Saturday, July 12, 2008

Home safe and heading out again

Woah... so I definitely got home and had daily life usurp updating this nice blog.

Since I last posted:
~Norway was spectacular.
~I've started working again in Pullman. Mostly painting interiors.
~Alana left for Poland (I haven't mentioned her here before, have I?)
~Pete and Sarah (two of my good friends) got married in Bellingham.
~I've been reinstated back into my university (longish story, happy ending)

And now, I'm packing both an ice axe and a nice suit for my trip this week as I'm driving over to Bellingham to climb a mountain and then be the bestest man in my brother's wedding.

My buddy Andrew found this little chunk of info about Mt. Challenger (our destination):
Mount Challenger stands as the northern anchor of the Picket Range of Washington State. This area is the most rugged and remote mountain wilderness in the lower 48 states (somewhat arguable, but not very) deep in the northern section of North Cascades National Park. Challenger and the majority of the Picketts are not visible from any road and no trails offer particularly good views of the area. The climate is quite atrocious, probably the worst in all the Cascades. The valleys surrounding the Pickets are filled with wild and all but impenetrable temperate rainforest choked with brush and blowdown. The terrain is steep and cliffy from valley bottom to peak and the whole area is riddled with wildly disrupted glaciers calving off seracs to the valleys far below. There are no walk up routes in the Pickets. Here one must deal with the peaks on their own terms, over days of real hardship. All of this conspires to make climbing in the Pickets a unique, incredible, but challenging experience at best, and a full on epic at worst. The vibe here is very different than anywhere else in the Cascades. There are fewer climber's trails, more and rougher gound to cover, and less people.

Because of the remoteness, bad weather, and overall ruggedness, people are comparatively few here, although the area has become somewhat legendary and thus, everyone at least wants to go there. Few actually make it to the peaks though.

If all that sounds dark and gloomy, sorry, it's all true, but it's also true that a perfectly clear summit day anywhere in the Pickets, after the challenges of the approach have passed is pretty much climbing Nirvana for all the same reasons that make this place so challenging.
Count me in!
(It's got to be easier than marriage, right?)

Here's a few of those promised Norway photos:

[Taking the elevator up to a revolving pizza restaurant]


[The view from a WWII bunker over Trondheim]


[Oops?]


[Beautiful sunshine!] (photo from Karl)


[Who's photographing whom (or what?)]




[Checking out the thrift shops] (photo from Karl)


[We found a bomb shelter and decided to explore!]


[Karl took some HDR (High Dynamic Range) photos]


[Photographing photographers again]


[Awesome old breifcase]


[Climbing out]


[Seeing me off: Lillian, Magne, Karl, and Janne]


[Sunset at 11:30pm from the train]