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The morning of June 24th, 2007 was crystal clear and calm when I awoke around 4:30 am. It was a perfect day for a race and even though it was early, I was ready to go. This was my first Ironman competition. A triathlon consisting of a 2.4 mile open water swim, 112 mile bike ride, and the a full marathon (26.2 miles) run.
Where: Todd Lake, Central Oregon Cascades When: February 9, 2008 Summary: The Cascade Mountains of Oregon have recently been receiving an onslaught of cold winter storms blanketing the peaks in fresh deep dry powder. Back to back storms the past week or so have provided amazing snow in the mountains, the visibility however, has been less than ideal. With a day off drawing near, and a weather forecast of blue skies, plans were laid for a backcountry tour of Todd Lake in the Deschutes National Forest. The distinct noise of Kyle Beall’s Volkwagon van struggling as it made the turn onto my street alerted me to the fact that it was time to go.
All outdoor activities are inherently dangerous. This inherent danger is what draws many outdoor enthusiasts to the adventure. But when this inherent danger catches up with reality and injury or death occur, the beautiful song and balance of adventure come to a screeching halt.This writing explores the dark reality that one cannot always be in perfect shape and in perfect health.
My life is run by adventures and my path is dictated by whichever rock or mountain comes into my life next.That being said, in December-February in Central Oregon is the "off season" as I call it. Its "off" for me because the weather is the least friendly for climbing of any type during these months.
The skiing in Central Oregon is phenomenal, so I invested in the required equipment and headed to the hills. I figured that this activity would compliment my mountaineering skills, and that it couldn't hurt my spring climbing coming up in a few months. Because I have invested all of my time and energy into climbing, I am a novice, therefore I had my work cut out for me.
Two mountain trips later and I was competently skiing and enjoying myself to the level that I could relax and enjoy the activity, instead of concentrating so hard on nailing the technique.Then, near the end of my second full day I had a wake-up call as I was flying (falling) through knee deep powder. I fell, and my ski didn't release. In immediate pain, I grabbed my right knee and wide eyed, I came to the realization that I may have just ended my skiing for the season. Lucky for me, minimal damage was done, and I regained composure and returned to ski the next week.
14 inches of fresh powder is always a good reason to take a day off, especially when it has fallen at Mount Baker on the night of opening day, one of the snowiest mountains in the world. An early morning departure from Seattle at about 5:15 am landed us at the lodge by 8:45. A quick ticket line allowed us to be on our way to the top by 9. When we arrived, it took me about 60 seconds to find my board buried beneath about 18 inches of fluffy powder.
Chair six was the second lift we took. Most folks who made it up this one had to pause for a moment to soak in their surroundings. Oh what a sight it was up there. Clear blue skies and untouched snow surrounded us in every direction. The smell of fresh pine was in the air, along with a nice winter chill to remind us where we were standing. It was incredible. After a few photos for some Altrec dispatches, we went down either the Canuck's Delux or North Face runs. I don't remember for sure which ones we took first, but they remained deep and steep all day long.
The rest of the day we poked all over the mountain. It felt like about 80% of it was open, and since it was a Thursday, kiddie traffic was kept at a minimum and the runs were pretty clear all the way down.
I also managed to perfect an optimal base layering system for this event. I've been trying to reduce garment weight as much as possible on these outings. A week earlier I got a little too aggressive with this approach at Whistler Blackcomb's opening weekend. I chose to sport a sweet baby blue Altrec branded North Face Vaporwick tee shirt, followed by an Altrec branded capilene 1 long sleeve tee by Patagonia, with my shell on top. 25 degree temperatures made this combo a little insufficient, especially on the lift rides up.
Where: Koala Rock, Marsupial Cliffs, Smith Rock State Park, Terrebonne, Oregon
When: November 3rd. Weather: 50's to 70's... Got some sunburn on my nose.
Summary: Late on Friday night, Jenny Martin and Rebecca Larsen of Altrec / Greatoutdoors.com asked what the plans were for the weekend.
Around noon, I finally picked the ladies up and we headed for Smith Rocks. On such a busy weekend we elected to head for the "hills" and trek the hour long approach to a remote park of the park called "The Marsupials". Once there, we decided to get some air and exposure on a 3-pitch (roughly three rope lengths... or 300 feet) climb called "Down River" (5.8). This particular climb granted us some of the best views of the park. The orange rock was featured with pockets and knobs that led us toward the flat summit of "Koala Rock". We had a fantastic climb on two pitches of low angle slabs, which led us to a dead vertical last pitch of slopey huecos that took us directly to the summit. After topping out, we slapped some high fives and walked to the back of Koala Rock and rappelled down to the ground via a free-hanging rappel.
With a few hours of energy left, we found two more routes on the Koala that were not in the guide book. Being the adventurous group that we were, we decided to climb them as well. They were both nice and probably around the 5.6-5.8 level. A super mellow climbing day in perfect weather away from the crowds..... marvelous!
Check out the photos, and if you're ever itching to climb in a remote"ish" area at Smith, keep the Marsupials in mind. Great rock, and no crowds. - Drew D. Peterson
Where: Route 97 Northbound Lane in Mike Rougeux's 1987 Volvo 740 GL Turbo (A.K.A "The Grey Ghost" which Mike payed for with $800.00 cash, the vinyl Prince album "When Doves Cry" and a promise to mow the seller's mother's lawn for two months)
Distance: 14.2 Miles
Time: 5:45 AM PST
Weather: 39 Degrees, complete downpour.