Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Lots of fun climbing at: City of Rocks, ID; Wild Iris, WY; and Vedauwoo, WY.


Thin Slice in the City of Rocks. Awesome granite climbing.


Tetons in the Fall


Wild Iris Limestone.


Sunset in Wyoming


Sensational granite off-widths at the famous Vedauwoo.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

It has been a great week here in Jackson, WY. The weather has been back and forth between rain, hail, thunderstorms, hot and sunny. Even with the weather card being a wild one, there still has been plenty of opportunities to go climbing.
There are many appealing areas in the greater Jackson area to climb no matter the weather conditions.
The first part of the week we were able to climb some excellent limestone at The Cave, Blacktail Butte, Rodeo Wall and The Shield.


Sunrise just East of Jackson in Idaho.

Blacktail Butte Limestone.

Joel following Stinker. A "classic" overhanging limestone 5.12c along the Hoback River.

James Burwick belaying Joel on Stinker.


On Thursday afternoon, Joel and myself hiked into the lower saddle between the Grand and Middle Teton in gorgeous 70+ degree weather and little to no wind. We woke up at 4:15 Am to temps in the mid 30's and clear skies. After some coffee and a quick breakfast we were moving by 5:30. After a short hike up the scree field we adorned our crampons and started climbing/traversing around to the West Face of the Enclosure.
Throughout the climb we found a variety of terrain from crack climbing to alpine ice and every kind of snow condition.
We topped out at 1:00 Pm to find some much appreciated sun.

Teewinot from Lupine Meadows.

Garnet Canyon on the approach to the lower saddle.
The Middle Teton at the back of the canyon.

Beautiful sunset looking to the West into Idaho from the lower saddle.

Same sunset from the lower saddle, looking East this time.

Excellent pitch of rock on our traverse.

Shadow of the Tetons over the foothills to the West.

Looking up the West face of the Enclosure.
Our route went through the notch just right of center.

Joel leading the final moves to the top. This was a very awkward squeeze chimney.

Looking at the South ridge of the Grand Teton from the top of our route.



video

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Bitterroot Mountains.

The not so elusive mountain goats.

Heart Lake.
Greetings from the MT. It's been an awesome season in Alaska and now it's time to enjoy some sunny weather. Saturday Dave, Kara, River and myself hiked to Heart/Pearl/Dalton Lakes in the Bitterroot Mountains. The weather was incredible and we even had some time to do a little fishing.

Thursday, August 12, 2010



A nice large crevasse to hang out in for the month of July!



View from camp at the Matanuska Glacier looking into the Chugach Mtns.



Descending back to 17,200' camp after a beautiful and successful summit day!



Looking out over high camp after summit day at 2:00 AM.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Yesterday (June 2nd) Joe, Beth and myself used AMS's drop tower to test the strength of zip-ties incorporated into the the sled hauling system for expedition/glacier travel.
We were trying to determine how many zip-ties it would require to hold the static weight of a loaded expedition sled and at what point they would fail in the event of a crevasse fall.
We used two different width zip-ties as a single and a double.
After many drop tests and static loads we determined the ideal setup would be to use two of the wider zip-ties to shorten the length of the sled haul to create a breakable link in the system to allow the weight of the sled to be transfered to rope instead of continuing to pull on the climbers pack after a crevasse fall.
This system is used by a few guide company's on the mountain, and to our knowledge, has not been tested for static and dynamic loads (only live field testing).
Getting ready to drop-test the sled haul with zip-ties.
(Photo courtesy of Joe Butler)
Happy June!
Today is already the 3rd of June if you can believe it. Time is flying by up here in Talkeenta. We've been out now for almost a week from our (Todd Passey, Dusty Eroh and myself) from our successful climb of the West Buttress of Denali with Ken and Carlos. The first week of the trip was spent traveling low on the mountain in a complete whiteout. Once we made it past camp 2 at 11,200' the weather starting clearing and we had almost ideal weather for the reamainder of our trip.
On May 24th the five of us along with two other AMS (Alaska Mountaineering School) groups made a push for the summit. That afternoon all three groups made the summit and successfully descended back to high camp at 17,200'.
We'er all back safe and sound, some back to the lower 48 some still here in AK enjoying our time off until we head back up on the mountain.
The weather in Talkeetna has been incredible, lost of sun and incredible views of the mountain from the three rivers confluence (Susitna, Chulitna and Talkeetna rivers).


String of people up Motorcycle Hill leaving camp 2 @ 11,200'


Looking back on camp 3 (14,200') from the bottom of the fixed lines.


Dusty on the first section of the fixed lines above camp 3.


Looking back at the last section of the ridge before camp 4 @ 17,200'.


Looking up at Pig Hill, the last big push before the summit ridge.
Nate Opp's group is out in the distance.


Me on the summit (20,320').

video
360 view from the top of North America! (pardon the language)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Greeting from Talkeetna!
Today is the 4th day in a row with superb weather in town and from what we've heard, the mountains as well. On Tuesday Nick D. and myself escorted the (hopefully soon-to-be) youngest Indian woman to climb all 7 summits. It was a georgeous day to ski up the upper Kahiltna too Camp 1 at the base of Ski Hill. Once there she settled into her tent and Nick and I turned around and made quick work of the 6 mile journey back to Base Camp to catch the last flight out that night.


On our way to Camp 1. The low point in the distance is Kahiltna Pass. Camp 1 is at the bottom of the hill infront of the pass.


Taking a break on the five and a half journey from Base Camp to Camp 1. Notice the lack of clouds!

Tomorrow (5/9) Todd, Dusty and myself are schudled to depart with Ken and Carlos to have another shot at the West Buttress on Denali. We've had a leisurly couple of days of food and gear packing and weather permitting, fly tomorrow afternoon for the 21 day climb.

Cheers,
Alex

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Brian and myself at 2:00 AM working on student evaluations.


The group on the East summit of Control Tower.


Everyone inside our snow cave at Base Camp.



Our ride in on the first day of the course.


Dan Corn, Brian Skean and myself recently returned to Talkeetna after a successful 12 day mountaineering course on the Southeast Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier. The three of us had 7 students fron Alaska and one from Denmark. We had weather ranging from -35 to 50 and sunny. We were unable to get to some of our pre-planned objectives due to 2+ meters of fresh snow that produced unstable and unsafe conditions for climbing. On the second to last day we were able to successfully climb a smaller peak in the middle of the Southeast Fork called Control Tower.

Now back safe and sound in Talkeetna for a little over a week for some R&R then back-to-back West Buttress climbs through the end of June.

Cheers.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Summer season 2010 in AK

Today is my last day in the lower 48 for the next couple of months. Tomorrow I fly North to Anchorage and get the pleasure of hanging out with Ian and Mary Virginia and of course the new addition to the family, Atticus! I'm excited to not only see family but also to be back in Alaska for whats shaping up to be a great season.

On Saturday (4/18) Dan, Brian and myself are schudled to fly into the Alaska range to run a 12 day mountaineering seminar for the ever popular AMS. This should be an excellent adventure and learning experience for everyone. After the 12 day seminar there will be 5 days of down time to enjoy all that a Talkeetna spring has to offer. Then back into the range for another shot at the West Buttress with Todd, Ken and Carlos. This year should be even better than last years attempt. We have all been training hard and everyone is really excited for this second opportunity.

Thats all for now. Should have more stories and photos in early May and again in early June.

"The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes."
-- Winston Churchill