Sunday, August 31, 2008

Leap Of Faith

imageThat's what the WRers did today on Spire 4 in the Cathedral Spires. I think this is a photo of the big step across to the summit.



They also climbed Station 13 which is a long chimney. Details and photos of their climbs to follow.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Report From Black Hills

Lisa reported they climbed today in the South Seas area of Rushmore. Here are some of the climbs they did:

"All Tuckered Out," "Nutrasweet," "Boxcars and Airplanes" and many others I didn't write down.

Tomorrow it's onto the Cathedral Spires.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Little Devils Tower



Just got a call from Lisa and they are all on top of Little Devils Tower just outside Sylvan Lake. They've already talked to Mike and Ward and are going back to Custer for dinner.



Thursday, August 28, 2008

If You Have The Inclination & The Time

Check this climb out called Sandberg Peak which is right at the trailhead to Cathedral Spires.


Early Climbing In The Needles

Here's an excerpt from Bouldering History that mentions gear, technique and an early version of chalk for climbing in the Needles. The Conns have first ascents on over 200 routes in the Black Hills.

"In the Needles of South Dakota, starting in 1949, Jan and Herb Conn practiced long ground-level traverses when not making first ascents of spires. They wore cheap, low-top tennis shoes, tightly fitted and with the smooth rubber soles scored with a knife, and dried their hands with dry forest duff and pinecone powder. Herb and Jan usually climbed on a 60' rope, prefering the shorter length since it encouraged down-climbing, an important facet of the climbing experience as they saw it."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hiking Around The Black Hills

Because I've had several questions about footwear for the Needles area, I decided to show you what I used when I was out there in August.



For the approach march, I used a low heeled, casual shoe like this.





When I walked around town, I went with something more formal but still comfortable.






Although, this seems like a good idea because it protects your toes, it can cause you to put a hole in the climbing rope. So I would not recommend them.





If it'll be hot, this little number allows the foot to breathe. 



Whichever way you go, be sure to match your belt with your shoes. This is my favorite belt for out there.


But you might prefer this one:  image

Maybe This Would Be Better On A Mountain Than In Minnesota

"On 6/08 American climber Dean Potter carried out the first FreeBASE ascent of Deep Blue Sea (Eiger, 5.12+/7b+), climbing without a rope but with a parachute."


You can try this at Red Wing or Taylors Falls, but I don't think the chute would help.

Here's Something You Can Do With Your Free Time

They're looking for a volunteer.

"The Matrix Shackleton Centenary Expedition will recreate history by crossing Antarctica precisely 100 years after Shackleton attempted the same feat. The journey saw Shackleton fall short of the Pole by 97 miles, at which point he turned back to preserve the lives of his men."

And, living where we do, we train for this every winter:

"The successful candidate will need to be prepared to endure -35°C temperatures and 50mph headwind."

This could be a picture from Lisa's dogsled trip:


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Climbing Mt Rainier

Pretty good story of this guy's climb up Mt Rainier. He says,

"At Camp Muir we slept side by side in a shack. We went to bed around 6 p.m. I was utterly exhausted when I climbed in my bag and, though quite uncomfortable lying on a thin pad that was laid on an uneven wood surface, I quickly fell asleep."

Believe me, there's no sleeping jammed into a hot, noisy, smelly hut with a bunch of anxious climbers. I think the sleepless, partial night in that hut, was the hardest part of the climb for me.

You've Just About Done Everything

When these items are on your tick list and you're looking forward to autogyroing over the Namib Desert.


Two More Headers

How about #1?

Fun with rocks gray matisse  640w 220h

or #2?

Fun with rocks gray snap itc font 640w 220h

Monday, August 25, 2008

Survival Gear

To me, survival depends on my Visa card. Others put more thought into what a person should bring for survival. Here are 3 experts opining on what to carry.

(BTW, I also believe light packing consists of putting your charge card in your pocket. Because, almost wherever you're going, someone will be there to sell you what you need.)

Hash House Harriers

We saw one of these clubs "hashing" at the Rushmore climbing area in May. A guy came running past us throwing handfuls of flour. A few minutes later, some other runners passed us trying to find the flour trail.

They are a "drinking club with a running problem." Sounds like a fun way to get drunk exercise. 

Header Ideas

What I hear is that the new header isn't quite right. So, here are some different ones:

fun with rocks with gray caption 640w v2 jsnap itc

fun with rocks with pink caption 640w v2 jokerman

So which one is better, #1 (top) or #2 (bottom)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Poor St. Paul

Apparently there is next to nothing to do there. Here's an article called:

What to do in Minneapolis/Twin Cities while you’re waiting for the Republican National ConventionFive Popular attractions in Minneapolis-St. Paul:

1. Walker Art Center

2. Frank Gehry’s Weisman Museum

3. Midtown Global Market

4. Cathedral of Saint Paul

5. Mall of America

Notice that 4 out of 5 are in Mpls (or Mpls suburb.) Man, I'm glad I don't live in St Paul. (Plus, they leave out the Number 1 reason for going to St Paul: VE.)

We're Going Here

Barb & I are going to Tanzania in mid September for about 3 weeks. We're going to volunteer at the Peace House School.

This is Mt Meru just outside of Arusha, Tanzania. We're staying at a school right near the foot of this mountain.





Then we're going to the Ngorongoro Crater. 




To see large herds of animals like this image







with large herds of tourists like this.



Then we're going to Zanzibar. Then we're coming home.

PS Lisa can go to Tanzania to do yoga. But I can't do yoga; so I won't.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Labor Day- Black Hills- She Plans

Mel-lo, Amy and I are headed out to the Black Hills for the final weekend of summer. On Saturday we plan to go to the Beans and Beaners Event hosted by the Black Hill Climbers Coalition. Then on Saturday, we plan to climb Sprire #4 and Station 13 in the Cathedral Sprires Area. So, what are the He plans? We at least want to buy you a beer and listen to your manly tales of conquest. Ward? Mike? Who else is going?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Highpointers, Through Hikers & Loopers

I've heard of the highpointers - people who climb the highest peaks of each state. As well as through hikers - people who hike the full length of the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, etc. But "Loopers" was a new one to me. Boaters who circumnavigate Eastern North America by water are known as loopers.

I learned about this from a friend of mine who is traveling the length of the Mississippi by boat.


Ron Climbing Sleeping Bat

No animals were hurt in the videotaping of this climb. (Ask Ron.)

Ward Climbing Cyclops

Watch his moves and learn how to do this hard climb. It's a ballet on rocks.

Ward, This Is For You

Here's an article about using baking soda to improve anaerobic performance. A few quotes:

"A study from British researchers at Loughborough University shows that sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda, may improve anaerobic performances. The mechanism, the study reported, could be in baking soda's ability to reduce the acidity of blood pH and thereby cut muscle burn from lactic acid produced by anaerobic activity.

The most recent study, published in 2004, concluded that baking soda reduced fatigue and followed the same dosage of 300mg per kg of body weight taken one hour before testing. To put that in easier terms, a 150-pound person would need to take 20 grams before a workout or race."

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Snow Day in August!

Last week while it was raining in Estes Park, it was snowing at 12,000 feet at the "Cafe in the Clouds". They closed Trail Ridge Road (good idea, that sucker is scary) and all the workers got a snow day and then another. They were very happy. Maggie and I were hiking when the clouds cleared and we got a very pretty surprise.

Red Wing Thursday

A group of us is going to Red Wing Thursday - 9ish. Be there or be Square

TF on Tuesday

Lisa showed up just in time to clean up after some thoughtless climber who left junk all over the rocks. Even on her days off, she's gotta work.

Look at all the junk Lisa cleaned off the rocks:

South Seas, Rushmore & Keystone

For those of you going to the Beans and Biners climb, here's Gooogle Earth image of Keystone, Mt. Rushmore, South Seas and Wrinkled Rock.

earth image wrinkled rock

Monday, August 18, 2008

Taylors Falls Tuesday

We're climbing at TF on Tuesday early afternoon. Doing some trad and top ropes.

Beans and Biners- Labor Day Weekend

Richards says: This is the Black Hills Climbing Club that set up all the top ropes for us to climb when we were out there 2 weeks ago. If you guys are going to be there this day, it'd be worth it to attend this.They love it that people from MN go to these events. They were very safe and very friendly.

Beans & Biners is coming early this year on Saturday, August 30, starting at 9 a.m. at the South Seas at Rushmore. Park at the Wrinkle Rock trailhead. Beans & Biners is a free climbers gathering with top ropes put up on a variety of climbs from 5.7 to 5.12. No matter your climbing abilities, the BHCC invites you to come out and enjoy the day. We will have a potluck food table, so bring a food dish, drink, or something share. In case of serious rain, Beans & Biners will be Monday, Sept 1.

Mel changed our plans a bit for Labor Day Weekend so she and Amy and I can go to this. Anyone else interested?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Muddy Buddy- Boulder

What a fun event! 2 friends, 1 bike, 7 miles, 4 obstacles. 2 days of rain made for more mud than anyone anticipated. Jake and Levi were in the first heat , Maggie and I ran the last. We were busy running and didn't have time for any photos but before and afters, from pre dawn cleanliness to afternoon muddy delight. Running and biking in 12 inches of mud is a challenge, climbing a 6 foot climbing wall is not, I have skills in that area. I hope this event comes to Minnesota someday.

Muddy Buddy

Muddy buddy

Friday, August 15, 2008

There Is No Bad Weather, There Are Just Poor Clothing Choices.

I'm just a-saying...It's important! I went on a 11 miles downhill bike in North Fork Canyon. I went with a group. 21 were signed up, 17 showed up and 4 of us finished. Could be that it was raining, could be that it was 42 degrees, could be that everone was wearing jeans and sweatshirts, but me. I was wearing my Minnesota-go-everywhere outfit; rainsuit, wool, polypro. Of course I wear that everytrip! Those other 3 that finished were just tough! It was a beautiful ride with the clouds all coming down to introduce themselves to us amoungst the rocky crags. We all got man cards.

Another Scary Road or Making Coffee at 12,000 feet

Yesterday Em, CeCe, alex and I made the drive up to Trail Ridge Visitor Center to see where Jake and Levi work and to test our manliness at hight altitudes. I wasn't prepared for the cajones that would be required to drive on that road. I kept telling myself to breath and relax, and asking myself what I was so freaked about, after all I had been climbing for 2 days. Then I realized, it was because I wasn't roped in!
Alpine Tundra, pretty desolate, I must say. I think the lack of oxygen does impact the intellience of the tourists. Jake and Levi have endless tales about that. Then it started to snow so we came down. It would be fun to have a snow day in August.

World's Scariest Roads

Here's a fun slideshow of scary roads in several countries like this one in China. Mike, looks like a place you should go.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ron This Is For You

We talked about this climb in the Needles with Ron today and I told him I'd post a photo of it.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Last day of climbing here in Estes Park . We drove out to the Ironclades, long approach, nice hike. There are about 5 climbing areas here, we went to Ironsides and climbed "Repeat Offender" Levi had done it before (snort, that's funny, but I'm tired) It was a mighty fine view from up there so I cleared the gear and rapped on down. Ok, well you know it took me a while but it was fun. The next route was even more fun. "Gypsies in the Palace" was a 5.8 for about 9 clips lots of smearing, glad I had the magic shoes back. Lots of underclings too. Then chains, but you could finish up the top that part was a 5.10d. Sadly we lacked the length of rope it would take to accomplish that so we were satisfied with the first bit. It was a verrrrry long walk back to the car. Fun day!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Grand Teton Summit Register

I can't find my name on this summit register page - I climbed a different year - but this is John's signature on a climb he did on the Exum Route on the Grand Teton. (It's about 3/4 of the way down from the top.)

I did read through many years of this summit register on the Grand - which dates from 1898 - and found names of famous climbers as well as local people who I recognized.



Many Good Reasons To Go Hiking

But this web site - Hiker Hell - has lots of good reasons not to go hiking.  Like the cow who pushes the hiker off the single track which causes the hiker to fall and break his leg.


Climbing At Red Wing

We're planning on this Thursday and Friday about 9ish.

Jurassic Park

Em and I took our rope guns out to a very fun playground today. It was a tough, sandy approach but it wasn't far. The park is near Twin Sisters Peak and Lily Lake. go We climbed Stegasaurus, Mantal Mentality and Coloradodity, last last one was very slabby, that's probably why the area is called "Big Ass Slab" I started to lead it and really I was doing ok until I looked up in search of the bolts and saw that I was about a third of the way up. I guess I had a "What the heck am I doing" moment and had Levi finish it for me. He climbs so fast it's has to keep his belay within reason. I decided to share my new knowledge of rap backup and bought cord for prussuk knots all around at the mountaineering store. They seem to know my guys by name there!

Monday, August 11, 2008

I'm Alive and Outside in Colorado

Hello Friends!
Yes, I had a bout of illness but I popped back up just like toast. No time to be sick. Estes Park is nicely setup to go carless, so we shuttled up to The Bear Lake Trailhead for an easy day of hiking. We''ll things went just fine so we did a lot of hiking. Dream Lake, Emerald Lake, Hia yayaya Lake (I might have mispelled that) Alberta Falls and Glaiser Basin. All perty, perty, so here is a slide show for you.
I believe tomorrow is climbing day at Lumpy Ridge.

Unclimbed Peaks Still Exist

The people quoted in the post a few days ago said there were no more unclimbed peaks so what was the point of even climbing.

Well, you can go here and find unclimbed peaks. Or go here. Or here. Or, closer to home, the Neacola Mountain Range in Alaska.


Some Taylors Falls Photos

IMG_6037Ron climbing with his pack 








Aaron leading "Rosebush"








Sunday, August 10, 2008

Lisa Got To Colorado

And is sicker than a dog.


Get well soon.

Mike, Is Your New Climbing Wall Like This?

Heard Mike was building a new climbing wall. Does it look like this?


Does Climbing Matter Anymore?

A provocative title of this NY Times article. Included are these quotes about the recent K-2 accident:

'Dozens of readers commented at the New York Times Web site with sentiments overwhelmingly along these lines: “Utterly pointless. What a waste of time and lives.” Or, “Why is this news? Reckless incompetents commit utterly predictable suicide, endangering rescuers.” Or, simply, “No Sympathy. Sorry.”'

"But climbers argued last week that despite the tragedy, there was value in taking risks against nearly impossible odds, testing the strengths of human nature in extremes, and continuing to explore the world’s frontiers."

So what do you think? When conquering the last unclimbed peaks,

"There was something pure and glorious in what they did as they climbed into worlds where no one else had been."

Since there no more peaks to conquer, is mountain climbing not heroic anymore? Does it matter? And to whom is it supposed to matter?

(Also check out the interactive graphic on the K-2 accident.)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Friday at Taylor's Falls

Set up the top ropes and belay on down! That's how things began at TF on Friday. It wasn't too hot but at least it was muggy as we began our escapades whilst QD's mom looked on from her lawn chair. She is very brave to spectate at the likes of us. Ron did a little climbing with a full pack. Richard used his top rope set up skill...a lot. I fought the battle of the bulge and won...kinda. A1 did a little trad leading with a skittish belayer. They both survived. We left with the same number of dogs that we arrived with AND got a Dairy Queen (haha! that's a DQ for QD et al) A very good day to be alive and outside in Minnesota.
I'm leaving for Colorado in the moring but I have a phone and computer access. You won't even know I'm gone!

Needles on the 21

Hello, Jake and I are planning a trip to needles on the way back from the rockies. If you have any good websites I should look at or guide books I should have please let me know.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Longs Peak Done

Last Night Jake, Lyle, Andrew, and I set off on our adventure. We got to the trail head at around Midnight and started our adventure. This was one of the hardest hikes I have ever done. The first 6.75 miles were fine and dandy. We got lost around 4 times, searching for Carren stones in a boulder field larger than you can imagine and we got up to the keyhole around 415. We tried sleeping for a while but I got a 10 minute nap in and said lets go summit lyle! Andrew and Jake continued to sleep for 2 hours in the stone building we had found. There was only 1.25 miles left of our journey but this is where it began. Although we had hiked 6.75 miles the ascent was nearly half over. I traversed across for 400 yards and lyle exclaimed "I can't" in his taiwanese accent and he said he would wait for me there, as I told him to get comfortable. After a .5 mile hike up the well known "trough" I was pooped. A forty five degree incline full of softball size boulders to couch size boulders. I then traversed another 400 yards where I was met by a granite ramp which was the last but hardest thing I would have to do. After pushing my self to a drunken state of altitude I reached the top of the mountain and the end of the targets spray painted on the rocks. I had made it at 6.37 am, the first person to reach that summit on the fifth of august. I was met by my new friend nick who gave me a delicious Cranberry almond cliff bar. I was then met by andrew arriving at 7:30. Jake will tell his story on another blog. Here is some pics from my phone before it stopped working. It was way cooler than the pics by the way.

Report From The First Ascent Of Super Pin

Found this quote in the Piana guide book to climbing in the Needles of South Dakota. This is a report from the first ascent of Super Pin - one of the climbs we did last Saturday.

"My belayer Ron was too nervous to belay after I had gone beyond both the point of no return and my protection against falling to the ground. We certainly felt it would be better for him to be in the best position should I succeed rather than in the best position to witness my failure...  The holds were small & occasionally loose & Ron was observing from the safety of the highway."

Monday, August 4, 2008

Longs Peak Tonight

Tonight Jake and I are hiking longs peak. For those of you not aware of Longs Peak, here you go. Longs peak is a famous 14,teener in colorado 15 miles from Estes Park. Longs Peak is the 15th highest mountain in Colorado. This compares nothing to Mount Harvard the third highest that I did when I was 14 haha. This hike consists of a 5000 vertical distance and 14 miles round trip. Because of weather issues they constrict you from being up at the top after noon. Therefore Jake and I are starting at 11 tonight to see the sunrise at the top. Hope to post pics tomorow. seeyou!

Twin Peaks

(I know, most of you don't even remember that old TV show.)

Ward Onsighting Tricouni Nail

Here's a video of Ward onsighting Tricouni Nail last Saturday. (The sun was shining in the camera and made it hard to film.) If the player below doesn't work, here's the link.

"Beta Lickers"

Is what the Black Hills Climbers called us as we climbed on top ropes set up by them in the Ten Pins area of the Needles.

That's alright with me. Most of these climbs were first done 40 years ago and the pitons and bolts that are left, are of that vintage. And, one of the routes we top roped, "Super Pin," has two bolts on it; one at about 15 feet above the start and the other about 10 feet below the summit. And it's around 75 feet tall. (Just before the lead climber got to the 2nd bolt, he told Ward - who was belaying him - "I'm on my own now. You can't catch me. So don't jump over the edge if I fall." With that in mind, I'll proudly wear the badge of "Beta Licker."

Of course, when we told them we had climbed in Spearfish, they called us "Jug Haulers." I told them we'd rather be referred to as "Bolt Lickers."

Buddy At Camp

imageBuddy our canine climbing companion went to Camp Mahtomedi where Lisa is the Camp Director. He studied up on Darwin and afterward was rewarded with a refreshing treat.