A blog about climbing full time on the road.

matthewandcassie's items Go to matthewandcassie's photostream

Sunday, September 28, 2008

fall fun

It was a beautiful fall weekend and we made the most of it. Saturday we spent the morning cleaning up the house. Cassie made yummy (maybe a little too healthy tasting) Zucchini bread from the great Moosewood cookbook that my mom bought us a while back. As a reward for our hard work we decided to hop on the motorcycle and go for a nice long ride to see all the fall colors. Now you might think we would bring a camera on such a sightseeing trip, but alas it didn't occur to us until we were already out of town. The loop we used was a road that we've not been on before and it didn't disappoint with the colors. The best part was that we avoided the crazy saturday fall color drivers by keeping off the alpine loop which is an extremely popular drive. We stopped and had some tasty milkshakes and onion rings then headed up the Mt Nebo road which climbs to about 9,500 ft. It has great views and we really enjoyed it. 

On sunday we headed to Maple Canyon for a day of climbing. Cassie got a project that she'd tried a few times before on her first try. We then worked a hard 11ish problem that was super overhanging and pumpy (again sorry, but we took no pictures). Cassie was super close to sending, while I got it on my last go. It was really a perfect weekend of fun and with the warm temps staying around I think we'll be able to keep climbing for a good bit before winter sets it. Coming up in October we have a weekend in Indian Creek for some crack climbing with our friends from Bishop, then the following weekend we'll head to Capitol Reef for more crack climbing with the Utah Climbing Club. We might even try leading a splitter! 

Hope everyone out there is having a nice Fall!


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Curse Wall at American Fork

HEY THERE'S BEEN 3 NEW POSTS so don't forget to read the two posts below this one that have exciting news and great pictures!!!

This Saturday the climbing club headed to a little known wall in American Fork canyon called The Curse Wall. The name must be given since it's such a hard place to get to. A 4-wheel drive truck with good clearance is mandatory so we caught a ride with some friends. Curse Wall is indeed the best quartzite i've seen in my limited climbing experience, but if the experts are to be believed it's the best in America. 

The weather was terrible when we showed up in the parking lot to catch our ride and hail didn't exactly make us excited to go climbing, but positive attitudes prevailed over our skepticism and we headed up the terrible rocky road to the cliff. 

We did a couple of easy warm ups and then set our sights on a 5.12a that we believed we could climb with some work. Cassie dispatched the climb first and then I followed suit shortly thereafter. This climb is the hardest either of us have done and we were both super stoked to get our first 12. Sorry, no pictures (we were to focused on the route to even think about capturing it on film). Suffice to say that it was an almost near vertical smooth face with small crimpers for hands and smooth nubbins for the feet. It was definitely a technical face climb and was a super fun problem. It's called Gold Dust according to Darren.

Well i'm tired and am heading to bed. Three posts to catch everyone up on the last month of our lives and it's time to call it a night. 

Naturalist Basin

A weekend or two ago Cassie's parent's came down from Oregon to visit and go on a backpacking trip with us. It was also perfect timing since we had just gotten engaged. On Thursday night they arrived and spent all day with Cassie on Friday while I was at work. 

Saturday morning we took off for the High Uintas. This is a pretty unique mountain range since it runs east-west and has elevations above 13,000 ft. There was much research on which backpack would be the most fun and it was decided that a place called Naturalist Basin offered the best opportunities for fun and scenery. Mojo came with us on this trip and had to pack in his own food and gear. It worked well since it slowed him down. I was able to attach a leash to his pack and connect it to my backpack which resulted in what we call "Mojo assisted walking" meaning he is pulling so hard he makes walking less effort or at least that's the idea. It doesn't really pan out so well when he's pulling you over a rocky trail faster th
an you want to go, but then it's still better than leaving the poor guy with friends. The hike in was about 5 miles with 400 ft of total elevation gain at around 10,000ft (though the 
trail went up and down a bit and everyone agreed it was hard enough for the day). We arrived at a little known lake called Everman Lake which is off a little hard to find side trail. It was fantastic with a great campspot in a grove of Pine trees. That evening we had beef stroganof and were not suprised that it started getting cold quite fast after the sun set. We climbed into our sleeping bags before 9pm and spent the evening snuggled up in our warm bags. 

The next morning we awoke to frost and everyone ran for the little bit of sunlight that poked over the mountains. eventually we ate and got our day packs on for a hike to a bunch of lakes that were at about 11,000 ft. Mojo was super excited about the rivers on this trip since they 
have introduced trout in them. The water was so clear he could see them swimming and he spent most of the trip barking,splashing and generally causing a racous in those streams and lakes. The hike was spectacular with over 5 lakes and great vistas of scree mountain peaks. We even saw some goats on a ridge. We ate a leasurly lunch by a lake and goofed off taking pictures before we started following a stream that would us back to camp. 

This little stream was no bore as it cascaded down multiple quatzite waterfalls and meandered through grassy fields. We were all in awe that a little stream could be so amazing. That night we 
went back to 
camp and had a yummy meal of salmon and veggies. Again the cold set in fast and we all ran for the comfort of our sleeping bags. The next morning we broke camp and began the hike back to the car. After three miles Mojo decided that he'd been robbed of his light pack because even though he'd eaten all his food we packed lots of trash into his pack to make ours lighter. Well I took his pack for the last two miles so I guess I carried the weight anyway. (Mojo might be stubborn sometimes but unfortunately he's not a very good mule). 

Well we eventually made it back to the car and celebrated being back in civilization with some smoked trout and smoked cheddar. Then, Cassie's parents took us out to a great celebratory dinner at Sundance which was much enjoyed by all. Thanks Leo and Dottie!!! 

The Enchantments aka (we're getting hitched!)

Wow it's been a crazy month since our last post. We went to the City of Rocks for climbing and then all heck broke loose with traveling. This post is a recount of our trip over the last week of August. We went to Oregon to visit Cassie's parent's and her grandmother. Had a fantastic time with them for a few days. Went to the coast for a beautiful day walking down the beach and trying to check out some tidepools.  Had clam chowder which is becoming a tradition when we visit Oregon. Went to Tulley and Frank's  ( friends of Cassie's from college) wedding. While we were in Oregon I asked Cassie's parents for permission to marry their daughter! They said yes and we were all quite excited, but I asked them to keep it a secret for a few days until I asked her on our upcoming backpacking trip to the Enchantments in Washington state. 

So a few days later we left and headed to Washington. We went climbing for a couple of days in 
Leavenworth but the weather was uncooperative between the wind and the rain so we only did a few routes. Most noteworthy was a fun 5.9 handcrack that we didn't finish but placed gear on and intentionally took lead falls onto cams since that kind of thing scares us. We need to get over our fear and that's the only way to do it. 

On Friday we headed into the Echantments with our friend Paul (who organized the trip) and his friend Elaina. It was a beautiful hike uphill for 10.5 miles and over 5000 ft of elevation gain. Needless to say we were all tired by the time we arrived at our first campsite. It was totally worth the hike though because we saw exquisite mountain lakes and scenic vistas that we all agreed were some of the best we've ever seen.

Saturday (Cassie's birthday) we moved camp further in and took an afternoon nap. When we had recovered from the hike we decided to take a short walk to look around. I seized the opportunity and grabbed the ring which was in a box inside of a dog bootie. Paul Cassie and I hiked to a 
nearby lake and as we single filed down to the lake I turned around and gave Paul the Shhhhh sign and showed him the box. Being the astute character
 that he is Paul stay back and gave me my chance to pretend to tie my shoe. I then told Cassie how much she meant to me and asked her to marry me. She said yes and we both were really excited and moved by the moment. I took a few pictures to capture the moment and Paul got one or two of Cassie and I as well. Now I'll let Cassie talk about the proposal and finish out describing our trip.

That's pretty much the story, I was completely surprised even though we had been talking about it for a while now. It was a beautiful place and a beautiful moment. Matt and his sister did a great job of picking out a ring I really like. Amazing since I'm not a big fan of rings typically. I was also quite surprised and impressed that Matt asked my parents and they showed no signs of anything being up the 3 days we spent with them.

One thing Matt did't mention about the trip was the goats. 
Where we were camping is high alpine, close to tree line. There are very little minerals for the goats and it's a popular hiking area, so the goats have learned that they can get minerals from people's pee. They warn you a head of time that the goats do this and to pee on rocks so they 
don't tear up the vegetation. At our first campsite, we quickly had a family of goats hanging out with us. We thought they were all cute until Matt left the group to try to hang our food. The goats quickly surrounded him and he tried to climb a tree to get away. We quickly learned they meant no harm, they just thought he was going to pee and were quite excited about that. Every time one person left the group, they knew it meant something good and you'd hear the sound of hooves trotting after you. This is a little unnerving as you're trying to stand or squat to do your thing having wild animals with sharp horns that close to you. In the morning, the goats would be licking the rocks all around camp and everyone could point out the places they had gone in the night.

The enchantments is one of the most beautiful places I know, this was my third trip. I was excited to spend my birthday there, and show Matt one of my favorite places. It now is an even more special and memorable place for me.