Saturday, August 10, 2013

Annual Pilgrimage to the Evergreen State

To begin my time in WA I met up with Brad for a fun hike near Mt. Rainier.   A short but bumpy ride up a dirt road led us to the surprisingly crowded (for a Thursday morning) trail head to Summit Lake in the Clearwater Wilderness.  Upon arriving at the lake we were greeted with quite possibly the best view of Mt. Rainier one can find.  No matter how many times I gaze at this mountain I am always mesmerized by its immense size and striking beauty.  At the lake we fished for a while to no avail (during my last visit to this lake in the late '90s I caught over 22 fish in an hour).  We finally stumbled our way to the top of a great lookout and signed the register.  

Though Mt. Ruth is not a "big" mountain or a technically challenging mountain it is a MOUNTAIN with a glacier (albeit a small, mostly nonactive one).  Mt. Ruth sits at a prime location to offer summiteers views of Baker, Shuksan, Slesse and the illusive Picket Range.  My partner for this trip was Justin May, who previously resided in Vermont but currently calls Bellingham home.  We started early and ended up completed the climb in 8hrs round trip.  This climb was very straight forward and didn't even require a rope as the glacier was still well covered in snow.  A classic ascent with marvelous views!

Towards the end of my stay I drove up to Anacortes and took the ferry out to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island to meet Pete.  After getting our dry bags packed and the boat loaded, we headed downtown to pick up some supplies.  We paddled out to Jones Island which is about 1/2 mile off from San Juan.  Conditions were perfect during the crossing and we were lucky enough to get a great campsite right on the water. Once again the weather was amazing and we enjoyed a gorgeous starlight night with raccoons constantly scurrying in the bushes scrounging for scraps of food.

Overall I had a great time in Washington visiting friends and family, while enjoying the amazing recreational opportunities of the PNW.  A month's worth of fun packed into a week.  Looking forward to next summer!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

2011-2012 VT Ice Season

          Yeah it is August.  Yes, the ice has been gone for at least 5 months.  NOW I have the time to post about my ice climbing exploits of the past winter.

 Top roping at Bolton Quarry

 Mindbender area of Lake Willoughby

Topping out on a steep Willoughby climb

Finessing my way up a very thin climb.  Nate's first piece was 30 feet off the deck 

 Nate leading a cool mixed climb in Underwood Canyon, NY

Nate leading up Positive Reinforcement at the Beer Walls, NY

Summer in Review

         The summer is almost over and it has sure flown by.  I've tried to spend as much time with Eammon as possible.  He and I walk to the center of town fairly often (6 miles RT) to see mommy at the store.  When I am not hanging out with "mister", I have been trying to get out in the mountains as much as frequently as time will allow.  Early on in the summer I was fishing a few times a week and reeled in a couple of nice brookies.  The waters are finally cooling down again, so I will be headed out more frequently soon.  

        Didn't do a whole lot of climbing this summer.  Did some sport climbing at Runmey in June, some top roping at Lake Dunmore and not much else.  I have done a fair bit of hiking in the Adirondacks and the Green Mountains, at least when the humidity allows.  In late June I hiked Giant Mountain near Keene Valley (~7 miles, 3hrs RT).  I've hiked Mt. Abe a couple of times, including a summit during an App Gap to Lincoln Gap traverse (11.6 miles, ~5.5 hrs).  Most recently I did a fun loop from Lincoln Gap to Cooley Glen (~8 miles, 2.5 hrs) and Mt. Mansfield (~5.5 miles, 2.5hrs RT).  

       In late July the family headed out to WA for 10 days to visit family and friends.  Eammon loved the beaches, mainly for the rock throwing opportunities.  We visited the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium and the Seattle Aquarium, both of which Eammon enjoyed immensely.  My dad and I took float trip down the Yakima River and caught quite a few nice sized rainbows and cutthroats.  We were able to hang out with most of my family members and friends.  Overall, we had a good trip, albeit short and action packed.

        Of course what would a summer be without some work.  I took a week long course on Universal Design for Learning at Harvard University in July, which was absolutely fascinating.  I've also been doing a bit of work preparing for the upcoming school year which is only a few days away.  My UVM classes will be starting soon and I am studying to take the GREs this Fall.  Things are shaping up to be another busy, but enjoyable year at Mt. Abe. 

        Hopefully I will be a bit better about updating this blog, but these days I find myself with little spare time to post.

 Eammon hanging out at Titlow Beach after lunch at Steamers (yummy!)

 A beautiful day on Lake Union

 Hanging out at Gasworks Park

Nate aiding the 2nd pitch of Green Drag-on at Index 

My dad holding a nice rainbow during our float of the Yakima River 

My dad fishing the Canyon on the Yakima River 

Holding a nice size Cutthroat from the Yakima River

 The Boys out for a morning walk at Owen Beach, Point Defiance

 Throwing rocks at Owen Beach

 Climbing near Lake Dunmore in VT

Fishing the Middlebury River 

Thursday, May 05, 2011

In Like a Lion

It has been a wet and wild introduction into spring out here in Vermont. Floods have impacted nearly every corner of the state, rising the water of Lake Champlain to the highest ever (3 feet above flood stage!). Summer vacation is fast approaching, but there is much to do. Krista and I are preparing to build our home. We have an exemplar design and are hoping to get the foundation completed this summer. I was recently accepted into UVM's graduate program (MEd) in Educational Leadership; in a couple of years I will be certified as a school administrator. Eammon is growing up so fast. He is already eating solid foods and before we know it he'll be moving all about. I've been trying to stay active here in Lincoln. The other day I boated down a section of the New Haven right across the street from our apartment. Looking forward to the summer and some nice weather.

The exemplar for our house design

Taking Eammon for a run in his new jogger

Eammon all dressed up for his christening

Eammon eating his first solid food (avocado)

Kayaking on the upper New Haven River

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


These pictures are not in order.

Some quality time with my son :)

"Helping" dad grade exams

Sporting one of the many awesome hats Eammon received as gifts

Reading Eammon a book (On the Night You Were Born)

Eammon being adorable as usual

Drinking imaginary chamapagne

Milk Drunk

Showing off our Christmas presents from Uncle Nate

Eammon is very excited to leave the hospital

Eammon's first hair wash

The bouldering cave (short, but it works!)

The new car
The Gunks
(Need I Say More?)

Back in November, I drove down to New Paltz, NY (about four hours away) to climb at the world famous Gunks. Needless to say, this place is not overrated and is amazing. The temperature was near perfect and the crowds were minimal. I was fortunate enough to be climbing with someone intimately familiar with the crag, so I was able to climb some classic lines. For those not familiar with the Gunks, this place offers some of the best easy/moderate lines anywhere. A 5.3 here will be near vertical and host several roofs; a 5.6 could be overhanging. The caveat of course is that this is the land of jugs. All my expectations were exceeded on the two climbs that we did. The first was Beginners Delight, three pitches of 5.3 and the second was Minty, which offered two pitches of 5.5. I will be back this spring!

Part of the first pitch of Minty; the route climbs just right of the ridge line through steepness

Joe leading the second pitch of Minty; one of the most fun pitches I have ever climbed

Me leading the third pitch of Beginners Delight; 200ft of air beneath my feet

Joe leading the 2nd pitch of Beginners Delight; he is heading for the roofs in the middle
Pre-Season Dry Tooling

Back before winter set in, Justin and I headed to Lake Dunmore for some practice drytooling. This small crag offers some low angle dry tool options, that makes for a fun afternoon.

Dulling my tools and crampons

Justin getting his first taste of drytooling

Stashing the tools to focus on my footwork