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Archive for the ‘Climbing’ Category

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Date: Sunday, September 18, 2011

Location: Matthes Crest, Yosemite National Park

Climbers: Jon & Nick

Photos: Jon & Nick (as noted)

Synopsis: After a successful trip on the Northeast Couloir of Mount Gilbert the day prior, Jon and I headed on yet another early alpine start for some ultra-classic climbing on Matthes Crest. Matthes Crest is one of the most unique climbs I have ever done. Approaching from the Cathedral Lakes trailhead, Matthes Crest is a very unique granite knife-ridge that was glacially formed. Although it is only about 500 vertical feet from the ground, the knife-ridge itself runs for over a mile long. Similar to most parties, we climbed to the North Tower and rapped from the dedicated rap rings.

Ultimately, it rightly deserves its recognition for its classic status, offering awesome climbing, great exposure and unbelievable views.

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Date: Saturday, September 17, 2011

Location: Mt. Gilbert, Northeast Couloir

Climbers: Jon & Nick

Photos: Jon & Nick (as noted)

Synopsis: After arriving back from Europe the prior day (and Jon separately also arriving from Spain the prior day), Jon and I headed down to Bishop to once again give a go at the North Couloir on Mt. Gilbert (13,106 ft.). Last year we headed down much latter in the alpine ice season, and after a foot of snow fell, avalanche conditions were unsafe and lead to the Triple Skunk on each of the North Couloir on North Peak, the North Couloir on Mt. Gilbert and the Harrington Couloir on Mt. Thompson.

Fortunately, this year we headed back earlier in the season without snow on the approach and the weather was great. We ended up climbing the Northeast Couloir as it was more sustained without a burnt-out middle section, but now we both want to go back and climb the North Couloir proper. I guess we still have time this season!

Unlike the Triple Skunk , the approach was entirely dry well up onto the glacier just below Mt. Gilbert. Therefore, the approach was much faster (by several hours) and we made good time.

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Dates: Wednesday, September 7 – Thursday, September 15, 2011

Locations: Geneva, Chamonix & Annecy, including the Arête des Papillons – Aiguille du Peigne, Chamonix

Synopsis: Sarah and I headed over to the Swiss and French alps for an amazing trip, including first-time visits for each of us to Geneva, Chamonix and Annecy. I was extremely fired-up to visit Chamonix, THE Alpine Climbing and Skiing Mecca. While in Chamonix, I was able to link up with Tahoe-local Ben Mitchell for some climbing. Ben is an AMGA/IFMGA guide from Truckee that guides in Chamonix in the summer months (as well as for Alpine Skills International in Truckee in the winter and Points North Heli Skiing in Alaska, among other guiding pursuits). Ben and I climbed the classic Arête des Papillons on the Aiguille du Peigne in Chamonix.

Most importantly, the trip was a perfect combination of relaxation, sightseeing/photography and trilling adventure (including paragliding from the Plan Praz station heading towards the Plaques du Brévent) with the most amazing travel companion in the world!

While this TR does contain some amazing climbing and paragliding shots from Chamonix, I also just wanted to showcase some of the amazing sites and views presented during the entire trip in chronological order.

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Dates: Saturday, August 27 – Sunday, August 28, 2011

Locations: Stately Pleasure Dome, Pywiack Dome & Dozier Dome, Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park

Climbers: Brandon & Nick

Photos: Nick (unless otherwise noted as Brandon)

Synopsis: Brandon and I headed up to Tuolumne Meadows for a great weekend of climbing on some classic multi-pitch dome routes: (i) Great White Book on Stately Pleasure Dome, (ii) Holdless Horror on Dozier Dome, (iii) Zee Tree on Pywiack Dome and (iv) Errett Out on Dozier Dome. The weather was great and the scenery spectacular.

I also got to try out my new camera for shots from the ground (as I would never climb with this thing): a Canon 60D with a Canon 15-85mm F/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens. All climbing shots (and shots from the summits) are with my much smaller Panasonic LX-3.

On the drive in Saturday morning, the skies were very overcast and there was some very sporadic rain (in quantity, location and time-lapse). We got a little worried, as rain + granite slab = no fun. However, the rain didn’t seem to impact the Tuolumne area (other than about 2 minutes of very light rain over Tenaya Lake) and the skies eventually cleared up during the day.

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Dates: Saturday, July 30 – Sunday, July 31, 2011

Locations: Indian Springs & Donner Summit

Climbers: Alex, Colin & Nick

Photos: Alex & Nick (as accredited) – although virtually 99.9% of the shots in this TR are Alex’s

Synopsis: Ultimately, this was a great weekend of moderate climbing with some good buddies. I honestly haven’t gotten out much this summer due to a pretty hectic schedule of work, travel, moving and other commitments. Everything always balances out, however – so I was just excited to be able to get out over this weekend. Other than a great day at the Leap climbing Surrealistic Pillar over Fourth of July weekend, this would only be by second climbing outing this summer.

I was really pumped as well given that (i) this was Alex’s first time outdoor rock climbing (as he only recently began climbing in the gym) and (ii) I had not climbed with Colin in over a year due to his skiing injury.

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Dates: January 22-23, 2011

Climbers: Jon, Rachel, Tony & Nick

Locations: Lee Vining Caynon, Main Wall & June Lake, Horsetail Falls

Video & Photos: Nick (unless otherwise noted)

Synopsis: We headed down to the Eastside over the weekend to take in some Sierra ice climbing in Lee Vining Canyon and Horsetail falls. Lee Vining Canyon Main Wall was in good shape with thick ice and cold temperatures on Saturday. On Sunday, we headed down to Horsetail Falls in the June Lake area. Unfortunately, recent warm weather and sun exposure from the prior week had melted out many of the flows and the ice was fairly hollow. Alternatively, we hiked around to a North-aspect, mini-flow and worked on ice screw placements, anchoring, etc…

All in all, a great weekend of climbing with a good group!

This TR contains both a Video TR and Photo TR.

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Locations: Plan “A” locations included the North Couloir on North Peak (12,242 ft.) and the North Couloir on Mt. Gilbert (13,106 ft.). Plan “B” locations included either the North Couloir on Mt. Gilbert or the Harrington Couloir on Mt. Thompson (13,494 ft.). Actual locations were the basin of Mt. Gilbert and Mt. Thompson.

Dates: Friday Night, October 29 – Sunday, October 31, 2010

Climbers: Nick & Jon (and Brandon for the first hour of Friday night!)

Photos: Nick (unless otherwise noted as Jon)

Synopsis: When travelling in the alpine zone, one’s plans are largely dictated by weather and conditions. Flexibility is the key in my mind. Set forth below is a chain of events that started with a plan developed over the course of the work week, weather monitoring, a change of plans and then further plan changes up through the entire weekend.

Ultimately, this TR is mostly an account of our plan changes and a bunch of scenic pictures – as alas, nothing was actually climbed. Would I depict it as a “failure” of weekend, absolutely not. Any weekend spent in the High Sierra after a beautiful coating of snow is amazing, regardless of what is accomplished. Therefore, this TR is an account of a great weekend, in cool area I had not been, and depicts some mountain decisions that I am proud of. It always feels good to know that you recognized unfavorable conditions and made the decision to back down.

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