Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Old Photos - Reminders of lessons learned

I've had a lot of down time infront of a computer lately and have been able to sort through a few old external hard drives.  So far I've looked through about half of the thousands of crappy pictures I've saved.  I might try and make it through the other half but for now, in no particular order, here are a few of my favorites.  I enjoy a lot of these as they are reminders of the epic failures I've had in the mountains.  Having climbed several of the routes that were so difficult at the time makes me appreciate how one can progress.  All it takes is a successful day once in a while to keep moral high and either a bad memory to forget the suffering or a twisted mind that allows you to appreciate it. 
Lars and I, first trip to the Tetons, 2004.  Apart from making all of us want to go back, this trip was a failure.  We slogged our way up to the Moraine campground with 70 lbs packs, froze for the night and then made it to the lower saddle before we bailed.  
Andy, with his arms up, celebrating a successful bail.  That's right, Lars is wearing jeans and sweater.
View from the summit of Mt. Athabasca, British Columbia. We climbed the very moderate Silver Horn.  This was possibly one of the prettiest mornings I've had.  
The site of our bivy during a winter attempt of the Grand.  We labored in the hideous snowshoes shown above all day and well into the night.  After I dropped my puffy off a climb and Andy lost an ice tool we decided to bivy. We went to bed cold and too frustrated to eat dinner.  I think we made it 100' above the valley floor.  Needless to say, we didn't summit. 
Moonrise over Snowpatch Spire, Bugaboo Provincial Park
Summit of Snowpatch, Bugaboo spire in the background
Every time I've been to the Bugaboos I've met great people.  This a some Spaniard we met on the Kraus-Mcarthy route on Snowpatch Spire and then hung out with for the next few days.  What a clown.
Apple Bee Campground
McTech Arete, Bugaboos. Classic.
Our old man has been telling us climbing stories since we were kids.  After retiring in the early 80's he started his second climbing career on the North-East Ridge of Bugaboo Spire.  
Tyler and Tanner, Oregon
Castle Valley
After driving from SLC to Cabo we figured we had to at least pretend to surf.  A few hours later we left the broken board at the rental shack and got the hell out.
Snowpatch Spire
Pigeon Spire
Rock Wars, Red River Gorge.  My first "5.10" trad lead.  I just watched a little video of that lead.  It was sketchy even though I thought I was being safe.  It's amazing I never got hurt...
East Ridge, Pigeon Spire.  5.4 and fantastic.
Adam from Mountainworks, on Touchstone wall.  He was our big wall mentor.  Unfortunately as a team we are 0-2 in Zion (Prodigal Son and Touchstone).  Although we failed miserably we learned many valuable lessons. The first and most important is that you don't need 200 lbs of supplies to climb a handful of pitches.  Turns out three full sized haul bags is a little overkill for Prodigal Son.
Andy on the crux pitch of Touchstone.  Our second wall attempt, our second bail.
First day backcountry skiing.  We rented some alpine skis and started walking up Timp.  Here Lars and Andy are wallowing in thigh deep powder in the middle of a HUGE slide path. Looking back this probably wasn't the safest day...
Looking Glass Rock and a sea of "eyebrows"
In summary:

1. Looking at my old pictures is likely more fun for me than anyone else.
2. British Columbia is amazing.
3. Hauling heavy bags sucks and is only recommended when necessary.
4. Snowshoes don't work well.
5. Learning climbing/avy safety can be dangerous even if you think you're being safe.
6. Meeting people while out and about can actually be enjoyable.


  1. Love that pic of Touchstone. They must have added some bolts to that roof. When I did it back in 1999 I had to through a tri-cam into a flaring pin scar, followed by top-stepping a #2 stopper. I was scared. We only made it up a couple of pitches before having to bail due to time. Love that route though.

  2. sweet pics. maybe the best was lars in jeans and sweater and andy in warmups. i love that pic of the bushnells and want to recreate that some day. and i long to go back to the bugaboos!

  3. That is some funny shit. The DNA cocktail your parents developed has made you guys ethnically ambiguous. With that freakin' hair in that one shot, you look Samoan. Hysterical. Andy like to pose with his hands in the air. Consistent over the years. Didn't know pop was a climber. That's cool you were in the Bugs with him. He must be proud of your antics these days.