Thursday, January 29, 2009

Class on Basic Mountaineering Theory

Attended a class on basic mountaineering theory at the Alpine Shop in Kirkwood last night. A high-level overview and a basic gear show-n-tell for mountaineering rookies. Some early preparation for a possible "starter" mountain we may climb this summer.

They're planning on giving the course again on Feb 25 and Apr 22. The class is free. Call to register 314-962-7715.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Frostbite Swim Series Race #1

Completed the first of Frostbite Swim Series Races this morning at the Wildwood YMCA. It was supposed to be a relay, so Beth, Erin and I signed up as a team, but we decided to each swim the entire length individually and just use the best time. So 1.5 miles later, I finished in 42:57 and Beth whooped me hitting just over 42:00. I think I held the lead for about a mile, then the master took over. She is really efficient in the water and just kept creeping a little further away with every flipturn.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Winter Backcountry in the Smoky Mountains

Started off the new year with a 6 day, 5 night backcountry camping trip in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. We completed a circuit of roughly 70 miles, hitting some of the highest peaks in the park and traveling along part of the Appalachian Trail. It was definitely grueling at times, usually hiking from sunrise till dusk on wet, rocky trails.

We experienced a wild variety of weather. Some parts of the day it was warm enough to wear nothing but t-shirt and other times temperatures dropped to the low teens. It might be snowing with brutal winds on one side of a mountain and clear and calm on the other.

Along with the indefatigable Lisa from Team Sisu we leaped over Mount LeConte, the third highest mountain in the park at 6,593 feet, forged our way through heavy winds on icy, narrow ridge tops, and evaded a growling black bear hiding in a thicket of Rhododendron (no kidding). A great way to kick off the year!

Me on The Boulevard Trail

Map of the route

Some more photos from the trip are up on my new Flickr stream.