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March 30, 2010

BCEP Rocky Butte session

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Sunday our BCEP team headed out to Rocky Butte for our first session practicing rock climbing skills. I've rock climbed a handful of times in the past but there were a lot of firsts for me that day: first time belaying, first time rappelling, first time climbing a rope with prussik slings. Weather wasn't ideal but we were able to keep warm and enjoy learning the new skills. This weekend we're heading to Horse Thief Butte to practice on some real rock. Thanks to Fitz, one of the assistants, who took these great photos.

Posted by Dave at 09:48 AM

March 24, 2010

Jason and Elvira's house

Sunday evening I wandered over to Jason's house to see how his project of tearing out a wall in a weekend was going. He, Chrissy and Lisa had made a bunch of progress on Saturday tearing out the lath and plaster and re-routing the wiring. The old studs were left and Jason had erected a temporary wall to hold the ceiling so we could take the rest of the wall out. To shore up the lower living room ceiling we put up a beam of 2 2x12s and added some sister studs. I enjoyed the project and bashing the old wall out. My hammering arm got tired pretty quick though...

Posted by Dave at 11:46 AM

Mazamas BCEP

Last week I started the Mazamas BCEP (Basic Climbing Education Program) and on Saturday we had our first hike. It was a beautiful day for it with great views. The top half of the hike was on packed snow. I'm hoping to learn some new skills and meet interesting people over the next five weeks of the course. Already I've practiced knots and climbing and belaying techniques. This Sunday we have our first field session at Rocky Butte where we'll work on climbing techniques.

Posted by Dave at 11:33 AM

March 14, 2010

Wildwood: Newberry-Vietnam Veteran's Memorial

Great conditions today for running the length of the Wildwood (not sure why GPS track shows 27 miles, is actually 30.4). Seven of us (Scott, Tim, Elliot, Amy, Becky, Meredith, Dave) started out around 8am at Newberry Rd with a good energy. Meredith did an out and back to run the car back to the start, thanks Mere! Amy and Becky ran all the way to Saltzman where we met Lisa, Amy walked out to her car, Becky went a little further and ran out to Lisa's car. Lisa paced me all the way home. With all the training I've been doing I felt strong and it was the best of my three runs of the entire Wildwood (6 hours, 12 minute miles). Combined with a 9 mile run yesterday I feel pretty ready for the 60K next month. Thanks to everybody for running with me, it's so much easier to keep it going and not focus on the pain when chatting with someone else.

Afterwards we had a belated celebration for Lisa's birthday and then saw Crazy Heart at Fox Tower. I mention this only because it's the best movie I've seen in a long time, go see it!

Addendum: Yesterday my Facebook account was hijacked and then disabled and I'm not sure if or when I'll get it back, this blog remains a good place to see photos, trip reports and all the rest.

Posted by Dave at 08:11 PM |

March 08, 2010

Garter stitch baby blanket

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I just completed this garter stitch blanket for a friend with a two month old and delivered it last night. The fabric is super soft and I'm happy with how it came out.

Posted by Dave at 05:07 PM |

Winter camping on Mt. Hood

"Adventure on your own frontier" was the motto of the summer camp I went to for many years and this weekend, thanks to Jason proposing a winter camping trip on Mt. Hood, I got a healthy dose of that. Jason showed me some of the tricks of winter camping which I hadn't done since some family trips back when I was kid. After celebrating Jason's 30th birthday at a bar with friends the night before we got a late start on Friday. We drove up a snowy road past Laurance Lake near Parkdale and got to the trailhead we were looking for, the Subaru did great. Snowshoeing and skinning the five miles up to Elk Cove at around 5500 feet took a long time; Jason and Sam stayed out in front. We arrived at the meadow well after dark and found a spot for camp. Jason got dinner going and I dug out a pad for our tent. The sky above was filled with stars, we didn't see any other lights except planes. In fact we didn't see anyone the entire weekend.

Saturday dawned sunny and calm. We lazed about getting ready in the morning, enjoying our amazing campsite, surrounded by snow-covered Barrett Spur and Mt. Hood. With much lighter packs we hiked up to the ridge and then climbed the ridge to about 7000'. We ditched the packs and hiked further, finding a lookout over the Ladd Glacier. Then it was time for some turns down the mountain, Jason on his telemark skis, me on the snowboard for my first backcountry descent.

All too soon we turned to hike back up to the ridge where we soaked up the sun and lingered. We then skied back to camp down the steeper east side of Barrett Spur where the snow had been in the shade for a while and gotten quite firm. We both managed to ski to the edge of camp which was fun.

So far everything couldn't have really gone any better. Sunday however brought the real adventure. I proposed we go back a different way and Jason eagerly agreed. So we hauled all our stuff up the ridge again and then skied down to our car off-trail. We definitely took the shortest route but predictably we ran in to some very steep terrain. First some icy snowfields in an open forest. I had to find some softer snow in the trees to dig my boots in to on the descent. Sam reluctantly followed me down. Then we quickly found ourselves in even worse shape in a dense forest with lots of downfall and completely icy underfoot. We both were relieved when we got on a gentler slope. There was still some slogging through deep snow between a creek and a clearcut field with young trees before we reached the car. What a trip!

Turns out the adventure wasn't quite over. I was driving the Subaru back down the snowy, icy road and within a few hundred yards of the pavement drove it off to the snowbank on the left, thankfully not the slope down to the creek on the right. It was pretty far off in the snow and it took Jason and I two hours or so of the day's last light to dig it out and get back on the road. I thought we were going to be hiking out of there for a while. Rolling in to Parkdale we enjoyed beer and nachos to celebrate getting out there for some adventure.

More photos on Facebook and check out Jason's excellent shots!

Posted by Dave at 03:47 PM