2.20.2017

11 Tips for Having Fun With Your Dog in the Snow



by Kristie Perry
Adapted with permission from www.allgoodsk9adventures.com (February 15, 2015)

1. Protect their paws
“Protecting your dog’s paw pads is crucial to having a good day in the snow,” says Whitney “Allgood” LaRuffa, who has logged more than 7,000 miles in the backcountry with numerous four-legged companions. Cracked or otherwise injured pads will end your outing early.
Long-haired dogs or those with webbed paws are especially prone to collecting snow between their toes. Body heat transforms that snow into little ice balls that grow larger over time and stretch the dog’s toes apart. This leads to cracking, bleeding, and hair-pulling. Dogs will respond to the pain by licking, which will cause even more ice build up. To prevent this, try Vaseline, Bag Balm, or Musher’s Secret.

Sometimes dogs need more protection than a topical application can provide, however, as Mazama member Pam Monheimer learned on an outing last year with her Vizsla, Tüz. Historically, Musher’s Secret and a fleece jacket were all Tüz needed to stay comfortable when romping through the snow. But last year, while snowshoeing around Trillium Lake on a day when the mercury barely made it into double-digits, “Tüz just tried to lay down on my feet,” she recounts. “He refused to get up. Trying to carry a 60-pound dog up a hill while in snowshoes wasn’t fun. That’s when I realized I needed to be more careful about winter conditions.” So Monheimer invested in a pair of Vibram-soled Ruffwear booties.

Dog bootie technology and availability has come a long way over the past 20 years. Dog booties come in a variety of materials, including latex, fleece, cordura nylon, neoprene, and rubber. They also come in various lengths, so if you want built-in gaiters (also known as high tops) for your dog, you’ll find them. Old dress or liner socks, worn under the booties, can also work as gaiters.

If possible, take your dog with you when buying his booties so he can try them on in the store. Just like a Salomon Women’s 8 isn’t a Lowa Women’s 8 isn’t an Asolo Women’s 8, makers of dog booties show quite a bit of variation (or perhaps imprecision) in their sizing charts.

Various dogs will tolerate booties to varying degrees. Practice putting the booties on your dog at home first. (And if you haven’t already seen the videos of dogs in booties high-stepping, prepare to laugh yourself silly.) You’ll want to make sure you can get the boots on and off easily and that your dog can’t.

One drawback of using booties on your dog in the snow: you’re taking away his built-in crampons by covering his toenails. If you’re going to be traveling in steep, hard snow try to make one of the topical applications work so your dog will have traction.

2. Keep them warm
Just like humans, dogs will remain warm in winter conditions while they’re on the move. But also like humans, dogs will feel chilled during breaks. If you have a short-haired dog or one that is cold weather-sensitive, get it a coat.

“The old line of ‘why does a dog need a coat, they have fur?’ might be true if you have a husky that lives in Alaska,” LaRuffa points out. “But I have a lab mix who spends most of his days in a nice warm house sleeping on the couch. So, yes, he gets cold in the winter.” While he is on the move, LaRuffa’s lab mix, Karluk, wears a winter jacket made specifically for dogs. During breaks and at night, LaRuffa wraps him in a human’s puffy.

While Monheimer happily dresses Tüz in a waterproof fleece jacket, Mazama member Matt Carter takes a different approach with his Golden Retriever, Lily: “My rule for Lily is that if it is so cold that her double coat is not adequate, it is too cold for me to be out hiking around.”

Even long-haired dogs are susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite. The ears, pads, and tail tips are the body parts most prone to frostbite, according to the veterinarians at VCA Animal Hospitals. If your dog starts shivering, it’s time to go home. Shivering is a signal that hypothermia may be close behind.

3. Drink plenty of fluids
Nothing dehydrates you more than a long day in cold air. “With each breath, you expel precious moisture,” notes LaRuffa. “Pair that with elevation and high levels of activity and you are setting you and your pup up for dehydration.” LaRuffa recommends bringing at least one quart of water for each of you for every five miles traveled.

Although many dogs can drink with impunity right out of most bodies of water encountered on the trail, many streams ice over or are under snow in the winter. “I think of winter like late summer when considering how much water to take for Lily,” Carter says.

In the winter, carry water for you and your dog inside your pack to prevent freezing. If you must carry bottles on the outside of your pack, make sure you use wide-mouth bottles and turn them upside down so that any ice that forms will float up instead of freezing the cap shut. If you prefer water bladders over bottles, use an insulation sleeve on the hose.

4. Eat!
Like you, your dog will burn more calories in cold weather. If you plan on snacking in the middle of your snowshoe, bring dog-friendly snacks for your pup, too. High-fat foods like peanut butter and cheese burn slowly for sustained heat and energy. Your dog’s regular dry kibble works well, too, and won’t make a mess in your pack.

“Because Lily won’t eat her breakfast if I am preparing to take her out, I end up packing it,” Carter says. He also brings treats for Lily, an endeavor that over the years morphed into an escalating competition with a hiking buddy. “One cold February day he pulled out an insulated bag with sliced pork roast kept warm with a gel pack. I conceded defeat.”

Multi-day trips call for a bit more thought. Kristin Hostetter, an editor at Backpacker Magazine, recommends a mix of 75 percent regular kibble with 25 percent puppy food. “Puppy food has added calories and protein, which will help boost your dog’s nutritional intake during big mile days,” she says.

LaRuffa swears by TurboPUP bars when he needs to watch the weight in his pack. TurboPUP is the brainchild of Kristina Guerrero, a backcountry skier who wanted to make sure the four-legged companion who accompanied her on her adventures had the nutrition he needed to keep his energy up.

Locally, TurboPUP can be found at Next Adventure, U.S. Outdoor Store, and various Petsmarts.

5. Keep your dog under control
What’s true in town is true in the backcountry, also: a well-trained dog that obeys commands is more enjoyable to be around—for everyone.

“Some dogs are simply aggressive by nature,” says retired veterinarian and Mazama member Don McCoy. “If your dog can’t be a good citizen, then it needs to stay home.”

Canine obedience training becomes even more important when freezing temperatures and snow are part of the adventure. More dogs are lost in winter than in any other season, according to the Association of Professional Dog Trainers.

Be mindful of your terrain. You don’t want your dog running into a partially frozen body of water. Nor do you want them to engage wildlife.

Carter and Lily once encountered a coyote while hiking in the Deschutes National Forest between Christmas and New Year’s. “The coyote kept trying to engage Lily,” he recalls. “’Come play with me,’ was the message she was getting. Just out of sight was the pack of coyote friends who had dinner plans for her, instead.”

If your dog is the type who would engage with a coyote, it should be on a leash, veterinarian McCoy says.

Another reason to keep your dog close is traps. Trapping is allowed all year in Oregon and Washington. “The further away from you your dog is, the more likely it is to get caught,” Carter says. “The ‘improved’ leg hold and Conibear traps being marketed as ‘humane’ are more destructive than the old ones,” he opines. “More importantly, I think the new traps are much harder to release by hand. I carry Vise Grips to help.”

Finally, make sure your dog shows the same respect for steep snow that you do. “When you are traversing a trail that is benched out on a steep slope, you are entering a danger zone,” LaRuffa warns. “Allowing your dog to run loose above you or below heightens the risk of triggering an avalanche.”

6. Watch out for sharps
Ski edges, crampons, ice axes, and snowshoes are all potential hazards for your dog. So how do you prevent a bad accident?

Skiing: LaRuffa keeps his dog, Karluk, either directly ahead or behind him when ascending. “When we switch to downhill mode, I ski as fast as possible, keeping well in front of Karluk the whole time. I stop every few hundred yards so he can catch up, therefore preventing the risk of a cut from my ski edge.”

Snowshoeing: Train your dog to walk directly behind you when snowshoeing. That way, your dog can use your tracks (and not, say, the Nordic skiers’ tracks), and she avoids being stepped on or caught in a crampon. Don’t be surprised if you feel some extra weight in your shoes at the end of the day. Smart, tired dogs have been known to hitch a ride on the back of snowshoes to avoid having to slog through deep snow.

Mountaineering: This activity poses many risks, but the biggest one is impaling your dog with your crampon, “so being aware at all times where your foot placement is in relation to you dog is paramount,” LaRuffa says.

7. Bring a pad
A lightweight foam pad can be deployed on the snow during the day for you and your dog to rest on during a break, and then used at night in camp. Bonus: it’s warmer than an air mattress in the snow, and safer, “since it can’t pop and leave you shivering on the snow,” LaRuffa says.

8. Line your dog’s pack
Even in the snow, the gear in your dog’s pack can get wet. LaRuffa swears by turkey oven roasting bags because they are light, cheap, and strong.

9. Bring a rubber toy
Bring a toy to play with in camp. LaRuffa’s dog, Karluk, recommends orange rubber balls. They are bright and, therefore, easier to find in the snow. Plus, their rubber surface doesn’t soak up slobber and snowmelt.

10. Pay attention
“What seems to work best for Tüz, who has unlimited energy, is to go with his flow,” Monheimer says. “We go as long as he seems fine, and at the first sign of discomfort we turn back. This has put a damper on my ability to summit or reach a particular destination. But Tüz is my best buddy. My number one goal is for him to have a good and safe time.”

11. Have fun!
No explanation needed.

2.16.2017

Getting Out of the Gorge

Winter Workout Hikes for the Intrepid

by Darrin Gunkel



Give Angel’s Rest a rest. Leave Eagle Creek to the tourists. Here are half a dozen training hikes that reliably offer a decent winter work out, with the added advantage of being close, lonely, or just a nice change of pace. They’re arranged by proximity to Portland (sorry everybody else!): Marquam and Powell in city, Salmon River and Dry Ridge an hour’s drive away, and Cape Lookout and Deschutes both clocking in at two hours. If those last drives seem far for a day hike, don’t worry. The campgrounds at each trailhead are lovely. Why not make an overnight of it and really savor the rainy season ambiance?

MARQUAM SHELTER TO COUNCIL CREST—ABOUT 5 MILES AND 1,000 FEET.
Hiking options in the West Hills are nearly limitless, and the biggest problem may be choosing one. If you’re after a quick, brisk workout, this is a good choice. . . it’s one of the fastest ways up to Council Crest. Starting at the Marquam Shelter on Sam Jackson Park Road, you can follow the Sunnyside or Shelter Loop Trails up to their junctions with the Marquam Trail, and then on to the summit. A thousand feet may not seem like much, but doing it in 2.5 miles is enough to get many a hiker’s pulse up. And besides, with all the time you’ve saved not driving out to Eagle Creek, there’s no reason not to do the trip twice! The prize, on the one clear day out of ten you do this in winter, is one of the most fabulous views from any city park, anywhere: the fair city of Portland, with its backdrop of four stratovolcanoes—not to mention the dozens of smaller volcanoes that make up the Boring Volcanic Field. One of them happens to be our next option.

POWELL BUTTE—8 MILES AND 1,200 FEET—OR MORE!
Portland is the only major city in the U.S. with a volcano in its city limits—several, actually. One of them in particular, Powell Butte, is a great training ground. Most trail guides recommend the 5 mile perimeter loop around the park, but download the trail map and take a look. You can string together 10 miles of trail—more if you don’t mind covering some sections twice. To max out the elevation gain, start at the low points of the park. The north entrance (at S.E. 148th Ave. and Center) and the south entrance (off the Springwater trail just east of S.E. 145th Ave.) are both at about 250 feet elevation. The high point at Mountain Finder is 600 feet. Do a traverse over this summit from north to south and back and you’ve racked up 700 feet. Adding the Hawthorne—Cedar Grove—Douglas Fir Loop brings your total to a respectable 1,000 feet. With ups and downs around the perimeter, you can easily get 1,200 feet and nearly 9 miles. Walking here is the best of both worlds: mature second growth forest on the volcano’s flanks, and some of the widest skies west of the cascades in the summit meadow. Shifting views of volcanoes from Mt. St. Helens to Mt. Jefferson keep you entertained on clear days.

SALMON RIVER—UP TO 12 MILES AND 1,000 FEET
Tired of the crowds at Eagle Creek? Bored to death of I-84? Then follow the ski bums and snow borders out Route 26. Taking their leave at Salmon River Road in Welches, just 2.5 miles from the highway, you’ll find the first of several trailheads for the Old Salmon River Trail. The elevation is low enough here to support some truly giant old growth and stay snow-free pretty much the whole winter. Start at the first trailhead to max out mileage and get warmed up. After 2.5 miles of riverside pleasantness, the trail passes the Green Canyon Campground. This is where the workout begins. You can continue on up the Salmon River, gaining elevation slowly and steadily until you hit the snow line. If you’re lucky, and it’s melted out below 2,500 feet, you’ll reach the Salmon River Canyon, six miles from that first trailhead. Alternately, for a quicker day and to get the blood really moving, from the campground take off up Green Canyon Way, a steep route up to Hunchback Mountain and Devil’s Peak. You’re not likely to get anywhere near either of these in a normal snow year, but this route’s steep enough you may not care.

DRY RIDGE—UP TO 10 MILES AND 3,000 FEET
The Roaring River Wilderness is easy to overlook. It doesn’t have close up views of soaring peaks, and while the forest there is nice, it’s easily overshadowed by dozens of nearby stands. Most visitors to the Clackamas Canyon come for the river, anyway. A viewless trail that launches straight up from the trailhead? Not on many radars, even though it’s just over an hour from Portland. You can count on peace and quiet on Dry Ridge—and a good workout. The Roaring River Campground, where you’ll find parking for the trail, is at about 1,000 feet elevation. The first two miles gain 2,000 feet. If it’s a dry year, or later in the season, you’ll find on the upper section a steady grind that feels steeper than it actually is. The turnaround is a non-descript junction with the Grouse Point Trail. If you’ve made it this far, and still haven’t had enough, follow that one all the way down to the Roaring River, 2,500 feet and 2.5 miles below. Just remember, you’ll have to come back up.

CAPE LOOKOUT—9. 6 MILES, 1,200 FEET
Begin this hike at the trailhead most people use and it’s more like stretching your legs. Start down at the beach, though, and you add a solid workout to this rightfully famed coast hike. This alternate start lies at sea level, by the day use zone in Cape Lookout State Park, and not far from the car camp. The high point of the trail is actually at the main Cape Lookout Trail parking lot, 850 feet and just shy of 2.5 miles up from the beach. From here, you lose 400 feet on the way out to the end to the Cape Lookout: a basalt cliff jutting 2.5 miles into the north Pacific Ocean. This is the one stretch that might give you pause in the winter. While not exposed in a mountaineering sense, the way comes close enough to high, sheer cliffs, that on the rare icy day it’s probably not worth the risk. If that’s the case, from the upper parking lot, drop down in 2 miles to the south beach. You lose a mile in distance, but make up for it with an extra 400 feet elevation gain for the day.

DESCHUTES RIVER

So you’ve whetted your appetite for wide open skies on top of Powell Butte, but the constant clouds have left you feeling a bit starved. Head east! Provided the Gorge isn’t a tunnel of ice, Deschutes River State Recreation Area and a 50 percent chance of sunshine (beats the west side odds!) isn’t too far away. The trail here’s more about distance than elevation, but off-trail hiking on the canyon walls is straightforward. So, if you feel the need to feel the burn, find a route that speaks to you and head up. Just beware of private property signs—or more likely, unsigned barbed wire marking the limits of public land. The lower 2 miles of the trail is state land. Beyond, you’re in the realm of the BLM. In theory, you can walk all the way to Mack’s Canyon, 23 miles away at the end of the riverside road heading south from Oregon Route 216 near Tygh Valley. Setting up a car shuttle would make for a neat, but long, day.

2.13.2017

Ski Mountaineering Traverse of Canadian Rockies’ Wapta Icefield


by Keith Daellenbach

In the February 2016, I found myself drawing short straw as the company I had worked at for nearly eight years continued on a path of downsizing and contraction and I was let go. Leaving an employer not on one’s own terms is not ideal but, as it was, it was a relief to move on and pursue new paths in my engineering career. While balancing my obligation to look for employment, my wife, Amy, encouraged me to not miss this opportunity to “get out there” and find ways to reconnect with friends in the outdoors where I’ve always found peace and a connection to a Creation much bigger than myself. My first foray was to the southern Oregon coast exploring the Coquille River and floating the wild and beautiful Sixes River. The winter steelhead run was at its peak and I met up with local Jim Clausen who over decades, and this is no put down – rather the opposite, has developed the brain of a steelhead. With Jim’s “happy meal” creation, I hooked, fought, and released a native buck steelhead in the pre-dawn light on a quiet stretch of solitude on the Coquille. I put other steelhead on the bank and if anything could clear my head and make me happy to be alive, that was it. Ski mountaineering would fit the bill too.

During this interregnum, my other main foray afield was with Chris Haagen, of Oakland, one of my favorite climbing and backcountry friends. Chris, a fellow engineer, is always a cheerful guy ready for an adventure, remarkably available on short notice. Without much discussion, we quickly settled upon a ski mountaineering traverse of the Wapta Icefield in the Canadian Rockies north of Lake Louise. Through a division of labor – Chris took on establishing GPS way-points for the route and I reserved hostel lodging in Lake Louise, Alpine Club of Canada (AAC) huts along the route, and van shuttle – we made quick work of the logistics. Two weeks later, Chris flew into PDX and we were underway driving north with nighttime departure. In a one 13-hour, 710-mile shot, we drove up through eastern Washington, crossing the border at Eastport, and made our way to our night’s lodging at Lake Louise. The hostel there is inexpensive and comfortable with skiers from all over North America. We sorted gear and settled in for the night.

After a hearty breakfast at the hostel the next morning, we made our last avalanche check (www.avalanche.ca), which indicated “High” danger so we carefully examined our route for likely steep, avalanche-prone slopes that would receive direct sun. There was no fresh snow to contend with. After this analysis, we convinced ourselves we could make the tour in relative safety with bail options from the Peyto and Bow huts.

We drove 10 miles to the Great Divide Lodge just east of Kicking Horse Pass on the Trans Canada Highway 1 where we met Jean, our shuttle van driver with Mountain Park Transportation. I left my Honda Civic there and she drove us up Highway 93, 45-minutes away to just north of Bow Summit. We departed in the blazing sunshine, saying “thank you” to Jean, and skied (well I hiked and skied) down a steep, switchback trail about 350 feet through the trees to the edge of Peyto Lake. When Amy and I explored the Canadian Rockies las summer with our son, Micah, we stopped at Bow Summit and gazed at this aquamarine lake from above; now we were skiing across its frozen surface in the frigid air. Having brought many layers suitable for ski mountaineering in the Cascades, I was somewhat concerned that my 32-pound pack would not contain the heavy duty warm weather clothing needed for the cold continental climate in the Rockies. In spite of this, the gear I brought was plenty adequate.

Chris and I skied across the frozen lake towards the far side, where the wall of the Canadian Rockies rose up. We worked up Peyto Creek, at one time jumping rock-to-rock across its low flow, and avoiding a steep-walled, skier’s-left gully, gained an old medial moraine on the right. Eventually, we topped over the moraine and skied above a small glaciology/meteorology field station and gained the northern lobe of the Peyto Glacier. We gave wide berth to the steep east flank of Peyto Peak upon which were small avalanches being triggered in the mid-day sun. We gained 2,200 feet from the Lake. Skiing up the Peyto Glacier was a dream of great snow and towering peaks all around. We reached the blue Peyto Hut (a.k.a., Peter and Catharine Whyte Hut) perched on a lower satellite ridge. We were greeted at the hut by a contingent of guided skiers including many from Portland. The hut sleeps 16 in winter, and like the other three huts on our traverse, are fully stocked with propane, stoves, pots, pans, cooking utensils, sleeping pads, and an outhouse. I knew some of the skiers and Chris and I talked to the guide long into the night by lantern light about other more remote ski mountaineering adventures in the Rockies we could pursue after this introductory traverse.

Day two of our ski traverse was a short 3.7-mile section that gains 770 feet and loses 1,100 feet. As the weather was perfect and the ski leg short, we added to that distance by climbing two Mt. Olive—North, roping up for a short section low on the ridge in an abundance of caution. And then Mt. Gordon across the south lobe of the Bow Glacier. From that summit, we had a 3,300 foot descent over a few miles to the Bow Hut. As we schussed the last section to the hut, the weather took a turn for the worse, as the leading edge of a storm overtook us. We entered the hut with snow trailing in behind us. This hut, ca. 1989, is the largest on the icefield (30 person capacity) with a hallway separating the dining area from the sleeping area complete with wood stoves in both. There we met an all-ladies crew guided by two women AAC guides. They had ascended to the hut via the Bow Lake start (Num-Ti-Jah Lodge) and we enjoyed their enthusiasm and sense of adventure.

We awoke to the third ski day with the storm in full throttle. We departed the hut and pushed up the Bow Glacier using our GPS track and compass, slowly working waypoint-to-waypoint in a near whiteout. Eventually we gained the col (9,520 feet) between Saint Nicholas Peak and Mt. Olive—North in the teeth of a full howling whiteout. From there we launched down the Vulture Glacier, being careful not to approach the crevassed and wind-scoured margins on either side. I led, snowplowing down the glacier, carefully consulting the GPS and compass as Chris kept an eye out for crevasses. At one point, concentrating so hard on progress with no visible landmark in the snow storm, I looked past my GPS and compass at my skis and noted I was not even moving even though it felt like I was! The whiteout was disorienting. Eventually, we made it down glacier and popped out below the cloud deck at about 8,500 feet recovering some visibility of the snow-covered landscape. We kept an eye out for crevasses and large wind scour traps as we headed made our way to the Balfour Hut (a.k.a. Rob J. Ritchie Hut).

We knew the next day would be the crux of the traverse, with a long ascending route up the Balfour Glacier to the Balfour High Col at 9,788 feet. From the hut, the route crosses some moraines near a large pass over the Rockies and then up what becomes essentially a ramp perched below steep slopes prone to avalanche with hanging glaciers on the east side of Mt. Balfour (10,735 feet) and a crevassed icefall below. In one section, the safe route snakes through a section maybe 40 yards wide. As we had studied the route carefully on Google Earth and examined the pictures in the Balfour Hut, we knew that having visibility in this crux would be imperative rather than relying solely on our GPS waypoints. Amazingly on the fourth day, in spite of poor predicted weather, the storm broke to a cold and clear blue bird day. We were up early and off like a shot heading for the col. We made steady progress and I led up through the crux to where the slope eases off above. The views were amazing with a sea of peaks, ridges, arêtes, glaciers, alpine faces surrounding us in the brilliant sunshine. Before arriving to the col, we broke off the route and climbed the east flank of the lower southeast ridge of Mt. Balfour. It got steep near the crest but I gained it and looked down the equally steep western flank. Above, the ridge was seemingly blocked by impenetrable rime ice-covered towers. We bailed on our feeble exploratory attempt at a climb of this citadel, returned to our skis, and made it to the col.

From the col is a long, sweeping ski out onto to the Daly Glacier, a section named the Waputik Icefield. We took care to make an arc down glacier staying near the spine of the Continental Divide rather than making a straight line to the Scott Duncan Hut. A straight-line ski to the hut from the col puts one at peril crossing through crevasse fields, whereas, the arc is essentially safe save for one small crevassed section that is easily negotiated.

The small hut itself is situated on a rock outcrop promontory below Mt. Daly and is perched above the glacier with fine views of the southern section of the traverse and we had it all to ourselves. With the relief of having the crux behind us, Chris lent me his DeLorme inReach SE satellite tracking device to send a short note back to Amy and Micah to let them know the coast was (well, essentially) clear. We arose again in twilight, packed gear, and headed out into falling snow with limited visibility expecting a long day. We skied off the southern lobe of the Daly Glacier, snuck across the east face of Mt. Niles and stayed above Niles Creek until we could drop down into Sherbrooke Creek. There were steep sections back-and-forth down the gully of the creek like a bobsled run but it eventually dropped out onto the frozen surface of Sherbrooke Lake. We skied the final stretch through the woods, following a trail that leads to Highway 1 and the Great Divide Lodge. The traverse was now complete.

We drove out and made a stop to see the beautiful Chateau Lake Louise and snowy winter scene with people enjoying themselves out ice skating on the frozen lake below stunning Mt. Victoria. I picked up a silver and aquamarine pendant for Amy in the village below and then we busted out of the Canadian Rockies and made the long drive home back to the States.

Postlog: A month and a half later, I was sitting at my desk starting a new job managing a group of talented engineers enjoying new engineering challenges and opportunity. I reveled in the traverse and the ski mountaineering adventure with friend Chris and with Amy who said “Go.” The tour is straightforward, accessible, and relatively inexpensive. It does require a combination of basic mountaineering and skiing skills, glacier navigation and crevasse rescue, and land navigation with map, compass, and GPS. It crosses the spectacular spine of the continent and should not be missed!

2.06.2017

The Scheme to Sell Our Public Lands

by Adam Baylor, Mazamas Stewardship & Advocacy Manager

The scheme to sell off our public lands to the highest bidder is nothing new and the 115th Congress is about to push this devious plot to the next level. To help shed some light on this conspiracy, the following steps reveal how far along we are in a public lands heist.

STEP 1—BUDGET CUTS 
Ever since the 1980s, elected officials have gradually destroyed our land management agencies’ budgets under the guise of wanting government to “do more with less.” As a result, nearly each unit of the U.S. Forest Service is underfunded and understaffed. Mt. Hood National Forest (NF) requires about 800 employees to properly manage the forest. Currently, Mt. Hood NF is operating on approximately 200 employees making it difficult to consistently manage all the demands on our natural resources.

In addition to dwindling agency budgets is the problem of wildfire funding. As fires in the West increase in size and duration, USFS and BLM budgets suffer the burden of wildfire fighting. That means federally managed recreation programs are slashed to cover costs and citizen complaints skyrocket.

This systematic decline in agency budgets coupled with wildfire funding problems leaves public lands in a precarious position. Multiuse demands do not go away just because Congress has failed to properly fund our land management agencies. At the end of the day, Congress created this problem so that one solution works: a public lands heist.


STEP 2—CHANGE THE RULES OF FEDERAL LAND TRANSFERS
Wasting no time, the new House of Representatives voted to change the rules on how costs are calculated during federal land transfers to a state. The new rule says that there is no cost associated with the land transfer. By setting the value of our public lands to zero, Congress will have no obstacle in handing over control of millions of acres to state governments. Once this happens states would be responsible to manage the land or sell it.

STEP 3—CUT ALL FEDERAL SPENDING
During the next few years, Congress may decide to make broad cuts in all federal programs which will create a burden on state budgets. For example, healthcare or housing programs that receive federal funding may vanish. In doing so, states will need to pick up the slack in order to continue to provide services to citizens. Suddenly, the prospect of selling off newly transferred federal lands becomes a very appealing cash cow for states to balance their budgets

STEP 4—MAKE NEW LAWS TO TRANSFER (CEDE) FEDERAL LAND TO STATES
The reality is that the new Congress is pretty much like the old Congress. Last year, Republicans in the House and Senate voted unanimously in committee to begin the transfer of federal lands to states. We have also seen an increase in state legislatures or general assemblies attempting to pass legislation to accept federal land transfers. As they say in real estate, you must have a willing seller and a buyer. The good news is that the House of Representatives may pass a land transfer law but it most likely will be blocked in the Senate by a filibuster.

STEP 5—STATES SELL LAND TO PRIVATE COMPANIES
Some people think this step will not happen or that it’s at least 50 years down the road. Whatever the time frame, this is a very real possibility now. It’s important to remember that privatization is not necessarily the worry. Our government delivers goods and services to the people through private companies all the time. Contracting is part of privatization and while there is fraud, waste and abuse associated with this process, it’s been happening since the founding of the United States. Rather, the true worry is that federal lands could be sold into private ownership. Once that occurs, private landowners will have the right to put up No Trespassing signs as they see fit. That means we could lose a great deal of public access to our favorite places.

STEP 6—DEVELOP RESORTS IN WILDERNESS AREAS, FRACK AND POLLUTE, CLEAR CUT OUR FORESTS
These are but a few of the consequences to selling off public lands. We know that the scheme is real and no longer in the dark. It’s out in the open and Mazamas can help stop it.

CALL TO ACTION—GET OUTDOORS AND TAKE ALL YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY
 The key to our success will be through recreation and political action. In addition to telling your Member of Congress or State Legislator to oppose the Public Lands Heist, make a commitment to get outside more and share that experience with everyone you know. 
We have joined the Outdoor Alliance to collectively fight this battle with other human-powered recreation groups. It will be up to us to rally the support of the mountaineering, rock climbing, ice climbing, backpacking and hiking communities throughout Oregon and parts of Washington to stop the public lands heist.

1.30.2017

Vera Defoe: Remarkable Woman & Inspiring Leader

by Kate Evans

Vera Dafoe has been contributing to the Mazamas for 59 years as environmental activist, climb leader, role model, and member of many organizational committees. While she successfully led 152 Mazama climbs and summited 372 mountains, garnering the 16 Peaks, Redman, Parker, and Montague Awards, Vera is most likely known as the founder and curator of the Mazamas Museum. Vera Dafoe retired her ice axe this year at age 90 but is still an active Classics Member of the Mazamas.

Vera became involved with the Mazamas in her early 30s when she and two of her children attended the multi-day Oberteuffer’s Family Camp at the Log Lodge in July 1956. Vera asked Bill Oberteuffer if he thought she could climb Mt. Hood, and he said she could, but needed to get in shape. Twenty-two days after the camp on August 19, 1956, Vera struggled to the summit of Mt. Hood with 43 Mazamas. In 1957 she and Mazamas Pat Willner and Allison Logan Belcher climbed Adams and in 1958, Vera took the Mazama Basic School and summited Mount St. Helens.

Climb Leader and Role Model
Between 1958 and 1966 Vera was climbing more often leading a rope or being an assistant leader. Her first official Mazamas climb was Mt. Hoffman on a Yosemite outing in 1966. In the 37 years between 1966 and 2003 Vera led over 152 Mazama climbs and taught Basic School for many years. She also climbed in the Alps, Dolomites, Cascades, Sierras, Selkirks, Canadian Rockies, Tetons, Olympics, Wallowas, Sawtooths and Sierra Nevada, as evidenced by her impressive eight-page climb resume.

In an oral history interview with Doug Couch she describes her philosophy of leading as follows: “It was extremely important that the first time a person is trying it’s the most important time of all and they should succeed on that first time.” She also feels strongly that women and Explorer Post girls should see positive female role models. During the 1994 Centennial year she was serving on Executive Council and was dismayed that none of the Centennial climbs were being led by women; and so she stepped forth.

In 2003, at age 75, Vera led her last Mazama climb, and in 2005 she and Cloudy Sears—Vera's daughter—ventured on Mt. Dafoe in the Nuit Range of the Coast Mountains of British Columbia. Mt. Dafoe was named by members of the Explorer Post to honor Vera’s “long-term contribution to the success of the Post.” At age 85 in 2012 Vera also joined climbs of Fay Peak, Mt. Pleasant, and First Mother with fellow Classic Ray Sheldon.

Vera gladly served on many Mazamas leadership committees through the years and was known for her insistence to do things right the first time. When Jack Grauer presented the Parker Cup to Vera in 1984 for the, “ ... person judged to have rendered services of the greatest benefit to the club during the year,” he referred to Vera as “the conscience” of the Mazamas. Chris Mackert, former Mazama president, also calls Vera the Mazamas conscience for her integrity, ability to look at things critically and analytically, and her primary concern for the interests of the Mazamas.

Mazama Museum
Not only has Vera contributed to the Mazamas as a climb leader and role model, but she also created and has been the sole curator of the Mazama Museum since 1970—over 46 years. In her oral history Vera states that she started gathering historical equipment when she noticed there were, "... various pieces around and they were really museum pieces." She cleaned the equipment, washed the clothing, and assigned catalogue numbers using a catalogue system she designed using the best museum standards. Folks began bringing artifacts to the clubrooms (our home prior to the Mazama Mountaineering Center), and the Mazama Museum began. She often requested objects for the museum, and according to long-time library volunteer Tom Dinsmore, Vera wasn’t bashful about asking for items, including posthumous requests.

Eventually items moved from Vera’s basement to the clubrooms on NW 19th street, and in 1985, following a clubroom renovation, Vera finally had two lighted cabinets to display museum items. In that year she had exhibits under four themes: snow climbing equipment such as ice axes, crampons and boots; old camping gear and pack sacks; Mazama awards and emblems; and skiing equipment.
Mazama Archivist Jeff Thomas often shared detective work with Vera and she was especially helpful with locating, obtaining, identifying, and cataloging climbing hardware and other items. Currently the museum has nailed boots, early climbing hardware, 36 alpenstocks, and 196 ice axes, including one given to William D. Hackett by Argentine dictator Juan Peron when Hackett climbed Aconcagua. Those of you who attended the Doug Robinson benefit for the library this fall also saw Ty and Marianne Kearney’s bicycle, which they took to the summit of Mt. Hood in 1946, and the magic lantern slides from C.E. Rusk’s 1910 Denali expedition, using the Mazamas 100 year-old Balopticon lantern slide projector—all part of Vera’s Museum legacy.

Our Library and Historical Collections manager Mathew Brock states that our library, archives, and museum are second only to the American Alpine Club’s and we have one of the “ ... premiere mountain artifact collections in the United States.” Mathew also commented favorably on Vera’s “ ... level of dedication and attention to detail, her professionalism, and her thoroughness and consistency for over 46 years.”

Since 1985, Vera has prepared creative displays of museum items, sometimes including her iconic marmots, and in 2001 she was recognized for her years of dedication with the Redman Cup, which honors a notable artistic contribution to the Mazamas. Barbara Marquam, in presenting the Cup, spoke of Vera’s captivating exhibit in 1999, the year Mallory’s body was found on Everest. Vera’s exhibit replicated photos of the equipment used by Mallory on Everest in 1924, " ... using strikingly similar gear from the Mazama Museum’s extensive collection to link our heritage with one of mountaineering’s most dramatic events. This display, together with more than 50 others Vera has created in 30 years of museum stewardship, showcase unique facets of the Mazamas and mountaineering culture and history. Vera captured our attention, tantalized our curiosity, kindled our imaginations and tickled our funny bones.”

The Redman Cup also honored Vera for her many Bulletin and Annual articles and other publications. Two articles in Off Belay show Vera’s playful, sometimes subversive sense of humor. One describes using “aerator sandals”, a.k.a. crampons, to aerate the lawn. In another, Female Anatomy and the Wind Chill Factor, a three-page, illustrated ”scientific treatise” explores wind chill hazards faced by the female climber, “ ... during the performance of certain bodily functions.”

Environmental Activist
Vera earned the Montague Bowl for her conservation work both in and out of the Mazamas. Ray Sheldon called Vera a watchdog for environmental issues, and she is a self-described “constructive troublemaker.” Over the years Vera was involved in many environmental issues, such as fighting the expansion of Timberline and Meadows ski areas, protecting Silver Star, the responsible re-opening of Mount St. Helens after the eruption, beginning the Mazamas involvement with the annual beach cleanup, improving the water quality standards in Bull Run, and helping to achieve wilderness designation for the Menagerie area in the Willamette National Forest. There are two Columbia Gorge victories of which she is especially proud: defeating the Port of Cascade Locks’ plan for an aerial tram to the Benson Plateau, and her work as a Gorge Commissioner to federally protect the Columbia River Gorge.

Stewardship is core to Mazama values—conserving the mountain environment, protecting our history, and sustaining a healthy organization. As Mathew Brock states, “Vera has created a lasting legacy of preservation, both historical and environmental.” During this volunteer recognition issue of the Bulletin, we only thought it fitting to thank Vera for her years of leadership in the Mazamas. We hope that you will be able to join us to thank her in person at the Classics Luncheon on January 20.

1.26.2017

Bringing Kids to the Mountain


By Michael Vincerra

For a few short days in winter, under dreary gray skies, 5th-grade students are transported from the Centennial School District in Gresham and East Portland to the Mazama Lodge at the base of Mt. Hood. Transported not only to an alpine world of snow, adventure, science, and learning, but also to a classroom unlike any other. Volunteers, teachers, and parents assure that these students will spend three weekdays immersed in an alpine classroom, where they “learn how to learn,” with an eye toward stewardship of our natural resources.

For 5th graders who see Mt. Hood’s rugged profile from city streets, arrival at Mazama Lodge means a chance to explore nature and have fun. To parents, teachers, and volunteers, it means the chance to pass on a love of nature and curiosity to 11 and 12 year olds—hoping to inspire another generation of outdoor enthusiasts.

Since its inception in 2015, the Mazama Mountain Science School (MMSS) has grown its student body 4 times over, serving about 150 kids in 2015 to 650 kids in 2017. Whereas in the winter of 2015, it educated 3 schools of 5th grade classes, in 2017, it will educate about 11 schools of 5th grade classes.

The Mazamas partnered with the Centennial School District to fill a gap in the outdoor education system. As a result of this partnership, all seven Centennial elementary schools will be a part of MMSS. Elementary schools from the Portland and Parkrose School Districts also attend. MMSS offers a 5-to-1 adult to student ratio, which means fifth-graders get plenty of outdoor mentoring and skill development in a safe, secure environment, from professional instructors and volunteers.

“We couldn’t do the MMSS without Mazama volunteers, but the majority of the volunteer chaperones are parents of the kids,” says Ann Griffin, MMSS Project Coordinator. Chaperones guide the participants through 14 learning stations—from compass usage, mountain geology, animal tracking, volcanoes, plate tectonics, glaciers, the greenhouse effect, and more. The MMSS curriculum was developed as a collaboration between the Mazamas and the Multnomah Education Service District (MESD), who provides professional instructors. MESD is known for developing Outdoor School for 6th graders and Oregon Trail for the 4th graders. Shauna Stevenson, with the MESD, is largely credited as leading this curriculum development.

Griffin reflects, “I think as an organization we’re asking questions as we grow, ‘How do we make sure that we take care of our volunteers?’ ‘How do we plug people into what they really want to do? How do we make sure that they [volunteers] are recognized?’” In 2017, there are 11 different sessions of approximately 55–60 students who attend Mazama Mountain Science School. In groups of 3 –5, kids move through the learning stations with a chaperone, asking lots of questions. A chaperone could be a Mazama volunteer or a child’s parent. For 2017 Griffin estimates about 7 volunteer chaperones will participate. Mazama volunteers play a critical role as chaperones. For many of the students’ families, it is difficult to take three days off from work, for economic or other reasons. Mazama volunteers fill an important gap.

Freda Sherburne is an Environmental Educator, retired from Metro, and former ODS staff member who volunteers for Metro parks programs, leading K–5 students in science and nature activities. Sherburne volunteered with MMSS in 2015 and 2016. “Because of my background in environmental education, I was also able to take on a teaching role when needed or to help parent chaperones lead their activities.” Sherburne’s professional background was a great asset to MMSS. If only for the fact that children are exposed to alpine environments and their stewardship, the MMSS provides experienced volunteers to these fifth graders, placing them where they can make a big difference. Sherburne muses, “I do remember seeing the joy of the students as they did science activities outside in the snow. For some students, this was their first time on Mt. Hood.”

The MMSS is the centerpiece for Mazama youth outreach initiatives, which include partnering with Centennial School District for grant writing and curriculum development. Yet this is a school. So what are the educational outcomes? The goal is to get more kids into the outdoors. The difference is getting kids curious about things like how densely-packed snow can provide insulation, or how to find true north on a compass or by the North Star, by focusing on nurturing curiosity more than test scores. MMSS continues working with Centennial to find ways to reinforce the lessons that students learn on the mountain—their new classroom. “At the end of the school,” says Griffin, “we ask kids, ‘Do you think that you’d be more likely to come back here (Mt. Hood)?’ When the kids say ‘Yes,’ we consider that a win.


Mazama Mountain Science School
Est: 2015
Mazama Lodge, Mt. Hood
Website: tinyurl.com/MAZMSS
Contact: Ann Griffin,
Mazama Mountain Science School Project Coordinator
anngriffin@mazamas.org
MMC: M–TH: 10:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

1.23.2017

2017 Basic Climbing Education Program Information Night

2017 Basic Climbing Education Program (BCEP)

by Patrice Cook, BCEP 2017 Coordinator

I was lost on Table Mountain. I was 8 miles from the trailhead at the PCT. I was alone and had never done this hike. In fact, I was new to hiking and had done less than 4 gorge trails. The only people I had seen that day were on horseback, and that had been more than an hour ago.  As I was in a scree field unable to find the trail, I knew they would not be coming this way. I had no compass, no map, no directions other than one page from a book, no extra water, food, or clothes. I think I actually dressed in cotton. This was my wake-up call.  I did finally find my way to the summit.  There I met a group of seven.  They helped me find my way down and even drove me back to my car after a dip.  It was a recently graduated group of Basic Climbing Education Program (BCEP) students and an assistant.  They told me of the Mazamas and this class I could take to become a better hiker; even meet some folks to go with. That was my start.  BCEP and this organization, this family I call the Mazamas, has changed my life.

BCEP applicants learn about our course through YOU.  Through your excitement and love for the outdoors and through your stories of how it made a difference in your life.  BCEP continues to be an amazing experience.  We need your support.  We need you to talk about BCEP with your friends, family, colleagues, co-workers and connections.  Help us build our community and increase our membership with individuals who love the outdoors as much as we do.

We will have 20+ BCEP teams looking for roughly 250 people to share our knowledge of hiking, climbing, and the great outdoors.

Mark your calendars, for this year’s adventure. Information Night is Feb 2 at the Mazama Mountaineering Center. Classes run March 5 through April 25 at our new home at the OHSU Life Sciences Building (more to come on this). Help us make 2017 a great year full of worthy stories.

BCEP Information Night, Thursday, February 2nd, 6:30 p.m. at the MMC

Click Here for More Information and to R.S.V.P.


1.04.2017

Rebolting at the Crags


A Look Into Rebolting and What it Takes to Keep Our Climbing Areas Safe

by Kevin Machtelinckx

The next time you take a big fall on that sport-climbing route that pushes you to your limits at your favorite local outdoor climb spot, take a moment to think about the forces that are being exerted on that little steel bolt keeping you from eating some serious dirt. Topher Dabrowski talks a little bit about what goes into monitoring and replacing those anchors that we all trust with our lives when climbing outdoors.


Donate to the "Portland Rebolting Fund" at mazamas.org/donate today and help keep our favorite routes safe.


When people think of outdoor volunteering, they often think of cleaning up recreational areas, trail maintenance, removing invasive plant species etc. What activities are the equivalent in the climbing community?

Those are all valid volunteer activities within the climbing community since our climbing areas aren't immune to trash and vandalism. They require maintenance for access trails/roads and, of course, need the same attention for the removal of invasive plants, although some of that happens on much steeper terrain. However, there are some unique opportunities specific to the climbing community. One of these is climbing route maintenance, which encompasses bolt and anchor replacement, route safety assessment, and annual route cleaning. Many climbing routes utilize bolts and pitons as fixed protection, but these can be quite old and have been compromised by corrosion, thermal cycling and various types of loading. In addition, pitons are susceptible to expansion and movement of the rock itself. Volunteers will access routes and make assessments for the health of the anchors and whether or not they require replacement. At the same time, we will also clean out cracks that may get chocked with dirt and vegetation, trim tree branches that grow into route lines and fall zones, inspect routes for loose rock and risks associated with any potential rock fall, and replace rappel slings and rings.

Why is what you do important to the community? What is the current state of bolts in Portland/the Gorge/Smith Rock/other areas? 
Unless one is free soloing, climbing anchors are an essential part of the sport. Climbers use them as a backup should they fall while ascending a route and as a means to facilitate a retreat. An effective anchor is one that doesn't fail under the anticipated loads associated with climbing, falling and descending and it should do so over a given period of time. Many of the anchors that we climb on have been installed anywhere from 30 to 50 years ago and, given the materials that were available, the anchor design and the environmental exposure, are reaching or have passed their reasonable service lives. Time has come to replace these anchors, as it keeps us all safe from injury (or worse) and minimizes accidents associated with anchor failures. Accidents and rescues cost money and can often give justification to land managers to shut down a climbing area for fear of responsibility and liability.

Each climbing area is unique in terms of the quality of aging anchors and much of that is due to the environmental conditions that can affect corrosion and hence reliability of anchors. For instance, climbing areas adjacent to maritime regions are strongly affected by corrosion due to the salt content in the air, which can attack anchor materials. The accelerated corrosive actions can render a bolt useless in just a few years, whereas in a dry desert environment, such as Joshua Tree, some of the original anchors show very little sign of corrosion and can be almost as strong as the day they were placed. Rock composition also affects anchor reliability for reasons not related to corrosion but due to the strength of the medium in which the anchor is installed. For example, compare bolts placed around the same period at a local area such as Ozone to those at Smith Rock. At Ozone, the rock is a very hard basalt whereas at Smith the rock is made up of layers of basalt over ash and tuff. The rock at Smith is much more variable and typically has a harder casing over a softer core. Bolts at Smith tend to become loose much faster, as the material around the anchor crumbles and disintegrates under repeated loading and thermal cycling. Evidence of this is the number of "spinners" (bolts with loose hangers) one comes across at Smith. We don't see that same issue as often at the crags in the Gorge, but we have seen faster rates of corrosion due to increased humidity and routes with anchors located in seeps. Let's just say that given the number of questionable bolts that we have pulled at local crags, it’s timely that the current rebolting projects are well underway.

What is rebolting? How long can it take? What is involved (tools, techniques, hardware, glues, epoxies etc)? Does one need to be certified in order to rebolt?
Rebolting is the act of replacing existing climbing anchors on a route after determining that the anchors are no longer functionally safe. The actual process of rebolting a climb depends on where the climb is located (local vs. remote crags) and how many bolts need to be replaced. On the one hand, I have spent a whole weekend to address a route (Barad Dur on Wolf Rock) which involved 8 pitches of climbing and carrying the necessary kit while ascending (bolts, drill, bits, wrenches and related gear). On the other, rebolting a route at a local crag can involve simply rapping in and having the route rebolted in a couple hours. The basic process involves either climbing or rappelling the route so that one can hang in the area where the replacement bolt will be placed. The rock quality around the current anchor position is assessed and a spot for the new anchor is chosen. Sometimes we can utilize the original bolt hole. Other times we have to place the replacement bolt somewhere in the region of the original bolt. If using the original bolt hole, the old bolt is removed, the hole is drilled out and cleaned, and the new anchor is installed. If a new location is going to be used, a new hole is drilled, cleaned and the new anchor is installed. Once the new anchor is in place, it is tightened to the correct specification using a torque wrench so that an adequate preload is placed on the anchor. This helps set the anchor into the rock and minimizes the likelihood of a loose hanger. There is also another "bolting" technology, which is not mechanically fastened in place but is adhesively bonded to the rock. These are called glue-in anchors. They are phenomenally strong if placed correctly, but are more sensitive to installation errors and can lose 90% of their strength if installed incorrectly. Our group uses a mix of mechanical anchors and glue-ins for our replacement work.

Currently there is no certification process for bolting climbing routes and that is very concerning to me. Anyone with a pocket full of cash can go purchase a drill, buy a bag of bolts and start bolting routes. Perhaps it's a testament to the strength and robustness of climbing anchors that we don't have more issues with failures from bad installations. Then again, maybe climbers aren't falling as much as we anticipate; but I have certainly come across more than enough anchor horror stories. Our local American Safe Climbing Association (ASCA) Group that is actively replacing anchors is quite adamant about making sure that those who are rebolting are educated and knowledgeable about the process, following installation guidelines, and have access to the right tools. In realization that there is no formal certification, I am currently putting together a seminar that will be offered through Mazamas and will be required if one wants to volunteer with our local ASCA rebolting group.

Who organizes these outings? Are there different groups? Is it on an individual basis or are there established groups? Does Mazamas have a dedicated group?
The rebolting parties are managed through our local chapter of the ASCA and with support of Mazamas. The local chapter basically handles most of the southern Washington, Columbia River Gorge and local Portland area climbing areas, but we will extend our efforts to other areas in Washington and Oregon as needed. There are other groups in the Smith Rock region and a team of rebolters in Hood River that also initiate their own local work parties. We are grateful to all the volunteers that come out to help with the rebolting projects. The limiting factor up to this point has been that our group has only had access to one drill with the exception of those individuals who donated their own equipment. Our recent fund raiser has addressed this issue and we now have three bolting kits.

How do you raise funds? 
Fundraising activities rely heavily on the climbing community for support. Our local ASCA group has a fundraising campaign underway currently to raise $2,000 in the last quarter of 2016. This will go toward assembling rebolting kits, which will help us have more efficient rebolting parties and will support volunteers who don't have their own gear. The most costly items are the rotary hammer drills, which can run between $500 and $600 each. This fundraiser is asking for donations which can be made via the donations link on the Mazamas website (mazamas.org/donate). When you make a donation, please note "Portland Rebolting Fund" so the funds are directed to the correct account.

Fundraising also happens once per year by the ASCA Head Office and is strongly promoted and supported by Planet Granite who matches all the funds raised annually in the month of October. These funds go directly to the purchase of bolts and glue-in anchors which are then distributed to the local chapters on an as-needed basis giving consideration for the national efforts of all the ASCA chapters.

How can one pitch in and volunteer in climbing-related activities? 
There are a number of organizations that organize volunteer opportunities including the Mazamas, ASCA, Access Fund, American Alpine Club, and Washington Trails Association. Check out their websites for more information. If one wants to specifically get involved with the local rebolting they can contact us via our Facebook Group "Portland Vicinity ReBolting Effort" or via Adam Baylor at Mazamas.

To whom should one report sketchy bolts?
If one has issues with anchors that they have come across on a route, they should provide as much information as possible to help us identify the location of that anchor. This information can be submitted to the Facebook Group "Portland Vicinity ReBolting Effort" or via Adam Baylor at Mazamas. I personally also post information on Mountain Project to help get the word out on sketchy anchors. Information that helps in identifying the anchor in question should include date, closest town, climbing crag, route name, bolt number (starting from the ground), and a description of the issue.


Donate to the rebolting fund today at mazamas.org/donate.



12.06.2016

Solar Power is Coming to the MMC


by Jeff Hawkins

In the fall of 2006 it became clear to the Conservation Committee that we were in the age of climate change and the Mazamas’ Mission to protect the mountain environment assumed a new urgency. We needed to do more. We needed direct links between our mission and our own actions. This led us to a vision for reducing the Mazamas carbon footprint. The committee first calculated the Mazamas’ carbon footprint, which mostly consists of emissions from automotive miles driven to our various activities, followed by the MMC and the lodge utilities—electricity, natural gas, and heating oil. Then in spring 2007 we created and hosted the Melting Mountains Conference for a packed house in the MMC. Glaciologist Andrew Fountain spoke along with political leaders from the City of Portland, Metro, and the Oregon Legislature. In the fall of 2009 we started a tree planting program and have worked in the Sandy Basin Watershed nearly every spring and fall for eight years planting an estimated 6,500 trees. There have been small efforts too, like installing a hand dryer in the restroom at the MMC to reduce a huge consumption of paper towels.

The next action is to install a solar electric array on the MMC. We tried once in 2008, but ran into legal issues and an economic recession that prevented us from obtaining financing. There were also important concerns about penetrating the MMC roof for attachment.

Things have changed. Installers now have available non-penetrating clamps for panel attachment to the seams of the MMC roof. Costs have come down by a factor of four. And there is better understanding on how to structure financing that works for non-profits.


Here are some basic parts of the plan:


  • A Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) is the legal structure we will be using to fund the array. It forms a relationship between an owner (Elemental energy) and a host (Mazama MMC). The owner finances the array. The host has the array on their building and purchases the power from the owner. This is an especially beneficial arrangement for the Mazamas. It allows us to work with a for-profit partner who can take advantage of the Federal Investment Tax Credit which is 43% of the funding.
  • PPAs come in variations. We will be using a prepaid PPA where the value of power to be generated over the duration of the contract is estimated and is paid up front. This is less complicated than making quarterly payments based on actual power generated and is significantly less costly due to eliminating administration—meter reading, billing, power payments and loan repayment to investors.
  • The Mazamas Foundation will be providing a loan to the Mazamas for the power pre-payment.
  • The array will generate ~41.4 kWh/year, which is estimated as 60 percent of the MMC’s electricity usage and is worth $4,300/year. The Mazamas will pay off the Foundation loan with these savings.
  • Elemental Energy, our for-profit partner (also the installer), will own the array for 10 years at which point the Mazamas will purchase the array at fair market value.

There are other costs:


  • We owe the Oregon Clean Power Coop $2,696 for developing the PPA contract and for arranging a for-profit partner. This will be loaned to the Mazamas by the Foundation.
  • Legal review of the PPA has been done and paid for from the Mazamas general spending account.
  • Installation of safety anchors, structural improvement, gutter repair, roof cleaning and tree removal are estimated to cost $10,000. This will be paid for by member contributions and the MMC maintenance account.
  • End of contract purchase is currently estimated at $2,538.

The solar array will be grid tied, that is, it will produce power only when the electrical grid is operating. There will be no batteries. We will not be able to power the MMC when PGE’s grid is down.

PGE will be our virtual battery. Excess power generated during the peak months of March through August will be “stored” as credits for use during the winter months when generation is lower and heating cost is higher. See illustration.

In every project there are concerns. These are the most commonly expressed and our responses,



    • Roof life: Two independent roof inspections indicate that the MMC roof is in excellent condition with an estimated life of 25 years or longer.

    • Roof attachment: We will be using a clamp that is designed to attach to the standing seam on the roof without penetration.

    • Roof strength: The roof is secured to the building along the seams with one screw every two feet. This is standard, but our roof inspector believes it is insufficient to safely support the weight of the array. We are seeking input from structural engineers that might lead us to add more screws at the top of each roof panel. Other roof work will be done at the same time—cleaning, repairing gutters, and adding safety anchors for array installation and future maintenance. 
    • Building strength: The trusses are on 24-inch spacing and in this situation the City of Portland does not require structural engineering. We have elected to do this anyway. Though when we had this done in 2008 the building was found to be more than strong enough for the then proposed 20 kW array that was only 60 percent the size of the current 37.4 kW array.
    • Legal issues: The PPA that will be in place between Mazamas and Elemental Energy was reviewed on behalf of the Mazamas by David Van’t Hof, an attorney who focuses on sustainability, clean technology, renewable energy and carbon regulation. David is also a Mazama member.
    • Contractor experience: Elemental Energy has been in business since 2008 and has installed nearly 300 hundred in Oregon and internationally. The have used this clamping system before. 
    • Should anything go wrong, in spite of our best efforts, the Mazamas Foundation will have insurance for damage to the structure and for the replacement value of the array.
    The next steps are to sign contracts, complete the detailed design of the array, submit plans to PGE for pre-approval, order materials, and complete installation by the end of February.

    Many thanks to many people for the participation and support along the way.

    • A long list of people in 2008 who contributed so much during the first attempt. You all know who you are.
    • Dan Orzech at Oregon Clean Power Coop for creating the current contracts and identifying our financial partner.
    • David Van’t Hof for legal review.
    • The Foundation Committee for detailed review of the contract, asking all the important questions and providing the loan to the Mazamas.
    • Bob Breivogel, John Rettig, Dan Crisp, Gerry Itkin and Jeff Hawkins for member financial contributions

    Come March your MMC will begin producing half of its annual power usage for the next 25 years—$4,300/year and approximately $130,000 total. And perhaps more importantly, we will be actively living the values we hold dear by protecting the environment we all cherish.

    Traveling Back in Time: An Evening with Doug Robinson

    Maggie Tomberlin operates the Balopticon lantern slide projector while Matthew Brock narrates the slides.
    Photo: Jacob Raab

    by Mathew Brock, Library & Historical Collections Manager

    Brad & Mary French don old-time climbing garb.
    Photo: Jacob Raab
    On Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016 over 60 people gathered to support the Mazama Library & Historical Collections and to hear a presentation by legendary climber Doug Robinson. The evening kicked off with a short reception where attendees viewed summit register boxes, stereographic photos, ice axes, alpenstocks, climbing ropes, and Mazama memorabilia among other artifacts on display. Larger, rarely seen objects exhibited included the bike ridden atop Mt. Hood in 1946, the tent used by Bill Hackett on his K2 attempt in 1960, and a mannequin dressed in typical clothing in use around 1935. Mathew Brock, Mazama Library & Historical Collections Manager gave short tours of the library and archival collections during the reception.

    Doug Couch checks out one of the
    items from the Mazama archives.
    Photo: Jacob Raab
    Executive Director Lee Davis got the program started at 6:30 p.m. by introducing Lowell Skoog, noted author, historian, and head of the Seattle Mountaineers History Committee. In his role as master of ceremonies for the evening, Lowell talked about his interest and research into the history of skiing and mountaineering in the Pacific Northwest. Mathew highlighted some of the current and future initiatives within the Library & Historical Collections. A slideshow about the Mazama-sponsored C.E. Rusk 1910 expedition to Mt. McKinley followed using original glass lantern slides and the Mazamas' own 100-year-old Balopticon lantern slide projector. Library volunteer Maggie Tomberlin assisted with running the slide projector while Mathew read a recounting of the expedition drawn from dispatches published between 1910 and 1911 in the Pacific Monthly magazine.
    Following a dinner of lasagna, salad, and fresh bread, Lowell kicked off the fundraising part of the evening by sharing some insights into the recent collapse of the Mountaineers' library in Seattle and the danger posed by a decline in support. Long-time members Jeff Thomas, Brad French, and Robert Lockerby then addressed the value, importance, and stories contained within the Mazama Library & Historical Collections.

    An attendee reads the information on one of the
    table displays. Photo: Jacob Raab
    The evening ended with a presentation by climbing legend Doug Robinson. Mr. Robinson published an essay in the 1972 Chouinard Equipment Catalog entitled "The Whole Natural Art of Protection" that welcomed in a new era of clean climbing. Besides his early years climbing in Yosemite Valley, Robinson talked about growing up and learning to climb in California and his exploits in ski mountaineering.

    In all the Mazama Library & Historical Collections raised just under $4,000 in sustaining and one-time donations. A hearty thank you to everyone who came and supported. We can not preserve the long and amazing history of the Mazamas without your help. If you were unable to attend this year, we plan on making the event an annual tradition. If you value the Mazama Library & Historical Collections and the ongoing efforts to maintain and preserve the long history of the Mazamas, please consider making a donation today.


    12.02.2016

    Honoring Fred Beckey's Literary Achievements: On Display at The Summit

    A display of Beckey's works at The Summit at Revolution
    Hall on Nov. 19.
    by Mathew Brock, Mazama Library & Historical Archives Manager
    While Fred Beckey may be known by most as the Northwest’s finest and most prolific climber, and a seminal figure in North American mountaineering, focus on his climbing career alone fails to capture his impact on, and contribution, to climbing. Over the course of seven decades, Fred has published a wide range of books, ranging from local and regional climbing guides, and historical treatises, to gripping personal narratives of his climbing adventures. His Cascade climbing alone provides a broad range of information (including history and geology for and astounding range of peaks, paving the way for countless amateur climbers and adventurers.

    Fred Beckey begins his literary career with the Climber’s Guide to the Cascade and Olympic Mountains of Washington, published in 1949 by the American Alpine Club, the first comprehensive guide to Northwest peaks. After approaching the Seattle-based Mountaineers, the Alpine Club agreed to release a few thousand copies for a flat fee. A revised edition, as well as a supplement, followed in 1953, and again in 1960. In 1965 the Mountaineers published Beckey's and Eric Bjornstad’s Guide to Leavenworth Rock Climbing Areas. The Challenge of the North Cascades followed in 1969 and is often praised as his best work. The book chronicles his more than three decades of climbing and exploring the North Cascade peaks and countless first ascents (his bold second ascent of the formidable Mt. Waddington as a teen (“used felt pullovers on tennis shoes”) being notable. Four years later, Beckey published the first volume of the Cascade Alpine Guide, Columbia River to Stevens Pass. Volume Two, Stevens Pass to Rainy Pass followed in 1977, and Volume Three, Rainy Pass to Fraser River, in 1981. The series became known affectionately as the “Beckey Bible,” or simply, the “Beckey.” Now in its third edition, the books remain as popular as ever. Between Vols. One and Two, Beckey published the Darrington & Index Rock Climbing Guide in 1976.

    In 1999 Becky and long-time guide Alex Van Steen published Climbing Mount Rainier, highlighting fifty alternate routes to the summit. In 2003 Beckey finished his most expansive project to date, the 563-page Range of Glaciers. Published by the Oregon Historical Society Press, the books is a comprehensive accounting of the nineteenth-century exploration and survey of the Northern Cascade Range. Beckey traveled widely in researching the book, visiting archives and libraries across the United States and Canada. In 2011 Patagonia Books published Fred Beckey’s 100 Favorite North American Climbs, a coffee-table-sized magnum opus. The book, filled with hand-drawn topos, photographs, narrative description, and plenty of notes, chronicles Beckey’s detailed knowledge of the mountains and climb routes he knows and loves.

    Fred Beckey’s body of literary work is amazing and, unfortunately, often overlooked. His decades- long effort to document and share, in print, his experiences and travels are truly remarkable and represent an absolutely critical contribution to the Northwest climbing and exploration canon.

    11.29.2016

    Of Mountains and Men: An Extraordinary Journey to Explore Why Some People Feel the Irresistible Urge to Climb Mountains

    Book written by Mateo Cabello. Review by Sue Griffith

    Fresh off the Haute Route, Mateo Cabello stumbled upon the Mountaineers’ Cemetery in the garden of Zermatt's St. Mauritius Church. There, he was drawn to a small, bronze plaque commemorating the 1948 deaths of three friends while climbing the Matterhorn. Inexplicably moved by the memorial, Cabello wonders what it is that compels people to climb mountains—particularly where death is imaginable—and why he has never felt a longing to do so. In Of Mountains and Men: An Extraordinary Journey to Explore why Some People Feel the Irresistible Urge to Climb Mountains, Cabello examines the short lives of the three young climbers in an effort to find his answer.

    A political economist by trade and self-described hill-walker, Of Mountains and Men is Cabello’s first book. Because he is not a climber and has never summited a mountain, the author brings an impartial perspective to the task. He digs deep into the archives of the Oxford University Mountaineering Club where the climbers had been members while students, connects with surviving family and friends of the three men, and retraces some of their steps while celebrating his own love of mountains. Cabello interviews accomplished climbers and tackles an impressive list of climbing and mountaineering literature, ranging across time from Leslie Stephen’s The Playground of Europe to Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air. In the process, he examines his motivations for writing the book and for writing it the way he did. Part memoir in this sense, the author reveals his own feelings about climbing while also searching for a more universal truth.

    Rejecting the idea of mountaineers as larger-than-life conquerors, Cabello zeroes in on the human side of climbing. His book is a study not of those single-minded climbers bent on claiming records, but rather the story of a trio of talented young men who shared a love of mountains and were drawn together by their zest for life. Climbing was just one of the things they did, albeit an important one. In that sense, mountaineering may simply be the search for one’s own soul. “Climbers and mountaineers,” Cabello writes, “go to mountains in the hope of measuring themselves against the most powerful rivals that nature may offer. And they do it, not despite the risks that it involves, but because the risks are an inherent part of the joy of being measured.”

    In the end, Cabello never quite finds his answer. He concludes, correctly I believe, that trying to define precisely why people climb is a pointless exercise—the reasons are as diverse as the people who climb. The mountains call to some people while others never hear the call. Cabello is sure about one thing, however. The important story is not about how climbers die but rather how they lived. Climbing is about life.

    Read the book for its survey of mountaineering literature, to help articulate your own reasons for climbing, or to enjoy the story of three inspiring young men who celebrated living by seeking mountain tops.

    Cabello, M. (2016). Of Mountains and Men: An Extraordinary Journey to Explore why Some People Feel the Irresistible Urge to Climb Mountains. United Kingdom: Oxford Alpine Club.

    11.01.2016

    Mazama Awards: Tradition, Recognition, and a New Direction

    by Chris Kruell, Mazama Vice-President

    The Mazamas has a longstanding tradition of recognizing outstanding achievements of our members. Beginning with the Parker Cup in 1925, we have acknowledged these accomplishments, often in conjunction with a dinner held in November or December since 1925.

    In the late 90s and early 00s the Annual Banquet suffered from lack of attendance and it became clear that we needed to try a different approach to the fall gathering to be financially responsible and to maintain relevance in a changing community. The Annual Banquet morphed into the Annual Celebration in 2006, but the event still saw big swings in attendance—high numbers when the guest speaker resonated with members, and extremely low numbers when they did not.

    As a result, in 2013 we adopted a five-year plan to create a new event, the Portland Alpine Festival, in an attempt to combine the celebration of our organization and its achievements with an outreach effort to the greater outdoor recreation community. The Portland Alpine Fest has been a big success in many ways.  Both members and nonmember alike enjoy the clinics, speaker series, and The Summit, and the festival has increased its attendance each year. However, the feedback from the membership was that the Mazama awards were not a good fit at this new event—the awards felt rushed, lost in the shuffle of the larger festival, and awardees did not feel well recognized in this format.

    We hear you and fully agree with this assessment. We have decided to separate our awards event from the Portland Alpine Festival because the achievements of the Mazamas are worthy of a standalone awards ceremony, which will be held in the spring of 2017. This event will recognize our volunteers and awardees in an event held specifically for the Mazamas membership.

    This event will be a way to show our newest members, as well as potential members, the incredible spirit of volunteerism of the Mazamas and their tenacity to tackle big goals.

    By having two large events, an internal Mazama-focused event in the spring and a community-focused event in the fall, we can both celebrate our member achievements and share our love of mountain recreation with the broader community. This will allow us to continue to bring the Mazama message of mountaineering education, activities, and conservation to our community.

    The spring event is in the planning stages and as further details emerge, we will communicate them to you via the Bulletin, email, and social media. Our primary goals are to create an event where members, volunteers, and awardees feel recognized for their accomplishments, an event that is fun and engaging, and that is accessible to all members. We promise it will be one to look forward to!

    10.31.2016

    Prevention & Recovery for Climbers

    Interview with Brad Farra, D.C., CCSP, CSCS. Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician. Owner of Evolution Healthcare & Fitness. By Michael Vincerra.

    How did you became attracted to sports medicine?
    I was in the Navy for 6 1/2 years. I was a helicopter rescue swimmer and EMT, and it definitely spurred my interest in healthcare. I felt like that was definitely a calling for me. I enjoyed every aspect of search and rescue. After I got out of the Navy, I thought "that was the intention the whole time. Let’s get in [the Navy], get an idea of what I might want to do, and earn some college money." Then I started doing my undergraduate degree as pre-med in allopathic medicine, but I quickly realized it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I was irritated when all I ever had was sports injuries, and they had no tools for me. Then somebody gave me some really good advice: "Figure out who you want to work with, what you want to treat, and decide which profession is going to help you get the right toolbox." I quickly realized the Sports Chiropractor has the best toolbox to work on sports injuries and give people tools to take care of themselves.

    Your profile indicates that you specialize in “recovery and prevention strategies.” Mountaineers and climbers encounter all types of injuries. Could you explain a little about your strategies in prevention and what makes them unique?
    Strictly speaking on a preventive basis, if someone comes to me with absolutely no injury, there are a lot of things that we can do to determine risk and vulnerability for injury. We do movement screens, we assess tissue quality, we do orthopedic testing, and a lot of that is looking at movement patterns and figuring where we need to go to minimize risk for injury. For a climber, I’d rather look at the way they squat, the way they move their shoulders, and how they transition from back to neck to shoulders—fundamental movement patterns.

    Why look at the squat?
    We use the way someone squats to determine their risk and vulnerability to injury. For example, a toddler knows exactly how to squat and it’s a perfect squat every time. But as adults in the 21st century, we sit. All the time. Sitting jacks up the post of your chain and the motor pattern, it shortens the hip flexors, and it turns off the glutes and gets our core weak. Eventually that leads to mobility problems in the upper back and the hips, not allowing us to move properly through a squat. The squat tells me about how they’re moving throughout the day. Then that tells me how they’re going to move up on the mountain for 3,000 feet, and where the breakdown is going to be. It’s amazing how much we can gather by watching somebody move and develop a set of corrective exercises.

    Can you explain one of these methods in detail and the benefits it has to your patients?
    “Class 4 therapeutic laser, graston technique, soft tissue manipulation, rehab, and nutrition.” A lot of people think, "I don’t need chiropractics." You’re probably thinking of a chiropractic adjustment or manipulation. Chiropractic is a profession, not a procedure. I’m looking at the research, taking all the best tools, and helping my patients with the problems they come to me with. So take Graston technique, which is basically an instrument- assisted soft-tissue mobilization technique. It does a phenomenal job of breaking up scar tissue, resetting the nervous system, and bringing fresh blood to the area. I see it being effective for my patients day in and day out. With the research they’ve done, using pre- and post-diagnostic ultrasound, they’ve demonstrated scar-tissue adhesions breaking up and lining-up of tissue fibers, which allows tissues to glide and move. 

    How does your chiropractic background inform what you do as a Sports Medicine Physician? 
    Well, that’s interesting. I have a B.S. in Human Biology. I went to a four-year professional school that mirrors medical school. You spend a couple years in basic sciences, you get into clinical sciences, and continue as your start an internship. I’m reading the same sports science research that everybody else is reading. And because of my scope of practice, I’m able to apply all those tools like another practitioner would, like a physical therapist or a physiatrist would. At this point in time, 80% of my practice is extremity sports injuries: ankle, knee, hip, wrist, elbow, and shoulders. 

    What is the most popular injury among climbers?
    Medial and lateral epicondylopathy. Their nicknames are "golf elbow" and "tennis elbow." It tends to be a chronic condition, not an acute condition. I also see a lot of pulley and tendon injuries. On fingers, you have the pulley that holds the tendon down. Sometimes, it’s not just the tendon that gets injured from cramping but also the pulley that holds the tendon down. Sometimes both. I’m able to accelerate the healing process and guide somebody back to sport. That’s really the biggest question: ‘When can I climb again?" If we go back too soon, it’s going to prolong the healing process. Shoulder injuries is the next biggest one. Because the shoulder is such an important part in the way we move. If someone is not moving properly at the shoulder, the elbow takes more of the load, and they end up with epicondilytis. And a lot of the rehab for elbow injuries is shoulder stability and strengthening. So it depends on the specific presentation. 

    Especially for a lot of the Mazama climbers, it’s about their cardiovascular "motor" and that the core is strong, the hips are strong, and we’re able to deliver the climber to the mountain and not get injured. I like to say that the core allowsyou to transfer power to your extremities. Whether you’re a throwing athlete or a climber that needs to carry a 50 lb. pack up the hill, you need to have a strong core so you don’t lose energy.

    Has your own experience as a mountaineer taught you how to prevent sport injuries?
    As a strength coach and a climber, I feel it’s a really helpful tool to speak the language of the climber. So that when they tell me, "I was pulling this Gaston and felt a pinch in my elbow ..." I’m able to talk to a climber about what they’re doing and to help them and guide them back sport.

    I definitely feel like my experience as a climber gives me a better perspective on what a climber is dealing with and their goals. I enjoy working with motivated people who just want to get back out there and do their thing.


    Come and learn from Brad: Training for Alpine Climbing on Nov. 17 at Evolution Healthcare & Fitness.