Archive for the '07 Opinions and Shorts' Category

Test Blog Up and Running!

OK, This is my experimentation with Word Press.  I really like the Page feature and the K2 Template, but I’d like to be able to change some things – width for example – and I’d like Word Press to be a little more user friendly.  This is a near-mirror-image of my current blog,

Skip over to my Blogger site and there’s a poll in the sidebar (another widget not easily available here) to vote on which site you like more.  Decision will be made on 1 January 2009 for the new year.




The White Board

I’m introducing a new feature today, “The White Board.” I nicked the idea from my friend Greg, who looked at the 5’x2′ white board that was hanging in my Incline Village digs, already filled with calendar dates, to do’s, and shopping lists, and said, “You should put this on the blog.”

I’m a huge fan of lists, and whiteboards let me make the ultimate lists – quick to fill, easy to read, always in my face. I have three in service right now – a daily to do 8.5″x11″ board sitting beside me right now, a 3’x4′ hanging in my Vallejo office with my running, bouldering, and climbing tick list spelled out, and my evolving board in Incline Village. This is something I hope to updating weekly.

I often get asked what I’m up to when I’m at home – since none of my neighbors see me working a regular job, I’m thinking that they’re thinking that I’m just sitting around watching the tele and drinking copious amounts of wine. Well, for the first installement of the whiteboard I thought I’d show you guys yesterday’s board, mid-day…

Single Shot: The 12 Counts of Moving

1 Moving van
2 Cars
3 Friends bribed to help with promises of beer and pizza
4 Days spent packing
5 Stores visited to collect enough boxes
6 Arguments over packing the dishes, packing the glasses, packing the art, packing the music, packing the computers, and packing the wine
7 Hours driving
8 Hours at a hotel
9 More hours driving
10 Solid hours unpacking the 1 moving van and 2 cars
11 Days unpacking all those boxes
12 Bottles of wine that helped the job along

I’ve found myself not writing since I finished my degree – surprising for someone who proclaims to be a writer. So I slapped together a list of titles and scheduled publishing dates to give myself a deadline to produce something, and came up with the Single Shot – super short fiction or non (who knows, who cares?), meant to say a lot with a little. Cheers

Single Shot: Announcing the 2008 Northwest Mountaineering Journal

The Northwest Mountaineering Journal is an annual regional online publication documenting the mountain exploits of an incredible community of climbers and skiers in the Cascades. I was lucky to be a member of the editorial team in 2006 and 2007, and I can’t wait to return. Check out the 2008 Northwest Mountaineering Journal at


Single Shot: Stories in a Crevasse

Lazlo asked, “I’ve read plenty about haul systems and anchor, etc. I’m stoked about glacial travel. But I’m curious to read other reports on crevasse falls and how the hauling and/or ascending went. Thanks!”

This reminded me of an experience I had in Alaska, so I thought I’d write him back.

“I have a story I don’t mind sharing because it proves a technique.

“In the spring of 2003 I went to the Ruth Gorge with DPS, and while descending from the Mooses Tooth back to our camp, my partner and I simply followed our ski-tracks through the ice fall. DPS was in front, I was following. We had one last corner to negotiate at the bottom of the ice-fall before reaching the main glacier near the airstrip, and I pushed a little to make sure I passed the corner without pulling on DPS.

“Just as I kick-turned, the floor dropped out beneath me. I yelled/screamed ‘CREVASSE!!!‘ as I dropped.

“DPS says he heard, ‘something that made me turn around,’ saw our rope snaking into a hole, and took off running.

“When he reached the end of the slack, he was a bit surprised to find he wasn’t having to arrest anything. So he built an anchor, transferred the rope over, and self-belayed back to the hole to figure out what had happened. Maybe I had landed on a bridge?

“Not even. I was hanging about 20 feet in the hole, shaking from the adrenalin rush. Scarier still was the running water from a moulin tube 10 feet below me. So what happened? In 2002 I had learned about a technique to use stopper knots – butterflys were the general consensus – between two climbers on glacier travel. I insisted to a skeptical DPS that we use them. And one of these knots had jammed into the lip of the hole, holding all of my falling weight, saving DPS from having to arrest at all.

“Pretty cool.

“DPS lowered a rope to haul up my pack and skis, and I jugged out on my own with some assistance to get over the majorly overhung lip.

“Its likely if that knot hadn’t caught, I would have been dipped, and soaked, in the glacier stream below my feet. What was a simple exit from the crevasses would have been a serious environmental medical issue.

“This technique of using stopper knots is also common practice now amongst AMGA guides.”

New stories soon, I promise

Sorry friends and family,
Life has been a little crazy for the past three weeks. Work has been busy enough, but two weeks ago my car had a critical breakdown, just days before my sister, her husband, and my two year-old nephew were coming to visit for a week. Now I’m back at work, but I had to spend all day catching up on my paperwork – even guides have to have an office day occasionally.
Its been a great three weeks. Snowed off of Lone Pine Peak and Mt Whitney, two first ascent climbs in Whitney Portal, and an incredible experience guiding an 11 year-old boy and his father to the summit of Mt. Whitney. Today I’m off to climb Mts. Thompson and Gilbert, but I hope to write more Thursday evening.
I’m also going to start a new Category – Guiding – to write about trip and business ideas I have. And I finally have some short fiction pieces that I want to add to the site, recovered from my external hard drive, which turned out not to be KIA after all.
Meanwhile, feel free to peruse my photos from the past three weeks at my Picasa Web Account.

banner photo: antarctica / mark allen

The Show - under construction