Sunday, May 8, 2011

Denali Update

So it's now more like 99% for sure that we will be heading to Alaska this coming June and romping around on the highest mountain in North America. We bought our plane ticket to Anchorage, planning to leave on June 14th and returning to Kalispell on July 8th. 
Loading a pack with water and metal weights to get to 50 pounds. 
With that kind of commitment, Dad and I are full-bore with training and preparation for the expedition. We've started walking around the neighborhood and at a local state park with heavy packs on our backs to prep for heavy loads on the mountain. This is in addition to continuing our strength and cardio training. I've been told by several friends that I will be more than prepared for the climb. That makes me feel good about my fitness. However, I want to get to the mountain and feel not only like I can climb the peak in the most efficient manner possible, but feel good enough that I could summit it twice and ski from the top. This keeps me going when I sweating it out in the gym or out on the trail.
Practicing in the basement setting up a z-drag system. I'm shown here
pulling that heavy pack across the floor. 

Since we'll be spending about 3 weeks on a rather large glacier we are practicing our crevasse rescue and glacier travel skills. Our plan is to pull sleds with 60% of our weight and then carry packs with the other 40%. Pulling sleds offer some more logistics and an element of risk if you were to fall into a crevasse, but we're willing to take the slight risk so as to not be carrying 100+ pounds on our backs while on skis. In the case of a crevasse fall and our partner being unable to ascend out of the ice, we plan on setting up a Z-Drag system (3 to 1 pulley system) with a 2 to 1 piggy-back giving us a mechanical advantage of 6 to 1. I haven't spent enough time in the weight room if I can't pull my skinny-winny Dad out of an ice-hole with that kind of added pulling power!
A diagram of the rescue haul system that we plan on using. I can't figure out how to crop it, so it's an awkwardly large image. I hope to fix this in the future. 

With all of that we are still kind of figuring this whole climbing-Denali thing out. There is still a lot to accomplish in a month before we leave with regards to gear purchasing and set-up. But that's part of the fun.
On the back porch, enjoying the intermittent sunshine, and planning some of
the many details of the trip.

Happy Mother's Day!

It felt like summer today. The temperatures were in the mid-60s, the sun was out, and us and our neighbors were out in our respective backyards enjoying it to the fullest. My parents and I had a fantastic Sunday lunch on the back deck for the first time of the year: grilled steaks, strawberry-spinach salad, baked potato, guacamole... Mmm-mmm!
I feel really blessed to have been living at home the past year, where it seems like everyday is Mother's and Father's Day. I hope I never take this time living with some of my best friends for granted and I only feel sorry for my friends who have to settle for a phone call and a Hallmark greeting card.
Not only to my mother, but all the women in my family who will stumble across this post in the future: I love you and am grateful for a socially accepted holiday in which to celebrate you! Have a wonderful Mother's Day.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Fun with Food

Well here's a post to share with you some of my food forays in the past month or so. Not a lot, I need to make it a point to use my camera in the kitchen more...
 Making "Power Oatmeal" for a recent winter camping trip. I added powdered milk, cinnamon, brown sugar, a dash of salt, and some almonds to quick oats. It was delicious and all we had to do was add hot water and enjoy. No mess, no clean up.

An appetizer that I took to a food party recently. Slices of bread from a skinny baguette, dollop of humus, and a half-moon slice of cucumber. Delicious and simple!

I baked some blueberry scones for my mom's birthday last Sunday. Didn't quite get up early enough to serve it to her in bed...but I think she liked it nonetheless. Scones were paired with scrambled eggs and turkey sausage. The scones didn't turn out shaped like scones very well. They were supposed to be the classic wedge shape, but the frozen blueberries the recipe called for were a little freezer burned and mushy, making the batter too runny. Oh well, I'll just have to make them again. Maybe with huckleberries next time? Yum!