Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pk. 3390 and Pk. 3195, Blume Ck.

15SA, Spring viewed from Fall...

       (above) Lucy near summit of 3390, at the head of Blume Ck.  She balked at the actual summit pinnacle, which required, in her mind at least, following me down the 5.5 down-climb in the picture;  there's probably a way around this obstacle, but she never found it.  
        O.K., so maybe the 25 ft. summit pinnacle is only 10 ft. higher than Lucy's high point shown here.  The rule is:  you have to get to the very highest, most tippy-toppy point, or it doesn't count.  Without this rule in place, climbing in the Kigs would legally be rendered "ridge-walking" rather than climbing.   

       June:  summer stretched ahead.  Serotonin flowed from springs that would never expire.  The GLUE OF TOWN was effortlessly overcome.   The requisite self-centeredness necessary for escape velocity was easily achieved, as Lucy rode strapped in the dog box on the back of Prolly, trusty 4-wheeler.  Towards the western range we penetrated, that surreal terra incognita which is the visible part of the Kigluaitch from the village of Teller to the northwest, where no Kougarok Road crosses the Kigs with its urban hordes.  
       If people know any of the true names of particular mountains over by Canyon and Cobblestone, float them over these techno-mind waves, please, quyana.
       (above) Summit pinnacle, Pk. 3390.  One, Class 4 move perched over a respectable void at the summit of an otherwise boring ridge...   Condition:  foghead

       Things feel strange to me in the Western Kigs.  When you're at Salmon Lake over on the eastern side, Pacific Ocean feels far away, but here in the West, Woolley Lagoon is licking its foggy, windy head into the valleys at all times.  The rock itself, a special blend of metamorphic stew, affects the psycho-electromagnetic nonentropy fields of this region in ways that cause time distortion and shamanic dimensional-interface.
       (above) Prolly the 4-wheeler encamped for a few days at Feather River, haunted by the ghosts of her ancestors buried near this spot, the World War II junk-pile where they put everything under the ground when the war was over, OSoI'mTold..

       Set out with the Border Collie on her first trip to the real mountains.  Trying to discover the best direct hiking route from Teller Road to Canyon Creek, stalking a hidden giant out in the cortical folds of inner Canyon Creek, a region about which I know nothing.  
     Conditon:  foghead.  Silks and wreaths of fog swirling tantalizingly around the shoulders, glimpses of eyes through the 3,000 ft. cloud ceiling.  Beautiful, yet always that familiar, flat, oppressive feeling bearing down on thoughts and hopes, claustrogo, the weight of opacity, fog, mist, creating a dreamlike sensation,  as if all of this were a scene from a Lost In Space episode. 
       (above)  Pk. 3390, south ridge.  This image weighs in on the side of the argument that the Kigluait are only hills.  But what a fine fell run this ridge provided, up among the shifting heads of fog.
      Deceptive argument, however...  within this bland, low-resolution exterior lie hidden hollows of boulder-hole and northern drop-offs.  In winter, this peak might pose a more formidable challenge even than Scotland.

       This trip happened when summer was young and strong and stretching ahead like an endless road.  This 15SA trip, it seems almost naive to say, as viewed from the charred wreckage of present Fall, was a fun trip.  Lucy and I camped way up at the top of Blume Creek, right below the Class II pass that leads from Blume to Valpa Creek.  I hiked/bouldered up both peaks at the head of the pass, Pk. 3390 (Blume?) and Pk. 3195 (Valpa?). Both walk-ups, no real radness, except for a very brief traverse through the summit rocks to get to the Class 4, 25 ft. summit pinnacle, complete with hanging choss Volkswagon registering proximate death-attractor metrics on certain loose-rock scales.  
drift-bank foghead in the Alzheimer' eternal sunshine of the spotless mind 
bottomless breathing upward valley-draft through the strip-dancing wave, 
saw the granitoid rumors vaporizing into reality for sure, 
glimpsed pinnacles and towers through channels lined-up in the memory loss, 
sing out if you see the granite! 
there is a hidden lake beyond this picture (above and below), Pk. 3300
the western lake where lie the hidden dragon vaults of the sacred sought-after igneous
oh wondrous healing rock, 
a western lake to fly to, fly to in the jingey-copters, 
to plunder the hidden spoils of all the western range. 

(above) Lucy in peril.  In this picture, Lucy is actually arm-barring hard off that right paw.  She has no footholds, her hind legs are paddling in space;  it's a bottomless crevasse, with a 10 ft. drop down to a gravel creek bed.  Notice the polite look on her face, one ear drooped:  uh, Daddy, how about you doing that ice climbing thing you're always doing and CLIMB DOWN HERE AND GET ME!  Indeed, I felt the need to fetch my long ax off my pack before making the rescue move, and also took the time to snap this picture while Lucy held the arm-bar.  
(above) Camp at head of Blume Ck., June 2011.  The snow made for great walking and glissading on the pass between Blume and Valpa--  ValpaBlume Pass.  Hard to say if snow-machinable:  could be a bit of a blow-over on the north side, who's ever gone over it?  Here's a map (below) to jog your own fog.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Windmill Boulders "mini-top ropes"

(above) Leaving Crater Creek, looking south, August, 2011.

5SA (5 Saturdays Ago)

Previously unreported from the motivation swarm of Andy's visit in August:  fleeing Crater Creek like drowning rats we proceeded straight from 4-wheeler to a brief 15-minute coffee and a change of socks at my house in Icy View, and then it was on to the Windmills for "mini-top roping" for the rest of the day.

(below)  Grappling with death by crushing in the "Lee Cave." 

        A stiff breeze was clipping along that day, and the air was ululating with the sound of turbines.  Almost too windy to climb, except that we found a perfect little rock hollow in the lee of the southwest wind.  Did I mention it was windy?  But the grass in our green tundra meadow was sunny and still--  there's always one exact aspect where you can find this.  This occasion was the very first time I ever actually set up a top-rope at the low-to-the-ground Windmill Boulders.
(above)  Climbing out of a cave where I once got charged by a rabid fox.  If you look closely on the hillside behind you can see turbines that came flying off their post during a powerful sequence of gusts last Spring--  I remember laying in my bed listening to the undertones.  Now the poor windmill behind Andy's helmet in the picture just sits there like a fly with no wings.

(above)  Mini-tope rope on "South Wall," the narrow beam end of the Windmill boulders (and one of the cruxes on the world-famous "Borehole Traverse.)

    Though I felt a bit silly constructing top-ropes at a place that should by any definition remain strictly a bouldering area, our maneuvers that day brought one, distinct satisfaction for me.  Have you ever had a particular high-ball bouldering problem, not that hard a one, necessarily, but a high-ball about which you were just not quite certain about that last move onto the top, just not quite certain?  And you climbed up to that last leg-breaker move time and time again, and hung there chalking up over and over again compulsively,  trying to visualize your way up that one last move?  And you just never quite did it?  Some primordial will to remain intact manifested itself, you justifiably invoked the "live to see another day" clause, but you would always remain curious about just how difficult that last move really was.
      At the Windmills with Andy, I finally got my chance to satisfy my curiosity about just such a bouldering high-ball.  See the image below.

(below) The wind doesn't blow in cyberspace.
   In the picture above, Andy has surmounted the death-by-crushing overhang and is cruising on big holds.  I have spent many a fine evening perching and pimping like Gilderoy Lockhart above the spot where Andy is posing, but never had I executed the folly of topping out.  And no wonder!  Turns out, on the very last move you mantle onto hideous little loose flakes, little ears of schist glued on by dirt and bryophyte.  Casual 5.6 on top rope, but one could imagine getting the belly-sketch, were one soloing.
    Thus, this experiment in intuition became a validation:  that heeby-jeeby feeling I had always experienced at that spot, little glimpses of what it would feel like to get run over by a Toyota Highlander, had not just been a figment of my paranoia.  Live to see another day. 

(below) Windmill boulders, looking east, August, 2011, 5SA.