23 August 2012

SLUT Accident - Healing Report

On the sunny afternoon of August 1, 2011, I set out on a bike ride home from work when disaster struck: my rear tire was sucked in by the infamous Seattle SLUT track and I was thrown to the ground. After the initial shock (I am invincible on a bike! It's IMPOSSIBLE that I would fall!), I scraped my dignity from the ground and quickly realized I was bleeding. A lot.

Post clean-up - YIKES!

Then for weeks I was oozing. Then molting. Turns out if you rip two chunks of skin the size of the tip of your pinkie finger out of your knee it takes a while to heal.

10 days later

A year later, I'm still more or less molting skin as my knee. I've been using Mederma religiously and I believe it's helping. Maybe in another year my kneecap won't look so mangled???

One year later

21 August 2012

Fave Smith Pics

Here are some more of my favorite pictures from Smith Rock:

Bald Eagle's Nest right next to camp

Hiking out day 1

Different belay styles. Tony wins for most comfortable belay.

Leaders for the win

Pictures that make you go "awwwe" - especially the cuddling one of Jere and Tony

Stas shaking it up. Literally. With vodka.

Glasses and a snarl


Oh Action Figure Mascots-  what DON'T you do?

I heart climbering

16 August 2012

Smith Rock Rope Swing Shenanigans

I've been to Smith Rock many times now - it's become somewhat of a tradition for THE GROUP - but until recently I had never seen the legendary rope swing. I had heard of it, but it always eluded me. Well, on this last trip, we lucked out, because in May some hooligans (get off my lawn!) set up the rope swing at the top of Monkey Face, a free standing pillar formation ideal for swinging - refresh your memory of Monkey Face here.

To set it up, the young rope guns first had to climb to the top of the face and secure their "system". This included a cardboard box, about 8 anchors, lots and lots of webbing.

Would you trust this?
They used a 2nd rope/pulley system to pull the jumping rope back up after someone jumped. Unfortunately, on their first leap they didn't secure the return rope properly, so it took another two hours to get everything set back up for the other jumpers. Luckily the 2nd time was the charm, and once they got the system worked out, they were able to have people jump every 15 minutes or so.

In between jumps, there was some high-wire slacklining of course. Yeah, I would not do that.

No big deal, just tight rope walking over a 400' drop

To jump, they simply attached a GriGri (auto-locking belay device) to their harness and took a leap! Once they stopped swinging, they would pull a 2nd rope out of a bag and drop it to rappel to the ground. As you can hear in the video below, the spectators were more nervous than the jumpers. Would YOU do it?


14 August 2012

Hood River, Oregon

Hood River, Oregon, is one of the nation's top kiteboarding and windsurfing destinations. It's also home to the Full Sail Brewery and is a great place to rinse off in the Columbia River and enjoy some cold ones after a few sweaty days on Mt. Adams.

Beautiful Mt. Hood - Also on my bucket list

Check out all those kites!

Grandpa Max put back two glasses of water! So good at hydrating! Okay, he drank beer too.

09 August 2012

Mt. Adams Part 2

We woke up before the alarm on Saturday morning to see the awesome mountain was smiling at us.

Goooooooood Morning!

We ate, exercised our poo ethics, packed camp, and were on the trail by 5:45am. In keeping with the theme of impressing our eyeballs, the sunrise was, again, stunning.

When you get high enough elevation, mountains start casting their own pyramid shadows. At 12,276', Adams is high enough to cause it's own sunrise and sunset pyramid.

Sunrise Pyramid

We chose to put on crampons and boot pack to the summit, rather than skin up. The hike from Lunch Counter to the false summit (Pikers Peak) is quite steep, making skinning more difficult. The snow was crusty as well, meaning we would have needed ski crampons, and we had already decided at the car that we didn't want to bring the extra weight.

Ryan heading up to those ants in the distance.

I am TALL!

Lunch counter is between the two snow fields at center
Distance in the mountains can be really disorienting. It's much like running on a beach - you often think you are closer than you are to major landmarks. Here's our first look at the true summit after we topped out at Piker's Peak. It's at least 90 minutes away.

Adams Summit at right

The steepest portion of the climb was behind us (heading to Piker's Peak is pretty brutal) and I for one was feeling great to finally know where I was heading! Normally people climb to Lunch Counter, camp, and then head out early in the morning with just small day packs. Our planned descent line had us going no where near Lunch Counter, so we packed ALL of our gear all the way to the top. Made for a pretty heavy pack.

Four hours after leaving camp we stood on the summit! One could say I was happy to be there!

Jumping for Joy

Handstand for Happiness

Ryan packed a 24oz Rainier Beer (pronounced Rahyn-yah) to the top (because we weren't that concerned about weight), and of course we enjoyed drinking it, with Rainier in the background.

Grandpa Max came to the summit too, so we captured him, the Rainier, and my new ice axe in a stoic grouping - representing 'Merica. It was just 4th of July afterall!

After hanging out on the summit, we began our descent! We carted our skies all the way up, so we were super excited to put them on for the way down. To say that people were jealous they didn't do the same thing would be an understatement.

Ryan on the summit descent

The corn from the summit was fantastic and we flew down to the top of the SW Chutes, our planned descent. A 2,000' foot vertical chute with perfect summer corn? Um, yes please!

SW Chutes at left

The Chutes were a different aspect than the summit pyramid, so the snow was a bit icy on top, but turned into epic corn in the middle, before becoming slushy at the bottom. Once out of harms way I required a full 30-minute break. Never before have my legs been so tired from skiing that I had to take a break, but there's a first time for everything!

Running out of snow
Navigating back to the car we ran into a little snafoo....We got too low, then had to bushwhack for over a mile across the mountain to get back to the truck. This was...not awesome. It was a few hours of not awesome in ski boots with heavy packs. At one point I took a tumble in some Slide Alder and immediately understand why it earned it's name. But no bother, Ryan's GPS did in fact know where it was going. Goes to show that it can be invaluable to a) have proper navigational training and b) have proper gear to help! I will be getting a GPS. We eventually made it back to the car where the cold fruit in the cooler greeted us like angels sent from heaven.

Yay Car!
What a great trip! Can't wait for the next adventure - on the list: climbing in Squamish, and Ski Summit of Mt. Baker!

07 August 2012

Mount Adams Part 1

Skiing from the summit of 3 Northwest Volcanoes is on my 30 Before 30 list. Skiing 12-consecutive months is also on my list. Having already skied from the summit of Helens (in May) and skied from Muir on Rainier (In June), I departed Seattle on July 6 with the goal of skiing from Summit of Mt. Adams! We had some scheduling issues with the trip so only 2 of the group of 4 that were planning to go could make it. But Ryan and I made it work - when the mountain calls, you just gotta GO!

To get to Adams, you drive to Portland, head east through Hood River, then back north into Washington state, where Mt. Adams lives. It's kind of round about, but hey, it works. We left Seattle at the crack of 9am on Friday, hit up the REI in Portland to procure some supplies sans sales tax, and made it to the parking lot by 3:30pm. The mountain looked stunning on our drive up.

Mount Adams

The weather was quite nice so we stripped down, making sure to apply plenty of bug spray. Stupid mosquitoes.

Ski Boots and Short Shorts. Oh and a 40lb pack.

We left Cold Springs parking lot at 5,500' around 4pm and followed the boot pack/skin track up the standard route to Lunch Counter at 9,000'. You can see our route outlined on the summit certificate here.

Bugs already attacking me
Ryan and Zee Mooountain
We got a pretty late start, but weren't too concerned. Conditions were stable and we had plenty of light. With a few breaks, we were able to make it to Lunch Counter in about 4 hours.

Me blazing a trail
There's some rocks in that snow!

At one point we had to take off our skis and scramble down a scree field, losing about 100' of elevation. 'Doh! Navigational fail. Overall though, the route was pretty straight forward, and we were awarded with a stunning sunset when we finally gained Lunch Counter!

Helens in the distance
Dusky Adams
My Fave of the bunch!

We took the obligatory "camp" photo, dumped our packs and began the search for running water. After some wandering, water was discovered and we siphoned off about 7 litres and headed back to camp. 

The aforementioned "camp" photo

In keeping with traditional gender roles, Ryan cooked and I set up camp. We happily gorged on our curry chicken before tucking Grandpa Max in and hitting the hay ourselves. The alarm was set for 4:30am and needed our beauty sleep!


One last little video - Ryan bought a GoPro in Portland, so we tested it out at camp. Here is video of Lunch Counter (with a cameo by Gpa Maximus).

02 August 2012

US Forest Service Seal of Awesomeness

I recently stood on the summit of stunning Mount Adams after a two day ski/hike. The weather was gorgeous - blue bird skies and clear sights to the surrounding mountains! We had views for days. I'm still pulling together pictures for a proper blog, but here are some fun ones for now.

Did you know that if you stand on the summit and show proof at the Ranger Station they'll give you a certificate? I learned this valuable information and you bet that I collected that piece of paper! Grandpa Max came too, but they didn't give him his own certificate. Boo.

Mt. Adams Climbing Adventure Certificate of Awesomness
I also picked up another goodie at the Ranger Station - a poo bag. Turns out you aren't allowed to go #2 above a certain elevation on the glacier, therefore you literally have to pack it out. The bag comes with an instruction manual, two paper bags, one of which is filled with kitty litter, and one plastic bag to hold everything together.

Read the instructions or risk...well, you know.
The other side of the instructions sheet is a Target. Yes, you read that right, it's a poo target with an X to tell you where to go. Can't picture it? Good thing I captured it on camera for you!

Aim bottom here

After completing your business (for the record: I am an excellent shot), you wrap up the target, put it in baggie number one with the kitty litter, fold and place in paper baggie number 2, then fold and place in the large plastic bag. And you're set!

I thought this whole process was pretty amusing. Hopefully you are now as enlighted as I was.

I'll leave you with more pleasant thoughts - here's the panoramic view from the summit!