Friday, August 24, 2007

Squeezing the most out of the last month of summer

Well, it happened. I stayed at work long enough yesterday for the sun to make it into my west-facing window at the end of the day. In my little corner of the AAI office, I have a small window that looks out onto bustling 12th street in the Fairhaven district of Bellingham. It provides brief opportunities for people watching, checking the weather, and other miscellaneous distractions from my computer monitor, the phone, and the other things that I really should be doing throughout the day. Having weathered nearly 8 seasons in this little corner, my heart always sinks a bit when the sun finally makes it low enough in the sky by the end of an almost typical work day for me to have to drop my blind to continue working. Allow me a tangent if you will to explore the dichotomous nature of this particular circumstance. I have always thought it strange that, working for a mountain guide service, one would be required to shut out the very thing that I by nature and instinct, am most in search of on a daily basis when outside this office...sunshine of course. An odd paradox in the life of an office working/guide/mountaineering sort of fellow.

Anyhow, so it has happened. The early setting sun signals that the days are not as long as they used to be, and fair weather weekends are starting to be in short supply. Fear not those of you who have yet to capture their grand adventure for the year or who have not yet taken the chance to step away from the cubicle or work place whatever that might be. There is still plenty of hope for that trip or climb you have been dreaming about since the dark days of winter faded so many weeks ago.

Here are a few recommendations for the late summer and fall, as well as a few photos to inspire you.

-A weekend of alpine rock climbing on the granite spires of the Washington Pass area, North Cascades, WA.
-Walk, scramble, or rope-up for some of the best alpine granite in the country in the Eastern, Sierra, a lifetime of possibilities.
-Like to sweat and gamble? Vegas might be a good choice for some hot climbing in the early season sun.
-Been sweating too much? Escape on a glacier in the North Cascades. Eldorado Peak and Mount Shuksan make great late season glacier climbs after many of the glacier routes are out of shape for the year.

If I was able to sneak out of my corner for a few days, you can bet it would be to the Sierra. Fall down there is gorgeous, and many of the summer visitors have gone back to work, school, and regular life. I have been there 3 or 4 times in September and haven’t seen so much as a cloud in the sky in nearly two months of climbing days in the high country. GO!

AAI Program Coordinator and Guide

The Mathes Crest and High Country of Tuolumne Meadows, High Sierra.

High alpine granite domes in the Eastern Sierra.

Eldorado Peak in the North Cascades

The Spires of Washington Pass

Traversing the Inspiration Glacier under Eldorado Peak

Mount Shuksan in the North Cascades


  1. Hi Coley,
    I always enjoy your writings, regardless of the topic. They always make me ponder our wonderful world and the intricacies of my life. I was able to put myself in your office and see through your eyes and daydream with the mind.
    Happy climbing - virtual and real.
    Art H

  2. Thanks Art! We are all lucky to have a beautiful world to ponder and I appreciate your support and feedback over the years! I can't wait to see where your future adventures take you and look forward to our next correspondence!



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