Saturday, May 28, 2011

Alpine Skills in the Clark Range

I just returned from instructing an alpine training program for the Outward Bound School, and it was a blast! There were six of us in total, and after leaving Yosemite Valley via the John Muir Trail, we made our way out Little Yosemite Valley and up into the Clark Range. The curriculum included snow travel and camping, and technical skills such as fixed lines and rock anchor-building. We made an attempt on the SE ridge of Mt. Clark but Patagonia-strength winds made us reconsider getting out onto the ridge proper. Big travel days and lots of information to cover made our days quite long, but it was a good chance to push it a bit and have some fun with other instructors.
For now I am figuring out what to do with some big chunks of time off, before the big work season starts in a little less than 2 weeks.

Mike Phillips leads us out of LYV.

South Face of Half Dome as seen in a pond of snow melt.

"Are we there yet?"

Chris Rogers gives a lesson on snow anchors, with Cathedral Peak and Mathes Crest in the distance.

Itamar Cohn builds an anchor during a fixed line drill.

Alisa Koyama takes backcountry cooking to the next level...

Moonset over Moraine Dome

Gnarled Juniper.

Hiking high above the valley floor.

Chris contemplates the immense South Face.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Evolution Traverse Video

My climbing partner Josh Garrison made this video/slideshow last year, which chronicaled his long and tumultuous love affair with the Evolution Traverse. Cycling through 3 partners over 3 attempts before finally completing it with me (it was my second go at the thing as well...), he ended his Sierra season last year by putting that thing behind him.

Now we are looking forward to the summer, towards a bigger and burlier traverse...


Friday, May 6, 2011

Smith Rock and AMGA Rock Course

Lyle Haugsven on belay duty.

After more than 20 days of pulling down and shedding my fingertips on the sharp welded tuff of Smith Rock, Oregon, I can finally take a couple well-deserved rest days. The last 10 days I have been attending an AMGA (American Mountain Guides Association) Rock Instructor course, and have been spent absorbing lots of new industry standard guiding techniques and applying those in multi-pitch terrain. This will lead me down the path of certification in the Rock discipline, over the next year and a half.


Coils got a little too short during the Kiwi Coil Races! i was lucky to fit this over my head!

Super classic Cinnamon Crack

Blurry shot of our team on Lost in Space on the Smith Rock Group.

We were able to climb every day of the course, and climbed some of the most classic traditional pitches in the park, including the mega-cool Zebra to Zion on the Morning Glory Wall. After "school", we continued climbing, often until dusk, which was touch since class went from 8am to 4:30pm daily!
The weather has been fair to extremely hot, and on some of the days we had to resort to some Advanced Crowd Avoidance Techniques (ACATs)...

Super Slabbin'!

The MoonDog Himself.

But now I have to say goodbye to Smith and make the annual pilgrimage in the morning back to Yosemite where I will begin work in late May, starting with instructing an Alpine Skills Training for the Outward Bound School.