Gravity

Alpinism has a gravity to it. If left unchecked it will pull you all the way in. Sometimes it’s for sharing, sometimes not. Climbing ice demands balance. Two sticks, check your feet. Commit. Find the edge, hold a single crampon point on a dime edge, press. Commit.

I thought a lot about partners this trip. Specifically about how to be a good partner. Good partners pull their weight. If you’re setting an anchor, moving to another spot and your partner offers to re-rig, you move all the packs. A good partner is on time. A good partner does what they say they’re going to do. A good partner offers to belay even if it’s not their turn in the cycle. A good partner knows when to tell a story and when to stay quiet.

When I climb ice everything fades to the background and I’m in a complete flow state. I love the creativity of ice pitches, more than rock it offers limitless options for upward movement. There’s a style to it. It’s where I’m most comfortable.

I love the different textures of ice: frozen neve, wet ice, still forming chandeliers, feeling the bonds between rock and ice through my tools. A delicate placement here or the solid thunk of a well placed pick.

I flew into Denver from Portland on Saturday afternoon, picked up the rental and started the drive to Ouray. I got to Montrose around 10:30pm and the thought of sleeping in the car and suiting up to climb in the dark and cold lost all its appeal and I checked into a motel. I was able to get a good nights sleep, repack my climbing gear, make lunch and boil water for tea for the day.

I texted my partner for the day, a climber I met on Mountain Project to let him know I was about 45 minutes out and en route to the warming hut in the park. Thumbs up, the plan is in motion. When I walked outside I paused slightly when I saw the car was covered in snow and heavy snow was falling I had no idea if the road to Ouray was going to be plowed or not at 6am.

We climbed from 8am until the park closed at 3:30, and then repeated the same the next day for 2 full days. I lost track of how many pitches we climbed. We TR’s some excellent mixed pitches – there’s nothing like the feeling of torquing a pick into a crack or stepping up on a single crampon point on an edge. The last pitch of the last day I climbed up and out with my pack on. I had forgotten what it’s like to climb steep ice with a pack. It takes a bit more effort.

A good trip this week. I’m leaving Ouray tired and satisfied. 2 full work days in Boulder and then back to Portland and my girls.

Get in the Van!

I’m going to post some of the talks and articles that I ID with. This one is great and follows the premise to ‘fall in love with the problem’. So often in product development people fall in love with their solution – and it’s such a quick trip to completely forgetting about the problem you were trying to solve. Always always always fall in love with the problem.

The Pain Cave

This is the closest I’ve gotten to completing the Andy Speer Full Body Dumbbell workout. I think I’m taking too long between sets – maybe if I tried to speed it up and take less rest between sets I might be able to do it in an hour. Or I could drop the weights down.

I just get completely bored being in the gym longer than an hour. Toward the end I’m so worked the thought of doing split switches holding a dumbbell is not super appealing and I just want to go home.

Here’s the full workout:

The pain cave.

Alpine

I did a quick ski tour from Government Camp to the top of Magic Mile up and down on the Alpine Trail from Summit Ski Area today. Traffic was terrible through Sandy – there was construction right outside of Otto’s in Sandy and only one lane of traffic was getting through. Combined with a late start (left home at 10am) I wasn’t skinning until noon. There was a couple on skis with their dog going up and a snowboarder who had stopped to stretch his IT band(s). Those were the only people going up – but I got to make my ‘Crack of Noon’ joke twice. I was surprised how little wind there was – zero through the trees nearly to the top of Jeff Flood. I was a bit overdressed and was dripping sweat from my nose and getting sunblock sweat in my eyes. Once I got up to treeline the wind picked up and I literally felt my nipples freezing. I pushed a little bit further and then relented and put on a softshell that blocked the wind.

I have no idea what the uphill travel policy is at Timberline atm. The few times I’ve gone up this way I’ve been in for an early start and never see any skiers coming down. Today I stuck to the left side and scooted across to skiers left on a few sections where snowboarders were hucking off jumps near the ski area boundary. I didn’t want a snowboarder to land on my head.

Felt amazing on the way up . Time in the gym has really paid off. I don’t think I stopped until I got just below the Jeff Flood lift and was just super thirsty. I still subscribe to the idea that the only thing that makes climbing mountains easier is climbing mountains and lifting weights.

New pack was dope. It’s a Mountain Equipment Tupilak 37. The interior rolltop was surprisingly nice – I kept a soft flask and my helmet in the area between the lid flap and roll top, so I only needed to open the flap and reach under my helmet for my water. I also carried a 34 oz. vacuum bottle of green tea – totally overkill. I had a PbJ, apple and cheese at the top of Magic Mile and maybe drank 20oz.

Skiing out was a little rough. First day out and I over cranked my boots and had to stop a couple of times to adjust. I just forgot where I had them dialed in last season. I always worry I’m going to completely forget how to ski – it never happens and then I relax 🙂

Oftentimes on Hood there is a low cloud layer – today shit was out of control, the cloud layer was from maybe Govy elevation up to about 6K ? so a 2K + pillow of clouds that were stacked way, way up. There was even a rainbow coming through the clouds. I thought about taking a picture, but I’m a little anti-picture sharing lately. Someone else probably posted one on Insta – so find it there.