Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Only 11 days left before I leave for Denali! I've created a new web page just for our expedition. Hopefully I'll be able to post updates and photos from the side of the mountain via my cell phone. Here's the link:

Monday, May 14, 2007

I just got back from a 3-day checkout climb of Mount Rainier with my Denali team. Friday we each hauled about 110 lbs of gear from the Paradise Visitor Center to around 7600 feet on the Muir snow field. We established a full camp of 2 tents and the megamid which we use as a kitchen and common area. Saturday we cached our sleds, the megamid and extra gear then slogged further up to the Ingraham Flats at around 11300 feet. Shortly after digging platforms for our tents the clouds rolled in, the wind picked up and it started snow. We cooked dinner and went to bed early intending to wake at 2am for the summit attempt. However around midnight we called the climb due to high winds and 6 inches of fresh snow (where were my skis!). Sunday morning we woke to tents buried in snow drifts and a relentless wind. We hurriedly broke camp and descended back down to Camp Muir at around 10200 feet. At times the wind was so strong you had to stop moving and practically lay down just to keep from getting blown over.

Even though we didn't summit we all learned valuable lessons for Denali. The hardest part of the climb isn't going to be the physical effort to get up the mountain but the challenge of camping on snow for 3 weeks - establishing camps, food prep, melting water from snow, staying dry. Denali is going to be a long, hard trip.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Wednesday Preston, Russ and I had a perfect windless, sunny day skinning up Mount Hood in the morning then climbing at Carver Cliffs in the afternoon. If was my first time at Carver and it's a fun place to climb. It's shaded and mankie like Broughton's Bluff and Rocky Butte but more secluded and in a much better setting with the Clackamas River near by. Afterwards we finished the day with a great burger and a pint of beer at the Stone Cliff Inn.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Just got home from a long weekend in Spokane to run Bloomsday 2007. Even though I grew up in Spokane it was my first time running it. The race was a lot of fun, with bands playing all along the course and plenty of people watching with the 40,000 runners. I ran the first part of the race with Kerry, then at the infamous Doomsday Hill blasted off to finish the race in 1:01:14. I'm definitely heading back next year and will run it in under an hour.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

We just got back last last night from honeymoon #2 - 6 days of sunshine in Zihuatenajo, Mexico. We stayed at the Hotel Brisas del Mar, a smaller, locally-owned hotel right on the beach. Originally we had booked a small suite but when we checked in they gave us a villa that slept 12. Evidently a wedding party wanted the suite so we were upgraded for free. The villa was amazing - 4 bedrooms, a TV room, full kitchen, huge sitting area, private pool, hammocks and hot tubs. We stayed in the master suite which was almost as big as our house.

We spent most of the time by the main pool with the bartender "Freddie" keeping us well stocked with beer, wine, margaritas and pina coladas. Kerry was the translator and being a la chica bonita we got great service everywhere we went. We ate most of our meals in town and especially liked La Casa and Restaurant Margarita for breakfast. The night before we came home we had a beautiful sunset dinner at Restaurant Il Mare.

Zihuatenajo is just north of Acapulco and only about 5-6 hours from Portland on Alaska Airlines. It's a small town without any of those big mega-resorts. We're definitely planning to go back again some day. If you want to see more photos our complete album is here.