Thursday, September 13, 2012

Washington 2012, Part 1

Here I am, resting in the Pacific North"wet" on a clear sunny day.  What the heck?  Well, first of all, we went big yesterday.  Baker's North Ridge, car-to-car, was a solid outing.  What a climb!  Prior to that I scouted a few approaches and dodged some weather.  Alex arrives tonight to climb with me and has informed me, in no uncertain terms, that she's "well-rested and ready to charge." I know what that means.  It means I better rest up and be ready myself.

All this going, directed by a preparatory agenda, preempts photography.  In fact, I left cameras (aside from my ubiquitous phone...) down in Cali.  Literally all I've gotten out of 4 days of tromping around are these few snaps.  Check it out, Washington does get sun!

Mark S. after a thrash in towards Mt. Shuksan.  Now we know where not to go.

Baker's N. Ridge in fine shape.  Coleman glacier, not as fine.  Again, learning where not to go.  

In Washington, even when it's sunny, it's drippy.  Irrigated cucumbers along the coast, Mt. Baker presiding from the upper right.  


Sliding down the back of a Sierra summer

The last few weeks of my summer in the Sierra were characterized by no central theme.  While facebook photos from the high country started to show browning grass and reddening willows, I did some work, some professional development and some family-entertaining.

Alex watching the sky for forecast building weather.
In what turned out to be my final Sierra summer adventure of the season, Alex and I tromped deep into the mountains in mid-August for a top-secret mission.  Weather conspired against us, so the climb remains incomplete and covert.  It was, however, a delightful way to spend three days with m'lady.

Later on in August I took off to Yosemite Valley to recertify my Wilderness First Responder credentials.  Recertification is required every 2-3 years and always looms as a dreaded encumbrance.  In actuality, it always ends up being a solid refresher and an energizing few days spent with quality like-minded colleagues.  I even scored a few pitches in the Valley one evening.

Mom and Dad watching the sky for cosmic inspiration.
 I drove home from Yosemite to find my parents installed at my house.  They are in the middle of a 6-week road trip out-and-back across the country.  All told, they were in and out of Bishop for almost two weeks.  I tried to keep my work schedule light, but couldn't avoid a few commitments.  Alex and I showed my folks around the Eastern Sierra and our lives here.  I'm honored to have shared with them what the heck it is I do out here.  They're damn good people and seamlessly fit into my little scene.  And they taught me a thing or two about relaxing.
Chad watching the sky.  Above, below and all around.  

All of the work I scheduled for during their visit was day-trips.  I tried to get them to come and find me in the field and see what it was I actually did out there.  But I couldn't convince them.  Mom seemed squeamish just thinking about cliffs and exposure and me tied to other people.  Maybe she's right, I don't need to share everything.  In any case, the closest I could get them to my "work" was a campfire with ol' Chad after a climb on Mt. Conness.  Not that climbing with Chad feels much like work anymore.


Finally, wrapping up the summer (for me, mind you...  Sierra summer 2012 will probably go on and on.  We started in April, why stop now?  I'm in icy and wet Washington for much of September. Stay tuned...) was a weekend of red-necked, sun-soaked and laugh-filled Bishop fun.  After 10 years in town, I finally attended the Tri-County Fair and enjoyed a session of inner-tubing on the Owens.  Also, what stretch of brainless desert debauchery would be complete without a round of dusty canal skiing?  This session was unique in that those born before Castro took Cuba outnumbered the rest of us.