Travel

Climbing the Midi-Plan Traverse

My partner was sick yesterday so I went out on a solo mission and wanted to see some new terrain. Not knowing exactly what I was going to get into I packed my Deuter Speed Lite 20 and took off for the Aiguille du Midi. After leaving the Midi I could see the Aiguille du Plan and it seemed the obvious choice for an outing but I knew nothing about the route. In my Speed Lite 20 pack I brought a 7.5mm tag line if I needed to rappel, a half liter of water, one GU, my Petzl Altitude harness, my Reverso, Sarken crampons, a sling and locking carabiner, and my La Sportiva Hail Jacket. So I was definitely...

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Why do you climb?

Why do we climb?     “Because it is there.” This is the obligatory first line and the historical answer to this question that George Mallory so kindly provided us with in 1943. While this reason could be reason enough for most involved in the sport, I think many of us that have been climbing for over a decade and logged thousands of miles on stone, ice and snow, it is a much more in depth question.   I was just in a private conversation on Facebook with a few climbers talking about ethics (never a good subject), and it dawned on me that even these dedicated, weekend...

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2016 Ice Fest Tour

I just ended my ice fest tour for the year. I was able to attend and teach clinics at the Ouray Ice Festival, Mount Washington Valley Ice Festival, and the Michigan Ice Festival. All have there unique qualities and different styles, vibes, and even the ice feels different in all three areas. Here are some of the cool parts of each and recommendations for those thinking of going. Ouray Ice Fest was held January 14th - 17th and most activities take place within walking distance of the center of Ouray. This fest hosts many clinics, gear demos, and slide shows from some of the top alpinists...

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Sliding on Volcanos

As I delve into my final AMGA discipline, I am finding the beauty of carrying boards to the top of the mountains, the descent! It is some feeling when you get to the top of peaks and know you only have a few hours and you will be back at the car when all the other climbers have a knee banging descent. But it is also about experiencing the alpine environment in a different way. Sliding across endless fields of glaciers, taking routes because they present a steeper slope, managing terrain that I would typically brush off and sliding over cracks I would typically want a rope on. Experiencing the “flow”...

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Life, on the road, in my house…

  In 2011 I moved out of my Subaru and into a Toyota Tacoma Double cab truck with a Four Wheel camper. The Subaru was great, but eventually you kinda want a bed. I was spending 50 to 80 nights a year in my car and was doing this in every season as well as needed off road capabilities for those long approach desert rock climbs. I had a look around for what the best options were, Sprinters, Sportsmobiles and truck campers and came to the conclusion that 4 wheel drive is a must and it had to be an everyday driver. What fit the bill, the Four Wheel camper on a Double Cab, Long Bed Toyota...

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AMGA Doug Parker and Roger Baxter-Jones Memorial Scholarship

I received the Doug Parker and Roger Baxter-Jones Memorial Scholarship for my Alpine Guides exam and here is the video that I put together for it!    

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Packing A Back Pack

           

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iPhone as a GPS or a “Standalone” GPS?

After a few seasons in the mountains with my iPhone as my GPS, it was finally drawn to the real test. Full storm conditions on Mt. Rainier on a route I have never been on. There was never visibility farther than 20 meters and most of the time it was hard to see your hand in front of your face. The storm was wet so everything was riming and as we moved uphill we would start to sweat and the phone would condense with dripping water coming off it before it would start to freeze. I didn't take too many pictures as the situation was waning of its fun and started to be more serious. I will stay out of the technical...

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Spain… in pictures.

Click on each picture to enlarge. For more info and the story click here: http://www.foxmountainguides.com/about/the-guides-blog/entry/the-white-coast                                                                                                   ...

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Added Friction for the GriGri

  Here is a belaying tech tip that I shot while in Thailand last month. I use this technique with smaller ropes to give more control without feathering the lever on the GriGri.     Improving GriGri Friction while lowering from karsten delap on Vimeo. Check out these other tech tips: Locking Quick Draw Carabiner Break Rappel Locking Munter Hitch   For more climbing instruction information visit: www.foxmountainguides.com

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Repairs…

If you spend a lot of time in the mountains (and traveling the country in your truck), you get really good at repairing things on the fly. McNett makes products that have become essential for carrying in the backcountry and have proven equally useful in the "front country." I was driving down a backcountry road in my truck the other day, and one of the batteries in my camper busted the hinge to the compartment door that they are stored in. I also have been needing to repair my LaSportiva Gandas as I have put close to 60 mountain days on these great shoes and want to extend their life before...

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Inspirational Video

I needed something to do last week in the hospital. This kept me learning as well as it is good inspiration to get out there and go hard! Hope you enjoy!

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Climbing Armenia

I am still getting used to speeding my life back up even though it has been over a week since I returned from the former Soviet state of Armenia. The life there is just a bit slower: you get a couple of hours to eat a breakfast that doesn't even start until 9 A.M.! I actually figured one morning that I could drag breakfast into lunch and possibly take a quick siesta at the table and still be on time for dinner.  Lest this made me feel a bit sluggish, I quickly woke up when I hit the Yerevan streets in my little Lada Niva. Locals all drive like they have just stolen the vehicle they are in: one foot...

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Armenian Hard Man

I was fortunate enough to be invited to the first-ever indoor climbing competition--a beginners' comp for local Armenian Mountaineering and Hiking Federation members. The honorable guest, main speaker, and judge was Aghvan Chatinyan. Chatinyan is known as the "Armenian Hard Man" and at 84, he lives up to it. His list of life accomplishments is long to say the least. The greatest feat, according to many Armenian locals, was edging out Soviet climber Mikhael Khergiani in the 1952 climbing comp in Arzni, Armenia. The only place this was documented was a newspaper called the "Communist."...

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Muir Valley Trail Day

Muir Valley is located in the Red River Gorge near Slade, Kentucky. The amazing climbing destination is owned (but not kept a secret) by Rick and Liz Weber. These two folks have given this land up for use to anyone who likes the outdoors, but the land lends itself to rock climbing. They have spent the last eight years building trails, opening new ground, and maintaining the routes that have been established. This past weekend thirty volunteers showed up with the Access Fund Crew and did an amazing job fixing up a few trails as well as building a new one. Fox Mountain Guides gave a free anchor clinic...

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Last Few Months in Review

  I have been neglecting my blog due to lots of work and training in the mountains. Here is a picture account of what I have been up to for the last few months. Hope you enjoy!                         After a great rock 101, I then headed west for some sun...           A quick layover in Boulder and we made our way over to Devils Tower...                 Up and down Liberty Bell...

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New River Rendezvous ’11

About this time every year, Lindsay and I head to the New River Gorge for the annual New River Rendezvous to teach a few clinics and promote Fox Mountain Guides. The enjoyment for us really comes in meeting up with old friends as well as making a few new ones! I think we sometimes spend more time chatting with friends from NC than we ever do when we are in Brevard.                     While we did get some good food, I was lucky enough to pick up some food poisoning - nothing that could keep me down - just felt...

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Mammut Ultimate Hoody

I put the Ultimate Jacket to the test this past week. While ice climbing in Canada we got some very “Canadian” conditions.On the uphill approaches the long pit zips comes in handy while the jacket still knocks down the wind. Some of the climbs were still dripping and even though the jacket is marketed as windstopper, it sheds water very well and kept me dry. I will be using this jacket later this month on Aconcagua and will report back then! Here is the link to the tech specs: Mammut Ultimate Hoody

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Travel to Utah

I left the AMGA conference around 10:30 a.m. MST on the 15th of November. Lindsay, Chris Werner, and I headed east to North Carolina. I had made arrangements to get Chris back to Boone, NC before I realized I had to be in Utah on the 17th of November. We drove straight through and got to Brevard, NC at 12:15 a.m. on November 17th. I got a few hours rest and then got up to unpack ice and alpine gear, do laundry, and repack an Indian Creek rack! I got to the Asheville airport and was on the plane by 4:30 p.m. Days like this are becoming more and more common with my career. I am always...

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