December 18, 2008

Diamond Arete 2005: Second Ascent

Here is an update to a link to another past expedition. In 2005, Freddie Wilkinson and I made the second ascent of the Jack Tackle/Jim Donini route the Diamond Arete on Mount Hunter's East face, then traversing over the mountain to descend the West Ridge in a total time of 55 hours to Kahiltna base camp, including two bivies. We found difficulties up to AI5 M6 over the course of the 2000m route. The route is notorious because of the epic nature of its first ascent: Jack and Jim spent nine days in marginal conditions climbing the route ground-up, in alpine style, having lost a rope in the process (limiting their descent options). They then descended Hunter's North Ridge and rappelled what has recently become known as the 'mini-moonflower' buttress in another day.

This experience taught us both something about commitment. Freddie is a talented alpinist, and it was great fun climbing with him on this route. Freddie commented that often, the biggest steps that we take in climbing a large route in alpine style are in the process of choosing to commit to the style and strategy that you have chosen, and to face the fears which accompany decision-making in the mountains. Please visit the link to my Diamond Arete 2005 blog for further information.

December 4, 2008

Trango and Latok Expedition Slideshows

December 11th at 7:00 PM, I will be giving a slideshow at UAF's Schaible Auditorium covering two separate expeditions to the Karakoram mountains of Pakistan. The slideshow on the Trango Towers expedition covers our widely publicized first ascent of Severance Ridge (VI 5.11 [5.10+ X] A2 AI3 M5) on Trango II (6327m). The slideshow on the Latok expedition documents our two attempts (climbing to AI3 M7) at the first complete ascent of the Northwest Ridge of Latok II (7200m), and touches on my friends' first ascent of The Outside Penguin (V 5.10 A1) on 'Karim Peak' (5700m). Please visit the links below for more information on these two expeditions:

Latok Group
Trango Towers (2005):

Here are several teaser photos from these expeditions. Enjoy!

Photo: Jeremy Frimer

Above: Some really cute Balti kids in the village of Askole. We played games with these little guys, including some magic tricks that they got a kick out of, though they appeared to believe that they should be getting money and candy.

Left: Here is my buddy Jonathon Clearwater (NZ) suffering on 'The Shield' headwall of Severance Ridge at approximately 5900m elevation. This golden headwall offered splitter free climbing, tenuous clean aid, and a monster pendulum.

Photo: Jeremy Frimer

Right: Here I am at approximately 6000m, suffering from bloody fingers due to way too much coarse golden granite, en route to 2 1/2 days more climbing without much food.

Photo: Jeremy Frimer

Below: Latok II (7200m). We attempted this peak twice, reaching approximately 5900m on two attempts starting from 4700m.

November 20, 2008

Fairbanks Update: -30

So, the first semester of the Ph.D program is coming to an end, and all I need to complete between now and then is about 50 pages of written work and 800 pages of reading! I decided to update this blog today because last night the temperature hit -30 degrees F at our little cabin for the first time this winter. Funny, because down south they are still calling it Fall. Ever since I was a little tyke growing up in AK, October has been the official month of transition between Fall and Winter. Hell, we've been able to cross country ski here in town and on the Tanana river since the beginning of October!

Anyway, I thought I'd update everyone on our situation. Wendy and I are still here in Fairbanks, Wendy working at Boys and Girls Club as a caseworker with teens getting out of Fairbanks Youth Facility, me working at the Psychology Department Clinic as my Service Assistantship. Also in class and working on schoolwork a lot during the week and on the weekends. Tia the pointer/lab-husky mutt has moved down to Fairbanks and appears to feel refreshed by the more dog-like winter temperatures. She likes going running down the Tanana river while I ski and sleeping under the dining table to while away the rest of her time. Oh, and barking at the sled-dogs in training that run by our little cabin all the time.

Below: Wendy and I at our old house in Anchorage right after I got back from the 2007 Latok Expedition and got a real job doing mental health and substance abuse counseling with teens at Volunteers of America in Anchorage.

Below: A self portrait at home in our litte cabin in off Chena Pump Rd in Fairbanks.

Finally, 14 year-old Tia the mutt while en route from Fairbanks to Anchorage.

I am looking forward to free time after the end of the Ph.D semester and thinking about summer climbing plans (top secret). It looks like I might be doing several climbing-related slide shows here in Fairbanks this winter and will update as dates and topics are finalized. I may begin to develop a separate page for Psychology, Social Work and/or Alaska issues as time goes on. Additionally, I will be gradually updating this blog with links to blogs dedicated to past expeditions so look out for that if you would like to see more photos from past first ascents and significant repeats around the world.

October 8, 2008

Full Arrigetch Report

Please visit my blog dedicated to our 2008 Arrigetch Expedition which features the full story of our expedition, including our repeat of the North Buttress of West Maiden and our first ascent of The Pillar Arete on Caliban. Also, please visit the Climbing: Hot Flashes website and Alpinist Newswire for other published details about our climbs in the gorgeous Arrigetch Peaks. These links can be found in my previous post from 9-23-08, and on the dedicated Arrigetch 2008 blog.

September 23, 2008

Arrigetch Expedition Update

Ryan and I had a great trip to the Arrigetch Peaks of the Brooks Range during the second half of August. I am currently awaiting a return of my film from Photowright in Anchorage and will post a fuller version of our trip report when my photos arrive. For now, please visit the following websites to read about our repeat of the North Buttress of West Maiden (V 5.9 R (22 60M+ pitches) and our first ascent of the Pillar Arete on Caliban (V 5.10b (16 pitches plus much simul-climbing):

Climbing Magazine: Hot Flashes- "Big Climbs in Alaska's Arrigetch"

Alpinist Magazine: Newswire- "Adventures in Alaska's Remote Arrigetch"

August 10, 2008

Trying out the blog thing...

I've spent a lot of time over the last few years looking at friends' blogs and have decided to give it a try so that I can share a little bit of my passion for life, love, and the mountains with those whom I often don't stay in touch with. Additionally, it may give me chance to share some of the great photographs that I and my climbing partners have taken in remote locations throughout many trips since I began climbing in earnest in 1997.

Life may present options to grow. In December, I married my dearest Wendy and inherited two awesome stepkids; Tommy (18) and Allie (11). In 2007 I completed a Master's Degree in Social Work at the University of Alaska, Anchorage and am in the process of moving to Fairbanks to undertake a Doctorate in Clinical-Community Psychology at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. All my best to those who have influenced me along the way, and those who continue to work for positive change on individual, community, and statewide levels.

I'm sure that the mountains will continue to be a great part of my daily thoughts and an enduring interest that I hope continues to inspire and invigorate me. The high places of the world have captured my most vivid memories, moments trapped in a miasma of fatigue or elation. There is no doubt in my mind that I will always be in, or longing for the mountains. Thanks for looking!