Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Calling all Followers

'FOLLOW' link Re-Posted.

Hi All!
I'm hoping I can encourage you to be one of my blog's 'followers.' All that means is that you get a heads up email each time I post something on this, my web-log.

Now, you may already get an email to say I've added to the blog. But that's because I manually entered your email as one to be notified with each new entry. I'm allowed to sign up ten email addresses and your are one of my lucky addressees. : )

If you become a follower, you'll get the same notificaiton - no more - and I'll be able to add different people as recipients in hopes that they'll become followers too.

Thanks for joining!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Mount Moran and September's Iffy Weather

Mount Moran climb with Matt

September 4th and 5th, Labor Day Weekend

Beautiful Weather on the way across String Lake with Mt. Moran in the background

The West Horn and East Horn (both in shadow in front of the summit) flank the Hanging Ice Glacier on either side. Camp is below the West Horn in the highest trees left of the gully.
Storing up for Winter
A pika's midden underneath a boulder with the Grand Teton in the distance. Pikas are mountain rodents (with big ears) that store away food for the winter, and create an insulated cave for the long cold months until spring.
Leigh Canyon
The view up Leigh Canyon toward the Teton Crest. It was unbelievably windy from this vantage point some 100 yards west of camp.
Teton Shadows
Sunset shadows of the Teton Range's most prominent peaks marching across the valley floor. Mt. Moran's shadow is on the left; shadows of the Rockchuck/St. John's/Symmetry Spire group are in the center; Cathedral Group (Grand, Middle, South Tetons) shadows on the right.
Sunset on the Grand
Pink in the sunset, the Grand Teton and cloudbellies reflect the day's last light. St. John's and The Jaw in the foreground.
Morning Light
First light in the Drizzlepuss Col with the East Horn, Jackson Lake in the background. The weather was still looking iffy at this point, but it was only sunrise. It could still go either way. We forged onward!
Curtains of Rain
Morning sun's rays shine through curtains of rain along the Buffalo River. Later the same clouds were to wrap precipitation around Moran, dropping graupel, hail, and later, snow.
Rays of Hope
Ascending around Unsoeld's Needle and getting onto Moran's upper faces, with the Hanging Ice Glacier below.
The CMC Route on the upper face of Mt. Moran
After 2 bouts of graupel, distant thunder, dark clouds and wet rock turned us back. As per usual brilliant skies followed, though they were not to last. The white in the middle is a (snow) cornice from snow over the last week or two - I'm guessing it's 10 feet high - between the Black Dike (R) (a major feature on the South Face of Mt. Moran) and the top of the south face. Wind and gray skies kept us on our toes all the way home.
Big Pack/Little Pack
Matt's ability to turn a 22 liter pack into a 44 liter pack needed to be documented. Here we are along the descent gully. We made it back to the lake, crossed with the wind at our backs, setting a new personal record of 3h 15m from high camp to the car.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Wind River Reflections

Christie Smith and I (Scotty McGee) set off for this southern Wind River Range smorgasbord of granite, just south of the renowned Cirque of the Towers, in search of some time in a pristine setting on stellar rock. Fulfilling a dream to find great climbing and camping was not as far-fetched as one might think...

Clear Lake Basecamp, August 25

Dinner down by the lake provided a spectacular sunset show on Haystack's west face. Steeple and East Temple Peaks over to the right.

Wolf's Head Alpine Start, August 26
After a first night at Clear Lake under 'perfect' weather conditions, we woke early catching early sun on Warbonnet on our way to Wolf's Head in the Cirque of the Towers.


Temple and Schiestler on Ford Lake in the quiet dawn

Walking the Rocks around Ford Lake

The Cirque comes into full view with Pingora casting her shadow on Wolf's Head's summit pinnacles.

Arrowhead Lake couldn't be better named.

The Cirque's gateway falls

Wolf's Head starting ramp, 1st pitch

...just a casual climber...

...puttin' vertical behind her...

...and smilin' all the way!

The "fortuitous horizontal foot traverse"...too bad about the weather, huh?

The way home, moonlit miles to go before we sleep.

August 28, attempt on Haystack

We head up in hopes of climbing one of the northern routes on Haystack, with growing views as we climb.

View from Haystack's north shoulder of E. Temple, with Deep Lake in front

Later on, a thunderstorm. Strike on Haystack! (at 33 seconds)
Our position was away from the lake and well below the ridge with much higher points all around, making us an unlikely target for lightning.

Despite turning bluebird after each ferocious crescendo of flash and rumble, the weather seemed to turn to fall in a matter of hours and many more leaves took on the red mantle of fall. The grouseberries were still popping but the sense that snow is on the way was hard to shake. Some climbing rescue, leading and rope practice rounded out our visit to Clear Lake. So much left unclimbed, we're bound to return.

Scott McGee coaches the PSIA Nordic Team (USA) and manages programs for Jackson Hole Mountain Sports School in Wyoming. Scott spends his summers guiding climbs in the Tetons (and other ranges) for Exum Mountain Guides.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Grand Teton with Craig, Chris and Paul

This amazing crew of three topped out on the Grand Teton at 9:35 yesterday morning. We had climbed together in Exum Mountain Guides' Multi-pitch I school, and they climbed with guide Mike Abbey for their MP II day. Without a day off in between, they set off for the Grand Teton Sunday morning with a promising forecast and  a bright attitude.
...and dawn's early light on the Enclosure

Embarking on the Owen Spaulding Rout, we encountered a dry Belly Roll Pitch, while the crawl had islands of dry rock amid a lake of clear ice. Rockhopping with the abyss of the Black Ice couloir below at the head of the sweeping Valhalla Canyon, got your attention to say the least. The snow in the Double Chimneys was a surprise, which kept us stepping carefully to keep shoe rubber dry. Stemming and a few key chipped off holds got us up to the verglas in the last 15 feet of the Owen Chimney.  

The rest was a cruise and after Jim Williams' Exum party departed, we enjoyed the windless summit to ourselves and stunning views of ID, WY and MT and the Greater Yellowstone ranges.An amazing summit day was had and everyone performed at a top level - no falls, no injuries; we overcame the unexpected and relished in the gifts of the day. Not even rain marred the amazing weather, though we did get some awesome lightning, thunder and a big, thick rainbow.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Rainier 2010 - Ultimate Software

The stalwart team of Ultimate Software leaders met in Seattle on July 30 for an attempt on Rainier. We had a great group and a great time, and though the summit eluded us, we reached our own high point and bring home great memories and new ways of working together, inspiring and supporting each other, and pushing individual and group limits to foster teamwork and leadership.
Helping hands are everywhere!
Tight is right!...helping each other succeed.

Walking down is important!...crampon technique is key.
Camp Schurman and the Emmons Glacier route - look for the line going straight up above the camp, that turns left between crevasses to reach 'The Corridor.' From there, as our summit team will attest, the route goes straight up on poorly established steps, until finally cutting right and easing off to reach the saddle between Liberty Cap (R) and the summit proper (L).
The view back toward the trailhead from the top of Steamboat Prow above Camp Schurman. the distant lake in the middle of the White River drainage is about a mile shy of the trailhead. Thank goodness for the Inter Glacier glissade!

Dawn comes in spectacularly!
Check out the red light reflecting off of the glare ice on the lower glacier - a rare sight!

Reaching our summit...7 am.
Bound for SeaTac and home again!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Rawlings on Cody Peak

Sam and Michelle climbed Cody Peak on Monday with me (via Exum)...Check out this clip of ridge running on the loose rock trail! And here's Sam...

Friday, July 9, 2010

North Face of Buck Mountain, West Couloir July 7, 2010

Tim Brown and I set out to climb the North Face of Buck Mountain, West Couloir. An early start of 4:30 a.m. soon yielded to dawning skies. A rugged 'shwack up Avalanche Canyon brought us to our first good view of the North Face. Our route: the gully/couloir to the right of the ridge which leads up to the snowy summit, by way of the snowy bench below the north face.

See if you can find Tim here, leading up the first pitch...look toward the top of the visible snow.

Tim and the rope disappear around the corner...

From the next belay, Tim shoots up the steep neve to a snow ledge he chopped out of the couloir.

From the top of pitch 5 an amazing view of the central Tetons unfolds.

Pitch 6 runs up steep to steeper snow. The gully narrows and the summit ridge grows nearer.

On pitch 7, Tim leads out to peer around the corner, setting a picket here before heading up toward the ice bulge ahead.

Here, Tim is about to top out on the ridge, where steep scrambling on exposed ridge carries us up toward the summit.

Tim on top...with the Grand Teton in the background. South Ridge of South Teton - a ski descent - is the hanging snowfield behind his head. Awesome weather all day was a blessing.

A last look at our route and the north face of Buck in afternoon light. The West Couloir is the second couloir to the right of what looks like the main summit ridge. The north central buttress/ridge is actually the one with snow toward the top.

Here's a view of Buck and the route. The West Couloir is the right hand long, thin white line that runs up just to the right of the summit. This photo was taken a week prior during Exum's guide training days,  from Nez Perce by Christian Santelices, a Senior Guide at Exum.