6.29.2006

Missed a week

Sorry, I guess I missed a week in posting. Been busy with work, but also been getting out a lot after work whether it be rock climbing or hiking to help keep myself in shape for Rainier, its only about 2 weeks away until we head out there now! Recently we have been doing some training, we went up the Navajo Snowfield in the Indian Peaks two weeks ago. The snowfield is about 40-45 degrees at its steepest part. We didn't end up climbing Navajo Peak though, our initial plan was to summit via the North Ridge which is a low-grade technical route. I think it is a 5.2 rating (based on rock climbing grades). A party ahead of us kicked loose some rocks on their climbing partners and got dinged up. Nothing serious, but it was enough for us to not want to climb behind them and we ended up just climbing back down the snow. The day before we got some rock climbing in at Clear Creek canyon, which is along US 6 to the west of Golden. During the week last week I got up on rock again, and did my first 5.10b route, the hardest I had done to date. On the solstice with all that extra daylight I climbed an unranked peak near where I live. I did 13,237' Notch Mountain. Round trip it is only like 5 1/2 miles and despite the 2900' of elevation gain I was able to go car door to car door in about 2 hrs and 45 minutes. That is quite a nice little after work escape! I chalk it up to "training", so I didn't mind the workout.

This past weekend on Saturday we did some glacier travel and crevasse rescue training. Not that we think we will be put into a position to need to rescue anyone, but being on Rainier is not the time to learn. We tossed our packs (attached to the rope) over a cornice over at St Mary's Glacier and set up a Z-Pully system to "rescue" our packs. I think with another run or two at setting it up we will get comfortable with the system and be able to set it up fast in an emergency. Rainier is a different type of mountain than what we have near us because it is covered in glaciers. Glaciers move ever so slowly down the mountain, and as they do they can create large cracks in them known as crevasses. As the winter snow melts they become exposed, usually they are avoidable but you never know when an accident may occur and we just want to be well prepared. That night we went and camped near Canon City near the Shelf Road area. This area is known for rock climbing and the next day we set up at Cactus Cliff to climb. We didn't get too many routes in, partly because of some afternoon rain. We also set up a fixed line to practice aid climbing on, this is a technique that you can use to ascend a rope when there are no "holds", especially useful for self rescue out of a crevasse. Another good skill to know and be prepared for on Rainier. While climbing at Shelf, we did another hard route, this one was a 5.10c. It took me a few tries to get past the crux (hardest part), but I managed to do it and top out on the route, my hardest rock climb to date!