Thursday, March 27, 2008

All Tied Up

Last night was out Basic Team's Knot Night.  On the agenda were old friends such as the Clove Hitch, Bowline, and Double Fisherman.  We also practiced techniques such as belaying and repelling in preparation for our upcoming rock field sessions.  I could tell that the students found the instruction helpful and useful.  I have been tying knots since a Tenderfoot, but I walked away with a couple of new tricks up my sleeve as well.  However, the most important thing I learned was confidence.  I always feel better and better at what I have learned over the years, which is much more than I realize.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Dog Mountain Conditioning Hike

Early this morning Team 15 of the Mazamas Basic Climbing Education Program (BCEP) assembled for our first conditioning hike.  We drove east down the Columbia River Gorge to the trailhead of Dog Mountain.  The students got off easy this time, it was a beautiful sunny day.  There were at least four other BCEP groups on this trail trail, I saw so many familiar faces.  There was still some snow up on the meadows of the summit, with Rime Ice on the windward side of the trees.  The highlight of the day for me was making one member of our team laugh as muscle spasms were making her descent down the trail a difficult one.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Vicente Fox

Yesterday a co-worker gave me a couple of tickets for World Affairs Council of Oregon's 2008 International Speaker Series.  The series takes place at the Arlene Schnitzer Hall and in the past has featured Mikhail Gorbechev, Madeleine Albright, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and many other political players.  The speaker this time was former Mexican President Vicente Fox.  When I arrived to pick up my tickets there were protesters on the sidewalk carrying signs, speaking their mind about NAFTA, genetically modified foods, and immigration reform.  It was great to see people speaking out and they really added to the excitement surrounding the event.  I must admit that I did not know more than the average person about Central American politics.  However, I appreciated the his attempts to illustrate the progress of the region and the complexities of their relationship with the United States.  The seats were outstanding - I was five rows from the stage.  As I left the building someone was giving away their tickets to the reception across the street, so I jumped at that opportunity.  There I got another opportunity to see President Fox in a smaller venue, while snacking on the yummy cocktails.

You can find the Oregonian article on President Fox's speech here.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Super Smith Rock Weekend

When I went to Smith Rock State Park for the first time, I could not climb due to a fractured wrist.  So I watched my Mazamas Intermediate Climb School (ICS) colleagues climb while I made the best of the situation and practiced building rock anchors.  This weekend I returned to this amazing place and had the Smith Rock experience that I had missed.

On Saturday our group started at the Red Wall's Super Slab route.  I really liked going up the crack on the first pitch of this route.  Being the last climber of the group and cleaning out the protection that our lead climber had placed was great practice for me.  The weather on that day was on and off.  At point it would be sunny and then the hale would start falling.  After the first pitch we rappelled down and moved to the Dihedrals area.  There we practiced climbing up to an anchor, belaying the climber that followed us, and then lowering a climber.

In the evening most of the students and instructors went to Skull Hallow Campground for a potluck dinner, a birthday cake, and Hula Hoop Dancing.

Sunday was a day of top-roping at the Student Wall.  I enjoyed the hike along the Crooked River to this climbing crag.  The smell of the sage brush along the way was an added bonus.  I was supposed to be evaluated for my final Leadership Development field session.  However, the climb leader who was going to did not show up.  Since there were not any other available Climb Leaders, I did not get evaluated.  While this was a disappointment, I thought it would serve as an insentive to return to second ICS Smith Rock field Session in May.

Friday, March 14, 2008

First Aid Blitz

This week I re certified my first aid training.  Monday evening I attended the first of two four hour Mountain First Aid classes.  That evening we reviewed the fine points of patient examination and spinal precautions.  Thursday evening we had a variety of role playing situations plus a written test.  While it is not the most exciting material, it was good to revisit this important skill that I hope I'll never have to use.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Accident Management Weekend

My progress in Climb Leader Development continued this weekend by participating in an Accident Management weekend.  This is part of the Mazamas Intermediate Climbing School.  Yours truly was the first speaker - I gave a presentation on the Mazamas Critical Incident Debriefing Team.  Following me climb leader Monty Smith talked about his involvement in a rescue in the Swiss Alps.  Then Portland Mountain Rescue took the stage and outlined the elements of a successful mountain rescue.

Sunday the students assembled near Timberline Lodge for two rescue scenarios.  Here I found myself as the survivor of an avalanche and transported about in a rope litter.  I also watched as the students set up a rescue pulley and pulled up a patient in a rope litter.

It was a fine day to be up on the mountain.  I had been expecting rain, but the sun was out and I had to apply suntan lotion.

On the home front my daffodils are blooming.  Unfortunately the bulbs that my neighbor gave me last year do not feature any flowers.  Let's hope they are late bloomers.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Camp Parsons Work Party

This weekend I attended the Adult Work Party at Camp Parsons.  As usual, it was a great opportunity to catch up with some of my camp friends and to help the camp get ready for the upcoming summer.  As an added bonus, I got to see two short videos taken of Parsons in the 1930s.  It was also neat to see the cedar posts being carved for a gazebo that will be built on a piece of property that was purchased a couple of years ago.