Friday, April 24, 2009

Triangle Peak: 40 days post-sugery


Our nearly successful climb of Triangle Peak (acutally there is a hidden peak behind this one that is slightly higher). We got right up near the top, but were turned around by some huge hanging cornices above us that looked unsafe.

My friend Christie and I attempted to climb Triangle Peak just 40 days after I donated my kidney. I didn't think I'd get to play in the mountains this spring after the surgery, but my recovery was much faster and easier than I expected. That orthoscopic surgery is a piece of cake. I hear they used to go through the back/side and had to break ribs to get the kidney out - ouch!!!! I was super excited to get to play in the mountains.

Christie on day one during our ski approach to our base camp up the Castner Glacier.

Here I am on day one during the ski approach to camp.

At camp on day one, Christie scouts a route up the first steep section for the following morning.

We found a previously used camp that we just had to dig out a little in order to set up our tent.

We dug a few snow pits to check slope stability to assess the avalanche risk. We found the snow pack to be very stable which made us excited for the following day's climb.

We woke up early on day 2 and began the steep climb that Christie had scouted a route on the night before.

The sun came out and we had blue bird skies most of the day. It was sooo beautiful.


and up...

and up...

Tah Dah... we made it up the steepest sections of the climb!

A look back down at what we had climbed so far. Our camp was down near that glacier in the distance.

Now we are getting closer. You can barely see the peak sticking up off to the left side of the photo over the hill ahead of us.

Now we can see the peak better. The "sphynx-head" at the bottom of the knife ridge is where we dropped our skiis and put on crampons for the rest of the climb.

Christie dropping her skiis and putting on crampons for the climb up. You can't yet see the cornices that prevented our summiting.

Ahead is the world's largest cornice, though it looks small in this photo.

We got as far as the exposed rocks to the left of the giant cornice before we turned around. We were only a couple hundred feet below the summit at that point.
We tried skirting around to the left and then climbing up from there, but there was another ridge above with a huge cornice above that we didn't feel good about. Some weather was just starting to show up at that point too. Turned windy and some clouds came in. Visibility was getting worse. Even though we didn't reach the summit, we both had a great day of climbing.

We skiied out. Linking falls all the way down the mountian. Neither Christie or I are very good skiiers. Especially in mountaineering boots with a pack on. Many good wipeouts.

We skiied all the way down the mountain, packed up camp, skiied back to the car, and drove back to Fairbanks. A great 2 day trip!

The mountaineering boots i was wearing didn't fit quite right, so by the time we reached the car around 10 PM my feet were KILLING me. The ski out was horrible for me. With the heavy pack and two long days already in those boots, the last couple hours of skiing to the car were really painful. My feet were sooo happy to get those boots off when we reached the car. Other than the pain from the boots, it was an amazing trip and I was so happy to get into the mountains this spring. A big thanks to Christie for planning the trip and getting me out there.