McClellans Butte Hike

Hiked up McClellans Butte with my friend Adam Leong. Good times till we started coming down and I rolled my ankle with 5 miles and 4000 vertical feet left to cone down.

Enchantments Backpacking Trip

Heading to the Enchantments in the North Cascades this weekend!  I am very excited about this trip.  Here is the email from the trip leader summarizing:

Hello folks,

We are nearing our EPIC hike/camp up to the Enchantments. I’ve been looking forward to this hike for a few years and actually won permits this year. I was 111th selected out of over 1500 applicants!


Permit is for a party of 6 people.

SEPT 2- Mike has suggested that we stay at his friend’s cabin near Lake Wenatchee/Plain on the night of Sept 2nd. Mike, please confirm the availability of the cabin for this night. If that cabin is a no go, we can always drive up early from Seattle on Sept 3. Permits are available for pick-up at 4:30pm at the front porch box (Wenatchee River Ranger Station). The rangers remove the permits from the pick-up box at 7:45am on Sept 3. If we don’t pick up the permits by 9:00am on Sept 3, they will re-issue to another party.

SEPT 3-Trip start date (hike in)- Pick up permits around 8pm (if we haven’t already done so). Route- I’ve told the rangers that our party will enter the Snow Lake trail and exit the same. I’ve heard and read that entering via the Asgaard Pass/Stuart/Colchuck trail is a near sin. However, I don’t have a problem with exiting this route. We will need to let the rangers know before the “Trip start date” which route we will exit the Enchanment zone. The Snow Lake Trail to the Enchanments is 10 miles one- way, begins at 1400 ft and gains 5400ft. We will be spending most of our time about 7000 ft (camp/day hikes/swim/ etc). Set up base camp. Explore the surrounding Lower Enchantment Lakes.

SEPT 4 and 5- Day Hikes.  I would like to hike as many of the peaks as my bum knee can handle:

SEPT 6-Trip end date (hike out and drive home).  I set it up so we drive home on a Sunday and beat Labor Day traffic.  Thank you very much.

High Divide Backpacking Trip

I took my little brother Josh backpacking for 4 days to the Olympic National Park this last weekend to hike the High Divide Loop trail. The High Divide Loop trail is gorgeous and a lot of fun, and if you ever get an opportunity you should try it out. At 18.7 miles and a fair bit of elevation gain, the High Divide is a moderately difficult hike depending on how many days you do it in. Josh and I stayed at Sol Duc Falls the first night (.8 miles in), Lunch Lake the second night, and at Sol Duc Park our final night. Pictures and video of the trip are below.

Josh and I made the video below at the trailhead before we left:

Video of the Sol Duc Falls camping area.

We stopped off at Deer Lake to eat some snacks:

Pictures of Lunch Lake on the High Divide Loop:

Lunch Lake
Lunch Lake

Continue reading High Divide Backpacking Trip

Hiking/Camping/Mountaineering Gear

I just made the biggest non-housing, non-food expenditure I have made inthree years today.  I fully equipped myself with $533 of gear that I can use for hiking, camping, backpacking and mountaineering.  I mention these activities separately because I expect to be doing a lot of traveling soon and will need equipment for both car camping and for climbing mountains.  So what did I get?  I used to get great deals on highly reviewed stuff including:

3 – in – 1 Military – style Sleeping System

NEW CUSCUS 120L 8100ci Internal Frame Backpack Hiking Camp Travel Bag- Gray/Black

Big Agnes Air Core Pad (Long)

Mountain Axe Blue 75 by Omega Pacific

Contact Strap Crampons with ABS by Black Diamond

Eureka Apex 2XT 2-Person 3-Season Tent

Brunton Raptor Foldable Canister Stove with Piezo Ignition

I am excited to try out all of this equipment and hopefully it holds up to the very hard use it’s going to see!

Cougar Mountain Run

Near my house is Cougar Mountain Wildland Park and I had been meaning to get over there and explore a little bit, so yesterday I put on my little backpack with a waterhose and ran over and back. I missed the park entrance (made a wrong turn), but I came upon a different part of the park anyways. The run to the park was 4.3 miles one way, so including the wrong turn I made, it was a 10 mile run altogether. I’m trying to get in shape for some more tough climbs this summer.

Climbing Mt. Rainier via Camp Schurman

I left my camera with my videos & pictures at my grandparents house, so you will have to wait on those till next week when I pick them up.  All the pictures below are from Adam & Steve and a couple are public domain pics of Mount Rainier.

I climbed Mt. Rainier this weekend via the Camp Schurman route.  A couple of weeks ago I was talking to my friend Adam Roberts about my desire to climb Mt. Rainier and he invited me to join him on his trip on the 4th of July.  I leapt at the opportunity; I had been thinking about spending $1200 to go with a guide group and this would be far cheaper and more fun because I could go with my buddy.

Mount Rainier picture from an airplane
Mount Rainier picture from an airplane

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Mt. Rainier or who have not done any mountaineering, below is some general information on the climb:

  • Mount Rainier is the fifth highest peak in the lower 48 states (Mt. Whitney, #1,  is about 90 feet taller, but far easier to climb and there are 3 more peaks in the Sawatch Range of Colorado)
  • Most climbs to peaks in the United States are around 3,000 feet of elevation gain.  Climbs of 4-5,000 feet are considered very arduous and anything over 6,000 feet is devastatingly difficult.  Mount Rainier via the Camp Schurman route ascends from 4,400 feet at the White River campground to 14,411 feet at the summit- a monstrous 10,000 vertical foot gain!  For comparison, this is the same elevation gain from advanced base camp to the summit of Mount Everest.  Many people actually use Mount Rainier to train for Mt. Everest since the terrain is similar.
  • Mt. Rainier is covered in thick glaciers and thick glaciers mean deep crevasses.  A crevasse is where thick glacier ice, sometimes several hundred feet thick, cracks and creates a deep split in the mountain that people can fall into.  Below is a picture of a crevasse on Mt. Rainier:
Picture of a crevasse on Mt. Rainier
Picture of a crevasse on Mt. Rainier

My Mount Rainier climb was really tough, but I was fortunate enough to have gone with experienced mountaineers who gave me lots of help.  Our climbing group was led by Steve Schoch, a powerfully built man who used to successfully compete in iron man competitions and marathons.  Adam’s father, Steve Roberts- age 60, came along and was in better mountaineering shape than I am.  The final member of our group was a fellow Mount Rainier first-timer named Chris who was a good guy with really high energy levels.  Chris works for the Forest Service and does lots of hiking and had no troubles summiting Rainier and even basically pulled me for a couple of stretches lol. All five of us were on a rope team so that if someone fell down the steeps or into a crevasse, the rest of the guys could self arrest with their ice axes and stop them before it was too late.

From left: Chris, Me, Adam & his dad Steve
From left: Chris, Me, Adam & his dad Steve. Not pictured- Steve our guide
Mount Rainier pic by Adam
Mount Rainier pic of Adam and Steve
Chris, Adam, Steve & Steve
Chris, Adam, Steve & Steve
Adam and I at pretty high elevation
Adam and I at pretty high elevation

Climbing at sunrise... I am on the right
Climbing at sunrise... I am on the right
View from Camp Schurman
View from Camp Schurman
We are taking a break-Im in the middle
We are taking a break-I'm in the middle

Climbing Mount Rainier was really physically difficult for me. At around 12,000 feet I started having a hard time breathing and basically had to hyperventilate and take baby steps the rest of the way up. Fortunately, the other guys on the climbing team were patient and helped me out. Adam and Chris both work for the Forest Service, so this kind of thing is actually their job. If we reversed situations, it’s sorta like if they read a book on SEO and then had to build a website that ranked in the top 5 on Google for “real estate investing” haha.

I reached the summit! Chris is on the right.
I reached the summit! Chris is on the right.
Crazy Adam skied down!
Crazy Adam skied down!

I had a ton of fun climbing Mount Rainier and am now thinking about climbing other mountains locally and maybe even trying to do Rainier again at a faster pace. I love challenging myself and really testing my limits like I did on this trip. If you are interested in climbing Mt. Rainier here are 5 tips:

  1. Pick an experienced, understanding guide.  I was very lucky to have Steve and the other guys to take me up the mountain.
  2. Take a lot of time to pack well.  I wish I had brought more food and had learned how to properly secure my crampons before the climb.
  3. Climb in good weather.  Mt. Rainier is notorious for having very dangerous storms that can easily kill you, so make sure the weather is good and the forecast is clear.  You will need lots of cold weather gear even if you don’t use it.
  4. Leave early in the morning.  Our group departed from Camp Schurman at around 12:30 am Sunday morning and summited by 8.  You want to reach the summit of Mt. Rainier and start back down before the snow melts too much and crossing crevasses becomes even more dangerous than it already is.
  5. Be in excellent physical shape and train at high altitudes.  I made the mistake of going up after being sick and it made my trip far more difficult than it needed to be and without good fellow climbers I may not have made it.

If you feel like really, really challenging yourself try climbing Mount Rainier!  The views are gorgeous and after you have done it your perspective on yourself and the world may change.

Mailbox Peak Hike

My friend Adam and I have done a couple of local hikes now and today after work we went and did Mailbox Peak off of I-90, just a little bit past Mt. Si.  The hike was shorter in total mileage than Mt. Si at 2.5 miles, but had more elevation gain at 4,000+ feet.  It was a very pretty view of the Snoqualmie area from the top.

Mailbox Peak- actually has a mailbox!
Mailbox Peak- actually has a mailbox!

Hiking Buddy Adam

Beautiful Views on Mailbox Peak
Beautiful Views on Mailbox Peak
Enjoying my sandwich... 4,000 feet of vertical gain makes a man hungry
Enjoying my sandwich... 4,000 feet of vertical gain makes a man hungry