Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Eastside Life

Nearly eight months ago as I recall, somewhere in the latter end of December, the vansion crossed the Washington State border, and deposited us back where we began, 16 months before.  Our extended North America chapter was at its bitter end, and it was with some measure of sadness that we finished our trip, and settled into an arguably more civilized existence.   Within weeks of our arrival we moved into a place near Issaquah.  This has been our first time living on Lake Washington's Eastside.  Obvious benefits to Eastside livin' include hundreds of miles of trail running on Cougar, Squak and Tiger Mountain, all of which are minutes from our doorstep; and the added plus of not dealing with Seattle's heinous traffic and overall congestion.  On the downside, we are a bit further removed from friends and our beloved Latona pub, sigh.

Tiffer has been busy working for Group Health in an oncology out-patient clinic in Bellevue.  Its the real deal full timer gig at 32 hours a week!  Fortunately, this affords her 3 day weekends to entertain local excursions.  

As for me, since January I've been back in Community College, filling in a wide gap of pre-requirements for PT school, which I'm hoping to complete by next Spring.  I've come to learn that a B.A. in History doesn't really get one prepared for a medical profession...evidently.  Thus far I've ticked off Inorganic Chem, Organic Chem, Psych, Sociology, Cell Biology, and Statistics.  Actually, I'm just now in finals week for Stats and Bio, and feeling decimated.  After this next quarter break I'll come back and work on physics 1 and 2, anatomy, physiology, animal biology, and finally the dreaded GRE.  Its easy to feel the odd man on campus when I look around at the kids, most of whom are 17 years younger than me.  But, it also has an invigorating effect, and aside from the stress, I have relished the opportunity to challenge my mind.  I'd have to say that organic chemistry has been my favorite class so far.

Fortunately, relief is on the way.  Whomever thought up excessively long breaks between quarters is a heroic genius!  After my three hour cumulative biology exam on Thursday I'm home free for four weeks!!!  I might even learn to rock climb again, go for a hike, and catch a trout.  Our backyard is quite a canvas for adventure, and I doubt we'll even have to go far to feel the freedom of the road, and the hop in our step.  Here are some snippets from the odd outings between studying.  Thanks for visiting this all but defunct blog.

Taking a birthday stroll out towards Coleman pinnacle, feb.

Godzilla lives under our place.

In the spring we enjoyed two weekends checking out the Newhalem area.  The sport climbing there is awesome, the camping phenomenal (read: 700 year old douglas first everywhere).  Due to its position in the heart of the North Cascades, this place tends to stay drier than front range venues like little si, equinox, and Index.  It only takes a two hour drive and a five minute hike to get here...but for some reason, mostly remains unvisited by climbers.  Tiff is continuing to improve and climbed several 5.11's at the wall.  

Cotton Candy.

The predictable cheese-ball kissing shot.  Check.

Can anyone explain the biology of these heterotrophs?  Facilitated transport of sap?  Please explain.

The George Lake Dam and water management.

Prospector wall, Mazama.

Good times at Fun Rock, Mazama.

Our friend Gordy is building this log cabin with his bare hands.  One mans wilderness eat your heart out.

At the end of my last quarter break I managed to finish "blue streak" project at the Fire Wall in Mazama.  It was originally bolted by Erich Ellis and Ryan Hunter (1/4 inch directionals).  Before passing, Ryan Triplett re-bolted the route and did much of the required cleaning.  My thanks goes to all those previous efforts.  The route starts on Firestarter (12c), then launches up 12- climbing to a rest jug, and then gets powerful (13+).  There are some long reaches that I avoided by using one of the smallest pockets I've ever yarded on.  It was terrible and I'm glad that I didn't destroy my fingers in the process.  It's an awesome route and worth the drive.  Bret Johnston whom was super close to sending this rig a few years back has named it "Restless in Paradise", in honor of Ryan Triplett.   Rest in peace my friend.

Also,  traveling rock star Joe Kinder has also been at the crag and put up a traversing 14a the rides the rail of the lower ramp shown in the picture.  Though its not nearly a destination, it is definitely worth the drive for those living around Seattle. 

Joe Kinder photo.  Lowering off of "Restless in Paradise"

Joe Pasteris, volcano crusher.

On the trail to Mount Adams.

The faces tell all.  Outside it is all snow, and raining hard.

Early morning Mt. Adams covered in a nice new layer of rain crust.

Mt. Hood in the background.  It it wasn't for ski crampons I would be sliding backwards for sure.  Joe Pasteris photo.

Early morning light on Mt. Erie.

I'm not sure what she's pointing at, but it sure looks pretty.

The refrigerator wall.  Short but powerful; and remarkably awesome despite the heat.

Water people just off of Rosario State Park.  

Better than expected...Mt. Erie!

Gordy taking us on a top secret tour.  He just took my blind fold off and I can't stop pointing.

I don't know what's better, uphill or downhill?

I believe we are somewhere between Mt. Rainier and Canada.

An incredible backcountry run down to the ice filled lake at the bottom.
  I'm like 6 turns in and my non existent quad muscles are on fire.  In the back of my mind I can hear my weight lifting coach in highschool (coach Dmitri) telling me to go do some squats, because he said, "you've got chicken legs".

Looking back at our line, we skied just above that waterfall in the upper right hand corner.  Exciting!

Jeremy Zachariash busy redefining hard sport climbing in Washington.  He went from 13c to 14c in a season and currently has bolted 5.14 projects on walls up and down the Cascades.  Here we are rapping into the Sultan Wall.  Its ironic that there isn't a visible piece of rock at the top of the cliff.

Jeremy finishing off his "Roadside Atraction" 13c.

Jeremy on the 12+ section of Roadside Attraction.  Though still in need of some cleaning, the lines here climb on flakey limestone like rock with lots of straight crimps and interesting sidepulls and slopers.  

Jeremy climbing on Patrick O's 5.11+ in the corridor at Split Rocks.  

Danielle Klinkhamer cranking on American Spirit 12c.  Split Rocks.

Lawyer, father, rock crusher, access advocate-->Jonah Harrison.

Drew Philbin onsighting 12a at Split Rocks.

Our backyard, little Si. :->