Thursday, November 10, 2011

On home turf. First decent on Mt. Rainier late april 11'

 Back in the states for late April returning with lots of stoke and happy to be home in the Rainier zone. The huge winter which was the second biggest snow season on record close to 900in provided great touring days.  This big season allowed my buddies Seth, Andy and me to have a shot at a fun first decent on Rainier via the Nisqually Ice Cliff with detour to check out some other un'skied lines off the point success summit on the West side and had a brilliant ski all the way to the Nisqually bridge. This run was just short of 11k in descent, culminating as my longest run of the season and it is just 24 miles from my own back door.  Thanks for the day boys, perfect. 

Snow banks! I think so.

Long walk in the park touring up the Muir snowfield the line is just right of the largest rock buttress in the middle.

View of the line from the bee hive on the Gibralter route

The boys Seth and Andy at the base of the ledges.

Seth and Andy round the side walk.

Looking down the West side yee haa.
Top of the Nisqually Ice cliff line here we GO!

 Andy below seth aboye from the Summit on pool table smooth extra firm snow.

Seth...Going down.

Andy Bondo getting to the goods.

Seth on point above the crux with lots of ice cliff exposure just below.

Seth Shralpping.
Andy and Seth on new ground.

Seth crushing.
Andy Slaying it.

Andy exiting at the bergshrund.

What a day and great line with best friends.
Gawking at our effort.

The Rainier Horn from  the Tahoma Crk. bridge. What a day!

Chamonix and The Eiger april 11'

In April I hitched a ride to Chamonix with local Swedish guide Per As to meet up with other friends for my introductory lap to Chamonix.  The first day in the area I went with Miles Smart and Forest Mc Brian to the Cosmique Cooler.  We left at 11am and were back with burgers and beers buy 3:30.  So cool to ride a tram for two 7min sections and end up 9,000ft out of the valley.  It was great first run, sorry for no pics.  In the evening I met my good friend and mentor, Greg, and his friend Steve to gear up for the NW arete of Mt. Blanc for a day tour.  In in morning we took the first Midi tram to 2,400m and set off across the glacier for a wonderful calm and blue bird day on the Alps' highest peak, enjoying a firm but pleasant ski down.  I also climbed with Hans Johnstone on the Super Couloir and skied the mur de glace.  Johnstone, Steve,  and I also climbed a route accessed via five rappels from the midi station bridge, and finished on the cosmique ridge. Our crew scored a nice day of bouldering too. The place is out of this world! Super great climbing and skiing with a few legendary Alpinists.

Mont. Blanc North Face. via Northwest arete. Skiing the classic 
G dub on Mont Blanc w/ the Aiguille du Midi. Displaying the Cosmiques cooler on the right.

Steve Sue on the Arete. Chamonix below.

G dub look'n good sending on the arete.

Gdub on the final steps to the Mont Blanc summit.
Steve, Gdub and I on the top of the Alps. Mont Blanc 15,782ft (4,810m)
Along the summit ridge of the big Blanc
Under the massive icefall, ski rally course. A  beautiful run down the normal north side.

Steve on pitch 1  prophet?  route on the Midi
Steve on the ridge in the sun, ya!
Hans & Steve on the upper Cosmiques Arete
Cosmiques final head wall.

The Super Cooler with Hans.  The line takes the large lower buttress of rock to the big whit streak in the middle!   
A wonderful approach to the climb from the Cosmiques Hut.

Hans leads the last pitch of rock with the upper ice pitches up and left 

Hans gaining the main cooler

Hans some where another spectacular pitch of ice in the middle of the Super.

Toward the top of the main flow of the  couloir.
G dub and Steve after their route.  The upper super cooler is in the very top left hand of the photo.
The Mont Blanc du Tacul the Super Couloir  route goes up the center of the highest peak.
Skiing down the Mur  de Glace to finish a classic climb and ski day spent in the High Mountains!
The last 48 hrs of time began a final session with Johnstone and Greg.  We launched in a compact rental car with three full climbing and ski kits to Grindelwald Switzerland for our final hours' effort before our departure back to the US.  Our sites were on the legendary North Face of the Eiger.  We were shooting for a day mission with little time to spare for our flights.  We made it to the hard crack about one third up the face when we decided to bail.  No summit but a spectacular last day in the Alps.  I will for sure be back to this one soon.                   
The boys find a nice swiss bivy!

Those are nice mountains and valleys. The Eiger

The north face of the Eiger the from train

Up on the lower N face

final few raps to the base.

Wonderful spot!
Back at the train station under the W face of the Eiger.  The train heads in to an 18km tunnel through the Eiger. 
Great! Candy, chips, beer, and smokes what else could we need in a vending machine!

Nice Mountains in the alps around every corner.

 Leaving the mountains just hours before the jet craft to North America.  The Alps have access and infrastructure  that will forever blow my mind! So so Cool!