Friday, November 27, 2009

If you speak Japanese then check out this thing from the Japanese Marmot distributors.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Rock and Ice 25th Anniversary Milestone climbs

It is a huge honor to have 'Imperfect Apparition' - a route that Jack Tackle and I made the first ascent of in 2005, alpine style, on the SW Face of Mount Huntington, Alaska, recognized as one of the milestone climbs of the last 25 years. For more details on the route please see below.

Posted on December 1, 2005

By Jack Tackle

Perfect symmetry and complex faces always drew me to Mt. Huntington (3730m), but until May of this year I had never climbed it. On May 15, 2005, Fabrizio Zangrilli and I landed on the west fork of the Tokositna. Our intent was to climb a new route to the right of the Harvard Route on the Phantom Wall (west face) and left of the Smith/Teare Route on the far right side of the face.

After two days of recon—and the realization that W is clearly wrong about global warming—on May 19 we rappelled onto the face from the lowest point of the Stegosaurus. The terrain was moderate, and we simulclimbed all but one pitch up to the main rock headwall in the middle of the face. We struck out right onto beautiful brown granite—some of the best stone I have seen in the range—and quickly became absorbed in our objective. Fabrizio led two mixed pitches that followed a right-leaning traversing weakness. By the end of the second pitch, he found himself faced with an Alaska Range anomaly—a chimney system running with water at 4 p.m. at 10,200 feet. The thought of being soaked to the skin in this shower stall and enduring a bivy on unknown terrain was unappealing, so we left our two ropes fixed and rapped back to a snowfield where we chopped a bivy ledge and spent the evening waiting for the water to return to solid form.

At 4 a.m. the second day, we left the bivy gear and went light for the summit, intending to climb up and back in a single push. The former shower-stall chimney had seized up into a gorgeous section of mixed climbing that brought us in two pitches to a ramp system. Fabrizio took over, and we pitched out and then simulclimbed six pitches across the face into the center wall, which led us to the crux rockband. I searched for a weakness and found a flaring dihedral with a thin strip of ice in the back. Although it was only eighty feet long and led to easy ground above, it proved to be the most challenging part of the route. First Fabrizio, then I worked on this eighty-foot pitch. Finally, with some creative problem solving (tied-off Bugaboos for pro, a drytool traverse onto a rounded ledge, a manufactured number-three Camalot placement), I was able to break through our temporary barrier. It was now 6 p.m. We started simulclimbing again up the throat of the main upper face, heading for upper summit ridge of the Harvard and West Face Couloir routes.

It was snowing and sloughing spindrift everywhere around us. We climbed until 11 p.m. and finally turned around when we could no longer see more than thirty feet in front of our faces. We had intersected the Harvard Route finish, maybe 500 feet below the summit. As we descended our route in darkness, the snow became more intense. We lost two hours dealing with a stuck rope on rappel in the coldest and darkest part of the night. In our attempts to pull the ropes, we also managed to strip forty feet from our second rope's sheath, reducing the length of our rappels, but increasing our resource of anchor material.

Twenty-seven hours after we left the bivy, we lay down and slept for five hours. I fell asleep while devouring my food and woke like a frozen Mastodon with unchewed jerky still in my mouth. We rapped off the lower Harvard rappels and a few hours later returned to a gracious reception from our base-camp comrades.

In keeping with proper alpine etiquette—tell the truth—and given our proximity to the Phantom Wall, and to the phantom summit, The Imperfect Apparition seems an appropriate name for our route (Alaska Grade 5+: M5 A3, 4,000').

Jack Tackle, Victor, Idaho

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Midwest Mountaineering Winter Expo 2010

If you are in Minneapolis this weekend come down to the Expo! There is a huge sale and over 40 presenters - as well as my slide show at 4:30pm Saturday. For a complete schedule please visit
Hope to see you!

Photo: Me and Rod outside the store just before the sales started yesterday.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ouray Ice festival Clinics

Sign up for clinics with me at the 2010 Ouray Ice festival!
My Ice Fest Clinic Schedule:

Fri 9:00 -11:30 am - CAMP - Intro to Leading
Fri 12:30 - 3:00 pm - CAMP - Intro to leading

Sat 9:00 -11:30 am - SCARPA - Advanced Mixed Climbing M6 - M8
Sat 12:30 - 3:00 pm - SCARPA - Advanced Ice WI 5

Sun 9:00 -11:30 am - Marmot - Easy Ice WI 2-3
Sun 12:30 - 3:00 pm - CAMP - Intro to Leading

for more details and to sign up for clinics please visit:

Friday, November 13, 2009

Alpinist and Guinea Pig: Various Job Titles

This is how I spend a few days a month, oxygen deprived and monitored. Sometimes it is non invasive - pictured - and sometimes very invasive.
Today was very hard, a big drop in oxygen saturation, and too much on my mind. There are many people in the room monitoring me - well I thought there were at least. Don't quit your day job.

Humar's rescue: very sad news: Updated: Tragedy

The world lost one of its great personalities this week.

Tomaz, thanks for the great drinks at your house, I still remember that evening with great fondness..... Your were the best and the greatest inspiration! No one could match your intensity and love of life. My thoughts are with Maja and mutual friends.

Langtang Lirung rescue update: Tomaz Humar missing, Swiss rescuers stuck in BC reports

I am so sad over the news and developments. I am very aware of how the rescue team feels sitting in base camp. I know that Tomaz took great comfort in knowing many people were thinking of him during the similar situation on Nanga. I pray for better news.

This from Monday, January 07, 2008 from my own blog:

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Sales Meeting, AORE and more......

I have been traveling for the past week, first to Tahoe and then to Minneapolis. It has been fun, learned a ton about the new amazing product coming out soon from Marmot, had alot of fun with the national and international sales groups and then met some amazing people at the AORE annual conference in Minneapolis. Highlights to follow, and more traveling this week. I cannot wait for the end of next week as I then get a week off to go climbing again....

Photo: One of the great people I have met over the past 6 weeks. Larissa and me at AORE.