Self Belief is Everything

All words and pictures copyright Alastair Rose 2011

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Leaving America

I am now safely back in the UK and thought I would put up one last post from America. Both before and after the Grand Canyon trip I was at the wonderful Red Rocks, just outside Vegas. To use my best american we were "rolling deep" as there was between 4-12 of us hanging out and climbing. Hanging out included playing the penny slots for free drinks in the casinos, hitting up the all you can eat buffets and "poaching" hot tubs at the big hotels (the marriot scored the highest). But enough of that - heres some climbing photos.
Steve "Bauminator, Crusher, Bigwater" Baume showing how to climb for a photographer on a horrible route at moderate mecca on a day where Dave "smokey eye jesus" Wilson, Steve and I climbed the worst routes we could find. I think this is the 5.10 furthest to the right.
Jason working hard even after the local told him that "the good holds come off now, probably 5.12". In the black Corridor and supposed to be 5.11b or c
Jor-El and Meagan looking a little worried in the Black corridor. We spent a day being "those people" with 10 of us going to the busiest crag at red rocks on one of the busiest days of the year.

Dave and Ryan checking things out
Clare (She might actually be smiling) climbing Cannibal Crack
Amber "I dont lead climb and no-one ever takes photgraphs of me" Guzzardo. Leading at "panty wall"
The back of my van (now at the wreckers yard) being used as the gear dumping ground.
Lenka cruising Yak Crack (5.11c) at the Gallery. Lenka onsighted the route as far as the last bolt, climbed past and then down climbed back from the chains three times because she didnt want to fall!
Lisa showing great style on Yaak Crack - a perfect place to practice falling we discovered.
Ryan, in the middle of his and Lenka's lets climb dirty looking offwidths week, climbing "Chrysler Crack" at Sandstone quarry. (5.9)
Ryan and Steve turning my van into a proper motorhome as we move campsites.

Now I am back in the UK for a while it seems. Some work, a trip to Holland, Christmas and then hopefully lots of time in the mountains......

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Grand Canyon - The River

And finally some action shots. We took four 18foot gear boats, three kayaks and an inflatable kayak that made some brief appearances.
Scouting Lava

Whitney (at the oars) and Clare coming through "Granite" rapid in style - yes there is a boat in there!
JP slamming the hole on "Crystal" rapid
Steve and Jason hitting the whole on Crystal

Its not all white water, most of it looks like this - pulling into lunch at Blacktail canyon.

A classically confusing rapid description from the guidebook!

Rachel (with Anders and Amber up front) hitting the wave a little sideways at the bottom of Lava
Rachel getting Anders and Amber wet at the top of Lava

Grand Canyon - The Places

One of the most amazing things about the Grand Canyon is watching the colours of the rock change as you slowly drop into the landscape as well as all the side canyons to explore.
"Elves Chasm" - you can actually jump from the middle tier of the fall though it is only about 8ft deep!
Deer Creek falls.
Stars above the river when we were camped at Soap creek (Day 2)
Crazy white stripes through the red sandstone at Unkar Delta
Upper falls of Deer Creek
Canyon walls - the right side is lit by moonlight and the left by the fire at "Upset Hotel" Camp
River bends in the early morning light at Nankoweap.
Unkar Delta (on the right of the image) - the sandy spot just right of middle is camp.
Havasu Canyon flowing strong

Grand Canyon - The People

Finally have a good internet connection after a couple of months on the road. I have a couple of blog posts coming up but first up some photos from the 22day grand canyon rafting trip. We launched on the 27th of October and for the most part had glorious weather. Probably the best part of the trip was just being in a beautiful place with good people. Amazingly we were all still talking after 22 days and even chose to hang out for another week together afterwards!
Fairly early in the trip (you can tell as the water is not yet muddy brown) on the raft with Clare, Whitney and Bob.
Jason and Jor-El doing some acrobatics to get the inflatable kayak (and bob) up the "silver grotto" side canyon.
The first of many fancy dress nights - Steve and Cori at halloween
Steve, Anders, Bob and Meagan - Another intense game of Batchi Ball in camp
Steve and Jason take a big hit (a little sideways) in the bottom wave of Lava falls
Bob and Clares one year wedding anniversary.
Playing "Jungle Jam" in camp.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Wet and cold - Must be the North Cascades in October

It is somewhat ironic that I am tired as I have probably averaged 11hours a day in my sleeping bag for the last couple of weeks. We headed into the Sawtooth Range of the North Cascades for the mountain section of this years Wilderness Instructors Course and were quickly met by rain and snow. Joel and I had opted to both take our own stoves (Jetboils) so that we could cook from our sleeping bags and this proved to be key to our comfort. The harsh conditions were pretty tough on our students (who cant cook from their sleeping bags!) and most of us had wet feet for most of the 2 weeks. We did still manage to see the beautiful fall colours and do some climbing etc though some days were definitely more focused on trying to stay warm....
Fall colours below Turtle lake near the end of the section
The first storm of the section rolls up the Copper Valley. (We did manage to climb Copper Mountain the next day in the only clear weather window of the whole section)
"The Pouch". We rappelled (abseiled) into this cave and climbed out along fixed lines in the morning. Funnily enough it turned out to be the clearest night of the whole two weeks. (you can actually see the rope hanging down the middle of the cave. I belayed from the top and then the doubled rope was not quite long enough so I down climbed half on the tree and half on Joel!)
Joel trying to decide - tea or soup? The double jet boil system in place.
Very pleased with ourselves - the funny thing in this shot is that we are both wearing our rain jackets in our sleeping bags inside the tent.
Tired students at the end of the first day of hiking. Inside the "Mega-Mega" group shelter
The "Mega-Mega" lit up with the storm rolling past.
Black and white of a fallen log.

Now its all sunny in the Mountains but its time for me to leave. Might manage a days climbing tomorrow and then start driving south towards Bend and then Red Rocks.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Now up in Mazama, Washington I decided to stop on my way up for a little hike up to Hidden Lake fire lookout. I started to hear about this place a couple of years ago and then came across some night photographs of it on Steph Abeggs awesome website This hike is described as "one of the finest hikes on the face of the planet" as well as the toilet at the abandoned fire lookout winning "the most scenic latrine" award from backpacker magazine. After hammering my van up the dirt road to the trail head, I raced the sunset up the mountain all the while questioning why I was doing this after ten hours of driving and little sleep the night before. I gained height and more views but kept questioning whether this could really be that spectacular.
My first view of the the fire lookout (its the white patch to the right of the summit). I've been to some pretty amazing huts in beautiful places but this might just beat the lot (though the christmas I spent in the DOT hut in the upper Makarora valley of New Zealand might come close)
Looking down on Hidden Lake on the way up the ridge.
Looking into the fire lookout with the fisheye lens - this place is amazing! There is a small library of books about the local area, a wood buring stove, a double bed and the most spectacular views. It seems like there is strong group of volunteers keeping this place going.
The view out of two sides of the lookout - The clouds cleared just after I got to the lookout giving me views of the whole of the North Cascades. (you might need to click on this to get the full effect)
The toilet. Probably is the most scenic I've had the pleasure of visiting but could be topped by the old toilet at Allt Scheicheachan bothy (the one above Pitlochry)
Another view of the lookout just before sunset.
Lit up with some candles. That is not in fact the sunset (approx 10pm) but the lights from Seattle I think.

Just a couple more days hanging out, climbing and taking photos before I start work where I will be hanging out, climbing and taking photos for the next 20+ days with the Fall Washington Instructor Course.