Climbing the Tetons

Climbing Grand Teton National Park

The Grand Teton. There is perhaps no mountain more aesthetic in North America. It dominates the landscape, sharply rising more than 7,000 feet above Jackson, Wyoming.

The Grand is a worthy prize for any American mountaineer.

With two weeks to play with, my climbing partner Jose and I headed for the Tetons, with the ultimate goal of climbing the Exum Ridge.

But first, we had some training to do.

We were lucky enough to have a pair of tremendous hosts, Teton locals who housed us for two weeks and were more than happy to help us get up to speed on the approaches, rock quality, and general character of the range by showing us some of the better climbs in the Park that weren’t on the Grand Teton. (It’s always a good idea to do your homework in the mountains).

Without further adieu, here’s a two-week itinerary for climbing in the Teton Range:

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What’s it like to climb Mount Everest?

It’s April, which means for climbers (and the world’s ultra-wealthy), it’s Everest season!

Throughout April and May, while the hordes descend (or rather ascend) on Everest, there are bound to be an endless number of news stories about successful summits, tragedies, and plenty of puff pieces about the logistics of the whole thing.

Want to learn a bit more authentically about what goes on up there?

You should watch this Joe Rogan podcast with Jeff Evans and Bud Brutsman, two guys who discuss their experiences climbing Mount Everest and managing rescue operations on the mountain in super-fascinating levels of detail. It’s two hours long, but compelling all the way through.

Check it out beyond the jump.

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Joshua Tree on Film

I bought a disposable camera before my trip to Joshua Tree in January.

This turned out to be a pretty good decision, as the cold of the California high desert killed my phone battery. So, while my climbing partner Jose had a high-end DSLR to take as many photos as he wanted (and they are great), I was limited to shooting on film.

I had only 24 exposures for more than three weeks on the road. That meant I didn’t take a lot of them, but every photo I do have is sincere. In addition to the prints, they gave me digital copies of all my photos, too.

Check them out, below the jump.

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Funny Thailand Signs

One of the great charms of traveling in Asia is the charming broken English.

English signs, menus shirts, slogans, etc. are pretty common. English isn’t everywhere, but there’s been an effort made. The strange thing though, is that these English translations are littered with misspellings and poor grammar. They’re generally intelligible, though, with a little work.

Part of the fun and charm of traveling in Asia!

Below, I’ve compiled a gallery of some examples of bad English in Thailand, gathered from a recent thread on Twitter.

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The Hitchhiker

Las Vegas, Nevada.

It was the final day of our climbing trip. Three weeks of uninterrupted time together: me y mi hermano Jose.

I had introduced Jose to bigger, more complex forms of climbing, while he had mentored me in Spanish, my second language. We had shared a soggy tent, shivered through a few cold January nights, spent half our budget on alcohol, eaten like dirtbags. Laughing, learning. We had made a strong memory.

But it was just about over.

We planned to end our trip with an exclamation point: climbing Birdland (5.7+) in Red Rock Canyon, a five-pitch route that would take us higher than anything we’d climbed previous. The route had been recommended to us by a free-solo climber we met in Joshua Tree.

Jose had been sad to trade Joshua Tree, where we passed almost three weeks, for Las Vegas.

I had pushed for Vegas. I wanted Jose to get a taste of real multipitch climbing. I wanted to get high — something you can’t really do in Joshua Tree.

In the end, I’d won. We drove to Vegas for a few days.

Our final day, we slept late and headed in to climb Birdland around noon. We stopped at the First Pullout in the Red Rock Loop Road, to look at some of the beautiful rock formations, and see if we could glimpse some of the sport climbing crags — shorter, bolted cliffs.

The rock at the Calico Hills in Red Rock Canyon is filled with swerving  lines: undulating waves of red, white, and shades in between. Without hurry, Jose and I walked the trails off the pullout, breathing in cool, fresh air. Despite being so close to Las Vegas, a major city with plenty of pollution, Red Rock feels crisp.

Short video feature on Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Walking back to la camioneta (our truck), three people around a small folding table waved us over. “Free food?!” they yelled. Dead broke after three weeks of too many cervezas, we swerved right over.

Two of the group were ambassadors for Climbstuff.com. The third, a guy in his late twenties or early thirties, was looking for people to climb with. We chatted for a bit while we ate bananas and tortillas.

“Well,” I say, “we were going to go climb Birdland, if you want to tag along. Multipitch.”

His face lights up, he thinks about it for a sec, and he says: “Yeah, that would be great! You guys got wheels? Just let me grab my stuff.”

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