There are a few shoulder seasons here in the Northwest -- a sort of in-between time when it rains a lot. You can't really do anything in the mountains or on the rocks and the climber types are forced to step outside their comfort zone to try different things, all the while talking about the arrival of things like winter, skiing, and ice climbing.
Fortunately for us, this season usually coincides fairly well with the Halloween holiday, if you can call it that. And that is at least one weekend that we don't have to mill about with our hands in our pockets wondering what do to with ourselves.
I must admit to having been part of many of these "alternate activities" in the so-called off season. It can be pretty humorous to watch mountain guides and climber types try new and different things far from the scope of their daily lives. In the fall of one year, I took a co-worker mountain biking around Bellingham for a quick "something to do" sort of outing. Having been a few years since he had ridden a bike, it was pretty entertaining to watch him battle with the moderately technical trails. Even more entertaining was watching his bike fly 30 feet through the air after it tossed him into the woods. The next time we went bouldering at the gym and that worked out a little better.
So what do guides and climbers do when they are forced out of their mediums and into the city. Eat, drink, and be merry I suppose. The overly motivated types often maintain some sort of workout routine, but leading the active lifestyles that we do, the summer season often affords plenty of exercise and keeps a person fairly healthy. As such these off seasons can often afford some laziness, some indulgences, a few dark beers and some movie watching.
Here in the office at AAI, we are playing catch up from the busy summer season and trying to move quickly to update things like the web site, registration materials, the 2009 catalog, and to try our best to convince the boss that we are all super busy while we surf the internet checking the snow levels and freezing points, hoping for snow and ice.
The smart folks of course are the ones that run away. Like AAI Guide Kurt Hicks who is probably about 5 pitches up a wall in Zion right now. Over the years, the great desert migration has been a yearly occurrence amongst the AAI crowd. As soon as work here in the Cascades dies down, a mass exodus of sorts happens and swarms of quad heavy, pack carrying, shriveled armed mountain guides run to the desert to try and remember what rock climbing feels like in places like Joshua Tree National Park, Red Rock Canyon, Zion National Park, Moab, Yosemite, and many other locations that enjoy a more moderate fall and winter than here in the Northwest.
So, in the spirit of the season, here are some photos of various AAI folks trying desperately to entertain themselves outside of climbing.
Danny Uhlmann, Forest McBrian, and Mat Erpelding represented in a fashion montage.
Andy Bourne shows of his musical talents.
Coley Gentzel and Lara Fountain enjoying a day at the beach.
Gary Kuehn experimenting with new cold weather systems.
Guide Scott Schumann on his way to salsa lessons.
Johnny Davison trying his hand at some fishing.
Coley Gentzel goes door to door as a cookie sales"man"?
Justin's wife, Justin Wood, Emily Znamierowski, and Ruth Hennings playing video games.
And the grand finally, AAI Justin Wood showing off a few dance moves.