Special Education Content: ICS 2014/2015

Learning the ropes.
by Dan Gerbus, ICS Coordinator

This year marks the fifth year I’ll be involved with running ICS, our Intermediate Climbing School, and now I take the helm. This path started innocently enough when I took the course in 2009-2010. I took the class, had ideas on how it could be improved, and noted them in the feedback form. A few weeks later Bob Murphy, 2010-2011 coordinator, asked me to be on his committee for the class. He and his assistant, Darrell Weston, implemented a lot of improvements to the course that year, and one problem courses like ICS run into is maintaining the changes in following years. Their plan to circumvent this issue involved building an infrastructure of future coordinators in the pipeline, and apparently I was part of this plan.

My background is in engineering and engineering education. While finishing my doctorate in mechanical engineering, I taught a course in Mechanics of Materials. It was in that course where I cut my teeth on teaching. Some years later I landed a job at Intel where I find myself essentially teaching
Snow practice.
again. This time it is deeply technical content taught to a worldwide audience, most of whom do not speak English as their primary language. Soon after that I find myself talking anchors with ICS students. Yes, of course with the engineers, but also with the non-engineers. I’m finding all my time spent teaching VP’s, marketing, and non-technical heads abroad about computer specs has helped me realize how to reach those non-engineers in ICS. Looking back it makes sense how I got to this position. Now I am grateful for this opportunity to lead ICS, and I am going to leverage my background to make ICS as robust as it can be.

Through these years in ICS I have seen 158 students graduate. In each class there are about 40 students, one to two tend to not be Mazamas members or haven’t taken BCEP, an average of 37% are women, and about 80 individual volunteer assistants help each year. I’ve conducted several surveys in the past year and am using that data to make incremental improvements to the class. We are going to have more opportunities for students to practice the skills. The cohesiveness between topics will improve with a strong objective for each skill. I am going to provide our volunteer assistants with more support and information as well.

The class will be challenging. We cover advanced belays and rappelling techniques,  movement on rock and Learn more about the class on our website.
Campfires & Potlucks.
snow, rock and snow anchors, crevasse rescue, leadership, avalanche awareness, snow camping, high angle snow,  navigation, and single and multipitch climbing. This merely highlights most of the topics covered.  If you want to know more about the class there will be a virtual information night on our FAQ page covering many of the questions ICS candidates have.

I pledge to provide a solid learning environment that accommodates students of different backgrounds, expertise’s, and experiences. It’s also going to be a blast. A common theme I see in all of my surveys involves the camaraderie students develop while in the class. They meet fellow climbers wanting to climb at similar levels. They find people that can safely push their climbing levels. Some overcome fears and nurture a new confidence in climbing. Others have found themselves yearning to lead and go into our Leadership Development program. If this class sounds like something fits you, go check out our webpage or email me: Mazamas.ics@gmail.com


Special Education Content: BCEP - The Instructor View

BCEP Notes From the Field: Team 12 
Leader:  Amy Mendenhall (co-leading with Lynne Pedersen)

(The July Mazama Bulletin was a special Education Issue. This blog is part of the extended Education content. Read the full Education Issue.)

Pre-BCEP (Basic Climbing Education Program) Team 12 Leaders & Assistants Meeting:  My living room is standing room only, overfilled with smiling people who want to help our team this year. It blows me away that every year we manage to find such wonderful volunteers to give up 6 weekends of their life to help BCEP students learn how to climb. Super grateful.

Photo: Alex Gauthier
First Night of Class:  Get to meet our students tonight and find out how we can help them reach their goals. This is where I’ve met a lot of my future climbing friends.  Most of my closest climbing buddies were students & assistants I met via BCEP classes over the years.  Tonight we start expanding that circle even wider.

First Hike:  We hiked Hamilton Mountain in the gorge. Weather was great.  I got to lead the super sneaky snack team, which left an hour before our students and the rest of our group. We surprised our students on the summit with a fabulous spread, table included, with breakfast treats, coffee, juice and more.  Super fun start to the conditioning hikes.
Photo: Alex Gauthier

Rock Session at the MMC:  My favorite, and most exhausting, night every year in BCEP.  We  take a group of people who still have the price tags hanging on their brand new harnesses and carabiners and webbing ... and turn them into climbers in one night. They transform from someone learning how to put on a harness to belayers, climbers and rappellers in only a few hours. There’s a bit of a swagger when they leave. It’s a life-changing moment for some of them, and they don’t even realize it yet.

Horsethief Butte outdoor rock session:  Everything clicked this weekend. All of our students tackled the routes without ever using the word "no."  When we’d ask, "Why don’t you try this rappel?," every answer was, "Ok."  I’m so proud.  They’re working through fear, really becoming skilled at climbing and their belay technique is solid. I had a moment alone with a few students, all of us staring at Mt. Hood, and they both said they "couldn’t believe they were doing this."  They never thought they’d be climbing on rock outside.  One of them said his new goal was to summit Hood. Now I’m excited about climbing all over again. 
Photo: Alex Gauthier

Snow Session:  Windy and cold start to the day, and zero complaining from our team. As the day progressed, our students learned to self arrest, they roped up and jumped fake crevasses and belayed each other up slopes. It’s a day of playing with sharp objects (ice axe, crampons), and everyone was super safe. Now they know how to climb rock and snow – can’t wait to lead them up some peaks this summer!

Post-BCEP:  Students on summits everywhere! Our students, so far, have made it up Unicorn Peak, Mt. Hood and Mount St. Helens (in dresses on Mother’s Day).  I personally got to lead two of our students to the top of Mt. Hood, which has to be one of the best experiences in climbing that I can have. So satisfying to help expand someone’s idea of what’s possible.

Special Education Content: BCEP - An Assistant's Perspective

Photos and Article by Alex Gauthier

(The July Mazama Bulletin was a special Education Issue. This blog is part of the extended Education content. Read the full Education Issue.)

In 2013 I made a decision to do what I could to commit myself more fully to spending time in the mountains Basic Climbing Education Program was not entered into lightly. It wasn’t the money so much. BCEP’s sticker price is far below that of what a guide or most alpine schools would charge for so much information and training. No, it was definitely the time involved. BCEP has a demanding schedule which for many is enough reason to turn aside. Meeting at least two days a week for two months to get all the education in can be tough. These few excerpts are just a small taste of what the experience is like. Not everyone continues as a student of mountaineering and BCEP isn’t a proving ground so much as a tasting ground. Here’s a little taste from a BCEP volunteer’s perspective. 

Opening Night
The auditorium was nearly full as I hastened in, barely making it by 7 p.m., just like I did every single lecture night when I myself was a BCEP student. Everyone sat in teams and ours was at the front but none of them knew me, and I certainly didn’t know them.

In our breakout session, we all introduced ourselves briefly before getting started with the material. We were to go over climb preparedness. The team leaders, Richard Caldwell and Dick Bronder talked about having your gear ready, being on time, knowing the weather conditions and the million other little things that go into making a successful climb. The students listened dutifully, asking few questions. Everyone seemed a little withdrawn and awkward. We didn’t know one another yet. Time for some ice-breaking, I supposed as Dick motioned me up with my climbing pack. At his request, I had assembled about a 40lb pack. Had I ever carried a 40lb pack on a climb? I suppose I must have. I normally have camera stuff  which is heavy. Add in rope, climbing gear, clothing and the rest and I guess I carried close to 40lbs most of the time, though I never weigh my pack normally.

Dick explained that we like students to increase the weight in their pack during BCEP with each conditioning hike. I chuckled inwardly at how balky some students from my own class the year before had been at that suggestion. Before displaying the items in my pack, I offered to let each student shoulder the pack to get a feel for the weight. It definitely seemed like none had carried a heavy pack before, based on the reactions exhibited in that room.

A yard sale then ensued where I pulled out stuff and explained it’s usage and the reasoning behind it’s presence. I think it’s pretty much a given that when you start showing gear, lots of questions will come out. People obsess over gear, and why not? It’s expensive, cool, and something we each agonize over before putting it in the bag. We dashed through the remaining material for the night with the instructors hopefully leaving our students with a sense of how preparedness not only spares your team inconvenience but hopefully makes us all safer as well.

I hauled myself upright in the back of my darkened Subaru. Switching my headlamp on, I swept it’s beam over the jumble of gear jammed in around my sleeping bag. Time to get up if I wanted hot coffee. Peering through the fogged windows, I could make out Ron, one of our BCEP students starting to stir at the other end of the parking lot. Only the two of us decided to sleep at the Dog Mountain trailhead for an alpine start. Obviously, an alpine start isn’t necessary for Dog but I had been charged with leading this hike and introducing the students to the misery of alpine starts by team leader, Dick Bronder. I couldn’t wait to see how popular this would make me with the new recruits.

I strolled up to the assembled group sipping at the remainder of my java. They stood in a circle, headlamps blazing in the cool wet morning air. The mood felt decidedly sober. I cracked a joke about how much fun alpine starts are. I think possibly there might have been a courtesy chuckle from one person. Maybe. I realized getting stuck with the alpine start assignment was possibly a way for the team leaders to maintain popularity and shove us assistants squarely in the path of miserable angry students. After a few reflective moments, we shouldered packs and began to move through the damp and dark.

Horse Thief
Brigitte gritted her teeth in concentration. Her eyes filled with equal parts determination and fear. This was one of her first ever rock climbs and it wasn’t that wimpy for a newbie, in hiking boots. I judged it a modest 5.6 at most. To Brigitte that probably mattered little. I listened to a cheer squad of students and instructors on the ground spraying beta at her. I remained mostly silent. She seemed like the sort that would appreciate encouragement but little beta.

Her feet found tenuous purchase as her fat toed
hikers slipped out of cracks and refused to smear even the grippiest rock. She gained a ledge below the crux and looked with dismay before stubbornly attacking it. It wasn’t easy. She seemed a bit gripped. Over failure or falling, I was unsure. Probably both. I indicated moves that seemed reasonable and she did her best to try my tips out. As she complained of tired arms and legs, I felt her pain but realized that I’m really no stronger of a climber than the first day I tried it out. Just a better climber, than I was. Though I knew she was tired, I was also careful to point out that her fatigue was a symptom of her inexperience NOT her physical capacity.

Then she was at the anchor. I exhaled as she slapped her palms onto the ledge and clipped in safe and sound. Had I been holding my breath?  Yes.

Snow Weekend
We all mobbed the parking lot at Timberline. The day was off to a pretty stunning beginning. Low clouds hung over the valley but sun washed hopefully over the snow around us. We assistants hurriedly put on our gear, grabbed avalanche probes, shovels and bailed out of the parking lot and into the snow as the students began to mill about behind us. Hurriedly we dug a series of pits to demonstrate snow layers and teach them about avalanche conditions. Just as we finished and the students arrived with Richard and Dick, we took off again, down the gully and up the other side. We hastily began to build up some glissade paths for them to try out later on. Then we set set up some snow anchors. By afternoon, I was appreciating the instructors from the year before when I myself was a student, that much more. Lot’s of work, snow day is! We all had a good laugh testing out various “glissade diaper” designs and got some good pictures of our students learning to self-arrest. As the day wore on, the clouds rose up ominously from the valley and had enveloped the mountain as we tossed our gear back in cars. When we pointed ourselves downhill towards the Mazama Lodge, the first fat flakes of an epic snow storm began to drift down around us.

Morning greeted us with at least 16 inches of fresh and more still coming. The grey sky coughed up inch after inch of snow as we decided what to do. We had planned a trip on crampons up to Palmer but with this snow and 20mph winds, we figured it was asking a bit too much of our new students. Instead, we opted to rope up and do all our remaining skill demonstrations on the low angle terrain of Summit Ski area which had closed for the season. We were spared the wind but by the end of a several hours with feet immersed in deep snow and a lot of moving slowly and standing in one place, I wondered if I wouldn’t have preferred the cardio of the hike instead!

Graduation Day
I remembered well my own final day of BCEP. Commuting each lecture night from Sandy all the way to Jackson Middle School, I was invariably there just in time for things to kick off and on test night, I was late. Nothing is worse than be under scrutiny when you’re rushed and scattered. I had heard that nobody ever failed the BCEP exam but that didn’t ease the stress. BECP testing, I learned this time around is fairly forgiving because of the way it’s put together. I compare it to the military system of go and no-go scoring with people getting a second chance to complete a task after first botching it. The entire night, I only gave one person a second time go and at first I felt bad doing so but then I remembered a lesson I learned long ago which is that often failure is the best of teachers. The knowledge granted by failure sticks much better than knowledge granted by success. As I watched that student trundle off to her next testing station, I suddenly felt good about making her repeat the task. She owned that knowledge and she would not forget.

We packed up the rope and made our way off to our agreed upon location for our celebratory dinner and anxiously awaited our own students. As they filed in, with smiles and a new found ease about them, I felt proud of them. We’d helped make climbers out of these people. We gave them the skills they needed to launch their own climbing careers but better than that, we gave them a thirst for mountains and the confidence to drink deeply from that well.

Special Education Content: Ski Mountaineering: An Avenue of Adventures & Experiences

By Wei Chiang

(The July Mazama Bulletin was a special Education Issue. This blog is part of the extended Education content. Read the full Education Issue.)

The author enjoying nice turns down Mt. Adams.
After attending a Mazama Discovery Night in 2011, I discovered that the Mazamas went beyond climbing and had a ski mountaineering program. My original plan was to take a weekend avalanche course to get started into backcountry skiing but the Ski Mountaineering program went beyond learning about avalanche safety. It covered the whole package of avalanche safety, nutrition, fitness, and planning, which provided a great foundation to develop backcountry skills. The added bonus of the Mazamas is the rich network of like-minded folks who share similar backgrounds and experience.

My first year in the course was terrific. I attended every class session, field session, after session ski runs, and whatever I could get my hands on to maximize my course experience. The human factor is an important element which makes socialization an integral part to safety. I was able to develop a network of peers to enjoy the backcountry with and made a lot of new friends.

After taking the course the first year, I had the opportunity to volunteer as an assistant the following year.
Taking what I’ve learned and helping new students is a great way to continuously sharpen my backcountry skills. I get to share my personal experiences like losing my lunch on a hard hike and why it happened, to help understand the true value of a balanced nutrition. I also get to network with a new group of like-minded folks who also enjoys a good after tour brew. Helping new students teaches you to reflect on the knowledge you have and what you still need to learn.

Karl Furlong on a trip to Aneroid Mountain in the Wallows.
Photo: Nick Johansen
What historically began as a telemark-oriented sport has expanded with advances in alpine touring bindings. There are a lot of wonderful options now expanding backcountry exploration to more varieties of skillsets. I started out as a snowboarder and moved from one extreme of little mobility to the most mobility by learning how to telemark ski five years ago. Back in the 90s telemark was ubiquitous with the backcountry so it made the most sense. These days, I’ve learned that I should have invested heavily in Dynafit stock because they are taking over the backcountry with super light gear. The majority of backcountry gear these days, from largest to smallest are AT gear, then split-boards, and then telemark. I can see why telemark turns down the mountain are almost as laborious as skinning up. But the telemark turn is what makes you keep coming back for more. No matter what gear you use, going down is always fun!

A group of us recently went on a trip up to the false summit of Mt. Adams. Although the trip didn’t go exactly as planned, the outcome of it was exactly the reason why I joined the Mazamas. We were a like-minded group of outdoor enthusiasts who were willing to hike uphill for 6 hours to enjoy a 1 hour ride down a mountain. We were flexible with our trip. We loved talking the outdoors and past experiences. But the best feeling is enjoying a cold beverage with your crew after a day of touring. Always plan ahead for where to go for beer and food afterwards. Then enjoy the photos that take you back to flying down velvet snow on a beautiful clear day.


We Were Mazamas: A Profile of Don Eastman

Don Eastman. Photo: Mazama Archives.
by Bill Mosser   

Published in the June 2014 Bulletin. We were lucky enough to have Don Eastman, Priscilla Eastman, and author Bill Mosser drop by the MMC on June 23, 2014.

Although I am not a member of the Mazamas and I’m not a mountain climber, I know one. His name is Don Eastman and he married my mother, Priscilla Mosser, in 1987, about the same time he stopped climbing mountains. Now, at 91, he is more likely to take the elevator than the stairs. Last year, Don and Priscilla moved to a senior living community and I helped them distill their three-bedroom house and garage into a one-bedroom apartment. While going through Don’s things I discovered that he gave a lot of his time to serving organizations and that the Mazamas was at the top of the list.

Don served on the Mazama Executive Council from 1962 to 1966 and again in 1975. He served on the Budget Committee in 1965 and 1966, the Finance Committee in 1962 and the Long Range Planning Committee in 1965 and 1966. He was on the Climbing Committee in 1959, 1967–1969, and chaired that committee in 1969. In 1962, Don was the club vice-president, treasurer in 1963 and president in 1964. In addition to these commitments, he led Mazama climbs, and climbed his way to the top of over 300 peaks. I don’t know how he found time for his dental practice.

Serendipity has a way of taking you down a path you never could have envisioned. In 1954, while hiking and fishing at Green Lake, Don and Jim Craig met a Mazama group climbing South Sister and Broken Top. Later, when the two arrived home, they made a quick trip to the top of the Pacific Building in downtown Portland where the Mazamas office was located at the time. They spoke to Don Onthank, known as “Mr. Mazama,” and signed up for a Mt. Hood climb with Phyllis Neuberger as leader. During the climb snow conditions were such that they did a sitting glissade down to Silcox Hut. They had become Mazamas! Don’s first wife Sibyl supported his passion and joined him when she could. Many times in his journals he noted, after a climb was logged, “I owe Sibyl.”

A Mazama party on the Ptarmigan Traverse. Don is second
from the front. Photo: Mazama Archives
Don’s daughter Kim Henson remembers her father as a man who loved the outdoors, especially the
mountains, and shared this love with his family. Kim told me, “So many of my best childhood memories involve the Mazamas.” When Kim was too small to make a climb, Sibyl and Marilyn Craig and their small children would hold down the fort at camp while Jim Craig and Don climbed. By the age of 8, Kim found herself roped to her father and making her first climb. When the time came for Kim to make her official Mazama climb up Broken Top, she was 11 years old and one climb away from getting her 10 peak award. Don took her out of school for a day and they climbed Mt. Thielsen so she was able to receive the award at that year’s annual banquet.

Don enjoyed leading climbs and derived great pleasure from the detailed planning. He was a cautious leader and instilled trust in those who climbed with him. The people he met climbing, skiing and serving on committees he considered some of his best friends.

Vera Dafoe met Don when she took the 1959 Mazama Basic Climbing School. She recounted a memorable (non-Mazama) trip to the Swiss Alps in 1974 with her husband Carmie, Don and Sibyl Eastman, Jim and Marilyn Craig, and Clint and Dorothy Harrington.

Don and Jim planned the trip for six people and purchased two Volkswagen Beetles—one orange and one yellow—to be picked up in Brussels and used for traveling in Europe, then shipped home. At the last minute, the party grew to eight, and you can imagine how crowded they were with their luggage, duffel bags, climbing gear, ice axes, and packs!
Don Eastman. Photo: Mazama Archives.

The primary goal of the trip was to hike the historic Haute Route of the Swiss Alps with an overnight side trip into Italy. Sibyl and Marilyn dropped the climbers off at the trailhead and drove the cars back to Zermatt. The first night the climbers stopped at the quaint Chanrion Hutte and the second night at the larger Vignetta Hutte. The first two days were sunny, but by the afternoon of the third day they were socked in.

Our schedule wouldn’t allow us to get stranded at a high hut, so we eliminated the Italian detour and added to our day three what would have been our fourth trekking day,” Vera recalls. “By the time darkness fell we were worn out and still struggling through glacier rock debris under the west side of the Matterhorn. We could see the lights of our immediate goal, the Schoenbiel Hutte, half a mile away. That’s when we gave up to reality and made an unplanned, unpleasant bivouac. No dinner, no sleeping bags. The clouds lifted and a very cold, clear night took over. Still, we had survived and we had done the Haute Route!

Bill Mosser, Don Eastman, and Priscilla
Eastman at the MMC (June 23, 2014)
Prior to this trip, Don and Jim had climbed the Matterhorn by the Hornli Ridge route. This time, they went over the pass to Italy to engage guides and climb the longer, more difficult south-side route. When they reached the Italian summit, the weather indicated it would be better to descend the shorter north-side route. So Don and Jim climbed a Matterhorn traverse. Carmie and Vera climbed the Matterhorn from Zermatt the same day—Swiss Liberation Day—Aug. 1. There were fireworks and celebrations in the town that evening.
Jim Craig became Don’s best friend.

“For over 30 years, Don Eastman and I have not only been friends, we have entrusted each other with our lives by sharing a climbing rope while summiting glacial mountains,” Jim wrote.

In 1955, when not very skilled at climbing, Don and Jim were supposed to meet the climb leader Bill Oberteuffer and climbing party at their bivouac on Glacier Peak. They took the wrong ridge and ended up, at dark, across the valley, far from the party’s campfire. They failed to catch the party the next morning. However, they did find a parachute cord left for them to belay up the glacier and around the rock pinnacle near the top, arriving at the summit just as the party was leaving. “Obie” wasn’t too happy with them.

Climbing presents many challenges. One, which could have been fatal, occurred during Don’s last climb on Mt. Rainier via the Nisqually Ice Falls. Just below the last ice cliff, before the summit snowfield, the party stopped for lunch. While they were sitting there, a portion of the wall caved in and large blocks of ice fell down among the climbers, crushing packs and creating pandemonium. Not wanting to alarm his parents, Don never mentioned this, but he did write it up and his parents, unfortunately, managed to read about it!
In a 2007 interview with Tim Kaye, Don describes his climb up the Devil’s Tower in Wyoming with an experienced guide:

What really made the climb possible was that we could get in the gully between ridges and find enough crevasses or cracks and footholds to make our way up through there. But then we had to cross over to get a little bit to the east because we were blocked and couldn’t go any further. My guide said, ’Follow me,’ and so we went across a ledge and got over about 30 feet, when the ledge ended, and I looked straight down hundreds of feet. 

Over on the other side of the gap instead of a ledge being there, there was a kind of a wall with a groove in it ... and up above, there was a ledge. We had to jump (from) that four inch wide ledge we were standing on and grab that upper one with our hands, swing our feet over there against that rock wall and then pull ourselves up.

My guide had done it quite a few times so he knew how to do it and went over and climbed up on a ledge right above this crack. Then it was my turn.  

I didn’t think too much of that! I’ve climbed lots of mountains but I didn’t like that at all. He had a belay on me and so I had to go to that same place and jump across that thirty inch gap to that rock and grab the top with my hands. 

I did, but I couldn’t find any place to put my feet to help lift myself up onto that ledge and I couldn’t do it with only my hands. So the guide gave me a little pull with the rope and I made it. Then, coming down, we just rappelled right over that.

Don Eastman display at the MMC. 
Some of the last major climbs Don and Jim made were in 1984. They summited the Gross Glockner, the highest peak in Austria, the Triglav, the highest peak in the former Yugoslavia and Mt. Olympus, the highest peak in Greece.

Don’s love of the natural world and sharing that love with others continued after he stopped climbing mountains. He began his second professional career as a photographer after retiring from his dental practice.

My mother, Priscilla Mosser, met widowed Don Eastman on a Native Plant Society hike in the Columbia River Gorge, where they were both photographing wildflowers. Don was determined to capture as many plants on film as possible and, eventually, my mother joined him in that hunt. Their search resulted in the publication of Don’s book, Rare and Endangered Plants of Oregon, in 1990. They traveled all over the world photographing nature, cities and people, and made a career selling these images to publishers of catalogs, magazines, postcards and travel guides. They retired in 2008, but that didn't keep Don inside. He enjoyed going on long walks almost every day until last year, and his generous spirit and love of the outdoors remain undiminished.


Youth Program Development Intern

Hi everyone! My name is Natasha Mayestha and I’m the new Mazama Youth Program Development Intern for the summer. I’m a graduate student at Portland State University in the Public Administration program, with a specialization in nonprofit management. I recently completed all of the coursework and I’m ready to apply the skills and knowledge I learned to my work at the Mazamas.

I'm originally from Jakarta, Indonesia. I travelled to Portland two years ago to pursue my master’s degree. My primary focus is in primary education and youth development, and I previously worked for a nonprofit that focused on these two issues. Since watching The Inconvenient Truth, I have had a special interest in environmental issues as well. It inspired me to do volunteer work in the community to raise awareness about waste management during college.

In the past year, I have learned about the importance of outdoor experience and activities for youth through the work of MESD Outdoor School. Many research studies have shown that children who spend more time doing outdoor activities are healthier and stronger than those who don’t. Coming from a metropolitan city like Jakarta, I’m fascinated with the numbers of outdoor schools and programs for youth in Oregon. This shows a strong commitment from the public sector to educate children about the environment from a very young age. This is why I’m very excited to work with the Mazamas to help engage more kids with outdoor activities.

I also hope to be more active and to enjoy Oregon’s beautiful nature during my time here. I look forward to having the best summer experience with the Mazamas!


Dog Mountain, Mt. Defiance & Angel's Rest

by Regis Krug

On Saturday June 7, I am treated to fantastic orange and red hues in the predawn sky as I head east in Columbia River Gorge to attempt the Triple-D hike: Dog, Defiance, and Devils Rest. It’s an epic hike to beat all hikes in the northwest.

I shake the remainder of the cobwebs from my uncaffeinated brain after several deer bolt across the road just before the Dog Mountain trailhead, nearly causing me to crash. Shortly after sunrise, I am off and making good time going up the first set of switchbacks. Through the scrub oaks, I can see Mt. Defiance across the river and hear it calling my name. At the split, I take the “More Difficult” trail because I am interested in the shortest time possible to the summit and back. By the time the trails join again, I am engulfed in clouds swirling through the trees. I break out above timberline just below Puppy Dog, with the fields of Balsam Root disappearing into the mist.
Summit of Dog Mountain.

I quickly climb the remaining quarter mile to the barely visible true summit of Dog. With one down and two to go, I grab a snack and head back down the same way I came up – the hard way.

By 8:15 I am at the car and on my way back across the Columbia River via the Bridge of the Gods. Going east on I-84, it isn't long until I reach the Starvation Creek trailhead exit, change into a dry shirt, and add more water, food, Gatorade, and bear spray to my pack for the next stage of this adventure. 

I also find Mazama Climb Leader Andrew Bodien at the Starvation Creek trailhead with a group that he was taking up Defiance. They leave 10 minutes ahead of me and I follow about a quarter mile behind for the first couple of miles, making sure to avoid the rampant poison oak that borders the lower section of the trail. In a little over a mile and a half, I am on a very narrow ridge 1,200 feet directly above the trailhead with amazing views of the Columbia River and Wind Mountain; clouds are still hiding the summit of Dog Mountain.

The easy part isover. Turning south, I begin the grueling climb up the next 3,000 feet as the trail follows the steep, rocky spine of the densely forested Starvation Ridge. At 2,400 feet, I catch a glimpse of Mount St. Helens to the northwest and my goal, Mt. Defiance to the south. I am only halfway there. The summit is another 2,500 feet and 2½ miles away. My right calf and hamstring are cramping now and I wonder about the (in)sanity of this plan. I can hear Andrew and his group just above me on the trail, which gives me some incentive to push on at least to the saddle at about 3,300 feet. Just before the talus slope I encounter a deer on the trail that seems totally unafraid of me, letting me pass within about 15 feet. I finish slogging up to the saddle where I am rewarded with great views of Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainier to the north. At the saddle, I also keep an eye out for bears, but am glad that I don't need my bear spray today - I had encountered bears the last two times that I was up here. 
Christmas on Defiance.

A small Douglas fir tree decorated with Christmas ornaments cheers me up and I slowly make my way up to Warren Lake, where I spend half an hour for lunch and take my first real break since hitting the Dog Mountain trail at sunrise. 

My right leg is still cramping up and I contemplate throwing in the towel at this point. I’ve already climbed and descended 3,000 feet, then climbed another 3,300 feet, and it is only 1:00 p.m.

If nothing else, I have to reach the Starvation Ridge/Mt. Defiance trail junction about half a mile further and 500 feet above the lake. Turning around at Warren Lake means going back down Starvation Ridge, which is not fun. The Mt. Defiance trail is the lesser of two very nasty options when descending Mt. Defiance. From the junction, it is only ¾ of a mile to the summit with 700 feet of elevation gain – not even a climb to the top of Multnomah Falls. So, it’s onward, upward, and one foot above the other. 

Mt. Defiance Summit
Just below the Defiance summit, I meet Andrew and his hiking group coming down. They must have spent quite a bit of time on the summit because I’ve been moving pretty slowly for the last hour. It is nice to know that I am close. I finally reach the second trail and road junction, which means it is only a tenth of a mile to the summit. It is a welcome sight when I soon spy the communications towers. Summit number 2 is now under my boots. Double-D - 15 miles and 8,000 feet so far!

After spending a few short minutes enjoying the view of Mt. Hood and grabbing a snack, I begin the grueling descent to the trailhead. The Mt. Defiance trail is better than the Starvation Ridge trail, but not by much. Without taking any breaks, I break out of the trees 2½ hours later and just a half a mile from the trailhead. A lone Osprey overhead keeps me company as I hike toward Lancaster Falls and indulge myself with a long, delicious drink of cold water and enjoy the fresh, cool air. By the time I get to Hole in the Wall Falls, I catch up to Andrew and his group. I must have been flying down the trail, which seems impossible if you've ever actually hiked it.

By the time I get back to the car, it is 6 p.m. I contemplate whether there will be enough time to go after leg 3 of this epic. It will be well after 7 by the time I drive to the trailhead and sunset is before 9. It’s five miles or at least 2 hours of hiking to Devil's Rest, but I decide to give it a shot. I head east to the next exit on I-84, then west to the Rooster Rock exit, then east again to Bridal Veil. After refilling my water, Gatorade, and snacks, I pull my hiking boots on over my still sweat-soaked socks and up the trail I go. My muscles are aching and my legs feel like lead. However, it is onward, upward, and one foot in front of the other. By 1,200 feet though, I have a splitting headache, am sweating buckets and feeling nauseated. I don't think I am dehydrated – I’d consumed 8 liters of water and Gatorade throughout the day - I am just exhausted and hungry. But I push on and reach Angel’s Rest just before the sun drops below the horizon. The only other hiker has just headed down. At this point, I am running on empty and I don't relish the thought of navigating the unmarked trails up to Devil’s Rest and back in the dark. Except for the 2½ mile return hike, I decide that this is the end of the trail for me today.

Sunset from Angel's Rest.
I thoroughly enjoy the solitude at Angel's Rest, relaxing and watching the sun slowly sink below the western hills. It is such a fitting end to a day that had begun long before sunrise. I have hiked twenty five miles with more than 9,500 feet of elevation gain in a single day. I don't get any blisters or suffer any injuries, but I've lost 5 pounds. I am completely exhausted and I know I am going to be pretty sore the next day. I stayed well hydrated throughout the day, but now realize that for this type of epic; you need more than one high carb meal. The next time, I will start several days in advance.

Could I have hiked another 2½ miles? Maybe. Making it through this epic hike is as much mental as it is physical, and I wasn’t fully prepared mentally. If I had been, I would have done Devil's Rest regardless of the time or energy required. However, there will be a next time.

During the hour long descent by headlamp to the car, I shared the dark trail with salamanders, scorpions, and bats darting in and out of the light. I’m home by 11, and pass out on the bed within minutes.

That’s a hike!


Mazamas in Yosemite: Volunteer Work & Alpine Rock

Cathedral Peak. Photo: Ben Doyle
John Muir once said, “The mountains are calling and I must go.” 

If you too hear that beckoning sound, then sign up today for a chance to be part of a camping, climbing, and stewardship event in Yosemite’s High Country of Tuolumne Meadows between August 30 to September 7, 2014.

The Mazamas have partnered with the Yosemite Climber Steward program this year to offer our members a chance to give back to wilderness and have some fun in greatest national park on Earth!  We have 15 camping spots available for volunteers between August 30 and September 7 (8 days) in exchange for four days of trail maintenance or related work projects.

Camping will be in the Tuolumne Meadows Campground (click here for more camping info) and trail work will be directed by the Yosemite Climber Steward Leaders. Volunteers must be physically fit and able to work for 4 days at an elevation of 8,000 feet.    

More info about the Yosemite Climber Program:  a grant-funded, volunteer-fueled, climbing-based conservation group in Yosemite National Park. The Program performs a variety of duties, ranging from trail work to climbing patrols on Grade V, El Cap routes. With your help, the Stewards can get a lot of work done and during down time you can jam, stem, and smear your way up some of the world's classic alpine rock climbs!

Sign up today! (This opportunity for Mazama members only. Interested in joining? Learn more here.)

Contact: Adam Baylor, Mazamas Stewardship & Communication Manager, adam@mazamas.org

Climb Leader Profile: Eileen Kiely

Residence: Portland, Ore.

Hometown: Rochester, New York.

When and how did you become involved with the Mazamas? A friend suggested we take Ski Mountaineering together. I liked the people, so I stayed.

What are your favorite climbs? As I rapped off Thielsen last year I SWORE it was the very last time, but dang! I put it on the schedule again for 2014.

What climbs/hikes are you most looking forward to this year? I’m going to share Baker and Rainier with Bruce Yatvin, and take some time for a few private climbs.

Best climbing memory: I recently climbed Kilimanjaro with several other Mazamas and friends. I am hoping to forget the last three hours up the Western Breach, but I will never forget the inside of the crater. The glaciers emerged from pure snow. We made first tracks as we walked up and touched them. I’ll never see the like again. The summit was anti-climactic.

Future climbing goals? Olympus has skunked me twice. Greg Willmarth is helping me plan a 2016 rematch.

Favorite piece of gear you won’t leave home without: My High Gear altimeter carabiner watch. It has BIG numbers.

Guiding principle/philosophy: There WILL be fun here.

Favorite leader treat? Home-baked goods.

Most influential book: Colin Fletcher’s The Complete Walker. I was 14.

Favorite quote: “I do NOT have to make this up.”

Words that best describe you: Most people remember my laugh.

Most treasured possessions: It must be the grand piano I barely play, because I’ve been moving it all over the world for 30 years.

Pet peeves: Cliques.

Person(s) most interested in meeting: Dr. Samuel Beckett.

Favorite vacation spot: The next one.

When you aren’t on the mountain, where are people likely to find you? Sunriver.

Hobbies other than hiking/climbing: Knitting, singing in Cathedral Choir.

Occupation: Purchasing manager for a global manufacturer.

In 2014 you led your second, all-women Basic Climbing Education Program (BCEP) group. Please tell us about the evolution of the group, the role you see it playing in the Mazamas, how it differs from your own BCEP experience, any unique challenges encountered by the group, and what you see as the future of the all-women BCEP group: I did not take BCEP. Right after 9/11, I realized my life at 43 had become too small, so I shook things up by joining an all-women’s group that trained together to do Mount St. Helens. I wouldn’t have done it if I thought I had to keep up with a bunch of young guys competing to go the fastest. Training was hard, but I got great advice from a female guide: “The summit never seems to get any closer; remember to look back and see how far you’ve come.”

I deliberately avoided the Mazamas because they had a rep among my climbing and hiking friends for being waaay Rambo. I learned by climbing with guides, which is very different than a Mazama climb. Then I took the Ski Mountaineering class, and I met great leaders who definitely did not fit that stereotype. Rather than take BCEP, I applied directly to ICS, and then to LD, with a goal to encourage women, middle-aged adults and other non-traditional types to try climbing.

Many women learn by connecting their emotions to the task, and they want to express their feelings. Some men, in turn, get weirded out by that, and it can be truly demoralizing when people are working at the edge of their comfort zones. I wanted to offer women a place where they could do totally badass stuff, and be OK sharing an emotional reaction. They also quickly realize there is no big strong man to carry the rope for them—pick it up! That goes a long way toward building the confidence we want our teammates to have.
In 2013, I finally got to lead a BCEP team, with Patrice Cook as my co-leader and mentor. Since an all-women’s team was good for me, I made the proposal to the Education committee and they supported giving it a try. We started with five women last year, and a dozen women volunteered as instructors. The students are all still friends, still climbing (on coed teams), are helping this year’s class and a couple are applying to ICS this fall.

In 2014 we had more women request the class than we could accept. But the point isn’t to get more women to request the team; it’s that the Mazamas want ALL of our BCEP grads to climb well, and stay active in the organization. If this team can give a group of students a stronger foundation to start their adventure with the Mazamas, then I’d like to keep leading it.


The Sunshine After ICS

by Michael Zasadzien

Our route.
What do I know about the Sunshine Route on Hood? I dunno, isn't it supposed to be a simple walk-up?

This was the question that kept running through my head as we're doing our 3rd high-angle snow-pitch, after crossing a treacherous bergschrund, only after crossing a glacier field...

So, here's a little bit of backstory. What can I tell you about ICS (Mazama Intermediate Climbing School)? It's long. Like REALLY long. And there are days where you just feel completely broken. You've been standing in knee-deep snow for the last two hours. It's been raining ice, and it's cold, and you're absolutely soaked. You look at your watch, and you realize you still have 6 more hours of this misery of diving into the snow with your axe, getting more wet and more cold, before you can go back to the lodge. And in case you think that's the end of it, you're sorely mistaken, since you have to go back into these conditions the next day...not to mention the next week....for a few more months.
Nightime navigation.

This is what I'd like to call the dark times of ICS. The seemingly never-ending struggles with low morale while learning important mountaineering techniques over and over again, weekend after weekend in what just always seemed to be the worst of weather. The lectures begin to feel long, the weekends even longer. You literally begin to run out of time in taking care of yourself. You come home late Sunday night. You unpack your gear Monday night to dry. You go to lecture Tuesday. You do your laundry Wednesday and pick up any new gear you need. You pack and cook Thursday. And you head back out Friday just to do it all over again. You're just about at your mental, physical, and emotional limit of what you consider to be 'fun' while volunteering your own time for half a year to become a stronger climber.

But then there's poor Gary Ballou. While we're buried up to our necks in commitment for this class, we had
Audrey self-belays down to the Elliot.
a leader who, on top of all that, had to organize this cat-herd. Always somehow enthusiastic, and never letting us give-up, even when we really really wanted to, he was a positive leader and had tons of great assistants that pushed us hard to really drive some key concepts into our heads. They made us master important skills until we could, as some Mazamas love to say: "Do it in the dark, in a cold shower, upside down, backwards, one-handed, with thick gloves on..." etc. [I swear this list keeps growing everytime I hear it]. You're also constantly building great camaraderie with other classmates, gaining an enormous network of cool climbing buddies for life, and somehow managing to get through the class hopefully unscathed.

So, here we are, four foxy 2014 ICS grads, just finished up with helping BCEP classes, free from all this torment! We were eager to climb any mountain presented with crazy-tough challenges that truly put all our skills to the test and generally ready to conquer the world!!
Starting to get dicey.

Or....we can do what we're told is a nice and refreshing, easy but long day with just a couple of little-bitty technical spots. As Jason Wagner, Jesse Applegate, Audrey Brown, and I found out the fun way, it was a far more committing than that.

We had gear for what we thought was just going to be a simple glacier crossing down below, and maybe a little bit of steeper snow up above; possibly even a little step up over a bergschrund. Five pickets should take care of the possible crevasse navigation issues if we run into any, a pair of ice screws for the bergschrund, and an extra ice tool so that we can take pictures and look badass for mom at the top and truly mostly just for show.

Well, I can't tell you how happy I am we brought all those things.

First of our major challenges that night was getting down to the Elliot glacier: it wasn't too shabby, we engaged ourselves in crampon french-technique while traversing for a bit, and we're there. As far as crossing the Elliot: we roped up just-in-case, found two hairline crevasses during our crossing, and figured we brought our pickets for naught. "Oh well', I thought, "guess we got past the anticlimactic 'hard part'; thanks ICS...for making us a bunch of over-prepared Mazombies..."
Audrey belays Jesse across the bergschrund.

So ... here's where I bite my tongue. A thousand feet later, we quickly found ourselves in a precarious area where things got pretty [d]icy. Not to mention that if anyone were to slip ... well, it'd be a long ride down. But hey, really it's no bigs, we got these pickets, we got the skills, and we're already on ropes; which made for a quick travelling team with solid snow protection and we kept going up ... thanks ICS.

Now we get to this "tiny step-up" of a bergschrund that I've heard so much about. Well, lets put it this way: when you're looking at a crack in the snow that appears infinitely deep and goes 10-feet-wide directly into the mountain underneath that ledge you were going to step up onto, you re-evalute your life and what you're getting yourself into. As frightening as it was conceptually, it was by no means a deal-breaker for us; for we had the training, and we had the gear. We placed a couple of bomber pickets in the snow for backup and up and over all four of us go. Thanks ICS.

High angle snow on the way up to Cathedral Ridge.
So now's the walk-up, right? WRONG. From the moment we stepped over, we found ourselves on high-angle snow for the next 600 ft, that with any bad luck, we go barreling back down a mountain for thousands of feet, if not directly into the 'schrund - not sure which is worse. The clouds have completely enveloped us. These momentary white-out conditions were actually quite positive for us, as it gave us a chance to rest. Since you couldn't see anything - best not to move - and it conveniently played mental-pro and masked us from a dangerous fall zone down below.

At that very moment we realized we were a well-oiled machine prepped for these kinds of situations. We all had the skills and judgement we needed to make sound decisions based on constantly changing variables. We could climb up and over on any line we wanted. We had the gear we needed and the experience necessary that made all of this not that big of a deal. And we all knew that each one of us could be solidly relied-upon to carry through efficiently and safely in these conditions. From an earlier Mazama article that we were quoting at that very moment, we knew that there was no turning back, that "the only way is through," and that we could do it right. Thanks ICS!
The summit! Jesse, Audrey and Jason.

After four protected belayed pitches using various types of rock/snow anchors and quite a bit time requiring intensive focus, the sun broke out of the clouds right as we gained the Cathedral Ridge, and we FINALLY hit that "simple walk-up" with a blue-bird sky. What a poetic way to enjoy a Hood summit: all by ourselves up top  after conquering a whole side of a mountain without seeing a single soul. A first experience for all of us on the north side, and a first successful ascent of Hood altogether for Audrey. It was awesome!!

A super-huge THANK YOU goes out to Gary and all of ICS, both assistants and fellow students, for making this last year fantastic, and for making us all dangerously good out in the field. All that time spent; in the cold, in the wet snow, in the darkness, has totally paid off.

For only after the night comes the sunshine.


Names They Are a-Changin'!

The Adventurous Young Mazamas (AYM) is excited to announce that we’ve changed our name to the 20s & 30s Mazamas. The group formed in the late 1990s to meet the needs of 20- and 30-somethings in the Mazamas and promote participation, membership, and leadership of a sometimes under-represented age-group. We also offer events unique from any other Mazamas group which recently include a ramble to music history spots in Portland, a beginner's workshop for women new to bouldering, car-camping trips to JohnDay and the Wallowas, and monthly Pub Nights. The 20s & 30s Mazamas also organize and host 'Climb Night', monthly indoor rock-climbing from October to May for the entire Mazamas community. All our activities continue to always welcome participants of all ages.

When the committee first formed, we called ourselves the "Under 40s." We'd like to recapture the clarity of our original names as many people have naturally assumed that the Adventurous Young Mazamas is a youth or teen group. The growth of the Mazama Families group and the future expansion of teen programs with the Mazamas has made a name change a necessity. We hope the Mazamas can be more accessible to new participants and prospective members by making it easy to find a group of peers, activities targeted to a particular audience, and a lifetime of fun through a progression of offerings from Mazama Families, Teen/Explorer, 20s & 30s Mazamas, and Classic Mazamas.

While our name has changed for the sake of clarity, our philosophy remains the same: 20s & 30s Mazamas offers activities targeted to those in their 20s and 30s andanyone young at heart. All activities are open to anyone, regardless of age. So please join us at one of our upcoming events, or come hike the trails with us. Activities are posted on the website or you can find us on Facebook or Meetup.

Leki Trekking Pole Demo Program

Thanks to a generous donation from Leki, we have just launched a new Gear Demo Program. We have 30 pairs of Leki Corklite trekking poles for you to take for a spin, 20 unisex and 10 women-specific.

There are two demo options—10 days or 1 month. The 1 month option is only available for members.
Costs: 10 days—$2 members/$5 nonmembers. One month—$5 members only.

Reserve online or just come in to the MMC. Then head for the hills and see what you think of Leki’s lightweight trekking pole. Even better, take a photo of yourself in action and post it to our Facebook page and tag Mazamas and Leki.

This is a new program for the Mazamas so please tell us what you think.


Accident on Zebra Zion: Fall on Morning Glory Wall

You can just spot the climbers on a ledge right in the middle of Morning Glory Wall. Photo: Vaqas Malik.

by Sarah Bradham

It was Sunday, May 4. The Advanced Rock class had been in full swing for two months. This would be the second weekend the students would spend at Smith Rock State Park honing their lead-climbing skills. The day dawned sunny and clear and Forrest Koran, an AR student, headed out to the Morning Glory wall with Noon Pokaratsiri, his instructor for the day.

The plan was to climb Zebra Zion (the entire route is called Zion, combining Zebra and Lion’s Chair, but it is routinely referred to as Zebra Zion—our own Jeff Thomas holds the first ascents of these routes), a very popular and well-known multi-pitch trad route. There are a few variations, and Forrest chose the 5.6 traverse sport route to start. They were feeling lucky that the area wasn’t overly crowded, even though it was typically a pretty popular one.

The first two pitches were uneventful. The second pitch is considered the crux, with a 5.10 roof right off the belay, then a nice 5.8 hand-to-fist crack.

As they moved up to pitch 3, Forrest and Noon, in a bit of foreshadowing, talked about a rescue “scenario” they had run through in the classroom portion of AR. It was based on the 3rd pitch of this route—a very run-out knobby traverse. They both agreed that executing a rescue here would not be very fun.

Making their way up to pitch 4 involved climbing up a slab to a bolted anchor. Forrest set out on the final pitch, leading onto a traverse leftwards from the anchor, before the route would turn upward once again.
The first part of the pitch seemed heavily chalked up and very polished. He was feeling tentative at this point. He had gotten in two pieces. The first, a black Alien, and the second, two lobes of a size .3 BD x4. He chose to protect with small cams over nuts out of concern over dislodging gear in a pendulum fall. The first piece was okay. The second piece was psych pro at best. He was 15 feet from his belayer and had just pulled up onto a ledge to stand on.

After the fall. Waiting for rescue. Photo: Vaqas Malik.
He doesn’t know what happened next, but he remembers falling. And hitting the slab below. The pieces had pulled. He was hanging on the low-angle slab just below the bolt anchor where he started pitch four. He started conversing with Noon. He was in an out. His mind was a little muddled. He didn’t remember losing consciousness but Noon, a trauma nurse (just the kind of person you want to have on hand in an accident), told him he had been unresponsive for five minutes. He dangled 30 feet below Noon. When the accident happened, she had the presence of mind to lock off the belay while finding her phone and calling 911. Rescue was activated. Now came the waiting game.

Forrest doesn't remember having pain. There was a lot of blood coming from his elbow but he wasn’t particularly concerned about that. It was his ankle that he was worried about. Although it didn’t hurt, it looked swollen and seemed to be at an odd angle. He was a little nervous about his spine. Had he hit hard enough to do damage?

Behind the scenes the rescue mechanism was in action. A hasty team of two rescuers raced up Cocaine Gully and one rapped down from the top. Once on scene, the rescuer strapped Forrest’s neck into a C-collar and stayed with him for the duration of the rescue.

Forrest began to experience pain from his harness. He had been hanging for two hours before the first rescuer was on scene. Even though he was on a relatively low angle wall, all his weight was still on the harness. The leg loops were cutting into his legs and there was a significant amount of pressure around his waist. The rescuer helped him get a foot stirrup setup so he could stand up on his good leg and take some pressure off his harness. This was an incredible relief.

Meanwhile, the larger rescue party was heading up Misery Ridge. Once at the top of the pitch they drilled several bolts and set up a 7-1 haul system and, using a 600-foot rope, the extrication from the wall began. They lowered down a litter, packaged Forrest inside, strapped him down and then lowered the litter to the base of the wall.

The CAMP helmet cracked, just as it should, on impact.
It will be retired as will the cams.
From the time of the accident to the time he was at the base of the wall was five hours.

Now came the evac debate—ground or helicopter? While he had been unresponsive for five minutes, since coming to he was cognizant of his surroundings and the situation. Forrest didn’t think his injuries were that severe. He was concerned about the cost of a helicopter ride. He advocated for a ground rescue.

However, in the end it was decided to fly him out. Six hours after the accident he was at St. Charles Hospital in Bend. He was evaluated, run through CT scans and x-rays, bandaged up and released within four hours of arriving at the hospital.

Forrest spent two weeks on crutches with a sprained ankle and had a bandaged elbow. He suffered a minor concussion from the fall. His CAMP helmet cracked upon impact and protected his head. It will be retired, along with the Alien and x4 cam that popped when he fell.

Upon reviewing the accident he’s still not completely sure what went wrong. Looking back he feels as though he had spent very little time climbing outside in the months leading up to AR, instead spending his time during the winter months in the rock gym. He was not as experienced in the outdoors as he was indoors and his judgement for evaluating routes and hazards had yet to be fully honed.

He had been tentative setting out on the fourth pitch traverse. He remembers the route looked more polished than he was comfortable with. He had a very difficult time finding cam placements and he knew that his pieces weren’t good. They were better than nothing, but he wasn’t confident in them. Properly extended, he thinks that passive gear would likely have been more secure. When he pulled up on the ledge it’s possible that his foot slipped on the polished rock and then he was in free fall.

His takeaways from the event are that he wants to step back a bit in grade and get more experience outdoors. He knows he’s a strong climber. He’ll get out to Smith again starting in June. He’ll tackle some 5.7s and 5.8s. He’ll follow. He’ll learn more, honing not only his technical skills but his comfort on rock.
He has plans this summer to get some time in at Leavenworth before attempting the East Ridge of Forbidden Peak. If that goes well, he hopes to tackle the Torment-Forbidden traverse in late season. And there’s a rock route on Mt. Stuart that is calling his name.

As Forrest looks towards his future plans and goals he said, “some things are more dangerous than others, and I’ll be thinking harder about what’s worth doing for the position or the quality of climbing.. I’ll also be more willing to punt leads to a more experienced partner when I’m not confident that I can protect adequately.”