Sunday, June 18, 2017

Under the Weather

Here we are, one month from leaving Idaho and still another blog post without a trip report. With the combination of weather, sicknesses, and the event here at Aspen, Joe and I have yet to actually step foot on any of our mountain objectives.

Did I mention Tommy lost his finger in a carpentry accident
and is still considered the best big wall climber in the world?!
PC JDStylos
I arrived back here from working in California with my cold in full force, the weather on Rainier raging and show prep on the farm in full operation. After coming to realization that we we weren't going to be able to put an attempt on Rainier until after the event we took some time to drive up to Seattle to go listen to Tommy Caldwell give a talk, and book signing.

Tommy, Joe and Myself
We arrived after enjoying a great meal with Joe’s Uncle and we sat down in a room full of about 70% regular people and 30% climbers. This year has been spent at many talks and presentations from all the ice festivals we attended. The room seems to be always filled with Subaru driving, down coat wearing, scruffy hair growing dirt bags. This was not the case here in Seattle. By the looks of it, Joe and I could only point out a few recognizable climbers and most of everyone else were obvious just local, city dwelling pedestrians here to enjoy listening to someone talk about his art.

Overall the talk was mostly an overview of Tommy’s book THE PUSH, a few details about his life and the evening was wrapped up with viewers asking questions. Both Joe and I agreed that Tommy’s presentation was one of the better ones we have listened to. I enjoyed the talk so much that I might have stole Joe’s book from him before he could start reading it,. As a result, if you are looking for a great autobiography I highly recommend Tommy’s book. I am about halfway through and have been eating it up.

When I climb I hate slopers, When I wash
holds- I love them. PC- JDStylos
The weekend before the show quickly arrived and with that the work party had commenced and I just so happened to pick up a few work hours on and off the farm. I've been spending a few days a week at the local climbing gym trying to keep up with my training. After mentioning working for the gym back home in Boise I soon started picking up a couple hours a week washing holds in exchange for a membership. My last three Sundays have been spent climbing for about an hour then finishing off my evening power washing and sorting holds.

The week prior to the event at Aspen is filled with long days, good food, great people and a whole lot of work. I spent a couple of days working for Christina along with work on the farm and waited for my best friend Lowey to show up at the end of the week.

Lowey (AKA Loui Flaig) and I met a few years back from the horse world in Idaho. We quickly became best friends and the rest is history. We have a quite the long distance relationship as she is from and currently lives in Tampa, Florida but we have never let that come between our friendship. We have made it a tradition every year for us to try to meet up in one way or the other, and the last two years Lowey has made the great journey out west to join us here at the farm for the event.

This year was a bit different in that she was not going to be around quite as long, so after she had flown in on Thursday, she, Joe, and myself hopped in the car and headed towards Mt. Rainier for a hike lower down on the mountain.
PC JDStylos

Comet Falls is a moderate hike to one of the largest waterfalls in the park. I have hiked up to the falls this time of year for the past three years and have never had a problem with snow, or bad weather. So when Joe and I packed up our 25 lb packs and he asked me if I thought there would be snow I immediately said “no way, we will be at a low enough elevation that snow won't be an issue!” We arrived to the trailhead late morning and hiked along the wet, and muddy trail. Which soon turned to a snow patch here and there. Then the snow patch turned to snow on the entire trail. Which then we quickly arrived to our first of soon to be many snow bridges. Before we knew it we were three feet above the actual ground, crossing some fairly sketchy bridges. I gave Lowey a trekking pole and when I wasn't sure what to do, Joe hopped in the lead and led us along the trail until we got to the point where we were passing other hikers. Which apparently they just so happened to be aware that there might be snow because all of them had snow spikes for their shoes and seemed well prepared for the conditions, unlike ourselves.
See the two ants!? Lowey and myself!
PC JDStylos

Once we finally reached the point where you could see the falls, the trail was faint. Joe insisted on Lowey and I hiking towards the base of the falls so he could stay behind and attempt to get some good photos. We carefully made our way as far as we were willing to go before turning around and making our way back to Joe.

I had to give Lowey a pat on the back, because there was plenty of places that could be considered a no fall zone, and she put on her big girl pants and put in a solid effort, even when I was nervous too.

This was nerve racking. PC JDStylos
We made it safely back to the car, with a much more interesting hike than planned behind us. The rest of the weekend went as scheduled and the show ran incredibly smooth. By the end of it we were all beat. We said our goodbyes to Lowey on Sunday and returned back to the farm to almost all of the competitors gone.

We spent the next few days cleaning up and one by one each project was finished and the farm slowly transformed back into its normal, beautiful self.

All the while, I had just finished my round of antibiotics I got from the doc in the box 10 days prior and still had a nasty cough. Three weeks after arriving here in Washington, I was still sick and the weather on each of our mountain objectives in Washington was snowy, rainy, windy and downright terrible.

Joe and I started to give up hope for Rainier, once in awhile she would give us a smidge of a climbing window, then rip it out from under us before we could even start packing our gear. So we shifted our view to our other climbs we had in mind.

Joe’s sister, Melissa comes out every year and they attempt a climb together. We had planned on her coming out sometime in the month of June and trying the Adams Glacier on Mt. Adams. After calling Melissa, we set up for her arrival this Monday. We quickly started doing some research on the conditions, and Joe quickly found out the road was impassable ten miles before the trailhead.

So with that we shifted our eyes to a different state, Oregon. Mt.Hood has recently been on the radar. But with recent warm temps, Joe waking up with a cold the other day and me waking up with conjunctivitis in my left eye I am started to wonder if we'll ever get a climb in this summer.

Melissa rolls in tomorrow, and we are hoping to scheme up a plan to try to at least climb something, whether it be rock, ice or snow, I am not really sure. Between the weather, and sickness, Joe and I have gotten the short end of the stick this mountaineering season thus far!

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