Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Mount Yale and Mount Shavano, Fall 14ers

What: Climbed Mount Yale 14,196' and Mount Shavano 14,229'
When Oct 8-9, 2017
Who: Lu and myself
Where: Sawatch Range, Buena Vista and Poncha Springs, CO.
Breweries: Eddyline Brewing, Elevation Beer Co. , and Living the Dream Brewery in Littleton.
Distillery: Deerhammer
Let's start with most important details...the beer.

Eddyline Brewery in Buena Vista: Crank Yanker IPA, Epic Day Double IPA, Barrel Aged Java Stout, Pumpkin Patch Ale

Elevation Beer Co. in Poncha Springs: First Cast IPA, Oil Man Imperial Stout aged in Bourban Barrel, False Summit Quadrupel Ale aged in Bourban Barrel, Little Mo' Porter

Living the Dream Brewery in Littleton: Helluva Caucasian Stout, Ice Climber DIPA, IPA Your Brains Out Triple IPA

Deerhammer Distillery: Single malt whiskey.

My favorite beer of the weekend goes to Elevation Beer Co. False Summit. Surprisingly my best beer, especially since I dont typically enjoy Belgians.
Enjoyed the last possible weekend of color in Colorado. We got here in time to enjoy fall...especially since it registered 97 degrees in TX this past weekend. Overnight temps at camp hovered above freezing...daytime temps below treeline reached 60s. Below treeline, we could not ask for a better fall weekend...
 As for the high country...it was bluebird skies but the wind was howling. Both days, the winds gusted 30/40 mphs...sustained winds in the 20s??? It was a beating....and made going up the saddles and ridge-lines more difficult. With windchill...temps up top felt like it was in the teens.
Mount Yale 14,196' Southwest slopes
Distance: 9.5 miles RT
Elevation gain: 4300'
Start time: 7:10 a.m.
Summit: 11:20 a.m.
Back to TH: 3:00 p.m.
Total time. 7 hr 50 min.
Mount Shavano 14,229' East Slopes
Distance: 9.25 miles
Elevation gain: 4600'
Start time: 6:00 a.m.
Summit: 10:20 a.m.
Back to TH: 2:00 p.m.
Total time. 8 hrs
***Glissaded 900' 'down the Angel of Shavano...then were off trail for 1/2 mile, bushwhacking until regain the traill at first talus filed off the trail.***

 
Overall, fun weekend with great friend. I wanted to get out of Texas...basically still Summer...and go to the mountains. It's fall in CO, temps are crisp and cool...and being outside feeds my spirit.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Grand Teton, Owen-Spalding Route

Who: Cydney Truby, Billie Truby, Chad Truby (or Brad Ruby), Jeremy Hendrix, and myself
What: Climb the Grand via the Owen-Spalding route
When: Entered Aug 6, exited Aug 7
Where: Grand Teton National Park, WY
Why: For future reference...will climb this mountain again.
My heart and Trip Report (forgive my writing style...remember...ESL)

Oh, the Grand Teton! We've been planning to climb this mountain since December...and in many ways, I've been preparing for it since I started climbing many years ago. We started planning by securing permits 6 months ago...As climbers, there is an option to secure a backcountry camp as long as they reserve in advance. There are several camping zones up the mountain, but they are limited and the park rangers only issue so many sites per day. Obviously, the pro to securing a site is your guaranteed a place to stay on the mountain...the con is you're basically stuck with the dates you chose months in advance. Fortunately, there is another option to secure sites...walk in permits. Basically, you can wait in line 24 hours before you enter the mountain at the Jenny Lake Ranger Station and hope there is availability on the mountain.  On a Saturday morning, Chad and I arrived at the Jenny Lake Ranger Station at 7:00 a.m. and were the 6th group in line! We were feeling really good about our chances...
As we grew closer to our original permitted dates, the weather forecast had shifted from perfect conditions to snow and thunderstorms the two days we were suppose to be on the mountain. As a group, we wanted to mitigate as many variables as possible on this route...which included minimizing bad weather days. So we decided on moving up the dates as long as we secured a new permit. The rangers arrived near 8:00 a.m., opened the doors to sleepy climbers with good mountain humor, and gave us information on permits, camp openings and conditions. As we waited in line...I was going over our plans...over and over an over again...wrestling with ideas. Trying to look at different ways to optimize our time and ensure better climbing conditions. Then slowly, the thought came...YES! I looked over at Chad, with crazy eyes and a look of excitement...and said to him, "Ok...hold on...I have another idea!" Chad replies, "Oh man, I know that look...this must be good." At this point, with all the weather predictions all over the place, we had come up with different ways up the mountain...never really finding a plan that satisfied us. With the "new" plan, we were going to enter on Sunday...hopefully go for the Summit on Monday, and hike out the same day. Forecast called for snow up high on Monday morning and that made us nervous. So I shared my other new "new" plan with Chad...Why not go bag this mountain on the same day? Forecast for Sunday...all day...is perfect. Nothing moves in until Monday...We'll go for the summit the day we enter...and come back down to basecamp, stay the night on the mountain, and hike out the next morning. With this new plan, all of our plans of fully enjoying the Grand stayed in tact. We still get to climb the mountain, in great conditions, and sleep on the mountain...perfect. Chad immediately agreed...loved the plan and his excitement grew. After securing a permit in the upper moraines (not the lower saddle like originally planned), the ranger validated our plans...telling us both, that he prefers to climb the mountain this way! We left the ranger station with a new "new" plan...but more importantly,  a newfound confidence was restored.
Sunday, August 6
We left from Star Valley, WY (South of Alpine, WY) by 3:15 a.m...ish and arrived at our trailhead (TH) a few minutes before 5:00 a.m. Our TH start to climb the Grand via Owens-Spalding route is to enter through the Lupine Meadows TH.  It is just south of Jenny Lake and sits right below 12,326' Teewinot Mountain. Lupine Meadows starting elevation is officially 6,732'. So...

Lupine Meadows TH: 6,732'
Lower Saddle: 11,692'...7 miles from TH
Grand Teton Summit: 13,775'...roughly 9 miles from TH

Elevation gain: 7,043'
total elevation gain/loss: 14,086'
Round trip mileage: roughly 14...or 15, 16...or a lot of miles. Hard to measure a mile on this mountain.. ;) Measuring distance is like cooking for me...exact measurements is an inexact science.
Calorie deficit: - a lot of thousands
headaches: a few
breathing: sucked
pain: everywhere there are joints and muscles.

Started on the trail at 5:00 a.m....the first hour or so...we knocked out the first two miles up the mountain. The first mile was in the dark, headlamps on...hiking South, relatively level...only gaining 300-400' or so. Right before the first mile, the trail sharply turn right (West) and starts to gain elevation. At mile 1.7ish...we crossed the first junction sign (hikers left to Bradley Lake), we continued straight and up hill on the same trail, and started the long switchbacks below treeline. We gained 1000' of elevation between mile 2 and 3...note, there is another junction at 2.8 miles. This is the Amphitheater Lake junction. To continue on route (towards Garnet Canyon and Lower Saddle)...stay left...to go to Amphitheater Lake, take a right. There are trail signs at the junction.
(View of Bradley Lake from switchbacks)
***
As we were making our way up the initial switchbacks, at 8000'...The sun rose over the East, and lit up the mountainside. I was anchoring the group...slowly making my way up the switchbacks. Jeremy and Billie were flying up the mountain. At times, I lost sight of them...as they powered their way up. I purposely moved at a controlled, slower pace. I worked on my breathing, and tried my best to dial in my heart rate and pulse. I knew I had a very long day ahead, and through experience on previous trips...I needed to conserve every bit of energy. It also helped to have Cydney in front of me. She seemed to stop and enjoy every detail of the mountain. The color of the sky, the flowers on the hillside, the reflections of the pines on the lake below...She's an artist. And she sees the world around her as a living canvas. Most people see Red, Yellow, and Blue...She sees Garnet, Crimson, and Ruby...She sees Canary, Gold, and Daffodil...She sees Azure, Zaffre, and Indigo. Cydney sees more than the narrow trail we're on...she sees the beautiful masterpiece around. With each step, there are new sights, new sounds, and new smells...each one of these new senses takes time to appreciate. Artists live in creation...they are imaginative, wanderers, and can get often lost in the moment. Having her next to me, was good for my artist soul. Throughout the morning, my pace was purposefully slow...but this allowed for greater appreciation of the Art around me. The lodgepole pines...with their evergreens setting the backdrop for the early morning climb...the leaf of the "Quakies" (Aspen trees) dancing in mid air...the abundance of wildflowers...lavendar, magenta, and bumblebee yellow streaking the hillside. On this day, paintbrush flowers lined the trail for miles which I imagined them painting the way for us...and as I moved through the exhibit...I pictured myself moving through a gallery of impressionism...Creation and I...one and the same! ...Moments of rest, resulted in looking up at the main attraction...the beautiful sculpted stone of the Teton Range. With Teewinot Mountain hovering above...I enjoyed each, slow, beautiful step of the morning...happily, just another brushstroke on the mountain.
***
At about mile 3 and near 2000' of elevation gain, we traversed the final switchback out of the forest canopy and turned West towards Garnett Canyon. You can hear Garnett Creek cascading from above, get your first views of Nez Perce above to the South and the Middle Teton centered in the middle of the canyon. The Middle Teton has a distinct 800' vertical black dike...that is as straight as an arrow from the mouth of the canyon. As we continued between mile 3 and 4...the elevation relatively mellows out. We only gain another 500' of elevation in this next mile...
For a brief period, the trail disappears into the first boulder field. We enter the boulder field and we did our best to find the path of least resistance. After scrambling through several notches and large boulders, we regained the trail on the backside...
As you can see in the image above, the trail enters the boulder field and exits on the other side...I'm sure there is a correct route through...but really, as long as a climber stays near the creek...and finds the path of least resistance, a climber will find their way back on trail.
The trail basically meanders alongside the creek for the next mile through the Meadows camping zone to the base of Spalding Falls.
In addition, from the first boulder field to the top of the Spalding Waterfall, there is a continuous water source. There is not a need to haul extra water on this climb...Some climbers feel comfortable drinking straight from the source...water cascading down from the glaciers above. Others (us) feel more comfortable making sure the water is still filtered and sanitized. Either way, the water is cold, fantastic, and some of the best drinking water you will ever...ever drink!
(Chad, Billie, and Cydney on switchbacks above the Meadows)
***
At, in around 9200'...something magical...someplace magical exists. The Meadows...tucked, and guarded fiercely by Nez Perce is a wonderful, lovely, meadow of glee and joy. Sounds goofy, but the meadow is a place of living waters. It appears to sit flat between the canyon, below the falls...receiving nothing but the good tidings of the mountain. The roaring creek...fills this place with life. The canyon is green...wildflowers are in full bloom...the morning sun kisses you with it's warmth. Any weariness from the hike before, is briefly lost in this space. You know...you know above this place, is stark, cold, uninviting, and potentially dangerous. But in this exact moment...the mountain is safe...the mountain is your friend...it offers hope, it offers encouragement...it gives you strength. Look around here...it's inviting, it's alive, it's beautiful...and it gives you a sense of direction. You can see where you came from...and where you need to go. It gives you direction...and it validates your travels. It is a long lost friend, just like one I recently, relatively met,...Chad is a constant Meadows in our lives. My only regret in our friendship, is that I did not meet him sooner. On the mountain, he is a constant source of optimism, encouragement, and affirmation. He speaks life into you...motivates you...and gives you sense of direction. Amazingly enough, he is even better off of the mountain. When you find a place like the Meadows...or a friend like Chad...you have found a place of refuge. In life, you have to go back to these incredible, magical, life giving places...it's what keeps you moving up the mountain. It keeps you going...head held high...strong, equipped, and full of might...although you know your headed up steeper, harsher, and harder ground...your friend is there, right next to you...smiling alongside the hurt.
***
After climbers ascend from the meadows...climbers are at first, lulled by Spalding Falls. It's beautiful...as it cascades down from above...But the start of the next set of switchbacks begins right at the base of these falls. The first few switchbacks...sure, you are caught gazing at the falls...maybe take a few pictures...enjoy the sights, the sounds of the water...but it quickly dissipates. At least, for me...it did. As I made my way up the trail...switchback, after switchback...slowing climbing above and out of sight of the falls...towards Petzolt Caves...I slowly started to hate my body. 
Between mile 4 and 5, there are a million...yes, a million switchbacks. I know, I counted. It was slow going...and what made matters worse...we somehow lost the trail, and got off trail above the caves. We found a climber's trail...and made our way up near Jackson Hole Mountain Guide's basecamp. We had a permit to camp at the Upper Moraines camping zone...around 10,600'...the JHMG camp is at 11,000'. Somehow, we managed to continue up loose, rotten, shitty talus 400' above where we needed to be. 400 feet may not sound like much...or it might...but when it's loose talus...it's the worst. Even Chad can't cheer you up! You want to give up...I knew we went to high once I found their basecamp. So I surveyed below and found a perfect rock ring several hundred feet below...it was near a water source...so it made sense. 
As you can see in the image above...we set up camp to the right of the streak (water flow). From above, we thought we were in the upper moraine camp zone. Turns out, we were maybe a half a football field away from the zone...Oops. After 5 1/2 hours on trail...we finally arrived to at basecamp. Started at 5 a.m. and arrived at 10:30 a.m. We were spent. We set up camp, ate lunch...and took a very long nap...our goal was to summit later in the day, so we decided to recover for a couple of hours before we pushed for the summit in the afternoon. We rested...and rested...but my heart rate was up and I could not relieve my anxiousness enough to nap. The possibility of standing on top of the Grand Teton excited me too much...and the exertion of the day kept me from rest. I could feel my heart pounding away as I laid in my tent...excitement? elevated rate from overwork? nervousness? doubt? Who knows...but I was ready. 
(basecamp, near the entrance of upper moraines...but note, not in the upper moraines...my bad)
We started to move about and around camp at 1:30-2:00 p.m. We all felt a little better, and got our daypacks and climbing gear ready for the rest of the afternoon. As we started to make our way onto the trail...100' from camp, a Jenny Lake Ranger stopped me...and informed me that we were not allowed to SET UP CAMP where we SET UP CAMP! WTH! At this time...we did not realize we were outside of the camping zone. He informed me that it was just ahead...I couldn't...I mean...I couldn't believe the error on my part, and I couldn't begin to think of the logistics...to stall our afternoon plans to move camp. It would most definitely derail our goal to summit TODAY! It was too much...at that moment..too much. I asked the Ranger if we could move camp when we returned...He looked at his watch, and said, "you guys are cutting it close. Tell you what...just collapse the tents, return tonight...sleep, and collapse the tents early in the morning. Beat the rush in the morning..." I happily promised we would...and whoever you are...THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Your grace gave us the opportunity we needed! Thank you. 
From basecamp to the lower saddle is almost another mile...the lower saddle is unofficially 6 or 7 miles...who knows at this point. What you do know...is that your stupid tired. You gain about 5000' of elevation gain from the TH, and you know your still 2000' from the summit. At the base of the lower saddle, to the right of the Middle Teton Glacier, are the fixed ropes. Every year, guides go up and set up the ropes for weary climbers...However, I feel the ropes make the section look and feel harder...Maybe the ropes help when the rock is icy or wet...but when dry...the section of rock is class 3 terrain. Majority of the climbing above is class 3...even 4...even 5...even harder. When we arrived, there was a guided group of three...and they were roping up, using top-down belay to safely protect climbers. But they were also very slow...so I managed to climb to the left of them, safely climbing on class 3 terrain. So if caught in line...and your competent, confident, and willing...just scramble up on the left side.

We left basecamp...near 10,700'...towards the lower saddle, officially listed at 11,692'. So nearly another 1000' of climbing to another milestone on our way up the Grand. But this stretch of climbing seemed longer...seemed more strained if you will. For us, we were somewhere between hour 10 and 11...and the group was no longer moving together as before. I kept looking back, but I would lose sight of them. Jeremy and I waited for them at the base of the fixed ropes...and as they arrived, Billie expressed concerned about her health...feeling sharp pains in her chest. This alarmed us all...Jeremy checked her vitals, and everything check out...considering the circumstances. Circumstances being...at altitude, exhaustion, pain, dehydrated, hungry, low sugar...battling doubt...battling fears...battling yourself and the mountain. At this point in the day...everything your body is telling you is to "STOP! TURN AROUND...YOU ARE NOT SAFE!" These internal alarms are often accurate...matter of fact, they are accurate. Most normal people...they listen to their bodies...they know when to stop...it's a survival mechanism. But us climbers...I would argue that we are not normal...in the moment, our prize is often bigger than ourselves. And this can get us into trouble...and many of climbers have suffered much because of this lie. 
***
Finally...around 3:30 p.m., we finally stood on the lower saddle...5000' into our day...10 1/2 hours later...we finally got to see what's on the other side of the mountain! It was amazing! From the saddle, Idaho was a sight for sore eyes...but the remaining 2000' of the Grand seemed more like a burden than anything else...we looked up, amazed...but unsure. The saddle was also one of the most amazing moments I have ever had on a mountain...or in my life. As we regrouped...and took our steps towards the remaining 2000'...something was not right. I looked back, and the Truby's were huddled together within minutes of the trek up. Billie sat down...Chad, gently holding her...Cydney right by their side. The weight of this moment...heavier than the mountain itself. Jeremy and I dropped down, knowing in our hearts what decision was made, to check on Billie... Billie, in courageous and brave tears...ended her climb. Chad, with supportive and loving tears...chose to stay by his best-friend, his partner, his wife. Cydney...following in the only way a Truby would...lovingly, graciously denying herself of the day ahead...knowing her mom is the rock that she'll cling on to. This was a demonstration of love...support...selflessness...This was an expression of true love. The Truby's laid claim on the Grand Teton...and cried out in love:..."Family is the prize!". In this exact moment...at 11,692'...their summit was not above...No! Their summit was right here...right now...in arms of each other, loving and serving one another well. A miracle was born...as it often does when love collides as massive rock-slides in our hearts...Weakness transformed into STRENGTH...The Truby's did what only a few have ever done in the history of mountaineering...they truly conquered the mountain.

Both Chad and Billie gave us their blessing and support to continue on without them. We hugged them, and thanked them for this moment...for this day...for this gift. I held Billie...and wept. I knew how much this meant...I knew the preparation, the training, the effort that went into this moment...but I also know her heart. Temporarily, it was broken. Broken hearts have cracks in them...which allow disappointment and pain to seep in. Broken hearts are shards of remorse, doubt, and sadness. They often cut into our worth...our abilities...and the truth of who we are.

I know Chad, and as a loving masonry worker of Billie's heart...he immediately went to work, removing the mortar of doubt...and mending with truth. As Jeremy and I started making our way towards the Black Dike, I would turn around and look at Billie...and think of her, thank her. She knew our pace, and knew we wouldn't be off the upper sections if she continued on. For Jeremy and I to have a chance to summit, we would have to go on without her. This is an incredible gift, and an amazing act of selflessness. Billie also gave me another incredible gift...the gift of Partnership with her and her family. In climbing...in mountaineering...there are people you climb with and then there are Partners. People you trust with your life. It's when true friendship, family, and adventure collide...Billie, is my climbing partner. She demonstrated every quality (and more) I ever could want...She is strong! She perseveres! She fights! She is willing! She pushes! It's all there...but more importantly...and what I have most respect for...She is vulnerable! She is transparent! She is honest! She is loving! She is kind! She is supportive! And in her weakness...she becomes stronger! I trust Billie. Billie is a rock. And her partnership is solid foundation...The climbs, the summits, the adventures...they will come and go. Family is the prize.
***
From the Lower Saddle, there are a few trails up...we chose to go through the black dike, few class 3 moves on the dike which puts a climber at the base of the Needle. A climber could choose to stay left of the black dike if wanted. There are several climber's trail that all funnel a climber up to the West side of the Needle. Continue to climb up, staying near the base of the needle...Jeremy and I saw several climbers descending the Owen-Spalding Couloir...which is located to climber's left of the needle. We knew to stay on the needle if we waned to go through the "Eye of the Needle."
(Jeremy, just above the eye of the needle)
In the image above...follow the yellow line/arrows, it's our climb of the the needle. We hugged the base until we scrambled up to the "eye"...Jeremy went behind the "eye" and went through the small opening, I chose to climb (orange dotted lines) up to the opening using a nice hand jam crack. Climbers then traverse across the exposed slabs and climb over 5) "Almost Belly roll"...class 3/4 rock. I climbed over it...Jeremy climbed under it. Continue on class 3 trail, left of the central rib. At this point, the rock rib blocks the views of the upper saddle. So Jeremy and I chose to traverse into the OS Couloir. Although the couloir is class 2...it's total crap. It was the worst choss on the mountain. Each step up..resulted in few inches of sliding down...I hated everything and the upper saddle never seemed to get closer. From the lower saddle to the upper saddle...it's over 1000' of climbing. For us, the majority of the climb after the "eye of the needle" was in complete choss. WE WILL NOT MAKE THIS MISTAKE AGAIN! Stay on the rib as high as possible. The rock quality is much better. On our descent, we stayed on the rib...and it made for a more enjoyable down climb. At around 5:30 p.m...we finally made it to the upper saddle...and it was beautiful!!!!!!!!!! We took a 15 minute break, racked up...roped up...and started off the first pitch of the OS route...
 The upper pitches of the OS route are more technical than the previous 6500' we climbed up...we brought up a small rack...few cams, few nuts...two ropes. However, it turns out that all Jeremy and I needed to climb this mountain is:

1) #.4 cam and a medium size nut with runner for first belay anchor...(image above)
2) Double length runner with biner to sling the "Belly Roll" (image above)


3) a hand size cam (#2) to protect the traverse on the "belly crawl"


4) and another hand size (#2) piece that fits in a perfect crack in the second chimney (image above) as an anchor...
5) and 1 70 M rope to rap Sargeant's Chimney and the second rap station (overhang).

-the next 3 pitches, we did not use any gear...
2) second chimney (20') one class 5 move (crux of the entire climb in my opinion)
3) Owen Chiney (100') one-two class 5 moves
4) Sargeant's (100)' one-two class 5 moves
-the majority of the climbing on all 4 pitches is class 3 moves, occasional class 4...Pitch 1 has major exposure...2000' of exposure...but the remaining pitches had very minimal exposure...if any.

***I will not give TR of final 4 pitches...since it is not needed for us on future climbs. There is plenty of information on Wyoming Whiskey Blogspot to fill in gaps. Basically, everything panned out as expected. All major landmarks were easy to find from upper saddle

1) the rap station above and overhang
2) start of OS route...with belly crawl boulder perched on small ledge
3) the doube chimneys at the end of traverse
4) the Owen Chimey
5) Catwalk
6) Sargeants
7) 3 stooges
8) Upper slabs with crack

it's all there...in order...perfect. Have this dialed in...
 
At 6:55 p.m....we finally summited the Grand Teton! Almost 13 hours later...we were standing on this beautiful mountain...I prayed...cried...hugged...and my heart was full...will be full for a lifetime. I have climbed a mountain I had been dreaming about for years...As we hung out for a few minutes...enjoying the views...we knew it was a long way down, and the sun was quickly setting out West.
We made our way down to the top of Sargeant's chimney...rapped down, to the top of the "main rap" area...There was a Canadian group ahead of us...and there 70m touched the upper saddle ground...they safely got down. We then threw our 70m down...IT DID NOT touch down...however, the ropes did touch down to climber's left...Next time we climb this, I am going to suggest we all go in on one rope...invest in an 80m skinny lightweight rope...just haul one rope up this mountain. Safely have more than enough to rap down...and then we cut the rope in half, use it for cragging. Just a thought...
We rapped down to upper saddle, quickly gathered our packs and started making our way down to the lower saddle. This time, we stayed on the rib and avoided the couloir. This made for a faster descent on more solid rock. We made it back to the lower saddle by 9 p.m....somehow it took us two hours to get down from the top. I know we took some time on the summit...and I know we were backed up at both rap stations by 4 climbers...but I didn't think it would take two hours. It took another 30 minutes to get back down to basecamp...Chad waiting for us, headlamp on...like a lighthouse in the distance...welcoming us home. 9:30 p.m....some 15 1/2 hours later...we were finally back at basecamp...safe.
The next morning, we collapsed our tents as promised...enjoyed coffee and breakfast...and still managed to get off trail a few times...Note to self...it is easy to get off trail in the moraines...everything looks like a trail. Once we found it...we never lost track again. 4 hours later...we were back at the TH...
(Jeremy, myself, Cydney, Billie, Chad)
...happy, safe and sound.

***
Things I would do different on OS route:

1) Pay closer attention to trails in the lower and upper moraines...
2) Try to secure a camping spot in the upper saddle
3) Weather permitting...Day 1: approach to lower saddle  Day 2: summit
4) above lower saddle, stay on the central rib all the way to upper saddle
5) Take one rope
6) take even less trad gear...not necessary

***

Again, thank you Truby's...this gift to us...I don't know, I will never be able to top this. You have given us so much...I am forever grateful.

Jeremy...thank you for taking control, leadership of this trip. You are a constant...our partnership continues to grow...we continue to learn...get better, and stronger as we get older...and it's nice knowing...
... I will always be the better looking half in our partnership.

Sarah...your love and support, your prayers...they are always with me on the mountain. Without them, I would not go...thank you! I love you. 

***Special thanks to the Porter's...Bill and Jan. They invited us in their home...immediately made us feel like family. You are too kind and we thank you so much for having us...We look forward to meeting you again. You graciously gave us your home...loved and served us well. Thank you***

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park
Truby and Pasquel Family
Visited "Old Faithful", geysers, Grand Prismatic Spring, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, and Yellowstone Lake
Spent majority of the day driving from one site to the next...
Now, I am going to admit...Yellowstone was never on my radar as a "must go" place to visit. Sure, I knew one day I will make it there...after all, it is THE National Park, right? Too my pleasure, this place blew me away. I love Yellowstone National Park! The place is enormous! Wonderful and colorful! It can get busy, but it is worth the sights. I have never seen colors like this in nature...I have never traveled miles and miles over a caldera...or Super Volcano...You can sense the power of this place...Yellowstone is alive! And you are reminded of this sleepy giant everywhere you go. It's breathing...it's slowly breathing...and then it wakes up from time to time to blow it's nose! Then goes back to sleep...but man, one day...one day in the hopeful distant millennia, this place will blow. Until then, go find yourself in this place. Go find creation. Go play in Creation. Go meet the Creator. Go find a place, anyplace here...and take a deep breath, feel the vibration below your feet, feel the raw power of beautiful waterfalls rattle your bones, or follow the veins of water, in forms of creeks, rivers, and lakes in this Yellowstone body. It gives life to the fish...to the birds...to the wolves...to the bison...to the bears...and to any person who comes by...then stop and say hello to the one Who welcomes you here. He's here, showing you a piece of perfection.