Sunday, December 28, 2008

Cascade River Park

Cortney and I went up to Joe's cabin near Marblemount in the North Cascades two weekends ago for some relaxin' and snowy adventures. We saw a handful of Eagles on the way, and made it there in a couple of hours even with the great northwest 'blizzard' of 2008. Perhaps municipalities on the west side of the Cascades will finally join the rest of the country's northern states and decide to invest in a snowplow or two.

Joe's newly acquired cabin is tiny and still pretty, shall we say, rustic, so we stayed in his dad's cabin a couple hundred yards away. Cascade River Park is an interesting place. The neighbors are definitely characters, but the scenery is amazing and it definitely has a secluded feel. That is, until the drunk old man next door stumbles in at noon to mumble about something mundane. All in all, the whole weekend was wonderful. It was great to see Joe, as well as get some more outdoor time with Cortney before we both headed home for the holidays. I'm really excited to head back up there this winter and do some backcountry skiing.
The Cabin
The View from the Cabin's Porch
The view from up the road -
the Eldorado Glacier can be seen in the left background
Happy Hikers
Getting Prepared For Some Car Skiing
We do enjoy Washington Wildlife...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Home Gardens

Things have been getting a bit restless around the monkey house this winter, and we have had to resort to creatvie methods to combat the winter boredom. Personally, I am feeling gleefully useless now that I'm officially "on break," and have to find things to do just to justify getting out of my warm bed. These sentiments, coupled with a recent influx of some 200 square feet of high-quality indoor gymnastic foam, have led to the founding of Home Gardens.

Home Gardens is not a place, it's a mindset. Once one is liberated from an unreasonable fear of the floor, and comes to embrace unused home space as an opportunity for entertainment, entire new windows of enjoyment are opened... and I'm just going to leave it at that. Here are some pictures from the last couple of weeks.

Spongejoel Squareshirt
Dimitry showing off his K-Flip

Monday, December 15, 2008

Snowy Gold Bar

I went up to Gold Bar with Kyle and Joel for a while last week to try climbing in the snow. It had snowed several inches in the last day or two up there, and conditions were pretty rough, but we had fun. We managed to drive about halfway up the hill before the road became too frozen, and we walked to the top. An hour or so on the Equinox boulder was the best climbing we had, as it was sunny and relatively warm. I think it was 20 degrees at the car... and breezy. It felt great to be outside nonetheless.
We spent the rest of the day walking around the woods and climbing on a couple of obscure problems. It was gorgeous seeing snow up the hill... the only time I'd seen fresh snow in the clearcut was the night that Joel and I camped at the top of the hill in the pouring rain last fall, only to wake to six inches of snow and a very slippery journey down the hill. I spent most of the day gawking at the beauty and taking pictures. My skin is still in poor shape, and it's hard for me to climb at all, but it did feel great to be outside.
Cassie Lovin' The Snow
Kyle on Twisted
Joel on Twisted
Joel on the Road to Zion wall
Kona's Mal-Adapted Snow Boots

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

To G or not to G

Here's a new video of Johnny climbing two problems this fall. The first is the possible first ascent of No Strings Attached at Barney's Rubble in Leavenworth, and the second is an unnamed, ungraded problem at the River Boulders in Index. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Our house gained another member last week... Joel was working at an apartment complex all week and noticed a cat sitting outside the door of an empty apartment. According to another tenant, he was abandoned by the people who had moved out several months before. After thinking about it all week, Joel finally brought him home. He ran away for a couple days, then made a triumphant return. He is a VERY small orange kitty, and he has been named Gideon. The Richie Spice reference was natural as his last owner had given him the Boot.
Gideon has since figured out that our house is his new home, and has settled in quite nicely. The two dogs are doing all right with him. Cassie is pretty excitable, but is good about keeping her distance. Ivy couldn't care less as long as somebody is petting her. Gideon is totally oblivious to both of them. At this point he spends most of his time sitting in his chair and working hard on regaining some weight. He'll be a happy little fatty in no time...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Last Fall Weekend...

Two weeks ago I went to Leavenworth with Joel and Cortney. Our days off didn't line up with Johnny, and the rest of the monkeys are on trips in Utah and California. Lucky bastards...
We went out to Joel's cabin on Highway 2 on Saturday evening, and had a nice campfire and some quality woods time. Sunday was relatively dry, though a thin layer of frost covered the Icicle. We warmed up at The Sword, and then climbed on the fun arete of Fuzz Wall, just further up canyon. After that, we climbed at The Pony Ride and Dirty Dude, typical destinations these days. Conditions were not ideal, and I didn't make much progress, although Cortney reached a new high point on The Pony Ride, sticking the hard move only to fall of the damp lip above. It may be a couple of months 'till we make it back out there, and the Icicle time was much appreciated. I'm studying for exams all week, and toying with the idea of spending a week in Bishop after I'm done. I want to go climbing so bad...
Cortney Climbing on Fuzz Wall
SchickD Coming Close on Dirty Dude

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


It was another decent weekend in Leavenworth, although it definitely feels like winter there even though the snow hasn't begun to fall. It gets dark in the canyons before five these days, and a thick cloud hung over the valley the entire weekend. We managed to get some climbing in on Saturday, then camped and had a decent day finding dry rock on Sunday. In the morning, we were up above the clouds, but unfortunately, all the boulders were in the clouds... Kyle the newlywed made it out on Sunday morning, and it was great to climb with him, as well as Joel, Michelle, and Cortney. Jens and SchickD even made an appearance in the afternoon. After hanging out at the Pony Ride for a while and watching Joel crush Johnny's problem on the Cotton Pony Pointer, we headed into the Tumwater Canyon to climb at the Pitless Avocado area. It was getting dark when we made it to the boulders, but we had plenty of people and plenty of pads. Kyle sent the burly low start to the Pitless Avocado for its second ascent, a problem that's off-limits to most of us because of the 6-foot dyno required... Jens and I worked on the stand start for a while and I managed to pull it off, which made my trip goal of one climb I hadn't done before. I was glad to climb the Pitless Avo in the traditional style, that is, at night... Kyle put the problem up in the dark, and most subsequent ascents I know of have been made by headlamp. With the loose, 25-foot top-out over logs and boulders, it's probably beneficial to have your vision limited to a small circle immediately in front of your face. We finished up with a group session on Slingblade, grabbed a burger, and headed back into the city. I've been completely swamped with school and thoughts about impending summer job applications this week, so I'm not sure if I'll be able to make it out again this weekend. I'm going to miss Leavenworth this winter...

Two views from the top 'o' the hill
Michelle coming super close on Slice of Cake
Joel Crushing on The Cotton Pony Pointer

Friday, November 14, 2008

Goin' Climbing...

I'm going climbing this weekend and I'm psyched! Hopefully I can finish work in time to climb a bit on Saturday...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

River Boulder Afternoon

Wednesday afternoon I cut out of school after class and went to the River Boulders. Johnny called in sick to work and came along - I think we both needed to take advantage of the break in the rain and do a bit of climbin'. We only got a few hours of climbing in before the sun set, but it was really nice to be outdoors and we both got our fair share of climbing. I tried Chutzpah a bit, but had a really tough time with it. I think the peely, thin "condition" of my skin greatly reduces the amount of friction they can create. I usually have almost no visible fingerprints... A fact which doesn't really manifest on Leavenworth's grainy stone, but makes itself painfully obvious on the glassy rock of the river boulders. At least I don't have to wear gloves when I'm out committing crimes...

"The arc of the railroad tracks is long, but it bends toward the river boulders..."
The Chutzpah boulder
Me warming up
Me, psyched
Johnny attempting some toe-hook funkiness


Last weekend Cortney and I headed over to Leavenworth for some Haloween festivies at Jessica Campbell's house in Peshastin. It was a great time, complete with fire and beer. The monkeys were in full regalia, although only Jessica was spooky really. The rain held out for the evening, but by the time we woke up on Saturday morning it was wet and crappy out.

We headed up the misty Icicle in search of dry stone, but there wasn't much to be found. Cortney and I ran into Ralph and Kyle O'Meara, father/son dream team, and then headed over to Little Bridge Creek Wall with Jens, SchickD, and Kyle. Dick Cilley's Gutbuster was completely dry despite the rain, as was The Lefty, a beautiful boulder problem climbing to an obvious horizontal near the base of the cliff. We hung out for a few hours to flail on Gutbuster, flail on the lefty, and enjoy the tiny zone of dryness next to the cliff. I think I managed the only send of the day with the possible FA of the dirty, sandy Butguster, which traverses left along the low ledge at the base of the cliff from The Lefty to Gusbuster.

We spent Saturday night at the Peshastin House on High Street, then after a slow breakfast at the Renaissance Cafe, stoped by the Swiftwater Cave to see if it was dry. It wasn't. Several consecutive days of rain had completely saturated the spongy schist, and Cortney and I headed back to Seattle, rejected. I spent Sunday night in the library and that was the end of the weekend...

James says I should diversitize my portfolio
$10,000 reward for Jens
K9 Cop Officer Honcho
Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!

Jessica's Wonderful Backyard

SchickD on Gusbuster

Fall Colors on Sunday


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

October Video

Here's a short video I made of Adam Healey, Johnny, and I climbing in Leavenworth. It shows Johnny on the first ascent of Pierce Brosnan, and me climbing on the Swiftwater Cave and the stand to Dirty Dude. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Last Fall Weekend...

Here are some pictures from last weekend... the main event was Johnny getting the FA of the dihedral above the fridge, now known as Pierce Brosnan, as well as the new-FA of Joel Campbell's Dirty Dude, which broke last summer. I'm keeping this one short and sweet, so here are the pics...
Michelle in the Swiftwater Cave
Adam Attempting Pierce Brosnan
Johnny's Flappers
Adam Doing Some Campfire Training
Michelle Climbing on Fuzz Wall
Johnny On The Ladder Proj
Dimitry On The Ladder Proj