Saturday, July 17, 2010

Jefferson Park

On May 17, Mark and I went on a hike toward Jefferson Park, a really beautiful area on the North/Northwest side of Mt. Jefferson. We hiked through there on the PCT, and are excited that there is a trail nearby that will allow us to access it. Everything you read about the hike we did says that the trail is open mid-July to October, so we knew May 17 was really early, but we gave it a try and we were stopped in our tracks by a huge wall of snow that we didn't have the time to really traverse safely. Last week we gave it a go again, and this time, since it truly is mid-July, we had much better luck and were able to hike the full 5.1 miles (10.2 mile round-trip) back into Jefferson Park. Here are a few comparison pictures:

These weren't taken in the exact same spot, but they are in the same general area.

This is the exact spot. Amazing the difference a couple of months can make!

Once again, these aren't the same exact spot, but in the same general area. The drop-off down to the right is pretty steep (even though you can't tell in the picture), so even though we climbed up on top of the snow, we didn't feel comfortable risking it. To fall was to equal major injury. This time we just sailed on through.

And this was our reward! A view of Mt. Jefferson from the trail.

Does the view get much better than this?

The Whitewater Creek Trail connected with the PCT about a mile outside of Jefferson Park. It was so fun to reconnect with our old friend (the PCT). From here into Jefferson Park was about 90 percent snow.

The view from Jefferson Park. We didn't get to stay very long. We basically took a few pictures and turned around and left. It was getting late and we had 5 miles to hike back out. Next time we may try to hike up and camp overnight.

We had to cross Whitewater Creek on our way up and down. There is a "bridge" over the creek, that, as you can tell, is pretty washed out. We were able to make it across on the way up by using a combination of rocks and the "bridge" and then making a big leap onto the snow (hiking poles are awesome helps for times like this!). We knew that hopping onto a snow bridge was much easier than hopping off of a snow bridge (the snow is much more likely to break from the force of hopping off of it). So on the way down, Mark went first, and sure enough, the snow bridge broke as he launched off of it. Luckily he made it safely to the rock, but got a bit of a wet foot in the process. This was fine for him, but left me with a huge gap that I wasn't willing to try to jump over. The circle above is where the snow used to be :). Plan B: ford the ice cold creek.

This is me making my way over to really the only easily accessible place to the water that wasn't a complete snow bridge.

It was about half way through that my feet realized how cold the water was.

This was my "my feet are so cold it's painful" face. I had to hop around, go find sun, and just get hiking again to warm up.

It was super fun, even though I had to walk through ice water :). Next time, I hope we can leave earlier and stay overnight, giving us more time to enjoy the amazing views and gorgeous surroundings! Also, maybe by then the bridge will be fixed :).

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Take Two: French's Dome

I got the chance to go rock climbing again Saturday. That is twice in one week, which is crazy, but it just worked out that way. I found some climbing shoes on craigslist for $5, which is a steal, and I needed to try them out. Let's use that as an excuse. Do I need an excuse? :)

We went to French's Dome, which is near to the Salmon River Slab where we went last time. There were a lot more people out, but we had so much fun and it was cool to see some people attempting the harder routes that we can't do yet!

My friend Julie was rock climbing outdoors for the first time, and she bravely attempted it with tennis shoes. It is MUCH harder to climb in tennis shoes because they don't stick to the rock nearly as well. Danielle says that going from tennis shoes to climbing shoes "feels like magic." Either way, Julie did a great job! She's the one on the far left.

Julie on her first outdoor climb ever! Andy is belaying her.

Me at the top of climb #2. I took up the camera because I was told there would be some great views of Mt. Hood. Yes, I'm clinging to the side of a rock taking a picture :).

The view down to where Danielle is belaying me.

I believe this was on my third climb of the day.

Danielle is practically a mountain goat. She makes it look so easy!

Danielle repelling after "cleaning" the route (getting the rope ready to come down).

Super fun!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Salmon River Slab

I learned to rock climb today. It was awesome. I had climbed a couple of times in gyms on rock walls, but to be honest, I wasn't sure how I'd feel about clinging to the face of a big chunk of rock. I wasn't sure if I'd like it or not. I love hiking and love to have my feet planted firmly on the ground. But I really liked it! I had so much fun. Mark had climbed a little in high school, and we even had some of the gear from our mountaineering excursions (Rainier, Hood, etc), but neither of us had much experience. So when some friends said they were heading out on our day off, we jumped at the chance to go with them. The two most experienced climbers led the climbs and fixed a top rope for us newbies. This is the much safer and easier way to climb. Our friend, Danielle, was able to borrow some shoes for me and another girl to share, but most of the guys weren't able to squeeze their feet into Andy's size 8 1/2 climbing shoes, so they went up in tennis shoes (not the easiest thing to do, which makes their climbs even more impressive). Mark and I each completed 3 routes and had a blast. I can't wait for the next time!

chalk prints.

I'm the one at the top! This was my second climb.

Repelling down.

This is Danielle after racing Josh to the top. She was climbing on an injured ankle, but she scampered up the rock face like it was no problem (at least she made it look that way - I think it actually hurt).

This one is Mark at the top. He climbed up a 5.9 route in tennies. What a stud!

Repelling down after a victorious climb.

I think we found ourselves a new adventure :). Thanks for the invite Danielle!