Thursday, January 31, 2008

What I am listening to: Kate Nash & Lily Allen

Kate Nash, at keyboard, and Lily Allen, posing, are quirky, fun and intelligent song writers. Check them out.

The Best Pack: Cilogear Dyneema 30L Worksack

Ever wonder why Kelly, Colin (the best alpinist ever?), Max and a few others are killing it in the mountains these days ? (Like the way I use their first names, like we are really good friends; Kelly once asked me to send him a photo of a project I couldn't do, Colin gave me a piece of Pizza in Chalten a couple of years ago, and I never met Max, though I met his girlfriend once.) Think they are just mentally and physically better than the rest of us? Maybe. Think they are just hungrier, more willing to commit, not just mere mortals like you and I, possibly. Or could it just be that they have the best back pack made. It is the one common thing I can figure out about them. (Just joking, they kill it because they are better, in everyway, mentally, physically and morally - it even says so on GNA.) But they are all using the packs from Cilogear, check it out,, and if anybody is wondering what to get me for Christmas this year, the Dyneema 30L worksack would be great. No wrapping needed, pretty enough as is.


Yesterday, I went to climb Teranova and then to see if Trojka was in shape, or done, as we say here. Teranova, 350m of super climbing - compact snow plastered to a 65 degree wall - was so much fun. I was with two Matejs, one has a lot of experience and the other says to me while soling the climb, you know this is my 2nd or 3rd time using ice axes. Ok. So that is the answeras to why Slovenia produced the best climbers, they all rock climb at a very solid level and so Alpine/Ice is so easy compared. Trojka was not is great shape, but we had a super day, luckily finished the day with a couple of cold beers and enough pizza to feed a horse. About the Photos, the mountain area is Jezersko, Terranova follows the well snowed up system in the middle of the wall, and Trojka follows up the middle of the upper rock head wall. Matej soloing next to me a minute after his declaration of inexperience.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Interesting bit of history for Bob Marley fans

The Traverse

I suppose it is always easy to say that an athletic feat is the greatest thing you have ever heard of or seen, but for sure, this is. Rolo and Colin completed the Stanhardt - Cerro Torre traverse on Jan 24, having started on the 22nd. This really blows my mind. How good are these guys? How determined is Rolo, having tried the traverse this year already - with only poor conditions on Cerro Torre stopping him and partner Johnstone? I remember last year sitting in a cave with Rolo, Ermano, Ale and my partner Java, below the Stanhardt Col, thinking these were the nicest guys ever, while Rolo cooked Java and I some pasta before we headed further up the col. Pure Alpinists, totally willing to commit and really masters of what they do. I left the cave inspired and depressed, wanting to be as good and cool but knowing it would never be. Java and I spent that night in a very big bergshrund that I found by falling into, and the weather deteriorated that night so that nobody went anywhere other than back to town to eat and drink. I have exchanged emails with Rolo the past couple of days and must say he is a happy and fortunate man for completing his dream - and the dreams of many others. Well done. On a parting note, is Colin Haley the greatest Alpinist to ever live? Oh yeah, I stole the photo from Climbing,com where you can read from Rolo's own words about the traverse.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Veliki VHR - Central Gash

Saturday was a beautiful day to be in the mountains, with very little wind and clear skies we opted to head into the central gash that goes up the 350m north face of Veliki VHR. Most of the climbing was compact 50 degree snow with short mixed steps. It was super fun, with a bit of spindrift floating down while we were low on the route. After 3 hours of climbing - 2/3rds of the way up we unroped and soloed as the climbing was easy AI 3 - we stood on the summit, contemplating the descent. The slopes that led to the Via Ferrata had not slide yet and looked dicey, so we opted to go down them. We down climbed for 2 hours and then did a short rappel form a very baby tree and then found the cables which led us to the ground. A super day again!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Drytool Cave

Today, I went out to help Aljaz Anderle with a photo shoot he had for National Geographic. It was super fun actually. Aljaz knows the routes at the drytool cave so well so Martin and I got some beta from him and also learned a thing or two on what being strong meant! It was amazing to watch him just hang while the photographer took shot after shot from different angles and Aljaz just hung in the same position - and I mean for a while, like 10 minutes at a time at the crux of climbs. It was really cool to see what it meant to be in control while drytooling. An interesting thing about today was that, once again, I was reminded that the best in any activity usually are super nice guys (and girls!) when you meet them and hang out with them - it is those that have something to prove that act cool or are assholes. Aljaz was super cool.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Blast from the Past: Dizzy with a Vision M7

I found this photo on today taken by Dale Remsberg of me on Dizzy with a Vision (M7) while I was trolling around looking for ice conditions in Colorado. Probably taken in 2003? as I am using prototype Fusions. Must be getting a touch home sick.

Another Attempt: Another Ass Handing!!

Yesterday I went with Martin and Matej back out to Damocleas Mec. It is a route I have been thinking about since Martin and I first tried it 2 weeks ago. It should be strait forward WI5, 4 pitches, but it is killing us. The first pitch was worse than last time and we were fully humbled again, trying the left - read overhanging snow climbing, even though it is slabby ice underneath, - then on the right to the shaky pillars. Nothing goes - in these conditions. Well, some might say I have been overdoing it. They would be right. Today will be my 6th day in a row of some form of climbing We skied up there on the thick crust and spent 3 hours and still we could not get the thing done. Oh well. Perhaps Martin was right that we need a rest. But after the last spell of good weather followed by 9 days of snow/rain, I am reluctant to stop climbing. Anyway, we are meeting at the local rock climbing area today to sort out a plan for tomorrow. Today should be more of a stretching session than anything.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Roziceva Smer

Went out to climb Begunjscica today - a smaller mountain near Trizic that has a tiny ski area at the base of it, by the route Roziceva Smer 270m. Super fun and in great conditions, alot like a great day in Scotland. There was a ton of snow on the mountain and a huge crown where the couloir that dropped from the summit - and one of our possible descent routes - had cut loose. We were sure that our route would have slid at the top and would be the reason for the great conditions, but we were wrong, there was jsut a lot of snow, and scared ourselves a bit getting to the summit ridge. Oh well, all good fun.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Blast from the Past: Mini Moon Flower

Spring 2004 Valery Babanov and I went on an Expedition to the Alaska Range. This photo was taken by Babanov looking down the Mini Moonflower couloir, for more info on out trip check out

Nanga Parbat 2008

I have decided to go to the Rupal Face of Nanga Parbat in 2008. The Expedition dates are August 01 - Sept 25th. For more information on Sponsoring or Joining the expedition please do not hesitate to contact me.

Photo: Stolen from the internet of the Anderson/House Route. Sorry.

Cookie Power!

This past weekend showed me again what over training does. Friday I went to the MCave where I did quite well on a M9, Saturday I went sport climbing in Italy, and Sunday went up an easy ridge on Kostuica, gaining 1000m , to see what conditions were like. They are coming in very good, if only we get a bit of cold weather things will be perfect. Today I went back to the MCave and flailed, time to rest. Well, for the day, tomorrow I hope to go back to Italy and finish Damacles Sword (WI5 290m) .

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Customized Guiding

Due to some cancelled expeditions, 2008 has opened way up for me, so please do not hesitate to contact me for custom guiding in Nepal, Tibet, Pakistan and South America. I would be more than happy to work with you on skills, training and ascents.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Potential Trips:
Nepal Losar - A spectacular 1000m ice climb in Namche Bazaar
Nepal: Khumbu Triple Crown
Patagonia: Various Ascents depending on ability
Peru: Remote Alpine Climbing
Photo: Clients follow me up Ama Dablam!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Kralj Lear

Went to see a very modern interpretation of King Lear this evening in the city of Kranj. It was very interesting and really has re-affirmed some of my insight in to Slovenian culture. The interesting thing was, my 3 friends walked away with as much of the plot as I did. I, of course, could not understand any of the dialog, except for when they were talking about a sword, and since I had been under a route that had the word sword in its name I figured out what they were talking about, when they were holding a coat hanger, but my friends said they also didn't understand much of the dialog either, as it was alot of rambling. Anyway, it was fun, and interesting and I feel very cultured.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Favorite socks are officially dead!

It may seem like a small thing to some of you, but my favorite alpine climbing socks are dead, there are holes worn throughout. Time to retire them. If any of you work for a sock company, I would like to apply for sock sponsorship. I wear socks on both feet and get after it a fair amount. Please help me out.

Blast from the Past: Khumbu Climbing School

Last year at this time I was flying from Thailand - after a nice month of rock climbing on the beach - to Nepal to teach at the Khumbu Climbing School. As all of this years instructors are getting ready to depart I started to remember how much fun and hard work we had. Please visit the website to donate, I hope that the instructors and students have a great time this year! The photos are of the KCS Logo, Jenni Anker Lowe and Lila Bishop and one of my students learning how to lead!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Best Pitch of the week

Luckily for me it has started to rain. I had planned to go to Italy today, but will put it off for a day. This was the best pitch of the week. It was the pillar on Stiriophobia - which I have been told is a fear of candles. Not much gear, and there was an overlap of ice about 8cm thick from the top down about 3 meters. Climbing up the left side was fun and almost gymnastic - well if I was any good as an ice climber it would have been. So today I get to rest and dream of two ice climbs I scouted this week. I would put up a photo, but will wait until I have done them. Thanks to Martin for the photo, and I suppose for walking about 10m back from the pillar while belaying me to get the photo.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Lusev Graben WI 4, 90 degrees, 200m

Lusev graben is a cool route. It meanders and reminds me alot of Broken Hearts in Cody WY. I am totally %$#&ed from 4 days in a row of climbing. The picture shows me on the first pitch. First, third and fifth pitches are the fun ones if you get a chance to climb it. God, I hope the bad weather that has been fore casted comes soon. I am going to Italy tomorrow to climb - if I can walk without my knuckles dragging on the ground. Tired but happy!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Bavbav & Damoklejev Mec

Today the weather was too good to sit around - which is all I wanted to do to be honest with you. Martin said, "Lets go to a very cool place!" Trouble I knew. We drove for 50minutes across the border into Italy and parked by two small lakes that looked like they would be a very busy but beautiful place in the summer for families to picnic. I turned in the other direction and my jaw dropped, this is what I had come to Slovenia to see and climb. Holy %$#&!! Such a cool wall. So many alpine routes and then Martin pointed out two 500m ice routes that were just small white smears from where we stood. But I was assured they would be huge when we got closer. An hour later he was so right. Amazing position, super ice, and once again not a soul anywhere to be seen nor heard. Totally amazing.
I started up the first Pitch of Sword of Damocles, WI 5, 290 m, 90 degree cruxes - and man the thing hangs over your head - like 20m of ice hanging off the overhang - about 300m above your head when you start. Immediately I knew I was in trouble. About 8 cm of snow clung to the wet ice underneath. I had to scrape, shovel and swing to clean the snow away from the ice, I was only 20 m up the apron and I was cold and tired. I placed a screw and lowered off, stiriphobia had taken its toll yesterday, and Martin eagerly jumped at the lead. 2 hours later we were on top of the first pitch. More snow clung to the second pitch and we laughed and agreed to rap off. As Martin did to me yesterday, he then admitted that The Sword wasn't really in condition, but thought it would be fun to try and since I didn't know any better...... We will return. Bavbav - which translates to "boogey man" (the one that haunts childhood dreams, not something up your nose) was 100m to our left. It is a 12pitch grade 6, with four pitches that have 90+ degrees ice. Super cool, again for another day. Photos are: Mangart Wall, Italian Side, Top half of Bavbav, and Sword of Damocles.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Stiriofobija WI 5+, 90 Degrees, 110m (45m Crux)

Today went back out with Martin to Climb Stiriofobija. Super 45 minute approach into Triglav National Park - not like RMNP as we saw nobody else today. The climbing was super, up the left hand side as the right side is very brittle, as it is just spay that has frozen much like drool.
Stiriofobila was a great climb, there is some discussion as to whether this was the 2nd or 3rd ascent this season. The first by Pavle Kozjek - one of Slovenia's most famous alpinists, and then a questioned ascent by two very well known and very sponsored climbers. If they did not do it then it is weird, as they are super strong, climbing M10 easily, so the climb should be physically easy for them. Anyway, I had a lot of fun on it, regardless if my lead was the 2nd or 3rd of the season. I tell you this, climbing without instructions is super, so much more work cleaning brittle ice. I would also like to give a shout out to the new BD Ice Screws, the new tooth configuration is spectacular, I managed to place a screw above my head today in to the last remaining solid ice before finishing the crux, it went in so easily. Thanks Bill B. @ BD for sending it!!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Lucifer WI 5, 90 Degrees, 210m

Climbed Lucifer with Martin today. Super conditions and really fun partner. The guide book gives the first pitch Grade 5 90 degrees 2nd pitch Grade 5 85 degrees. Then there is some easy ice, total route length is listed as 210m. Anyway, it was super fun! We then drove around and found some more super cool ice to do for the next, well, long while. The Pictures are of Lucifer, Martin leading Pitch 2 and my view from the belay cave at the tope of pitch 1.

2 Bottles of Beer is all it takes!

Well, 2 bottles of beer is all it takes to be convinced that Humar is the greatest. On Sunday night I went to the premier of the "History of Slovenes on Broad Peak", part of a series created by Viekki Groselj. It was interesting to see, as it compared footage from this year, 2007, from Irena Mrak, to Franc Knez and Andrej Stremfelj in 1986. Viekki went to Salzburg and interviewed Diemberger and had some cool footage and photos from the first ascent with Buhl. It was cool to see them all there (minus Diemberger and obviously Buhl) and the evening was a sort of who's who of Slovenian alpine climbing - which brings me to the two beers. After the viewing I was introduced to Tomaz Humar, and then quickly invited to have a beer with a few people. Humar and I started talking about "stuff", which lead to him taking off his sock and showing me the effects of Annapurna. He opened up - which I have a feeling he does with many people - and discussed alot of super cool things. In my mind Babanov and Humar vie for greatest Alpinist of all time. Their achievements are unparallel. Humar was a vivacious guy, full of energy and very positive energy. It was clear to see immediately why he had become such a hero to the Slovenian people. I must admit I only had 45 minutes to chat with Tomaz, but am very grateful. He for sure is on the right path!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Road

The best book I have read in a while. Reading the Boarder Trilogy now, just finished All the Pretty Horses.

Battle of the bands

Who had the greater influence? Joy Division or The Smiths?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Birdbrains younger brother

Today it was cold and so opted to solo a nice 400m route, to keep moving all the time. Had originally thought to climb something to the left but decided the rime ice was not going to be fun on the UIAA5 pitches. It reminded me of an easier (WI3, M4) but almost as fun Birdbrain Boulevard in Ouray, Colorado. Managed to carry a Yosemite rack and a 10.2 x 60m rope up the thing for training as well.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Bad Luck Dies!

Good Luck in 2008

New year's day is a time for fresh beginings and also a time to look back and remember. Today I read about avalanches in Colorado and Utah and with the recent spate of them here in Slovenia and Europe I started to remember lost friends. It has been over 7 years since Nick died and still I remeber it like yesterday. Let's hope that 2008 brings good luck for us all.