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Over the rest of 2017 Sadie Skiles and I (Brice Pollock) will be taking half a dozen pairs of bright leggings, a sunshine attitude and our Subaru-vehicle-as-a-home on an alpine climbing journey to remote areas across North America as a warm up to a longer, deeper, more ambitious alpine climbing expedition across Africa and Asia in 2018 focusing on undiscovered climbing areas.
A soft sun rises over a gentle ocean, silhouetting several large puffy clouds. The light is diffused by a light haze of Sahara blown sand as I wake up in the sail bag of a 50 ft catamaran. My eyes focus on the open blue sky above me which cradled endless galaxies just five hours ago when I went to sleep. I am rocked gently by shallow ocean waves in the 70 degree weather which will soon warm to a consistent 85 degrees when the sun intensifies and quickly launches from the horizon to mid-sky.
This week I’m going to talk about my time in Southern Peru last September where I ran a fourth class river and soaked in hot springs at the bottom of one of the deepest canyons in the world.
It’s happened to us all where a weekend plan is foiled by weather or our favorite area opens up for a perfect weather weekend in shoulder season… That is, if we were paying attention close enough to notice. Instead of checking weather reports for each of these areas, just use your current location to find what areas around you are in prime time as well as the rock climbing routes there.
“What food should I take into the backcountry?” is a frequent question among novice backpackers. Us frequent backcountry travelers often get into a funk of the same foods that work for us, but still run into specific cases where we reconsider what we are optimizing for: weight, volume, tastiness, comfort, preparation time or price. In this post I’m going to crunch some data to better understand which foods are best for certain situations and offer my own advice from over 100 days in the backcountry.
The Yakima Skyrise is the first car top tent from Yakima. After owning one for a couple months, I have slept in this car top tent now for 20+ nights in desert campsites, county campgrounds, snowy forest roads and even a library parking lot. For the most part I love it, but there are several things I wasn’t a huge fan of. As far as I can google this is the only real in depth review of the tent that isn’t just blog advertising. This is what you’ll want to know.
Washington Column South Face (5.8 C1) is a 1000 ft granite face across Yosemite Valley from Half Dome. It is the easiest big wall climb in the valley and therefore the busiest. Optimistically, we were hoping to do it in a day with an early start, hauling only to Dinner Ledge and then blasting to the top. I even brought flashing light up glasses to make festive the predicted night rappels back down to Dinner Ledge where we’d hope there would still be room for our sleeping bags after sundown.
Speed would be the key and we planed to free as much as possible (first three and last four pitches) to make this climb 5.10b C1. Both Marco and I were relatively new to aid and we ended up learning a lot. We kept at it even after a lead fall injury where I climbed 70% of the wall with a fractured foot. I couldn’t walk, but I sure could aid climb!
A few weeks back I visited Moab with the goal in mind to climb desert towers, accomplishing a dream of Sadie’s for her birthday. The Falcon Guide had some of the most popular climbs, but if I bought a guide book for the area again it would be the more recent and fully featured High On Moab book. Surprisingly it was actually this map from summit post that really lead me to discover the variety of towers in Moab. If you are a moderate climber who is comfortable trying some aid, these are the regions and climbs you must check out (in order of preference).
I happened upon the Convict Lake area on my birthday backpacking trip up to Mt. Baldwin in 2016. The area is an amazing Eastern Sierra setting with two notable peaks (Morrison and Laurel) within a mile of the parking lot and an amazing remote basin several miles back. In this trip we were to follow the East Slope Variation route to ascend the chute between Mini Morrison and Mt. Morrison, ski down the chute, camp and then the next day ski out via the East Slope route. (map)