Self Belief is Everything

All words and pictures copyright Alastair Rose 2011

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Unblelievable

I have frequently told people in recent months about how wet and nasty Scotland is at this time of year. The snow comes usually in the new year and the days around christmas are dark and dreary. This year that does not appear to be the case. Currently there is about 10 inches of snow outside, the country is in a state of emergency (as no-one carries snow chains) and I am about to go canoeing. I have managed a couple of wintery things and here are the photos for the non - believers that Scotland gets snow.
Sledging (thats sledding to you americans) on christmas day (me and cousin Emma)
Kees and I in the evening (330pm) light after "testing" the sledging for chrismas day
Ruaridh and I on the summit before the ski down on Chrismas Eve
Ruaridh looking west towards Ben Alder and Creag Meagidh
Ruaridh skinning up the final slope to the summit (looking north)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Alligators and Other Dangerous Animals

Life and plans change fast, especially when working short contracts for Outward Bound. That is how I recently found myself in the Florida Everglades. A phone call telling me my work was no longer but that I could attend a staff training, a flight to Alabama, a day at our base in Alabama, a car ride for 7 hours with someone I didn't know, another day at another base, another road trip (this time with 6 people I didn't know), another day at another base then three hours back in the van and I was getting in a canoe that I was not to leave for the next 5 days. I'll say that again. A canoe I was not to leave for the next 5 days. The course area in the Florida everglades does not have land. None. Well none that we used until we stood on highland beach in the gulf of Mexico.

The system is simple if a little weird. paddle all day with all the gear stored on top of the boards in the bottom of the canoes, anchor for the night, get the boards out from below all the gear, put them on top, tie it all together, and do all normal camp stuff on the boards.

The Everglades itself is pretty crazy with amazing diversity of wild animals (think crocs, alligators, sharks, manate's, flamingos, mosquitos, no-see-ums (midgies) etc)

For the Canoeists - the boats we used were 18ft Trippers in which we had an assortment of gear with boards hidden underneath (the boards are 2 x 8ft and were possibly developed as a system by OB down here). The photos.
Organisation - list taped to bow of the boat so you know what you should have and where to access things with the boards on top.

Yes you guessed it - the toilet system. the pad on the bottom right is the "privacy screen"

Getting up in the morning - everyone has 2 x 8 ft of space with all their sleeping gear including "healy hammock" (a bug net). very hot, very buggy and very awkward getting in and out of your healy........
Amy solo paddling into late afternoon light as we head further towards the gulf of Mexico.

On a chickee (platforms you can book to camp on) waiting for the lightning to pass and the tides to change.
John highly unimpressed with the bug and mangrove situation in "the nightmare" (yes that is really what it says on the map)
About to set of on the last paddle into the gulf of mexico. our last "day" comprised of 37 miles (nautical miles....) lots of navigation, lots of darkness and lots of paddling. Setting off at 4 pm we paddled till 7pm slept on the beach for 4 hrs then paddled through the night and dawn to our take out at 9am.

Sunset as we paddle down the Gulf of Mexico
The boards in place. This was the living space for 12 of us. All of us!

We met this rather large "crocagator" (10ft!) at night. This was taken with my lens set at around 30mm. A little to close I think. Final assesment is that it is a Crocodile.

Osprey taking flight.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

For Amusement

I came across this short movie of scottish "summer" climbing in 1978. Pretty funny stuff.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Vegas Baby! (or rather Red Rocks Baby!)

I hadnt quite worked out how close Red Rocks was to Vegas, I realised as I drove through downtown close to midnight. After 16 hours of driving with only one 20 minute nap (I pulled over first!) things were starting to feel very surreal as the caffeine in my system began to fade. The small sketch map in the front of my borrowed climbing guide showed four different roads and there were a lot more than that. I turned onto West Charleston boulevard in certainty that this was not going to take me to the spectacular climbing area I had heard about. Twenty minutes later I was doing laps of the Desert camp ground trying to find campsite 47 and my friends. Red Rocks really did live up to its reputation, vast hillsides of rock, a huge variety of styles, confusing (and soft) grades and it was indeed, really close to vegas.

The best part of being in Red Rocks was definitely the friends I managed to climb and catch up with, Cori, Jor-el, Rachel, Rachel, Nadia, Kai, Mick, Amber, Cara, Kevin and Alfredo. I left Red Rocks with the knowledge that I have not even scratched the surface of what is on offer there - I will be back. Some photos...... Jor-el (and i think Nadia belaying) heel hooking and pulling hard on an unknown route at "moderate mecca)
Me trying to follow Kai's good style through the roof crack i convinced him to lead (photo taken by Nadia)aa
Another beautiful hike in - on our way to "Sunny and Steep Wall"
Kai going for the onsight of "serpent" (5.11a) at sunny and steep (that route name could be wrong)
The ever proffesional Mick pearson gets his eyebrows trimmed by Rachel before our night out on the strip in vegas (Check out for Micks "Kaf Adventures")

Our night out in Vegas (in the Rhumbar) From left - Jor-el, Rachel too, Mick, Nadia, Me, Rachel one.

A tree with some red rocks behind.
Kevin and Alfredo spotting Cara onto the start of a route in the "Black Corridor"

Amber and I after my last days climbing - a cold day where i forgot my belay jacket and had to "warm up" ambers for her a few times.....
Rachel G pulling down....................

Monday, November 2, 2009

Concrete sequential Experience

Is my learning style. More commonly refered to as kinesthetic. So i now know kinesthetically what it feels like to drive down a snowy road at 20 miles an hour, slide, hit a barrier, keep sliding and slide off the road sideways off 20ft embankmant on the other side. I know that I will never not wear a seatbelt, i know what it feels like to be upside down, to see the crap roll with the vehicle (including the old battery that narrowly missed my head) and to escape with only one slightly sore muscle in my left leg. I know how to use a cops speed gun and its limitations (having spent some time in a cop car), what it takes to pull a large 1989 chevy van back upright and what it looks like when a tow company gets their vehicle stuck towing a van off road through a snowy forrest. I know how it feels to know that it is a friends van and what its like to tell them (and have them tell me "you better have photos") and how kind and helpful insurance and tow truck company people can be. Its been an educational couple of days

Before I rolled Beastie (the van) things were going well, I drove down the East side of the North Cascades to Vantage to do some climbing with Whitney at the beautiful "frenchmans coulee" where it was, for once, a joy to be back in the desert and have dry feet. I then drove south and east into Idaho and hung out with Megan (Habel) and her awesome dog Haida for a couple of days in Cascade. Then trying to get back into Oregon I drove out of Baker city and off the side of the road.

So for Ryan "you better have photos" Mcdonald (and everyone else who asked) enjoy.
Megan (in her lovely work clothes) with Haida
One of beasties last sunsets, the grass lit by the head lights
Whitney waiting patiently for me to put down my camera and belay. Jigsaw crag, Vantage
Someon climbing the classic 5.9 of the main wall - the routes here are long and sustained - and steep.
Checking out routes late in the evening - why do my friends always take photos of me reading the guide book...... climbing geek?
Looking down the road, where beastie and i ended up.
Looking up the road, i hit the barrier on the right side of the road (left in the pic) and slid across and sideways off the embankment. Beastie almost managed a full roll. not quite though.

Thank you to all well wishers - I am still feeling occasionally shaky but unharmed and am taking a couple of days to relax and work out the best way to get to red rocks for some climbing.

Monday, October 19, 2009

End of Summer?

The last few weeks have been amazing, a short road trip up to the North of Washington (I almost ended up in Canada after not paying attention) Visiting folks along the way (those photos I will include with the rest of my road trip photos) then some work out of the beautiful OB base in the North Cascades. This was a 20 day section of a 50 day wilderness educators course with elements in Sea Kayaking, Wilderness First Aid, Mountaineering and a Practicum. We headed to the Entiat and Glacier Peak wilderness for the 16day mountain section with beautiful weather and autum colours to start with followed by some more wintery days. The final 3 days was a slog out in rapidly melting snow and heavy rain - just what future outdoor educators need.
Bouldering in the mountains with the Larch trees changing colour.
Betty moving along the fixed line on the way to the summit of Emerald Peak

Wyatt and Cara my Co-instructors on the summit of Emerald peak
Cara and Wyatt making dinner in camp (check out the 6 days of food behind Wyatt)Changing Larch trees lit up by the setting sun at Choral Lake
The Camp at Choral Lake (last of the evening sun at 530pm

Upper Ice Lake below Mt Maude. I got to chill out here for half a day after scouting the route on Mt Maude.
Not really what i wanted to find while alone. A very fresh Black Bear Track at Lower Ice Lake. (interestingly this is at 6900ft which seems a little high for a bear at this time of year)

Wyatt (in red) gives the solo/survival briefing under blue skies.
Peaking out of the tent as the snow begins to fall during soloIce in the creekA visit from steve the snowman - This is as the students came off solo - 6- 8 inches fell this night.

And now i am officially not working till the first of December (Unless you are a US Visa official and are reading this in which case I am doing a couple of days of work in November) Road tripping down through Washington, Idaho, (possibly Wyoming) Utah and Nevada for some adventures.................

Saturday, September 19, 2009

River of No Return

Just back from a Staff/Personal Trip on the main and lower salmon river. The Salmon is the largest undammed river in the USA (maybe thats only in the lower 48 states - not sure) and flows through the "River of no Return" wilderness (biggest in the lower 48) in Idaho and on to where it joins the Snake river at the border with Oregon. Both the lower and the main section usually take a week on their own but we decided to float them both together. Somewhere in the mix we did not fully work out that these "normal" sections have quite a few miles between them as well as a town called Riggins.

We gathered in Boise, shopped then drove a long way on some windy roads (it took us a day and a bit) to the put in at corn creek. We rafted the full 2 sections (and the 58 miles inbetween) in 12 days with one layover day making a total of around 210-220 miles (havent quite got around to working it out). The weather was extremely kind to us and we ended up with blue skies, warm(ish) water, a great water level and white sand beaches to camp on every night.

I now have one more week off before I start work up in Washington.

The photos (are in a back to front order - you may want to scroll from the bottom up)
Flatwater rafting - rafted up on the snake with (front to back) mike m, steve s, ashley, Mike c and steve B
The last of the salmon - coming up to confluence with the snake in the early morning (the little dots on the river are boats)
The Steves row into China bar rapid on the Lower River
Looking a little confused in Riggins were we ressupplied some food and swapped lisa for ashley. We did here that 72 sorority girls were in town but we were a day too late.
Steve S scouts Vinegar Creek rapid while Mike M Kayaks
Yet another white sand beach to call home
In the "hot tub" hot springs on the second day on the main salmon - steve b and mike m are bottom of the photo, steve s smiling and mike C and lisa making lunch
Lisa Rows through Salmon falls on the main salmon
Planning session in Wallmarts parking lot