March 25, 2009

Awaiting Freedom!

The end of the semester is fast approaching. With lots of work awaiting me, I am doing my best to forge my way through the thousands of pages of reading and a variety of special projects that await my attention prior to May 4th. I made the mistake of looking at Colin Haley's blog the other day to discover that the bugger somehow managed to finish his bachelor's in March, and is now alpine climbing and posting new photos from Chamonix a couple times a week! Here I am, scratching my way out of the depths of the interior Alaska winter, busting through work at the end of the first year of a challenging doctorate program while trying to stay in shape for 6 weeks of expedition climbing that is to occur during the summer months. Makes it hard for a guy to stay motivated. For now, the necessity of remaining in shape for the challenges of these summer trips is almost enough, but the time crunches I am under make scheduling workouts in pretty hard. To keep myself (and whoever else out there also needs to get excited) motivated, I am taking a few minutes out to post a couple motivating photos from the past. Enjoy, and get out and play if you are fortunate enough to have some free time.

Left: Here I am forging a different kind of study plan, climbing Aerial Boundaries (III WI 5+) in WI6 X conditions, Canadian Rockies, 2004.

Photo: Heike Schmitt

Below: One of the most enduring motivations, successfully bailing off a giant mountain (after being hit by a slough while transitioning from rappel to anchor). Our two attempts on Latok II (7200m) have got me psyched to head back to Pakistan someday in the not too distant future.

Photo: Ryan Hokanson

In any case, I am indeed motivated to head back into the mountains and look forward to facing some of the transformative challenges available in our natural world, practicing the art of alpine climbing. I am hoping to head out on two separate expeditions, one big mountain trip to Mount Logan/the St. Elias, and a return trip to the Arrigetch to attempt a couple unclimbed lines that we noticed last year while on a trip there.

March 21, 2009

Good Times...

We have had a couple family visits recently. My sister Diana and her friend Meghan (she brought her accordion) just came out to visit us in Fairbanks, which was really nice. One day Di, Wendy and I went out for a run and the following day Di and I went for a ski with the dogs out on the Tanana. Here are a couple photos that we took while out skiing.

The mighty Diana at a hot chocolate break...

And below, Tia and I. Gotta love the awkward mid-stride arm position. Nonetheless, a lot of action in this photo. I like it.

Photo: Diana Johnson

About a week after Di came out, Wendy, Tommy and I traveled out to DC to spend time with my grandmother. We had a good time, pretty low key. Grandmother was not feeling well, so our visits were relatively short but wonderful. Inspiring to be around our elders, especially a woman who has contributed so much to this world, and to our family. An immensely talented wordsmith. Please visit her Washington Writers' Publishing House author profile. We visited the Holocaust Museum, the Museum of American History, the Lincoln Memorial, and the World War II memorial among many other places.

March 5, 2009

Ryan Hokanson's Arrigetch Slide Show

Sam on the Pillar Arete, pitch 4. Photo by Ryan Hokanson

Ryan is going to give a slideshow on our 2008 Arrigetch expedition! This will occur at 6:30 PM on March 10th at the BP Energy Center in Anchorage, a great venue. Here is Harry Hunt's blurb about the show:

"Ryan Hokanson and Sam Johnson spent two weeks in the Arrigetch Peaks during August 2008.  After warming up on the W. Maiden, they turned their sights to the unclimbed east ridge of Caliban, the highest peak in the Arrigetch. Their route involved 16 pitches and 4 rappels. They were forced to engineer their way around 2 of the towers and climbed up and over the other two. A great route, with amazing granite, that they named Pillar Arete 5.10b, grade V, 16 pitches and 4 rappels on route." -Check it out!