Thursday, November 13, 2014

Keep dreaming.

I might just be having flashbacks from Whitetail peak from a few weeks ago... or maybe its a warning? Or maybe I've been reading too much David Roberts... anyway in this dream I had last night I had just climbed up something, I guess my partner and I had both soloed up something. I was feeling exposed and challenged. I wanted to take a rest on a snowy ledge and I was toying with the idea for a while, but it seemed too icy... it didn't seem like we were wearing crampons?  I found myself hugging a rock out cropping when my unknown partner got up to the ledge and decided to have a seat ... but he shot off b/c it was too slippery, then he flew across a bit of a chasm, it was glaciated, and smacked into the other side and sort of stuck there. I wanted to go throw him a rope, but the glacier calved off and as they say - that was that. I wanted to go back to sleep and finish the dream to see if I could find him, but I didn't...

I must get past Deborah - a wilderness narrative and on to The Mountain of my Fear. And I will get past fear - especially the fear of suffering.  Yesterday God graced me to get through my fit test with a head-ache, now onward - tomorrow I ice climb!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Diatribe on a dream.

Lunges and all manner of working out has me itching to climb.... So I called a partner trying to gin up something for the week but we digressed as I started picking his brain about possible unclimbed ice. It didn't take long and we were talking about the various dynamics of ice climbing roulette and I was getting another well needed lesson in how and where to get your life snuffed out by an avalanche and especially the particulars of how a person could do it on the East side of Glacier National Park. That talk pretty well popped the bubble of most plans I'd been trying to come up with.

As legend has it, one of Montana's ice climbing pioneers from here in Great Falls revered the East side of the park as "futuristic" because the conditions are so fickle (HAZARDOUS). He spent the better part of a decade trying to do some of the stuff, but I'm not sure what all he did. Because of the wind that generates on and to the East side of the divide, the littlest amount of precip can become a deadly problem. Two inches of snow can blow around and then wind-load on the lee side of a mountain, things may never really bond well to a glacier or a lower angle ice climb - I forget about long climbs being a source of snowpack to slide.  Back to the park - avalanches tend to run and pretty soon because of how big and bare the terrain is in the park, the situation is usually pretty high gravity. I guess for the big aesthetic waterfalls a good season for things on the East side of Glacier to be SAFE would be when we have super drought and then it gets cold... But, it's not supposed to be a dry winter, We've already gotten plenty of snow for things to be forming weak layers up high.

Sometimes good advice stinks, but I know wisdom comes with the price of experience. Thanks Ron and Gerald, Dexter, Don... and all you other lunatics - keep sharing your stories.
http://dirtysoxclub.wordpress.com/

Edit add on: it seems like it's that time of year! It's a somber time for some as three notable mountain people just perished in slides down in Chile... This helpful bit from Outside showed up on Facebook courtesy of Friends of the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center. The reason for this add on is that I just visited the GNFAC and they have updated things a lot since my last visit. There is an interactive map that will link you to all the US Forest Service Avy centers  for forecast info... a great help. AND I'm stoked I can finally get a visual on where "Lionhead" is and not feel like a dolt listening to the forecast over the phone.

Friday, June 20, 2014

I should post pictures of my time the last 3 months in Ohio.  I took two - one of my growing belly and one of an albino squirrel... well maybe there is three; we got 4 inches of rain in like 2 hours - that was interesting.

I would post em now, but I read this post just a moment ago and I realized I better get out and start making it happen. There is going to be a Before AND After picture... Someday - by the end of July!

http://jstewblog.wordpress.com/2014/06/19/someday/

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Life post 03082014

I was recently asked for 15 random facts about myself so I sat down with my journal and forced myself to think of 15 things. The memories that came to mind were mostly older ones.  Too much fun not to share. I don't like to live in the past, but it doesn't hurt to remember it a bit. 

I'm just back from Chile... I leave for Ohio in the morning. Maybe more about the Chile trip soon... I climbed a volcano! It wasn't that challenging or amazing... I felt like complete tourist.  Reality is that life in Montana is pretty awesome.  I wanted to do more volcanos - I took my own "equipo", lugged it around the country - and never did use it.  Not knowing the language it was hard to figure out how to do what I wanted and what the restrictions were.  Pretty much anyone that spoke English was selling something...  Maybe the coolest thing I brought back was free: I now am in possession of what I believe to be some of the worlds more well traveled grolsch-top beer bottles.  They were imported to Chile from Germany.  Now they reside in Montana and they are currently filled with a fine Belgian Tripel (bottled yesterday). I guess I should probably dedicate a post just to my beer, mead, and wine brewing adventures.  For once in my life I can say I have enough beer... I look forward to finding the friends and occasions to drink it this summer.

So anyway:


1. When I was a kid I left my bmx bike in the pasture and our horses ate my seat.

2. Shortly after that I got a 18 speed "mountain bike". I went off a jump at the end of the driveway and convinced the neighbor kids to let me jump over them. This was before helmets - I'm glad the grass was soft-ish.

3. My first real mountain bike cost more than my first car. It was the first thing I took out a loan for to establish credit. More jumps... more falls... thank God for helmets.

4. I've ridden a camel in Israel and drank Turkish grind coffee.

5. I've had a nose job. ENT: "no that spot on your ear isn't melanoma... but I could straighten your nose for you..."

6. No tattoos - only scars.

7. My friend and I have chopped a hole in the river and jumped in... using a baling twine bracelet lanyard - the idea was in case of shock, the other guy could pull us out.

8. I've gone sledding on car hoods a couple times... maybe not a good idea. The first time I tried to jump off but got tangled in the rope and drug under the sled. The second time I was wearing a helmet and saw white momentarily when we hit the berm at the bottom and I was slammed backwards... Thank God for helmets (again).

9. Boomerangs don't seem to come back when I throw them. No helmet required.
10. When I was a wee lad I would shoot arrows into the air and see how close I could get them to land to myself. Once I misjudged and the shot came down in the top of the barn, resulting in a temporarily unhappy father.

11. When I was older I did the same thing with a 12 gauge... no barn involved.

12. I like cheese.

13. I was born on Friday the 13th.

14. Strep throat is my nemesis. A large needle to the backside once caused me to go into shock, pass out, collapse in a heap, and turn blue. My mom commented she didn't know joints could bend that way.

15. I like running and the adventure of life. Recently coming back from Chile, instead of sleeping, I watched a couple movies that were some of the better more enjoyable films I've seen in a while "The secret life of Walter Mitty" and "Bhaag Milkha Bhaag"


Bonus: Forth of July memories:

1. My sister lighting her foot on fire with a now banned type sparkler.

2. Best fireworks show: Portland Oregon where they shoot them off barges.

3. Worst Firework memory: Getting the belt after convincing my cousin that it would be ok if we made little rafts for them and set them off in the pond... It was the year 1988 - The year of the infamous Yellowstone National Park Fires.... (Fireworks were banned that year)

4. I once was on a mountain and got caught in a lightning storm. We were committed to going up before we could get to the quickest/safest way down. All the metal climbing equipment on me was buzzing from the static electricity in the air and the rope was discharging sparks as I brought my partner up the ridge. I also seem to remember being with this same partner a few years previous around the 4th of July and getting caught in a similar situation where we got pelted by hail and scared senseless by lightning while having to retreat off a climb.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

pictures from the summer

The summer wasn't as blah as the last post may have sounded.  Here are some picture highlights - I really didn't have the camera out much.
 Loren in the Bull Mountains - desert splitters in Montana, sweet!
 Mel at City of Rocks, Idaho
 Ominous weather on the farm - a view from my porch.
 Echo's smiling face was good company on Granite.
 The rest of the crew on the summit of Granite; Gary, Matt, Ted, and myself.
 The boar enjoying the frosted remains of my amaranth crop that I grew in the garden.
The sow and her litter; ten little squeelers.
 My corn breeding experiment Yukon 55day X Hopi Blue
 I was on the farm working until the cows came home; now it's time to hunt!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

bubbles of emotion

Not much posting lately, I've been up in Valier for the summer farming and ranching. Good experience, but time to move on at least for a season.  I'm too socially isolated to continue as is, but it's been a good couple of months for me to consider what lifestyle I want and how it all fits into a holistic goal.

I was able to get up Granite Peak with some friends. Echo, Matt, Gary, and Ted. Brutalized feet would describe my only backpacking trip of the summer.

More friends have disappeared this summer. As mentioned in the previous post... it's a pisser, even more so when you know the people.  The hardest thing for me to cope with is the feeling of selfishness.  I think it's like a John Denver song with the lyrics "but most of all I feel sorry for myself that your not here with me".  Having awesome people ripped out of this life leaves a hole.  One rad mountain biking chica was lost to a drunk driver.  Kevin was an amped MSU acquaintance who recently graduated and moved to Salt Lake.  He perished in a climbing accident down on the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone.  While he was in Bozeman I shared a rope with him on some absolute classic climbs in the Gallatin Canyon. Both these people had an infectious enthusiasm that I hope to carry on into the world. You would do yourself a great service to glance at their obits.

Annie:
http://www.annierooney.com/

Kevin:
http://m.dnews.com/obituaries/article_a146fa3a-b25e-5558-b55b-1d404c0af1cf.html?mode=jqm

And also Hugh Hastings:
http://www.croxfordfuneralhome.com/index.php?p=obituaries&id=776

I came back for the funeral and it was very worthwhile.  My folks got established here because Hugh sold them land. So it was that I was able to grow up in such a great place with mostly good neighbors.  Many of these people gathered to celebrate his life; I think there must have been about 400 people packed in to the small church and overflow building.  He had a full life and left a mark on the lives of many living out a "love your neighbor as yourself" kind of Christianity.

A man and a place gone. I'm sad that a neighbor is gone. It really hit me that time marches on when I was walking along the river at the Hastings ranch later after the funeral.  I was trying to meet up with a friend to go fishing and I saw that things have changed.  The river must have been active this spring!  A certain bend in the river is now gone and the river channel goes straight on through. Now the bend is just a mud hole and a backwater. The numerous memories that I had there hit me like a flood.  It's hard to believe its gone.

The "cliff" is gone! No more swimming there anyway. The place where I caught some of the biggest of the Smith River fish, The mud banks where I got my feet stuck , The place where I dared Nathan Helfrich to swim across when the river was bursting at its seams, it's gone! No more canoe sledding into the river... Oh the dumb things we did. Yeah, also the place where Matt Hastings told me to swim across and get the electric fence wire back on to the insulator - yes, that same place where I got knocked on my ass trying; that whole place is now just an Oxbow backwater. The place where Kenny Sawyer charged down the hill with the infamous Army-Navy Parachute... lots of memories along that river.