to climb in the Bugaboos in Canada. Unfortunately weather didn't work out so we headed to Index, WA and Leavenworth, WA. Climbing at Index is humbling. Slick granite combined with stiff grades...we loved it. We climbed as many classics as we could while the weather held and then went to Leavenworth.

Leavenworth isn't as good as Index, but it does have an ultra classic 800ft 5.9 climb and great bouldering. So...we did both to finish up a week of climbing.

Kyle working thin fingers

Thin fingers, delicate feet

Small gear

Perfect hands

Sea of granite

Topping out on Outer Space

Rest day bouldering

Working the moves

Seattle With My Brother

In July, Jeff and Elizabeth went to Seattle to visit our Aunt and Uncle and worked out a schedule with me so I could join them. I hadn't seen them in two years and was looking forward to it. Sage and I have friends in Seattle so she joined.

Jeff hadn't been to Seattle in about ten years and Elizabeth had never been there so we did the typical tourist things. Sage and I spent an evening with old friends catching up.

The last few days were spent in Leavenworth at the cabin climbing, swimming, and relaxing.

Jeff and Liz

Pikes Place Market

The market

Ferry boat



The Cabin in Leavenworth

Jeff giving it a go

Jeff belaying me

Bob explaining the hand sequence