The Obvious Next Step

My original plans for this pat of my trip had been to spend some serious time rock climbing here in the Valley, and then ski mountaineering in the high Sierra. That said, my foot recovery hasn’t really permitted the multi-pitch climbing I had hoped to do, and getting into the high Sierra in a year with 170+% of annual snowpack is quite a bit of work (not to mention partners are exceedingly hard to come by when miles of vertical granite are 5 minutes from the car). Of course, the Valley is really a nice place to be regardless:

The Leaning Tower and Bridalveil Falls in some rare sunshine.

On the upside, one of my most important goals of this trip is to take advantage of unusual opportunities while I have the time. Talking to my good friend Chris last Wednesday, he mentioned he needed a third person for his upcoming patrol to Denali basecamp. The Basecamp patrol involves facilitating arriving climbers, search and rescue operations, and generally maintaining the basecamp. It’s also a prime opportunity to get in quite a bit of alpine climbing and ski touring while living on the Kahiltna glacier.

My foot seems to work much better in ski boots than in rock shoes, and Alaska has always inspired me in a unique way. Going on a second patrol is a rare opportunity to spend quite a bit of time engaging in a variety of mountain activities in one of the worlds most beautiful places. Plus, the weather has been frustratingly hit or miss here in Yosemite. Thinking it over, it just seems like the next logical step to go to Alaska sooner rather than later. Just a few photos of the weather we’ve been having:

Possibly one of the cooler photos I've taken on this trip.

The Leaning Tower in the mist.

The El Cap massif just seems a little scarier in the mist...

We did successfully race the weather for a few quality pitches of climbing at Pat and Jack cliff yesterday, including me leading one of the best bolted pitches of 5.10b I have ever done. Enjoy a few photos of Yosemite in the snow, and some of my very good newfound friends.

I met Dave in Red Rocks, and he rocked the opening (crux moves) on slick granite.

Barry did a great job on this roof traverse.

And so I’m headed to Alaska a bit early. I’m enjoying a last game of Monopoly with friend- around the table are two climbing bums, a guide, a biotech CEO, and me. I’m heading to see my brother in San Jose tonight before driving to Portland tomorrow, then Alaska on Tuesday. With the opportunity in hand, I’m thrilled to be heading north sooner than I expected.

1 thought on “The Obvious Next Step

  1. Lois Carlson

    This is grand news, Skander! One step-at-a-time–that’s all we can do, and you see the next step only from the vantage point of the last. But that doesn’t discourage your vision and aspiration. They are giving you direction, and help you identify what fits and what doesn’t. Very happy for you to have some time with Soren. Love to you all, Mom


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