Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Eagle River Ice

Eagle River is without a doubt my favorite place to climb. The views are gorgeous, the approaches are relatively easy and there's so much to do within an hour or two from the car.

I've already climbed out there three times this ice season, but haven't posted anything about it. So, as I try to get motivated (see post below), here's a little trip report from a day on the ice with my good friend Richard Baranow.

Mr. Chugach himself knows the range and especially Eagle River better than anybody, without a doubt. We had talked about going out and scoping an unclimbed ice route high up in the valley but the motivation to hike 4,000' for one pitch of ice wasn't quite there.

Richard, all smiles!

So instead we went to a beautiful early season climb that rides up a gully for more than 2,000'. Well, we hit it in early the early season of early season. The climb was definitely 'in' but it was wetter than a fish.

Richard and I brought a rope but never took it out. We climbed the first three main ice pillars, all of which are fairly steep but never too hard. The third pillar was so unbelievably wet, we would have been dryer had we jumped in a pool. Even though it was steep, we opted not to rope up due to the water. The idea was just to climb as fast through it as possible.

An interesting note would be that I fell up to my waist in a deep pool when some ice broke underneath me. Soaking but not too cold, we climbed to the base of the main pillar. It was equally as wet, so we took an exit trail and hiked back down.

Richard coming up with Clint's swimming pool below him

Richard running up the third main piece of ice

...and getting SOAKED!!!

My clothes were stiff as they turned to solid ice sheets. All in all, it was a good day on the ice in late October. Sometimes the fun comes in suffering a little bit.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Motivation and lack there of...

It is amazing how at times, there is so much motivation pulsing through my veins it is like riding a lightning bolt. Other times I feel like a deflated balloon, empty and flat.

Right now I am the balloon. The stress of school, work and Alaska's short days as we approach winter solstice have zapped my energy and my will to train.

After a long and stressful day in the Revelations this spring. This is how I feel now.

Flash back several months ago when I was hitting the rock-gym four times a week, running, lifting weights, riding my bike. I was running on an emotional and motivational high. My ambitions were all I thought about and being my best fueled my every thought.

Take one sip of beer. Add one bowl of ice cream, four term papers, 40 hour work weeks and no immediate objectives. Now repeat four to five times...with the beer, quantify by 100. That's where I am at now. But it isn't where I want to be.

As far as ice climbing goes, I feel like I'm climbing better than I ever have, but that isn't enough. I need to get out and put in some long days in the mountains. I need to feel the burn in my thighs from post-holing up some precarious snow slope as fast and efficient as I can. But, I don't want to. Where is my motivation?

There is an infinite multitude of amazing online sources for training that I have been looking at lately. Here are some of my favorites that at least spark the motivation.
Kelly Cordes Training for alpine climbing

Andy Kirkpatrick's website: Pyscho Vertical

I find the best motivators for me are old pictures from previous climbs and trips. Not only do they get me thinking about fun times in the mountains with my friends, they also get me thinking about how alive I felt in those situations.

So, here's a few shots from over the years to get me, and you... MOTIVATED!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Ptarmigan Peak

Photo courtesy of Colin Haley

Immediately after returning from Yosemite, it was back to work and school. For many months, I had been working with the American Alpine Club, Black Diamond and the Bear Tooth Theatre to put together a slideshow. It would also be a benefit for the AAC, to help rebuild and renovate the Snowbird Hut in the Talkeetna Mountains.

Colin Haley, fresh off an attempt on Baintha Brakk (better known as the Ogre) in Pakistan flew up to Alaska and gave a wonderful slideshow on the Torre Traverse.

After that he had a few days to play before heading back down to Seattle.

The two of us ended up going out to Ptarmigan Peak with Scotty and Carl. The ski out was great and we didn't have many problems with moose. While the other guys scratched their way up one of Carl's old test pieces near Caught With a Youngin', Colin and I did a longer and more moderate route called Ski Tracks.

Aside from being extremely strong and remarkably efficient, Colin is amazingly humble. It was a fun day out on the mountains with a great guy!

A big thanks goes out to Colin for coming up and raising several thousand dollars for a good local cause!!! Check out the AAC's article!

Photo courtesy of Colin Haley