Monday, February 16, 2009

Index is In!

Almost everything is dry and as long as the sun is out it is as warm as you could want. Was trying the box car arete shirtless today, Saturday was two down coat weather.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Was recently reminded of an incident that happened to me a while ago. Posted this on supertopo a few days after:

So yesterday a friend who is new to the area and I decided to climb the Tooth which is kind of THE classic introductory alpine climb in the Seattle area. The approach went great though my stomach started to feel a little strange after a large cup of coffee from the Safeway in North Bend. On the way up we passed a group of four women who had gotten off route and climbed the sharks fin formation near the tooth. We moved pretty quickly and were rappelling back down from the summit as they were starting their second pitch.

Something about they way my harness was fitting really irritated my bowels and as soon as i was on the ground i stripped it off and ran/scrambled full speed towards the nearest trees. The slope is pretty damn steep there but i found a flattish spot behind the upturned root ball of a pine tree, leaped into it, dropped drawers and prepared for the biggest relief of my life.

Alas, the lesson to be learned from this sad tale is that it is always worth checking for hornet nests...

The sensation of being stung simultaneously in several places is a strange and not immediate recognisable one and I wondered for an instant if I was experiencing some rapidly developing allergy to poly propylene. However, The sight of several yellow and black insects on my arm forced the realization of just what was going on and I leaped up and, pants still about the ankles, bounded across the mountain side removing bee coverd helmet and shirt still desperate to find somewhere to do my now half completed business.

And that, my friends, is how I ended up stark naked slapping my a$$ on a mountain side in view of no less then five people of the female persuasion.

My partner counted 12 stings across my back and arms and there is also the matter of a large red welt on the spot on my right butt cheek that I can only assume was closest to the entrance to my winged friends home. I can't say that I blame them, and am greatfull to them that my manhood suffered no more than exposure from this particular incident.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Stewart Range Traverse on the Web

The South Aspect of the Stuart Range from

"Croft started from a Stuart Range trailhead in the wee hours carrying only a peeled banana inside a one-liter bottle of water."
from a description of Peter Croft's traverse in "Ways to the Sky: A Historical Guide to North American Mountaineering" on google books.

"I was running up the logging road at night to begin the climb ... The car stopped and a fellow got out wearing a Hawaiian shirt. He looked at me and he pulled out a handgun."
From a feature on Croft at the North Face

Wayne Wallace's TR at

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Amateur Meteorology


In January, Seattle area climbers take up meteorology as a hobby. A network of weather sites and low resolution webcams provide a picture of the shifting mess of storm systems, temperature inversions and rain shadows... txt messages are sent to friend who live near, or may have driven by the crags and cars are loaded with everything from ice tools to crash pads. In past years, I've driven half way across the state with rock shoes and cams to find two feet of snow clinging to the rock and end up sipping coffee in a small town book store thinking of what could have been.

Climbing January 2009

This January, however, I think I have a system worked out. If there is any chance of climbing at all it will be in the rain shadow of the olympics, which, depending on conditions will fall somewhere between Bellingham and north bend. This weekend it fell on the Chuckanut sandstone of Larbee state park near Bellingham.


Though many strong climbers have called this area home, there is little information available on established routes and problems. We simply take our pads, stock up on dried local meats and coffee at one of the small stores along St RT 11 and walk the beaches and train tracks looking for solid, dry stone.


Climbing gently, testing holds before committing, not knowing or careing the names and ratings... basking in the setting sun and finishing the day at the skagit brewery in mount vernon. It is as close to heaven as I can imagine this time of year.

Climbing January 2009


More Pics on Flickr