Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hard at Work

The weather has been difficult in Missoula recently. We are still getting the occasional snow storm in the valley and the mountains are getting pounded with snow. It seems as if Winter doesn't want to quit. Due to the poor weather, I've been spending most of my time working, either at the hospital or at Shapiro's producing harnesses. Here are some pics from a recent one we finished.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Attempted Ski Traverse

Last weekend Patrick and I headed into Glacier with hopes of ski traversing from West to East. Weather was looking great despite an iffy forecast. It took us about 4 hours to get to Sperry chalet where we set up camp on the second story deck. Weather appeared to be moving in so we crawled in the tent for the night. Temps were moderate and the camping was chill.

In the morning we woke to low overcast skies. With poor visibility, we packed up and left for Lincoln Pass. It was a short distance away, but by the time we got there we were in white-out conditions. Conditions for snow travel were great, but we had no view of the incredible scenery we were surrounded by. Motivation plummeted and we decided to leave this trip for another time when the weather was better.

The ski out was uneventful and we were back at the car in a short while. Another trip cursed by bad weather. Oh well, just have to keep trying. Soon the skies will open up.

Camp on the second story deck

Home sweet home

Lincoln Pass

Wedding Shoot

At the beginning of the month I had the honor of being the photographer for my friends Mike and Angie's wedding. Being my first wedding, it was the most challenging and intimidating times I've ever had shooting pics. The lighting was extremely difficult and I was terrified that I wasn't going to be able to capture the moment well. Fortunately the event was a blast and I had a great time celebrating with friends. I did the best I could giving the challenging situation and came away from the experience happy with what I got.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

New Route Attempt

Last week Jeff and I found ourselves working our way up a trail we were all too familiar with. Once again we were heading into the Snyder Lake basin to attempt another new route on the North Face of Mt. Edward. The weather wasn't holding true to the forecast and heavy cloud cover with slight snow obscured most of the face. However, it was stable and climbing conditions were acceptable.

We approached the face watching the occasional slide rush down the mountain. Just spindrift slid, the major snowpack was stable. At the base of the route, we could occasionally see through breaks in the clouds. The ice looked good and we started climbing immediately.

As expected, the ice was steeper than appeared. After a slight burn in the arms I was at a suitable belay stance. Jeff came up and quickly started the next lead. The climbing was going great. Good ice and favorable temps made progress quick. Jeff was nearing the top when skies opened up for a moment. Finally some sun. Then I noticed spindrift off to the side of us. Suddenly, the entire blue sky above me became white. It came down in slow motion and I was mesmerized by the swirling snow caused by upward wind gusts. Was this spindrift or a real avalanche? Will it shoot over us? What ever it was, it looked big and looked like it would hit us. "Avalanche, hang on!" I ducked under the pack, clinched my break hand, and waited for impact. Light snow pounded us. Eventually it ended and with no tension on the rope, I figured Jeff was ok. I looked up and saw him start to climb on.

He reached a nice belay and brought me up. Now we were under the business, rock leading to hanging daggers. Temps were warm though and the ice barely attached. I climbed up about 30 feet to take a closer look, but conditions looked too dangerous to continue. It was time to bail. We made hast to minimize our exposure to the enormous daggers. At the base we dug out our packs and quickly headed down slope to our skies. The slide had taken out one of Jeff's skies, but luckily we found it quickly.

On the ski out we heard some other major slides and agreed we made the right decision to leave. The route will have to wait till another time.

Jeff starting up pitch 2