Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving weekend hike

I got a call from Rob Thanksgiving morning. He was calling to let me know that a few of the guys were going to try hiking Thunder Mountain, a couple miles east of Table Rock. The trail head is around 4300ft elevation with the summit at 5186ft.

Saturday morning I headed out to meet the guys at Hardy creek. I pulled in right behind Rob. Who had Fred, Randy, and Eric piled in his little Toyota pickup. We found Don patiently waiting for us reading his book in the Hardy Creek Parking area. Knowing that we would encounter snow on our way up we(I) opted to leave my little 2 wheel drive pickup there and ride up with Don in his Subaru.

We soon started making our way up into the hills to Thunder Mountain. As we approached the 3300ft level Don got a little concerned about the amount of snow on the road and the possibility of getting stuck along the way, still having about 1000ft more elevation to climb before we would reach the trail head. So we pulled over Talked it over with the other guys and decided it to be best to go back and just hike Table Rock, instead. The Table Rock trail head is at a more easily obtainable elevation of around 3500ft.

Rob and Don making their way up the hill

Don, Eric, and Rob taking a break at the fork

Rooster Rock, across the way

Nearing the top

Eric taking in the view

Don, Rob and Fred checking out the view from a little known vista

As we headed back down the light on the rock really gave it some extra depth and color.

Anyway that's the latest adventure. I thought I should get it posted sense I haven't had anything new and exciting to post for a while. Enjoy!!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Climbing in Leavenworth WA 2007 (with the OMC crew)

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Over labor day weekend I joined my sister and a bunch of her friends form the OMC (OSU Mountain Club) for a long weekend of climbing in Leavenworth WA. We had a great time climbing. Again this trip was a new experience for me in the world of climbing. One reason was that this was the first time I had really ever climbed on granite and the other reason is this was the first time I had climbed any 'trad' climbs. Good stuff. We were lucky enough to have gone up there with Greg, a friend of Jodie and Jeremy's whom I have climbed many times with at the gym. Greg was kind enough to take the time to lead most of the climbs for us sense he knew and had the gear to climb 'trad'. Greg was also patient with us and helped teach us some of the tricks to crack, slab, and trad climbing on the granite. Thanks Greg!!!

The country up around Leavenworth WA is very steep and rugged. Every where you turn there is another rock to climb. I took Friday off and met my sister at her house then we headed over to Greg's where we crammed our gear in the back of Greg's car. We were off on a 6 hour drive to Leavenworth WA. Traffic was good until we got on HWY18 and traffic came to a stop we ended up having to turn around and find another way. Apparently there had been a 4 car pileup and that had just happened. After a bit of a detour we were moving again. We found the camp Rob had grabbed, no help from Rob's signs.

The next morning when I got up, the number of tents had doubled over night. I guess people were showing up all through the night. I'm surprised any of them found us in the dark. After a sleeping in a bit we had a quick bite for breakfast and some bribing to get Greg's car out of the crowded parking area, we (Greg, Jodie, and I) were on our way to find a good easy crag to climb.

We hit the 'Alphabet Rock' first. Our first climb turned out to be a little more than a simple warm up.

Greg leading 'Meat Grinder'

Myself working on 'Meat Grinder' (thinking "this seems harder then a 5.8")

When I gave up and came down, Greg said "oops, sorry I think this is actually a 5.10a." Not a 5.8 like we first thought. Because I didn't finish the climb, it was up to Jodie to finish cleaning the gear off the route.

Jodie on 'Meat Grinder'

Jodie, don't stop now you're almost there.

Greg getting comfortable while on belay for Jodie

Jodie intently waiting for me to fall while on belay.

There ended up being one nut that Jodie couldn't get loose. So Greg had to climb it again to retrieve his gear. Meat Grinder was a fun climb. I just wish I could have finished it, maybe next time.

We then moved on to the climb we thought we were doing the first time. 'Dog Leg Crack' a 5.8. This climb was much more my speed. Though still tough, having never climbed any cracks before.

Me climbing 'Dog Leg Crack' 5.8

Jodie climbing a slab (nothing much to hold, just pure friction)

After a good day of climbing we made a quick run into town to check out the gear shop and fill the water jugs. We then headed back to camp and spent the evening hearing everyones war stories from the day.

The next morning Jodie Jeremy and I went with Rob and his lady friend, and let Greg and a couple of the other guys go climb a 7 pitch route called 'Condorphamine Addiction' a 5.10b (just a little out of my league, though Greg tried talking me into giving it a try. Maybe next time.). Our group headed to 'Domestic Dome'. I was a little sore from the day before, so I opted out on the first climb. By that time it was starting to get warm so we headed over to 'Muscle Beach' for a dip in the river. After cooling off in the river we went back to the 'Alphabet Rock' and set up some top ropes and messed around for a wile before heading back to camp for the evening.

Jeremy working on 'Dog Leg Crack' 5.8

Back at camp that night everyone was telling about the adventures of the day. Exousted I headed for bed somewhat early and was asleep in no time.

We got up early Monday in order to get a little climbing in before we needed to head home and be back before if was too late. Greg, Jodie, Jeremy and I hit up 'Castle Rock' for our last climb. I ended up getting some good pictures of Jodie on this climb.

Jodie rockin' the climb.

Greg climbing time-lapse

The view from 'Castle Rock'

We decided to hit the road in order to get home before it got to late. The decision to go back HWY 97 rather than HWY 2 turned out to be the right one. Just after we crossed the Columbia River into Oregon Greg got a from Ian saying they were stopped in traffic on HWY 2. I think we all had a great weekend I know I did.

Until next time...Have fun, and be safe in all your adventures.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Eight Lake Basin (with mom and sister)

After our last little day hike in to the Table Rock Wilderness. Mom and Jodie decided that they wanted to take on an easy weekend backpacking trip. Not having much time to look for and research any hikes. I kind of left it up to mom and Jodie. Mom ended up finding a 16 +/- mile hike in the Eight Lake Basin (between Mt. Jefferson and Three Finger Jack. So I mapped it out with a n easy 4 mile into Marion Lake for our first day, a moderate 6 mile day two up to Jorn and Blue Lakes, and another 6 miles for day three. The profile was a smooth 1000ft elevation gain the first two days and a smooth 1000ft loss for the last day.

We did the loop clockwise

As I suspected we were reaching camp by early afternoon. This gave time to wander around the lakes and take and experiment with pictures. It also gave us plenty of time to nap too.

Just a few hundred feet up the trail I spotted the tallest Pinedrop I have ever seen (not that I have seen all that many that I took note of). This one had to be pushing almost 4ft tall.

Jodie is barely if even 5ft herself. This time the Pinedrops were in a seed pod stage.
I wish I could have seen this Pinedrop before it was destroyed

As you can see the stem was the size of my thumb.

We soon reached Lake Ann

Lake Ann

As we continued up the trail we encountered a lot of Pinesap growing along the trail.


I'm not sure what this one is yet...

After getting situated in our camp, we cooled off by the lake for a while. I started getting creative with my pictures while we were sitting there. Playing with different settings that I have never really used. I learned a few things while playing around with my camera.

First playing with the black & white setting

Then trying other digital color filters

Three Finger Jack across the lake. (Which one has no filter?)

As mom and Jodie took a nap I wandered around the lake looking for other interesting things to photograph.

The morning we got up and everything was calm and quiet. Unlike during the night when I thought I was going to be trampled by the deer stampeding through camp. I don't know what the deal was, but the deer were liking our camp.

Three Finger Jack in the morning

We were soon on the trail again. With in an hour we found our selfs in the middle of a burned out forest that had burned back in 2003.

We had originally planned on camping at Blue Lake. About 3/4 of a mile passed Jorn Lake, but when we got to Blue lake there were already other campers there. Besides the other campers everything around Blue lake had been burnt out. So we turned back to camp at Jorn Lake, where the south side had not been burned in the 2003 fire. This turned out to be a much better campsite anyway. So we ended up adding an extra mile and a half to that day an and an extra 3/4 mile the next. Not a big deal, we had plenty of time.

This was the view from our camp of Mt Jefferson

Camping at Jorn Lake was nice, quiet, and peaceful. We were the only ones there, other than a few passing hikers on the trail above us and the Ranger that came through and checked our wilderness permit. I almost forgot we did have some large visitors in the middle of the night. I woke up to the sound of heavy hoofs stomping around our camp. I couldn't see what it was in the dark but looking at the prints in the dirt/mud it looked like we had an elk visit us that night.

We got kind of a late start the last day. I'm not exactly sure what time it was (we all forgot a watch) but if I had to guess I would say we hit the trail around 10:30am. Things got warm, dry, and dusty as we rounded the corner heading north through the burned out ridge just passed Blue lake.

Looking back through the burn at Three Finger Jack

Mom pushing over the ridge.

And down the other side.

Before we knew it we were back into green forests and to Marion Lake again.

Until next time....Keep exploring....