September 22, 2012

September 20, 2012


Stay tuned! Through biography stories, I will be featuring some prominent and local mountain travel athletes and those making an important difference in the lives of us who love mountain adventure. The stories will be upfront and personal giving us a glimpse into their unique and amazing worlds. Watch out, you might be on my list!

September 15, 2012

Giggles- Big Willow Wasatch Mountains Sept 14, 2012

It has been far too long since Scott and I got into the mountains together. He and I have had many an adventure together on two wheels, trail shoes and skis. I appreciate him very much. The notion of getting into the more remote parts of the Wasatch is special for me. I love to climb in the fall and when you combine the primitive need to be alone with climbing the outcome can be special.  The route I hoped to climb required a friend to join me and Scott heard the call even though he has never climbed a multi-pitch route. Scott is a strong guy, truck loads of experience ski touring and mountain running and besides, this would be his first time into this unique location. "He will be fine", I said to myself. Turns out I was right.

Yesterday morning we left before dawn broke and aimed our sights high into Big Willow but this time with heavier packs than the usual water bottle and candy bar. Giggles is a 5 pitch special route which is super aesthetic. The climb is lonely, possessing excellent quality granite and encapsulated in a high alpine setting. The route goes directly up the middle of a 500 foot towering wall of rock adjacent to the "notch." On the left side of the notch that is. It was an incredible morning. I feel so blessed to have great friends and live near this heaven on earth we call the Wasatch Range. We reached our cars at 3 PM that afternoon.

The disadvantage of traveling in the dark
Solitude and valley haze
Happy times- Courtesy Scott Wetzel
Scott seeing the rim of sun and getting closer
Heaven. Our route left center (tallest wall before the notch/step down)
Missing a shoe? Besides the oxidized rubber, looks pretty good (I can tell you where it is if it's yours)
Looking down at Scott beginning of Pitch 1
Scott Pitch two
Scott nearing top of Pitch 3
Scott "Ambrose you owe me for this"
Top of Pitch 3

Me, pitch 4, crux hand crack-- magnificent rock! Courtesy Scott Wetzel
Scott another shot of Pitch 4 with the sun and mottled rock
Me gearing up for Pitch 5 (last one). Courtesy Scott Wetzel
Pitch 5, Me looking down at Scott, checking on his hanging belay. Courtesy Scott Wetzel

Scott enjoying the last few feet of exposure on his first multi pitch and making it look easy!

Scott on top and in deep thought.

Scott coming off the back side

The route
Special gear note: We used a new Edelweiss Energy 9.5 MM Arc. It is an excellent lightweight 60 M rope.  I loved it.

Quote of the day: We were getting near the cirque and when asking Scott if he was ready to see the prettiest thing in this region he said "for sure!" "Oh I guess I should have asked, is Kara up here?"

September 9, 2012

Pre Autumn Climbing

Yesterday early in the morning I took another run at the West Slabs of Olympus, this time alone. It was quiet and the rock was cool with the autumn leaves changing below me. In the afternoon after soccer games, skate boarding lessons and cleaning bathrooms, my sons and I did some climbing on the local granitic crags. My boys are still young but are developing a love and respect for the beauty of nature and the adventure that each day in the mountains provides.

Young man working on "Satan's Corner" LCC

Older boy topping out 2nd pitch and his younger brother trailing on Becky's Wall"
Younger brother enjoying steep granite and a tight rope

September 3, 2012

Labor Day and the West Slabs

In an effort to break Jared away from his road running training, this morning a trip up the West Slabs of Olympus was just what he needed and well, me too. Here are some shots today of our 2 hour 28 minute trip. Up the West Slabs, traversed to the north and then the south summits of Olympus, then out the main west trail.  Today my mind flashed back to my first outing up the West Slabs route in 1994.   My friend Marty and I pitched it out with ropes and there was a dog that had followed us to the base of the slabs and barked for several hours while we did one belay after another. The dog still there and upon our return to the bottom of the slabs route, had climbed itself up a ways and was terrified. We thought about calling search and rescue or something but instead we rigged up a harness and lowered him off (I just assume it was a he). The dog got home I suspect and so did we like 8 or so hours after we had started. No dogs followed Jared and I today.

Jared low on the West Slabs
Jared climbing the upper portion
Jared on the move
Jared asking me if I got new glasses, "Yes Jared same glasses style I used when I was 4 and learning to ski."
Jared working towards the North Summit of Olympus
Traversing near North Summit
South Summit shot, then on down the main trail to the car