|Does this look mountain-worthy to you?|
It is said that true adventure begins when things start to go wrong. Or at least not-as-planned. By this measure, if none other, Nate and I did little besides adventuring on our trip. The Coast Range created cruxes that our months of training had done little to train us for. And the ability to climb the scariest M-whatever, or jam the most painful ringlock did little good when we were getting swept downstream by rivers, or nervously dodging the grizzly whose tracks we'd followed all morning. It also didn't help us when trying to build ourselves a pair of boots...
If you're like me and get annoyed by endlessly positive, vague, and "fluffy" reviews of products, Alpinist has the answer. It has relaunched the Mountain Standards reviews. I am writing a few (a couple done, a couple on the way) and there's absolutely no pressure to write anything slanted positive or negative about the gear. I am happy to actually see some bad reviews being written. I was surprised to see the Osprey pack get 5/5 stars (zippers have no place on a climbing pack, and look at all those clips and buckles!)
Maybe I'm just naturally cantankerous, but I gave 2/5 on my first review, and expect to see more reviews where folks are honest and understandably critical in their assessments. The Mountain Standards blog also accepts suggestions for products to review and potential new reviewers, should anyone have an idea or be interested.
If only I could review food and get some endless free samples. Snickers vs Toblerone, Sharkies vs Gummy Bears, après-climb beer from Great Divide vs après-climb beer from Boundary Bay, dried apricots with glacier gravel vs dried cranberries with glacier gravel. The possibilities are endless...
A couple summers ago, my friend Sol Wertkin and I climbed the 2nd route on the peak "Colchuck Balanced Rock" in the Central Cascades. The area was our "good weather" bail option, after the west side of the mountains was engulfed in a storm. However, the storm reached across the range and we ended up climbing through intermittent precip and winds on our route. We named this climb "The Tempest", and we couldn't believe how good the rock was, and how continuous the cracks were. Although we aided much of the route, its potential as a stellar freeclimb struck us as obvious.Occasionally, it's nice to be right.
I just returned to Colorado from a 2 week vacation to the Coast Range, climbing with my friend Nate Farr. We were on the British Columbia side of the Alaska/Canada border, about 50 miles East of Petersburg, AK and in an area that had likely been visited by just two climbing groups, one in 1967 and one in 2003. We managed to complete 2 new routes, got shut down by 'rock' quality on Mt. Ambition, and had an amazing trip. I'm busy back at work in Denver, but will be writing about the numerous non-climbing cruxes and unforeseen challenges we faced. We built a pair of boots, and had a very 'creative' food menu due to an aerial food drop that turned into more of a carpet-bombing mission.
In the mean time, here are a few photos from our excursion. Thanks a million to the American Alpine Club and the Mazamas climbing club of Portland for the grant money which help fund our expedition.