Friday, December 30, 2011


Even though the new year is quickly approaching it feels more like fall than winter here in the Rockies. The skies have been sunny and the snowpack is thin to nonexistent. As 2011 draws to a close I thought I'd post some of my best photos from last years record setting winter. Here's to 2012 - may the grey skies and storms return.

Justin Tatosian. Tetons.

Earning the Turn. Erica Engle, Zac Harlow, Steve Tegtmeyer. Tetons.

Ladies and Gentleman, the One and Only  . . .  Mr Steve Biggs! Tetons.

Steve. Tetons.

Erica Engle. Tetons.

Erica. Tetons.

Zac Harlow. Tetons.

Jesse Stover. Tetons.

Surface Hoar. Tetons.

Matt Klema. San Juans.

Will Rawlston. Summit County.

Will. San Juans.


Biggs. Tetons.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Bevan is an old friend I grew up with. He was part of a small, closely knit group of friends I had in high school who loved to climb. We spent the formative years of our youth thrashing about in the razor sharp granite cracks of Vedauwoo, testing our stamina and will. We bonded over our shared love of adventure, and with the vigor of youth we dreamed big dreams in a world brimming with intrigue and possibility.

Bevan and I continued to climb together after high school. I moved away, Bevan started building guitars and worked on becoming a musician. He became sick with colitis and battled it for years. The disease sapped his strength but not his desire. Unable to rely on strength Bevan climbs with his mind. Over the years, while climbing with him, I've been witness to incredible displays of mental resolve.

Last fall Bevan got married and moved to Frisco which is an hour away from Denver. We climbed a few times during the fall - happy to reconnect and share our common bond. I called him in October to make climbing plans only to find out he'd been in the hospital and they'd found cancer in his gallbladder. He was receiving chemo and needed a liver transplant. 

In January, during a break from chemo, Bevan and I went to Vail to go ice climbing. As an ICU nurse I'm no stranger to illness or ways in which people cope with sickness. But something Bevan said while we climbed has stuck with me ever since. 
Bevan explained that at that moment, ice climbing in Vail, we were no different. No one is assured of their vitality. Life is never guaranteed even though most of us live as if it were. Cancer had stolen this comfortable assumption from him. He could assume nothing while waiting for a liver transplant. Taking nothing for granted Bevan hung from his ice tools like they were the last thing on earth. I watched him put everything he had into that climb. He never fell.

In July Bevan got his liver. The transplant was successful and he is cancer free. We went climbing a couple weeks ago. Bevan had picked out an intriguing ridge line on Pacific Peak near his home. Last winter he had frequently skied in the basin below but was never strong enough to attempt the climb. 

Climbs are unique and the reasons for them complex. As I watched Bevan reach the summit I realized the people I climb with inspire me more than any mountain ever will. No longer trapped by cancer or confined to skiing the meadows down below, Bevan took a deep breath and took in the view.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Wind Rivers (Part III)

On the 3rd day we rested. We soaked up much needed sun, read magazines, took photos, and scouted for our final day of climbing.

Even though it was September the alpine wildflowers were still out. . . 

At the end of the day we'd picked this as our next objective. . . 


The 5th of September, my birthday, found us attempting a new route up the center of Sacajawea. We climbed through big dihedral systems, and beautiful granite.

Mark Jenkins Photo.

Mark Jenkins Photo.

Mark Jenkins Photo.

About halfway up we found ourselves forced into another challenging traverse pitch. 

Mark Jenkins Photo.

The Crux

Steep climbing followed along with the crux. A 5.10+ flaring chimney.

Mark Jenkins Photo.

Towards the top we climbed a beautiful featured ridge line with the whole world beneath us.

Mark Jenkins Photo.

Mark Jenkins Photo.

The descent involved a few rappels, lots of traversing, and even a little glacier travel.

Indian Paintbrush. IV 5.10+ 12 Pitches

Mark Jenkins Photo.

The horses weren't going to help us pack our stuff out. So we spent the evening trying to eat the last of our food and drink the rest of our beer.

Celebrating My Birthday in the Mountains and In Style. First Ascent in the Bag, Beer in one Hand, Whisky in the Other, and a Trash Fire to keep me Warm. 
Mark Jenkins Photo.

The Wind Rivers are among my favorite mountain ranges. As Mark stated in his trip report for the American Alpine Journal;

"There are lifetimes worth of new routes left in the Winds just waiting for the few, the proud, the backcountry alpinists. The climbing itself is not unlike that in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park, although the hike in is often twice as far (15 miles), the approaches up talus are twice as long (2 hours), and the climbs themselves are twice as tall (a dozen pitches). Which means you can’t easily rap back to the base, instead one typically hikes down from the summit. Hence, climbing with a relatively heavy pack (approach shoes, light down jacket, rain jacket, fleece cap and gloves, 2 quarts of water, lunch, etc.) is often obligatory. Nonetheless, for a mere tank of gas and bag of groceries, the glory of unexplored granite is all yours."

After 4 beautiful days it started raining that night. We awoke before sunrise and started the long hike out under stormy skies. Our appetite for adventure satiated we marveled in our good fortune, and enjoyed the new bond further cementing our climbing partnership.