Saturday, August 27, 2011

East Zigzag Mountain

Saturday my friend Edgar ventured to Mount Hood National Forest for a hike. He brought his 7 month old puppy along. It has been some time since I have hiked with a dog and I was reminded of many of the pleasures of doing so. I'm certain she covered twice the mileage that Edgar and I did, plus tested out the water in all of the various stream that we crossed.

It was a brilliant day to be in the outdoors. We started by hiking up to Burnt Lake and then ventured higher to the summit of East Zigzag Mountain. From this one time fire lookout site we were treated to views of Mt Hood, Mt Adams, Mount Rainier and Mt St Helens. It was cloudy south of us so Mt Jefferson was hidden.

The highlight of the outing was a dip in Burnt Lake. The water refreshing, perfect for such a hot day. It certain made the early rise from bed worth the effort.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Expeditors PDX Company Picnic

I remember as a kid going to one of my dad's office picnic. We all know the routine, there is food and then games. The kids run around while the adults talk amongst themselves while trying to keep an eye on the kids. Not quite an American tradition, but pretty close. Well today my office had a company picnic at Montavilla Park in Northeast Portland. With exception of a bike flat tire on the way home, it was a good time...

The powers that be did a great job of organizing games for the kids, which included water balloons, a scavenger hunt, and searching for money in a bale of hay.

The shaved ice really hit the spot on a day that was in the upper 80s. Ironically there was a city pool right next to us, but it was closed for the weekend.

The highlight for me was catching a pop up fly during kickball. I have limited experience in team sports, so be able to catch the ball was big for me.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Dani and Tanya visit Portland

My nephew Dani took the train down from Seattle to visit me. He was nice enough to bring my sister along as well. We covered a lot of ground during the weekend. I introduced him to Voodoo Doughnuts, eating out at a food cart pod, Mt. Tabor Park and my neighbor's horse Hal.

Even thought the weather was not hot Dani had a blast running in and out of the Salmon Street Fountain. We even had a 'Keep Portland Weird' event when a large group of men and women wearing red dresses ran thought the area, some which barreled through the fountain.

This visit was more than seeing the sights. I enjoyed seeing Dani's enthusiasm for Mini Coopers (especially the convertibles), fire hydrants and spiders. I also appreciated the opportunity to catch up with Tanya.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mt Olympus: Return to the Blue Glacier

Four years ago some Scouting friends and I attempted to climb Mt. Olympus. It was a stellar experience which introduced me to the monarch of the Olympic Mountains. I was impressed by all of the gems that were found along the route. Starting with the awe inspiring old growth along the Hoh River Valley, followed with an incredible crossing over the Hoh River, and then the beautiful Blue Glacier and it's incredible ice-fall, this climb offered so much.

I knew that I wanted to return, so I scheduled a Mazama climb starting the first weekend in August. Having already visited this area, I knew it would be demanding. It is a 18 mile backpack to the Blue Glacier. While Olympus is just 7969 feet tall, the trailhead is at 573 feet, making the elevation gain significant. Along the way our team was constantly helping each other heft our heavy backpacks to our backs.

Just short of the Glacier Meadows campsite we had to carefully descend down a rope ladder into a gulley that has been plagued by avalanches.

At Glacier Meadows we awoke early from our slumber and made our way up to the crest of the lateral moraine of the Blue Glacier. Even though I had been here before the sight of the glacier and the Snow Dome took my breath away. The glacier was in excellent condition from crossing, with most of the crevasses still sealed away by a thick layer of snow.

Despite this we still were roped up as we ascended the Snow Dome, passed through Crystal Pass, and went up and over the False Summit.

When I was here earlier I had not liked the look of the 4th class scramble across the east side of the West Peak, so I had lugged the rock climbing gear to climb up the low 5th class Crows Nest on the east side of the summit block. The pitch was short but it gave me a good challenge. Soon I was at the summit. I was able place my trusty Pink Tricam and build a good anchor for the rope that the others would use to protect their ascent.

We were blessed with outstanding weather and surrounded by the snow capped peaks of the Olympic Range. In the distance we could see Mount Rainier and the low clouds that covered the Pacific Ocean and the river valleys. We carefully rappelled down the same route that climbed and prepared for the long march home. Our summit day was a long one, but we were back at base camp before headlamps were necessary.

I had planned for a two day hike out so we could savor this wonderful landscape. On our final night we camped out on the Hoh River gravel bar and enjoyed a campfire.

During much of my journey here I thought about those who accomplied me here during my first trip here. So to Scott, Kristine, Anton and Anne I am grateful to you for helping me make this a successful climb.