Monday, June 28, 2010

Prusik Peak - Solid Gold

Weeks and weeks of crappy weather delayed the start of the alpine climbing season this year. I waited patiently for much of that time, hanging out at the crags, in the gym, at the bar, on my bike, hoping for a stable weather window and some dry rock in the high country. Earlier this month, a weekend of lowland rock climbing in Squamish was again thwarted by mother nature. We retreated to Tieton on the east side of the Cascade crest and promptly got dowsed by yet another rain storm. I climbed in a downpour in Hells Canyon. I greased my way up wet basalt at the Ozone. My patience was wearing thin.

A high pressure system finally started to move on shore over the past week, and the stars looked like they might align. Nate scored a hard-to-come by permit for the Enchantments and was looking for a couple of tag alongs. The moon was going to be full. All I needed was an objective and a partner.

The permit was for the Snow Lakes region, home to the fabled Prusik Peak. Here's a shot from a 2006 trip to the area.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Hells Canyon Trip Report ... sssshhh ... don't tell anyone.

In 2000, just as I was learning how to climb, I took a backpacking trip to Hells Canyon with Kristin and my friends Eli and Jason. Jason had just moved to Portland from New York state, and Eli flew in from New York City for a visit. I had lived in Portland for only a little more than a year. We drove in from the Oregon side, up and over endless steep hills of sagebrush and eventually down into the canyon and the banks of the Snake River. That trip left a strong impression on us west coast newbies, surrounded by what felt at the time like a frontier wilderness. I recently dug out some old photos, and we look like tiny little creatures in a vast foreign landscape. At the time we felt the same way and couldn't believe we had stumbled upon such a little talked about natural wonder.

From Hells Canyon 2010