Saturday, May 18, 2013
By the time we hung our hammocks in the bramble like holly trees we it had been traveling for 30 hours without much sleep. In the heat of the day but the cool of the shade we napped among the limestone cliffs of the Taurus mountains in southern Turkey. I couldn't quite imagine how I had gotten there to that place, a small climbing camp in a little known part of the world surrounded by some of the best limestone cliffs ever climbed. It seemed like so far away but at the same time quite easy to reach. JoSiTo is a small climbers hostel set in the mountains in a quiet farming village. The locals were unaware of what they had above them until some German and Turks began establishing routes on the cliffs. The farmers, unfamiliar with the gear, yelled at them to come down or risk falling. The camp includes a kitchen and commons area within a few minute walk to hundreds of sport routes where climbers mingle and piece together conversations in whatever common language they share.
By the first day we had established a solid routine that included coffee, breakfast and climbing as many routes as we could before dark. It was an unreal glimpse at an amazing little piece of climbing culture.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
It's easy to count ski days in the winter but a little harder once spring comes around. Luckily we didnt have to go far to find snow. Rossi (the dog) and I took a little hike up Flagstaff mountain at deer valley on May 15 for a May ski day. The mountain can be seen from town next to Mount Baldy where the snow on the north face lingers late in the season. From the top we could look Southwest at Claytons Peak and Upper Big Cottonwood Canyon much higher and under good snow coverage. Until the Guardsmans pass road opens for the summer, access to Big Cottonwood Canyon from Park City remains difficult. For now we will continue to Ski the Back.
A warm spell moved through the area and high temperatures tied record highs for the day. The week has dried the mountains considerably but cooler air is expected over the weekend with a chance of snow.
Recent observations by the US Geological Survey shed more light on trends in summertime snow conditions. here
Saturday, April 20, 2013
It is April and the snow is still easy to reach. Snowbird is one of the last ski mountains open late in the Wasatch after closing day at most of the other mountains. If current global warming trends continue the the winter snowpack is not expected to exist below 9,000 feet in elevation in the Wasatch (our about halfway between the summit and base of the local ski mountains) in as few as 40 years. A late season snowpack might more closely reflect the winter snowpack of the future. This is relevant to anyone who lives in the West because the snows provide the crucial store of water for the dry summer months. It is also relevant to skiers and a generation of the winter sports enthusiasts who will likely see significant changes in a single lifetime. Right now it is possible (with a bit of hiking and searching) to ski a line in the Wasatch every month of the year. Will our dependence on carbon burning fuels and slowness to move away from their excessive use make us the last generation who will be able to ski 12 months in the Wasatch?
More information concerning climate change and winter snowpack:
Protect Our Winters http://protectourwinters.org/
Save Our Snow http://www.saveoursnow.com/
Most of the time, a day spent climbing consists of far less actual climbing than you would expect. After meeting up with your partners, carpooling to the climbing area, hiking to the start of the climb and racking gear it is likely that you have already put in more time than you will spend actually on the route. You could choose longer routes but then there wouldn't be as much time to hike back down, drive into town for tacos where you can then sit with your partners and talk about climbing. In the photo we hike up one of the easier approaches among the Stansbury cliffs to climb a few routes before we decide to head back down for food.
Saturday, March 16, 2013
March brought some unseasonably warm weather to Utah which was no surprise because we just melted through what may soon go down as the warmest winter on record. We made the most of it and made the short drive to the West Desert to clip some bolts in a relatively newly discovered climbing area.
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Monday, January 7, 2013
Dan throws the climbing rope off of the top of the first pitch of Stairway to Heaven in Provo, Utah while carefully holding the other end. Throwing a rope requires attention to detail because a mistake can be the difference between finishing your climb or needing a rescue. The rope, a climbers most important tool, is used to protect both the ascent and the descent. When it is tossed as is often necessary it can become knotted, snagged, or dropped. A climber on this portion of the climb called "The Apron" can descend in this case by walking off the top but the attention to detail remains the same.
Something similar from way back when....