I have been desperately needing new hiking boots this entire year, but have been unable to find a suitable replacement that fit my exacting criteria: affordable, full leather uppers, on sale, waterproof, sturdy, cheap, and comfortable. I basically wanted my old, worn out, nearly destroyed boots to be new again so I wouldn’t have to buy boots that I would end up hating.
When Ken and Mandala invited John and I to join them on a hike up Scotchman Peak I knew there was going to be snow, and I knew I had to get new boots. And fast. It was Thursday when I got the call so I had to find boots Friday or risk having frozen, wet feet. White’s Boots to the rescue! Having exhausted all my other boot buying options on previous shopping trips, White’s Boots was the only store I hadn’t tried. I had never been there before, so I wasn’t sure what I would find. Well, Jackpot! They had the exact same brand and model of my old boot on clearance. And on the shelf, right above it, a leather Scarpa mountaineering boot for 70% Off. I tried them both on and went with the Scarpa.
6am Saturday morning I picked John up at his new apartment in Brown’s Addition (nice place John!) and we drove to Coeur d’Alene to meet Ken and Mandala. After an uneventful drive we arrived at the trailhead and started hiking around 9:30am. Ken had reminded us about hunting season the night before, so John and I had some hunter orange vests on so we wouldn’t get shot by any hunters.
The trail itself starts out steeply before finally settling down with a series of switchbacks. We hit the snow early on in the hike, and my new boots were working great so far. After a couple miles we ran into some hunters that weren’t having any luck. Orange vests to the rescue. We continued on and the snow kept getting deeper. At a certain point the the forest opens up and the trail switchbacks several times through a treeless hillside, exposing you to either great views or finicky mountain weather. We picked a rather snow-stormy day and had to forge through the exposed open slope with wind and snow blasting us the whole way. Back into the woods for a while before the peak opened up to an exposed mountain top. The snow depth varied from just an inch or two in the windiest spots, to a couple feet deep.
John, being the fastest hiker, led us competently up the snow and rime covered rocky mountain top in a mild snowstorm. Visibility was poor to say the least. Every once in a while John would proudly stand atop a false summit looking back at me and yell “Is this it?”. I had climbed this peak several years ago, so in these near whiteout conditions I had to determine whether we were really on summit or if we had to keep going.
Yes. Finally! We made it. There’s a little rock wall wind shelter and remnants of the old fire lookout on the summit, so it’s a dead giveaway even in a snowstorm. We didn’t stay on the summit long as there wasn’t much to see and it was kinda cold. I didn’t get a lot of pictures either because of the weather, but we had a great time. It was great to hang out with John, Ken and Mandala again. My new boots were awesome – no blisters, no hotspots, warm and dry. Afterward we drove through Sandpoint and had an early dinner at MickDuff’s Brewery – which is becoming a nice tradition for post-climb grub. Two words: Gorgonzola Fries.
This famous local formation is one of my favorite places. Part of the incredible Selkirk Crest and visible from Priest Lake it rises 400 or so feet above the ridge it sits on.
Chimney Rock was my first traditional multi-pitch climb. That first time, we backpacked in the long way (6 miles vs. 3) from the East along the pack river trail. A memorable trip to say the least. Future trips have always been made from the Priest Lake side. Even though you hike up and over Mt. Roothaan on this route it is still much shorter. So far I’ve only climbed the Standard Route three times and a weird variation of the Rappel Chimney Route once – level II, trad 5.4 & 5.7 respectively.
This past June of 2010 we hiked in from the West side. The entire 3 mile approach was snow. It was a gloriously sunny day though, and we climbed the rock with no problems. Climbing the face surrounded by the basins and peaks covered in snow made that climb pretty special.
Last Thursday Sara and I had a great afternoon posing for engagement photos with Ifong Chen. She has such a great eye. We live in the Garland District in Spokane so we wanted to take these pictures there and I think they turned out awesome. Feel free to leave a comment on Ifong’s website below our picture set. She said that if we get 20 comments we will receive a beautiful metallic 8×10 print!
It’s BIG. It is the fifth highest mountain of the continental USA and the highest volcano of the Cascade Range. This massive mountain is the most heavily glaciated peak in the contiguous United States with multiple glaciers and routes of all technical levels. Mount Rainier offers an exciting challenge to the mountaineer. That’s why a lot of climbers attempt it.
So far I’ve attempted the climb four times with one successful summit. Not exactly the best track record. My first two attempts were fun trips even though we didn’t summit – one because of poor planning/training (newbs) the other because of bad weather. A third attempt finally brought success and some more great stories. My fourth attempt was a new sport for me; ski mountaineering (AT). Using gear that’s a cross between telemark and downhill skis enabled me to “skin” up like a cross country skier, yet lock those heels down for some serious alpine skiing on the way down. Poor training on my part stopped me from making the summit on that trip, but the ride down was incredible. Longest single-run downhill vertical ski of my life.
I have some great climbing buddies and we know our stuff so we’ve never had to fork over the big bucks for guide services. I hear they charge $1,000 plus! To each his own I suppose. I recommend taking a mountaineering course and climbing it with trusted friends instead of wealthy strangers. An annual climbing permit is only $30.
The reason I bring any of this up is simple. I need to jazz this blog up with some awesome photos of my climbing trips to Mt. Rainier. So without any further ado. Pictures!
Do you want a custom designed business card? Of course you do. You need to stand out from the crowd.
Currently I can print 250/$30, 500/$50, and 1,000/$80.*
I’ll set a one-time design fee at $50 $30*. That’s crazy-cheap for a super-sweet custom business card design.
Here’s a few ideas I came up with for myself (your design will be completely unique). Which one do you like?
*for a limited time
Backpacked up to Engle Lake with Jon on Friday. It never rained hard but we were soaked the whole time. 100% humidity. We were literally in the water soaked clouds the entire time. Once at the lake we did manage to get a great campfire going, which helped dry out our boots. Later that night I asked Jon to be a groomsman in my wedding. He accepted. Five more to go.
On Saturday morning we decided to pack up because it didn’t look like the weather was going to change. We hiked up to the summit of Engle Peak and back down in very cloudy and rainy conditions on our way out. No decent views from the top. Just wind and clouds. We were soaked.
Overall it was a fun trip. I definitely want to go back in better weather.
Hey, my first blog post! Pretty sure no one is going to read this so I’m typing for myself: “HI JAKE!”
I’m currently in the process of customizing this content management system to better match the rest of my website. I’m basically trying to relearn CSS and learn PHP from scratch. Wish me luck.
In the future I hope to blog about some of my climbing/backpacking adventures, design/photography adventures, and maybe even a little everyday life stuff. Who knows.
Also, I just got engaged so I’ll probably write about that little adventure as well.