Archived goings-on since 2000.

        2007 - August, July, June, May, January
        2006 - November, October, September, August, May
        2005 - August
        2004 - December, August, June
        2003 - September, August
        2002 - December, June, February
        2001 - December, September, July, June, May
        2000 - August, July


September

(Chehalis Range, BC) - Duped into trusting the weather forecast, Martin and I arranged a Friday off from work and were brimming with excitement for the chance to spend three days climbing in the Chehalis Range. Described in McLane's Alpine Select as "...one of the finest moderate alpine routes in British Columbia", the Viennese - Clark Traverse is a climb not to be missed. As with trailheads and logging roads in our local Cascade Mountains, access to the Chehalis Range has become more difficult thanks to a number of major washouts in recent years. Yet despite this, the alternative approach via the West Harrison and Mystery Creek roads was reasonably passable in a Honda CRV. We parked on the side of the road a couple kilometers north of Chehalis Lake and hiked about four clicks of road and through at least two massive washouts to reach the trailhead. We reached Lower Statlu Lake a casual half-hour from the trailhead. Underestimating the approach from the lower lake to Upper Statlu Lake, Martin and I suffered a steep and interminable three hour grunt to reach our lakeside camp only minutes before dark. No sooner did I drop my pack, an eerie fog seemingly materialized from out of thin air above the lake. A harbinger of what was to come no doubt. While we enjoyed a pleasant evening by a crackling fire, morning saw our camp completely socked-in and the tent completely soaked thanks to the heavy mist. We got a late start hoping the fog would burn off, but with no change in the weather at 5500-ft by noon that day, not even a consolation prize of just climbing the East Ridge of Viennese was ours to be had. We pulled the plug, returned to camp, packed up and high-tailed it back to Seattle. Better luck next time!

           

  

August

(La Push, WA) - Agata and I returned to the coast for our fourth(?) annual Labor Day weekend at La Push. Joining us this year were Dominic, Andy, Jill, Amanda, Jeff and dogs Sophie and McKenzie. Phew! Like the previous year, I found the water unseasonably cold and with faces easily in the 6 - 8 foot range, the surf was probably the largest I have seen it at La Push. Having made several day trips to Westport this summer, however I could at least hold my own out in the larger-than-expected surf. The wind picked-up in advance of a cold front due to arrive on Monday, bringing with it practically un-surfable chop and steady rain towards the end of the long weekend. In contrast to the multitudes out in the line-up the previous days, there were maybe one or two determined souls braving the ugliness out in the water later Sunday and Monday.

     

(Cathedral Park, BC) - Hoping that an east-of-the-crest objective would ensure drier climbing conditions on what was forecasted to be yet another wet weekend at home, Martin and I set our sights on BC's Cathedral Park. Surely it doesn't rain in the Pasayten in August, right? Wrong! With a longer-than-expected 8-hour drive to reach the trailhead, forty-some clicks of it along the unpaved Ashnola River Road, and an uber-boring 8-mile forest approach, I could have sworn we had done our penance and success on our climb of the Grimface-Macabre-Matriarch Traverse was assured. With a good two or three hours of pounding rain early the following morning, it was clear that we should have also at least sacrificed a goat to appease the weather gods.

        

July

June

May

January


November

October

September

August

May


August


December

August

(Neah Bay, WA) - With the long Labor Day weekend fast approaching, Agata and I had our sights set on exploration and discovery of Washington's Olympic Peninsula. After first visiting the Hurricane Ridge visitor center, we continued on to Neah Bay and Cape Flattery, and hiked the Cape Trail to a viewpoint overlooking the straights with Tatoosh Island directly in front. We camped that night at Hobuck Beach - I'd like to surf there someday. We continued south to LaPush the following day and spent the rest of the weekend surfing and relaxing on the beach. For those in the know, LaPush is truly hard to beat!

              

(Hurricane Ridge, WA) - Our first stop on our trip to Neah Bay and the Olympic Coast (see Neah Bay above). I had previously been to Hurricane Ridge with my parents, and it was nice to share the views again now with Agata. It was also quite satisfying to know that I had climbed that large glacier-clad massif visible off in the distance.

  

(Shuswap Lakes, BC) - After getting shutdown on a climb of Mt. Sir Donald by rain and thunderstorms, Agata and I were at a loss with what to do with ourselves for the remainder of our time off from work. With fond memories of previous house boating vacations on Shuswap Lake, we decided to salvage what was left of the long weekend by car-camping near the beach (Herald Provincial Park), drinking, wakeboarding and spending way too much money on a ski boat rental. The monsoons caught up with us again the following afternoon with only 30 minutes left on our 4-hour rental. The prospect of having to endure another drenching in what was surely already a thoroughly soaked tent, convinced Agata and I to finally throw in the towel and run for ‘cover’. Loaded up on caffeine, we drove back to her parent’s N. Van home arriving there around 1am.



June


September

August


December

(Bryan Butte) - Bent on summiting his last remaining peak of the "top 100" in the Chelan/Sawtooth region, Paul proposed that we go climb Mount Bigelow. Though not necessarily a "top 100" disciple myself, I was somewhat interested in a trip to Mount Bigelow purely because I had never been in that remote corner of the Cascades. What also factored into my decision to go was the additional promise of seeing an actual rock glacier formation, and the nearby Hoodoo Peak, Star Peak and Oval Peak; which I heard Tom Sjolseth make frequent reference to this summer.

We estimated that it would take us somewhere in the neighborhood of three-and-a-half hours to make the drive out to Winthrop. The driving time, the 5 or 6 miles of hiking to reach the summit, and the limited daylight hours all necessitated an early start from home. It was Paul's turn to drive and in no time we found ourselves cruising down the North Cascades Highway towards Marblemount. It was also around this time that I made the unpleasant discovery that I wouldn't be able to enjoy the basic civilized comfort of heat in Paul's car. Paul dismissed the artic temperatures in his ice-box of a car while I wrapped myself in a blanket and donned my down jacket. The excitement was however far from over as we got pulled over for speeding just outside Winthrop, ironically only seconds after Paul mentioned how well patrolled this particular stretch of road was. Paul informed the officer that his speeding was a consequence of his desperate need to urinate (a lie), for which we were then given the grand escort by Winthrop's finest to a public restroom in town. Returning from the restroom, Paul then had to endure a detailed lecture and barrage of statistics from the officer concerning various speeding related accidents and fatal encounters with wildlife. We were then released with only a warning and continued on our way.

About five miles past Carlton, we turned right onto Gold Creek Road. It wasn't long before we encountered snow and hoped that we'd be able to at least reach the trailhead by car. We continued up the logging road expecting to reach the trailhead after each successive bend. Our altimeters were also reporting an elevation higher than that of the trailhead, and the road only continued climbing. I was beginning to suspect that we had made a wrong turn somewhere. The increasingly unconsolidated snow was also beginning to make driving difficult, and soon the tires were spinning out and we could go no farther. To make matters worse, in an attempt to reverse the car back down the road to a bit of a pull-out, Paul managed to get a wheel stuck in a shallow ditch. Any summit bid of Mount Bigelow was now out of the question and Paul and I struggled for another half hour to push the car free. Fortunately, Paul had brought his snow chains with him and was able to drive out of the ditch after having put them on. Now, with the added traction of the chains we continued up the road, hopeful that we were somehow near the trailhead. We finally reached a junction with signs on a ridge-top and discovered that we were in fact way off route. My suspicions confirmed, I reached back and opened my first beer for the day.

Ok, so now that Mount Bigelow is out of the question, what do we do? After a brief review of Paul's Washington Atlas and Gazetteer, we determined that North and South Navarre Peaks were sufficiently close to offer a feasible backup summit. We spied what we thought were the two peaks from the road and continued for a short distance before stopping at a pull-out.

Confident that we'd be able to easily run up to the summit, Paul and I laughed off our previous navigational issues. We stuffed the remaining beers in our packs and set off in anticipation of enjoying some nice summit beers on top of North Navarre Peak. We trudged through forest and followed a small creek as it led us upwards through patchy snow towards open terrain. In what felt like an eternity we reached an open meadow in the upper basin. Looking back, we could look over Eastern Washington under a sea of fog. Paul and I jokingly envisioned this sea of fog as being a glacial ice-sheet much like what must have existed thousands of years ago.

We continued up the basin towards a broad saddle. The craggy summit of North and South Navarre Peaks were nowhere to be found. Instead, on our left was this uninspiring hump of snow and trees. We post-holed our way up the hump onto the summit. Stunted pines covered most of the summit area, save for some rocky outcroppings near the craggy north side of the summit. Looking west we spotted Bonanza Peak rising prominently from the horizon (high peak left of center in background). We also finally located North Navarre Peak and South Navarre Peak, situated directly west of us and joined to the hump on which we were standing via a craggy ridge. We speculated as to whether or not our summit (just shy of 8,000') had a name and until a determination was made, we decided to call it "Plan C Peak". We also named our ascent route the "Endless Basin".

After a quick beer and late lunch on the summit, we returned back down to the saddle in the meadows. This time, we stayed to the left in the upper basin and did a descending traverse high above the creek until spotting the road far below. We then descended back down through forest and reached the car without incident. The sun was now setting and the fog was again creeping up the valley. Soon we too were deep in the fog and several minutes later found ourselves heading back towards Winthrop. We stopped in town for ribs and Paul experimented with an exotic spiced beer called Gruit Ale that smelled and tasted strongly of rosemary and apparently had some other narcotic herbs in it. By 7:00pm we were back on the road again for the three-and-a-half hour drive back home. That was about as much punting as we could tolerate for one day.

        

June

February


December

September

July

June

(Mailbox Peak) - Chris and some friends from work were planning an after-work hike up to Mailbox Peak. I decided to tag along and see first hand what the summit mailbox fuss was all about. Well, it's true! There's a mailbox on the summit. We each downed a couple Fosters oil cans before retracing our steps back down the peak. Hardcore!

        

(Little Bald - mtb) - Nick, Don and I teamed-up for this classic ride east of Chinook Pass. With about ten miles of biking up logging roads, followed by ten+ miles of some of the best 'pine needle' single track in the state, Little Bald ranks as yet another favorite ride. As of this writing, only Devil's Gulch, Norse Peak/Palisades, Elk Heights and Teanaway stand out in my mind as being comparable rides.

                 

May


August

(Tofino, BC) - A combination of photos from a 1999 and 2000 trip to Tofino, BC. The 1999 trip was my second time on Vancouver Island (my first being a weekend with Agata staying at Qualicum Beach, near Nanaimo), and marked my first return to activity after a long and boring rehabilitation following ankle surgery. I remember those first waves I caught at Long Beach as if it were yesterday!

We were accompanied by Karen and Wayne on our 2000 trip to Tofino, and endured some less than perfect weather while there. This time, Agata and I explored the surf north of Long Beach - from Cox Bay to Chesterman Beach. If only the drive wasn't so long, otherwise we'd be back a lot more often. Tofino rocks, eh!

              

(Shuswap Lakes, BC) - North America's best house boating destination? Cruising deep into Anstey Arm, or any of the other fjord-like lakes of the Shuswap with speedboat in tow, mooring on your own private beach for the night, BBQ's, beer and lounging on the rooftop deck, water skiing, cliff jumping and let's not forget that delicate maneuver under the bridge getting back to the harbor at Sicamus! Two times and counting, what's not to love?

        

(Lake Chelan/Stehikin) - After having spent some time there himself the previous summer, Chris recommended that I take the Lady Of The Lake up Lake Chelan to the town of Stehekin. Situated at the very northern end of the 55 mile long Lake Chelan, Stehekin is a remote town in the North Cascades. Only accessible by boat, sea plane or foot (a long way by many trail possibilities) the town is for many a destination in and of itself. It is also the starting point for climbers seeking several of Washington's more remote peaks. Motivated by the warm east-side weather and the opportunity to spend some quality time with Agata and my parents in a unique and relaxing setting, I secured our reservations, drove out to Chelan and hopped onto the boat for a 2 hour ride deep into the North Cascades.

As far as overnighting options go, there's the hotel in town, private waterfront cabins, a campground across the street from the National Park Ranger Station, or a bed and breakfast farther up the valley (recommended). If staying in town, I highly recommend forgoing breakfast at the hotel and instead having some fresh baked treats at the bakery a couple miles up the road. A private bus service operates between Stehekin and High Bridge, for a distance of about 10 miles. The National Park Service operates a van service beyond High Bridge to about Cottonwood (10 miles), or wherever the washout is that year.

  

July

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