April 25, 2011

2011 Shipton-Tilman Award: Heading to the Hayes

The folks at Gore-Tex contacted me this morning to let me know that we have won a 2011 Shipton-Tilman award for our proposed attempt on Mount Moffit in the Hayes Range out in the Fairbanks backyard. My longtime friend and climbing partner Jeremy Frimer will be accompanying me in place of Clint Helander, who hopes to be out commercial fishing when we planned to be out climbing. Jer just hurt his wrist so sending all positive vibes his way in the hopes that he is healed up and can go climbing this summer. Here are links to wikipedia info about Eric Shipton and William Tilman, pioneer explorers and mountaineers.

April 20, 2011

More Thoughts on the CAI Discussion

I have spoken with quite a few friends about the recent Krakauer publication, some of whom who have also spent time in Pakistan and believe in the mission of Central Asia Institute (CAI). The bottom line is, whatever else has been happening, that CAI has been doing wonderful work and helping many, many children access education. The Krakauer book is quite impactful in many ways - however, it barely draws upon any sources that could be considered supportive of Greg or CAI, choosing instead to focus almost entirely on sources which are critical of Greg's story and the organization. It seems that there may be some significant issues in financial management and the governing structure at CAI - but the work of CAI is far too important to ignore.

Update: April 21st - Link to Outside interview with Greg regarding the allegations brought against him and  steps that CAI has been taking to address issues relating to financial interdependence within the operations of CAI. 

April 18, 2011

Three Cups of Deceit

This is a very disturbing read, not pleasant for me in any way. It is written in very strong terms. Central Asia Institute has done amazing things in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and I very much support their mission. Greg has done stacks of wonderful work in Pakistan and Afghanistan. This hot off the presses e-book exposes a different side of the story that I am sorry to report seems more than slightly credible and certainly makes me a little sad. I'm not sure what more to think of it at this point, having read it once through. Rock and Ice also issued something preliminary which can be found here. These are important issues for those interested in the health of people living in mountain environments around the world, in education, nonprofit management, and trustworthy spending of their donated dollars. For now, I am taking it with a grain of salt and waiting to learn more. I hope that the way that this has been presented overreaches the data, but for now will just have to wait to learn more.

April 9, 2011

Dr. Evil, His Hairless Cat, and "The Peach"

Here is another great video to keep you all psyched for your climbing season whether you are a winter climber or someone entering the summer alpine season. Not that overhanging boltless choss should get you excited, but I thought this video is both engaging and got me thinking about climbing. Watching Dr. Slawinski the physicist stroking his hairless cat while discussing the pitches is also amusing. I am in the final month of coursework in the UAF-UAA Psychology PhD program at this point, and greatly looking forward to the summer alpine season and hopefully building more flexibility and climbing into my schedule next winter as I enter the research phase of my graduate eduction. Enjoy!

April 4, 2011

Link to John Kelley and Partners' New Chugach Lines

John Kelley with alternating partners Ben Trocki and Kevin Ditzler sent four new lines in the Chugach this winter, two of them quite proud. The conditions midwinter this year were pretty insanely good, and John put in quite a bit of time to make these lines go down. Always happy when locals send here at home, so props to John, Ben, and Kevin. The Chugach is home to some of the more huge and obscure low altitude unclimbed lines in the state. Here is the link to their trip report on the new AAJ website, and here is a link to Kevin's picasa album of the climb on Nantina Point, probably the proudest of the four climbs. 

April 2, 2011

Lost Video from Balchen

I happened upon this tiny segment which somehow I overlooked when making our Hayes 2010 video. This was taken just before starting our final simul pitch to the summit ridge on the Northeast Buttress of Mount Balchen: 3000 feet up a new line, Ryan and I converse about the conditions. Though we decide to continue, intersect the line of Balchen's first ascent, and make it to within 100 feet of the summit, we are turned back by St. Elmo's Fire and the threat of impending lightning strike. Ryan having been struck before, there wasn't much of a discussion about which way to go in the end: Down, rappelling through spindrift avalanches. Mount Balchen's weather also treated me harshly the year before during the first ascent of Alchemy Ridge with Matt Klick. You can hear my desire to continue at this juncture, but it was not to be in the end...