Thursday, December 31, 2015

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 12/31/15

Happy New Year!
from the
Guides and Staff 
of the
American Alpine Institute


--Colin D. Watt says he's lucky to be alive after an avalanche in Whistler swept him into a tree well and buried him in snow Saturday. The experienced snowboarder and two friends ventured into the area under Whistler's Peak to Peak Gondola, which had pristine powder that morning. It was also out of bounds. Watt was caught in an avalanche and pushed 150 feet down the slope and into a tree well. He says it was the worst thing he had ever experienced in his life. To read more, click here.

--American Alpine Institute Guide Like Liz Scholarship applications are due on January, 31, 2016.

--People in Squamish don't screw around. When it snows, they strap on their skis. And when it snows on top of the Stawamus Chief, they also strap on a parachute. Check it out:

--Two new ice climbs have been added to the Peace region of British Columbia. To read more, click here.

Desert Southwest:

--A Spokane climber was killed in Red Rock Canyon on Saturday. It appears that his party of three had completed a climb of Johnny Vegas (5.7, II) and were in the process of rappelling the Solar Slab Gully when 25-year-old Brian William Tracy was killed in a rappelling accident. It has been reported that he fell 80-feet, but there is no info on what lead to the fall. There is limited climbing related information in the media, but here's a news report.

--Red Rock Rendezvous will take place from April 1-3. Join American Alpine Institute guides for three days of fun in the sun just outside of Las Vegas. To read more, click here.

--Maybe it’s too soon to label the nearly 800,000-acre Joshua Tree National Park as crowded – but its popularity continues to grow as the park hit a record two-million visitors mark this week. To read more, click here.

--Zion National Park is getting a new plan to manage the thicker flow of visitors. The National Park Service is planning to develop a new Visitor Use Management Plan, officials said this month. "The VUMP will address visitor and commercial uses, visitor experience and capacity, and resource conservation," Aly Baltrus, Zion's chief of Interpretation and Visitor Services, said in an email to The Spectrum newspaper in St. George. "Through the planning process, the park will gather data and share that information with the public." To read more, click here.


--The new owner of Purgatory is a very hands on individual and is in the process of returning the ski resort to its roots. To read more, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--Stein Eriksen, the man known as the founder of modern skiing and a legendary alpine skier, died at the age of 88 at his home in Park City on Sunday. To read more, click here.

--There have been no new developments in the search for Bart Pickard, the 65-year-old Corvallis man, who has been missing since he was seen at Montana's Lost Trail Powder Mountain a week ago. Ravalli County Search and Rescue called off the search after two days of searching. To read more, click here.

--John Ellison -- the founder of Climbers Against Cancer -- started the organization after his own diagnosis with prostate cancer in 2011. John died from his illness on December 27 at the age of 52. To read more, click here.

--Are "Dude Grades" a thing? In other words, are climbing grades innately sexist? Alan Tonnies Moore, an author for the Moja Gear blog, thinks so. Read his piece, here.

--A real estate investment trust that's selling more than a dozen ski resorts from Maine to California won't meet its deadline of completing the transaction by year's end. CNL Lifestyle Properties, which is based in Orlando, Florida, has sold its senior housing portfolio, a dozen marinas, four attractions, and the Mount Washington Hotel and Bretton Woods ski area in New Hampshire. But it continues to seek buyers for 15 additional ski resorts, remaining attractions and marinas, and says it will update shareholders in the first quarter of the new year. To read more, click here.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 12/24/15


This has been an unusually active week for fatalities in the mountains, especially given the time of year. Here are a few lessons that we can draw from this week's SAR news:

1) Ski with a partner. There were two tree-well deaths this week. To learn more about how to avoid this danger,  click here

2) Stay found. There are two missing people out there right now, and a few more that were missing but that have been found. Make a tour plan. Stick to the plan and carry a personal locator beacon to call for help in an emergency.

3) Double check your systems before lowering or rappelling. There are a lot of accidents and fatalities from this. If you make a transition, check the system by weighting it while you're still clipped in. If there's a problem, you should notice it.

4) And finally, use common sense in avalanche terrain. Know how to use your self-rescue equipment and ski with those who understand how to use it too. Pick appropriate routes for the avalanche report and don't deviate.

And finally, on this holiday weekend, let's think about the families of those we've lost from our community...


--The search for a missing backcountry skier has been suspended due to dangerous conditions and may not resume until Saturday, search-and-rescue officials said. It's already been four days since 43-year-old Monty Busbee of Maple Valley went missing near Snoqualmie Pass. And it could be three or four more days until the conditions moderate enough to allow the search to continue. To read more, click here.

--At the time of this writing, a teenage snowboarder was still missing on Mt. Washington on British Columbia's Vancouver Island. To read more, click here.

--A skier died Saturday afternoon after falling into a tree well at Snoqualmie Pass. According to the Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office, 50-year-old Kelly Luna was skiing in the Silver Fir area when he separated from his son and two other adults to ski through a wooded area. To read more, click here. To learn about how to deal with tree wells, click here.

--North Shore Search and Rescue volunteers spent hours Sunday night looking for a backcountry skier lost in an area at high risk for avalanches. The night ended successfully for the 42-year-old Vancouver man and the team of 23 people who helped find him in a gully near the Cypress Mountain ski area. To read more, click here.

--American Alpine Institute Guide Like Liz Scholarship applications are due on January, 31, 2016.


--On December 15th the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office received notification of a deceased 18-year-old female at Outpost Camp, which is a stopping point on the route to Mt. Whitney. To read more, click here.

--Finally something good to report on the California snowpack. It is currently at 121% of normal. To read more, click here.

--An in bounds avalanche was triggered by a skier in the Dragon’s Back area of Mammoth Mountain ski resort in California on Dec. 14th, 2015. Another skier below was caught in the avalanche and rode in it for a few hundred feet. This area was closed at the time of the avalanche. To read more, click here.

--The Bureau of Land Management Bishop Field Office is seeking public comment on proposed fee increases at campgrounds in the eastern Sierra. The BLM is proposing to change the fee strategy and initially increase fees for the Tuttle Creek, Goodale Creek, Horton Creek and Pleasant Valley Pit campgrounds in Inyo County and the Crowley Lake campground in Mono County. To read more, click here.

Desert Southwest:

--A 28-year-old woman fell to her death on Bell Rock in Sedona on Monday evening, according to Yavapai County officials. To read more, click here.

--The Red Rock Rendezvous is coming. To learn more, click here.

Notes from All Over:

Kayah Gaydish

--Jennifer Kendall "Kayah" Gaydish died in a 50-foot fall while climbing at Hidden Valley, Virginia on Sunday, December 20. She was a prominent North Carolina climber, conservationist, board member of the Carolina Climbers' Coalition, and a single mother, with two teenagers. To read more, click here. To learn about the cause of the accident, click here.

--A 25-year old female skier was killed in an accident at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort on Tuesday. It appears that this individual was also killed in a tree well. To read more, click here.

--Officials have confirmed that 42-year-old Snowbasin, UT ski patroller Mike Erickson was caught in an avalanche and injured while performing avalanche control at Snowbasin on Tuesday.. Mike pulled his airbag and was partially buried when the avalanche came to a stop. To read more, click here.

--Winter sports is a $60 billion industry that props up 900,000 U.S. jobs, but because of climate change it could be melting away before our eyes. Since the 1960s the Northern Hemisphere has lost nearly a million miles of spring snow cover and that trend shows no signs of stopping. “Even if we stopped everything right now the warming continues for half a century, maybe more,” says Porter Fox, author of DEEP: The Story of Skiing and the Future of Snow. “We are trying to get ahead of that ball and say the trends you are seeing are only going to get worse.” If the warming trend continues unabated and the western part of the country loses between 25 to 100 percent of its snowpack by 2100, as predicted, it will reduce the snowpack in Park City, Utah, to zero and relegate skiing to the top quarter of Aspen Mountain. To read more, click here.

--Speaking of Climate Change, the Cool Green Science blog has a cool assignment for citizen scientists and mountaineers. They're looking for samples from the world's glaciers above 20'000-feet to better understand glacial thinning. To learn more, click here.

--The Italian newspaper La Stampa reports that three people will go to trial facing manslaughter charges for the death of Tito Traversa. In July of 2013, 12-year-old Italian climbing phenom Tito Traversa died from injuries sustained from a ground fall while climbing in Orpierre, France. An investigation into the cause revealed that he had been climbing on improperly assembled quickdraws—specifically the improper use of a rubber keeper designed to hold the carabiner in place. Tito was under the supervision of a climbing club when the accident occurred. To read more, click here.

--A Boy Scout leader was injured when he and three scouts were attacked by a black bear while exploring a cave in New Jersey, officials said. The attack, which occurred at Splitrock Reservoir in Rockaway Township, left Scout leader Christopher Petronino, 50, with bites and scratches to his scalp and legs. He was airlifted to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The three children were uninjured, officials said. To read more, click here.

--On Tuesday, after the president's early morning gym session, President Barack Obama, his family and a few friends took on the Koko Head Crater Stairs -- a popular Hawaii hike that is so grueling, people often refer to it as the "Stairmaster from Hell" or the "Koko Head Stairs of Doom." To read more, click here.

--The international ski federation is banning camera drones from its World Cup races after one of the flying objects crashed and nearly hit Austrian skier Marcel Hirscher during a slalom in Italy. To read more, click here.

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Munter Mule

In the following clip, a climber demonstrates two things. First, he shows us how to tie a munter hitch on a carabiner clipped to a harness. And second, he shows us how to mule off a munter hitch that is clipped to a locker on a pre-equalized anchor.

The munter-mule is one of the most useful combination's that one can employ in any rock rescue scenario.  It provides the basis for load transfers and for a number of other rescue techniques.

In the video, the climber refers to the mule knot as a slip knot...which it is, but the official name for what he is doing is the "mule."

It is important to watch how the climber releases the mule. He never takes his hand off the break strand. I believe that the most common mistake that people make in this particular setting is that they completely let go of the break strand as they jump their break hand up the strand and closer to the hitch. When you practice, be aware of this and be careful to avoid letting go of the break strand.

--Jason D. Martin

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 12/17/15


--A Sun Valley Idaho skier suffered serious injuries after being buried in an avalanche. It happened in the out of bounds area on the north side of Bald Mountain on Monday. The Sawtooth Avalanche Center says they're not sure of the man's condition, and his identity has not yet been released. To read more, click here.

--A Nampa man who skied out of bounds and got lost at Tamarack Sunday was found safe Monday morning. According to Idaho's Valley County Sheriff's Office, 32-year-old Sean E. Stevenson was reported missing just after 11:30 p.m. after he failed to return home from skiing. Stevenson's vehicle was still in the parking lot, and his lift ticket had last been scanned at 10:35 a.m., officials say. To read more, click here.

AAI Guide and Professional Splitboard Athlete Liz Daley
was tragically killed in an avalanche in September of 2014.

--American Alpine Institute Guide Like Liz Scholarship applications are due on January, 31, 2016.

--The Glacier Creek Road that accesses the North Side of Mt. Baker was damaged in this last storm cycle. It is currently not passible.

--The purchase of 82 acres of timberland neighboring the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River will ensure more room to roam in the popular Mailbox Peak trailhead area. The land, which had been owned and harvested by local timber companies for more than 100 years, was headed toward development. Now, it will be added to the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Natural Resource Conservation Area (NRCA) owned by the state of Washington and managed by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). To read more, click here.

--The Truckee Donner Land Trust and the Access Fund are pleased to announce the acquisition and protection of a significant set of climbing areas on Donner Summit, located just west of Truckee, California. The victory is announced only eight months after going under contract and launching the Save Donner Climbing Forever fundraising campaign. To read more, click here.

--The U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Region is sharing our Wild and Scenic Rivers inventory, eligibility and classification findings for the Inyo, Sequoia and Sierra National Forests. To read more, click here.

Desert Southwest:

--New Mexico's Taos Ski Resort is seeing 300-million dollars in upgrades. To read more, click here.

--Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area will have to wait a while longer for its first major road upgrade in 20 years, and there are conflicting reports about the scope of the work and when it will be finished. Bureau of Land Management officials had hoped to see work begin this month on expanded parking lots and new pavement for the park's 13-mile Scenic Drive, but delays on an earlier project have bumped the start date for the new construction into next year. To read more, click here.


--Vail Resorts came out with two major initiatives last week, each with the company’s employee base in mind: the EpicPromise Foundation, to support employees’ educational development and general well-being; and an employee housing program. To read more, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--A well known Alaskan rock and mixed climber has passed away. Eddie Phay was a pillar of the Alaskan climbing community. To read more and to see some videos of his climbs, click here.

--The 2016 Mugs Stump Award Winners have been announced. To read about the winners, click here.

--The Access Fund has had a mobile conservation team on the road since 2011. The organization recently announced that they will have a second team on the road starting in January of 2016. To read more, click here.

--The ski patrollers at Park City Mountain Resort are scheduled to decide this week whether to unionize, a vote complicated by the merging of PCMR and Canyons Resort into a single property prior to the start of ski season. To read more, click here.

--A jury will hear arguments in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of a 16-year-old German exchange student who fell head first into a pocket of loose snow while skiing at Montana's Whitefish Mountain Resort, a federal judge has ruled. To read more, click here.

--New York Magazine has published an interesting article about the interface between Instagram users and National Parks. On the one hand, these users are bringing popularity to the parks. But on the other many people are doing irresponsible things...such as taking a picture of themselves near a bear or vandalizing something and documenting it for social media. To read the article, click here.

--Here's an article about the costs of obtaining life insurance as a climber...

Monday, December 14, 2015

Regluing Your Skins

A couple of weeks ago, we talked about waxing skis and snowboards, which requires messing around with the base of your device of choice. Since we were already in the workbench mode, I thought that we might spend a little more time talking about something that deals with skis and snowboards and also requires some workbench time.

If you've got money to burn, then when the glue on your skins wears out you can just buy a new pair. But if you're like most of us and you don't have money to burn, then you'll probably be willing to spend a few hours trying to reglue your skins. And unlike waxing your skis, because of the fact that you will only have to do this once every few years, the likelihood of developing real proficiency at this task is low.

When searching for information on the internet about this process, I found that there weren't as many resources as you might think. The reality is that a lot of people don't reglue their skins because the process is not terribly fun and can be frustrating. Instead, they end up buying new skins.

With that in mind, you can enter the regluing process with a "what do you have to lose" mindset. If you screw it up, you'll just have to buy new skins anyway. So take your time and as the guy in the video shows, make sure that you have a beer cracked and ready to steady your nerves with another one waiting in the fridge...

To reapply glue to your skins, you will need the following materials:
  • Gold Label Glue 
  • Scissors 
  • Brown Paper Bags (about 3-4 medium sized bags should be enough) 
  • Masking Tape 
  • Old Credit card/Hotel Key 
  • Iron 
  • Newspapers 
  • Old Skins with correlating skis. 

In his blog, the individual who made this video has the following additional tips:

Step 1 Preparation
  • Throw some newspapers down to protect against glue damage.
  • Attach skin to ski upside down so the adhesive is facing outwards.
  • Put newspaper between the skin and ski to protect the ski from glue.
Step 2 Cleaning the Skins
  • Cut paper bags into strips just wider than your ski.
  • Place strip on skin and run iron over to soak up old glue.
  • Run credit card over skin for final clean up.
  • Do this for the whole length of the skin, until all the dirty glue is gone.
  • The cleaner the better.
Step 3 Apply the Glue
  • If you have Black Diamond Skins that have a covered center strip, put masking tape over it to protect it from getting glued on.
  • Very thinly apply the glue.
  • Make sure to get the edges and do one thin coat. Go as thin as you can.
  • Let it dry for half an hour and apply a second coat.
  • Let it dry for half an hour and apply a third coat.
  • Let it dry for 12 hours.
Things to remember
  • Put the glue on thin. It is too easy to go too thick and get globs.
  • Make sure you do not bend the skin when it is drying.
  • When feeling frustrated have a sip of beer.
  • Although the glue comes with a brush, and I use the brush in the video, I would recommend applying the glue with an old credit card/hotel key only. It goes on faster and smoother and the brush leaves hair on your skin.
For more information on regluing your skins, check out Skiing the Backcountry and In addition to both sites having more information about this process, they both include a number of additional ideas to keep in mind in the comments sections.

--Jason D. Martin

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 12/10/15


--There was a full avalanche burial just outside of Stevens Pass this week. The victim was dug out safely. To read more, click here. Following is a video about the incident:

--The U.S. Forest Service is hiring 1,000 temporary spring and summer jobs in Oregon and Washington, the federal agency announced last week. Applications will be accepted from Nov. 30 to Dec. 7, with positions in fields including fire, recreation, natural resources, timber, engineering, visitor services and archaeology. To read more, click here.

--Canada is currently considering a proposal that would connect several provincial parks, creating a new national park. The new park would connect Manning, Cathedral, Skaha and Okanagan Mountain Provincial Parks into one National Park called The South Okanagan-Similkameen National. Twenty years ago, 3,000 people visited Skaha Provincial Park and last year over 50,000 visited. To read more, click here.

--A group formed in the wake of an Oregon Supreme Court decision opening the door to liability lawsuits against recreation businesses will be holding a public meeting in Bend on Monday. The Oregon Big Tent Recreation Coalition was formed following a ruling by the court in the case of Bagley v. Mt. Bachelor. In 2006, 18-year-old Myles Bagley was paralyzed when he crashed while jumping in a terrain park at the ski area. Bagley sued seeking $21.5 million, but the Deschutes County Circuit Court and the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled that by signing a liability release when he bought his season pass, Bagley had waived his right to sue. To read more, click here.

Desert Southwest:

--Utah's newest ski resort is set to open on December 21st. The Cherry Peak will open or the very first time. To read more, click here.


--Gerald Groswold, the Fraser Valley ski pioneer, passed away on Thanksgiving, just a year after Colorado's governor declared Nov. 15 as "Gerald F. Groswold Day." He founded the famed National Sports Center for the Disabled at Winter Park, the resort he helmed from 1975 to 1997. He opened Mary Jane in 1979, one of the state's largest resort expansions ever. Groswold helped form Colorado ski policy and served on more than a dozen boards that shaped the modern day resort industry. The Grand Foundation, which he founded in 1996, has distributed more than $6 million in the Grand County community. To read more, click here.

--Will Gadd may be getting older, but he's still got it. The renowned mixed climber sent an M14- this week at the Vail amphitheater. To read more, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--A nine-year-old girl who was found unconscious at Nakiska Ski Resort on Sunday has died. RCMP  and Alberta Alpine confirmed her death on Tuesday. She was a member of the U10+ Mt. Allen Ski Team and was skiing with her group on the Homesteader run at the resort in Kananaskis Country, west of Calgary, when it is believed she lost control and hit a tree off the main trail, according to Alberta Alpine. To read more, click here.

--Douglas Tompkins, a noted conservationist and the founder of the clothing brands North Face and Esprit, died on Tuesday after a kayaking accident on General Carrera Lake in the Patagonia region of southern Chile. He was 72. To read more, click here.

--Virtually every Western (and European) ski resort has a canine staff, a team of highly trained rescue dogs who use their speed, on snow agility and incredible sense of smell to locate buried avalanche victims faster than any known alternative. It is believed that one dog and its handler can do the job of 150 trained human searchers in the same amount of time. For much of skiing history, this canine safety net has been hidden behind the scenes, but resorts have given them an increasingly public persona in recent years – and guests love them. To read more, click here.

--There's an awesome new app out that helps you find phone service and allows you to send overdue notices. Check out the Facebook page for Cairn.

--A jury will hear arguments in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of a German exchange student who fell head first into a pocket of loose snow while skiing at Whitefish Mountain Resort in Montana, a federal judge has ruled. To read more, click here.

--It appears that there is a move in Wyoming to remove grizzly bears from the endangered species list. Experts believe that this will lead to an immediate population decline. To read more, click here.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Equipment Review: Camp Cassin X-All Mountain Ice Tools

As it is December and the ice season is upon us, it's time to think about ice tools. In particular, one ice tool that has slowly become one of the go-to tools for mountain guides: the Camp Cassin X-All Mountain Ice Tool.

I had the opportunity to use these tools for an entire season of drytooling and ice climbing. And I was tremendously pleased. The tool is an all purpose ice and mountain tool that performs at a high standard.

The goal of the tool is simple. It's job is to perform well on ice and alpine terrain and to be functional in drytool terrain. I used the tool excessively on waterfall climbs and on drytool ascents and felt that it would be hard to beat in the terrain where I operated.

Obviously, a tool without a double handle like the Petzl Nomic, the Black Diamond Fusion or even the Cassin X-Dream, will not work as well in a drytooling environment. The Cassin X-All Mountain and other tools like it, have an upper grip that allows for one to match and swap hands, but the upper grip can't be used for much more than that. The double handle that some of the other models sport provide more grip options for drytool specific climbing.

I found the single handle to work fine for the lower level drytool (M7 and less) routes that I like to struggle on. But I'm not a drytool specialist and many may find a double handle tool to be more legitimate for this kind of terrain.

Following is a short paragraph from the CAMP website:

The X-All Mountain tool is simply the best — and we say simply in the most sincere way possible. It is not an overly complex design. It is ‘simply’ a perfectly-balanced, fine-tuned, high-quality ice climbing machine. Due to its simplicity, it climbs all angles of ice with much more fluidity and consistency than other modern tools. The profiled pick and perfect head weight make it the best tool for thin ice where it penetrates aggressively with minimal impact on the ice. We have increased the size of the main pommel on the handles to provide an extra four millimeters in width and length for use with thicker gloves.

For climbers who have experienced the frustrations of pick bounce, ice bashing and shoulder fatigue common with the more aggressive mixed tools or more classic style tools, we encourage you to swing the new X-All Mountains. Once you do, there will be no going back.

One thing I noticed right off the bat is that the shafts up near the head are very slippery. I put some sticky tape there in order to better facilitate holding the tool in a dagger position.

Some people really dislike the "sandpaper tape" above the handles and I've heard of people taking this off because it messes up their gloves. I personally didn't experience that and felt the sandpaper tape above the grip worked fine.

There is no doubt that I put this tool through the ringer. And there were several times when I thought I might have actually damaged it. But the only damage the tool seemed to have sustained is on the finger grip. The grip began to come apart as I finished my season.

Problems with the finger grip are easily fixed. I actually felt a little dumb when I found out that this particular tool has three different grip configurations. In other words, the grip that started to wear out is easily replaced. And not only is it easily replaced, there are two other options for different types of climbing.

X-All Mountain Grip Options

In a quick internet search I found that several people have complained about problems with the grips. However, I also found at least one person who claims CAMP has replaced the damaged grips with new ones for free.

In one final note about the grips, they are only held on with one tiny bolt. I haven't been able to find any evidence of them failing and they never came close to it with me. But I did find a couple of people online who complained about the sound of the grips on the shaft moving... I never heard anything on the tools I used.

And while I didn't use the tool on an alpine route, I can easily imagine two problem with it. First, he shaft is heavily curved, allowing for nice clearance on each swing. This swing advantage comes at a price though. The curve simultaneously makes it difficult to pound pickets with the hammer or to cut out a t-slot with an adze. And second, it makes the tool harder to use in the cane position or the self-arrest position. However, if one practiced with the tool, he or she could probably make it work effectively in either orientation.

Some people who drytool a lot like to take the hammer or adze off the back of the tool in order to reduce weight. This isn't possible with the X-All Mountain because the backside of the pick is held in place by the same bolt that holds the hammer/adze in place. My argument to those who would like to do this is that the tool wasn't designed to be a high-end drytooling tool, but to be more of an ice specific tool.

I primarily used the tool for vertical waterfall ice climbing, and for that application, I honestly cannot imagine a better tool. There might be better tools for drytooling, but for someone who isn't a drytool specialist this tool works absolutely fine. I would strongly recommend the X-All Mountain to any who are looking for a reasonable ice tool.

--Jason D. Martin

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 11/30/15

There were a fair number of injuries and fatalities in the mountains this week. Be careful out there...


--The Chelan County Sheriff’s Office announced Tuesday night that it had suspended its search for a missing Portland music teacher who planned to climb Colchuck Peak in Chelan County last weekend. To read more, click here.

--Authorities have recovered the body of a climber who died after falling into a crevasse on Mount Jefferson in Oregon. A combat medic with the National Guard and a climber with the Corvallis Mountain Rescue Team were lowered onto the mountain on Tuesday. The two assisted a helicopter in recovering the body of Tommy Fountain. To read more, click here.


--On Saturday, Nov. 21, after a four-day search and up to fifty volunteer Search and Rescue members from across the State, Inyo County Search and Rescue (SAR) recovered the body of missing UCLA graduate student Michael David Meyers for the Mt. Whitney region. Meyers’ was the first avalanche fatality of the 2015-16 winter season. To read more, click here.

--An Ohio woman who came to Los Angeles for a student fashion program died Sunday, Nov. 29, after a skiing accident at the Bear Mountain ski resort in the San Bernardino Mountains. To read more, click here.

Desert Southwest:

--The visitor center and the 13-mile Scenic Drive at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area were closed for much of the day last Wednesday because of a power outage, but both are expected to reopen Thursday. Kirsten Cannon, spokeswoman for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in Southern Nevada, said the visitor center was closed at 8 a.m. "due to lack of power." The Scenic Drive was shut down about two hours later because of a "misunderstanding about what areas should be closed during a power outage," Cannon said in an email. Historically, Thanksgiving Week and Weekend is one of the busiest weekends of the year in Red Rock. To read more, click here.

--An iconic Joshua tree caught fire and had to be cut down this Thanksgiving weekend, according to Joshua Tree National Park authorities. A visitor reported the tree burning on the roadside within the park around 8:10 p.m. Saturday and investigators believe the fire was human-caused. To read more, click here.

--An injured climber was evacuated last week from Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. To read more, click here.

--Officials are working to find ways to mitigate crowds in Arches National Park. To read more, click here.


--Two brothers survived a massive avalanche — and then a second slide — on a popular backcountry ski route Wednesday, despite the fact they both thought the other was dead. To read more, click here.

--A new report finds that A hunter who was found dead in the Colorado mountains succumbed to altitude sickness. To read more, click here.

--The U.S. Forest Service has approved zip lines, canopy tours, ropes courses and more trails at Breckenridge ski area as the Summit County resort ramps up plans to draw a wider swath of summer visitors. To read more, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--Two ice climbers were attacked by a bear on the Icefields Parkway in Alberta, Canada this week. It appears that after punching the bear in the face he released the man's knee. To see photos of the carnage and to read a thread about it on Facebook, click here. To read a blog about the climb and the bear, click here. To read a news article, click here.

--A snowmobiler survived a full avalanche burial this week in Alaska. To read more, click here.

--Dr. Liam Walsh, a 33-year-old anesthesiologist from Wasilla, Alaska has yet to be found after going skiing in Alaska's Hatcher Pass on November 22. To read more, click here.
--The UIAA has just released a paper on the corrosion and stress corrosion on climbing anchors. To read the paper, click here.

The concept for a new apartment complex with a ski run.

--A new apartment complex planned for Astana, Kazakhstan’s capital, is set to include a 1,000ft ski slope, running from the roof to the ground. The 21-story building will comprise shops, apartments, and an outdoor ski slope running alongside the building. To read more, click here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Climbing Technique: Outside Edge, Flag and Drop Knee

The following is an excellent video for those who enjoy climbing steep terrain. On steep routes, we commonly talk about keeping the arms straight in order to conserve energy. There are three core movements shown in the video that allow for this on this type of terrain.

The first movement is the use of the Outside Edge. It's common for people to climb "frog-style," with their hips paralleling the wall. This type of movement is intensive and difficult. Instead, to increase stability and to decrease the amount of strength used, one should try to use the outside edge of the climbing shoe. This essentially forces you to cross your legs and allows you to achieve more height on each move. The narrator of the video below says, "the outside edge move should be considered the utility move for climbing steep walls."

The second movement is the Flag. If the holds are not lining up appropriately for you to effectively use the outside edge of your rock shoe, you might have to regularly swap feet. This of course is energy intensive. The answer is to flag. In this situation, instead of swapping feet to use the outside edge, you can use the inside edge and either cross the opposite foot in front or behind and brace it against the rock to stabilize the stance.

The third and final movement is the Drop Knee. The outside edge and the flag moves are used on a wall where you only have one foothold and the spare leg is used to achieve balance. If you have two footholds then dropping the knee to create counter pressure and to lengthen the reach also works well.

The following video describes each of these techniques in depth and is well-worth your time:

--Jason D. Martin

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 11/19/15


--Andrew Bower was killed in a climbing accident while he was replacing bolts in the Dishman Hills Natural Area near Spokane, WA. As Andrew's gear was still in his pack, it appears that he may have slipped at the top of the cliff. To read a report of the incident, click here.

--The U.S. Board on Geographic Names has reversed itself and agreed to change the controversial names of two geographic features in the Cascades—Coon Lake and Coon Creek—to Howard Lake and Howard Creek, after a pioneering prospector who lived there in the 1890s. The reversal was confirmed by the board’s executive secretary, Lou Yost. To read more, click here.

--A moratorium on bolting has been placed on Idaho's Castle Rock State Park. To read more, click here.

--The owner of a Winlock lumber business and three other Lewis County men have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Seattle for illegally logging and selling massive bigleaf maple trees from the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. In an indictment, prosecutors say Ryan Anthony Justice, James Michael Miller and Kevin James Mullins stole wood from the national forest, located east of Cowlitz County. Prosecutors are also targeting Harold Clause Kupers and his Winlock-based business, J&L Tonewoods, claiming it was a front for poached maple, according to the indictment. To read more, click here.

--A Seattle art gallery has a installation right now about fire lookouts. To read about it, click here.


--Michael Meyers, a UCLA graduate student in physics, was reported missing Sunday night. He was last known to be hiking in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Catherine Meyers, Meyers’ mother, said her son planned to climb Mount Russell or Mount Whitney on Nov. 6. She added she reported his disappearance to the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department Sunday night, and contacted university police Monday. To read more, click here.

--A backcountry skier was carried 150-vertical-feet by an avalanche and partially buried on Elephants Back off Caron Pass (hwy 88) near Lake Tahoe last week. He was able to dig himself out and was uninjured. To read more, click here.

Desert Southwest:

--This week marks the 25th anniversary of the creation of the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area!


--A former instructor with the Aspen Skiing Co. has reached a settlement with the family of the boy she sued after the child, who was enrolled in her class, allegedly collided with her during a ski lesson in 2013. To read more, click here.

--The U.S. Forest Service is giving Vail Resorts a green light for more development on the slopes of the Tenmile Range, at Breckenridge Ski Area in Colorado. In a final decision released this week, White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams approved a significant expansion of recreation infrastructure, including zip lines and canopy tours, as well as more off-highway vehicle tours and an expansion of the Peak 7 hut. All of the projects approved are on National Forest System lands and occur within Breckenridge Ski Resort’s Special Use Permit boundary. To read more, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--A key suspect in the 2013 massacre of foreign climbers in Pakistan is on the run after he hurled grenades at officers who were pursuing him, injuring 10 of them, officials said on Tuesday (Nov 17). The suspect, named by police as Rahimullah, has a bounty on his head of one million rupees (US$10,000) over his alleged involvement in the attack on the base camp at Nanga Parbat, Pakistan's second highest mountain. To read more, click here.

--A skier backcountry skiing alone, impaled his groin on a low branch this week in Montana. The individual was left alone and bleed for a long period of time before being rescued. To read more, click here.

--A snowmobiler in the eastern Alaska mountain range of Alaska triggered an avalanche and was buried in the avalanche debris for about 25 minutes on Sunday. This is the first full burial that has been reported in North America this season. To read more, click here.

--The National Outdoor Book Awards winners have been announced.

--Yellowstone National Park officials have received much criticism — some based on inaccurate information posted on social media — for their decision to euthanize a grizzly bear that killed a Montana man this past summer, a park wildlife manager said. To read more, click here.

--So it appears that there may be a cultural misunderstanding concerning how to use toilets in Grand Teton National Park. A group of foreign visitors appear to be placing their feet on toilet seats in vault toilets and squatting while using the bathroom. Apparently the Park had 42 broken seats this season as a result of this use. To read more, click here.

--The United Nations has recognized the Outdoor Industry Association among a handful of companies and associations moving the needle on global sustainability. To read more, click here.

--Here are 12 things that Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell believes every outdoor business should know.

--The North Face and biotech company Spiber have collaborated to create the “Moon Parka” – a coat woven out of synthetic spider silk. Spider silk is one of nature’s stretchiest and strongest materials – making it ideal for active sportswear. However, harvesting spider silk on an industrial scale is not very efficient, mainly due to spiders' competitive disposition to eat their rivals. To read more, click here.

--Death Valley sure got hammered by floods last week...

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 11/12/15


--The trail leading to the Big Four Ice Caves will likely reopen next year, according to the U.S. Forest Service. But the agency is planning to bring together trail builders, landscape architects and social scientists to look for ways to keep hikers out of the deadly caves. The trail has been closed since July 6, when rock and ice fell and killed 34-year-old Annalisa Santana, of California. Five other people were injured, including her brother, a Lynnwood resident who died of his injuries in October. To read more, click here.


--It appears that there was a fatality on Yosemite's Snake Dike Dihedral, a popular 5.7 route. There is limited information at this time, but it has been noted that the accident may have happened on the descent. To read more, click here.

--There was another fatal accident on the Royal Column in Yosemite. To read more, click here.

--The Sierra is getting some real snow this year!

Desert Southwest:

--A drunken British woman saved from a Grand Canyon cliff edge late Sunday night greeted her rescuers with scorn and spit, rangers say. Charmaine Isaacs, 36, whose hometown was listed as the small village of Ilton, England, was arrested by National Park Service rangers on suspicion of disorderly conduct (creating a hazardous condition), public drunkenness, and "interfering with agency function" after an hourlong night rescue at the South Rim. To read more, click here.

--A rented Lamborghini worth $180,000 suffered a rollover crash just outside the Red Rock Scenic Drive. There were no injuries...except the car...which is totaled. To read more, click here.


--The town of Breckenridge recently passed a 4.5% tax on ski lift tickets. To read more, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--Canadian professional skier Ian McIntosh somehow survived a 1,600-foot head-over-heels-over-head-over-heels tumble lasting nearly a minute in Alaska’s Neacola Range about 120 miles southwest of Anchorage, an area pockmarked with numerous 3,000-foot couloirs. The video, with audio of his gasps, is frightening. To see the video, click below. To read more, click here.

--Peter Metcalf, the CEO and founder of Black Diamond, wrote an editorial about the economic power of the outdoor industry in Outside. Metcalf argues that a new bill that tracks the industry will be good for outdoor users because policymakers will have to respect the economic power of the industry. To read the editorial, click here.

--The Banff Mountain Book Competition has announced its winners. To read about them, click here.

--An editorialist in Alaska agrees with the Denali name change, but argues that geographical name changes should not be the new norm. To read the article, click here.

--A skier was buried to his chest in an avalanche in Alaska last week. To read more, click here.

--Two hunters were caught in an avalanche near Bozeman, MT last week as well. There were no fatalities. To read more, click here.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 11/5/15


--It's an El Nino year, which usually means less snowfall than normal. But after last year's 20% of normal snowpack, an 80% year sounds pretty good. The Pacific Northwest just received its first significant mountain snowfall of the season. To read more, click here.

--Reel Rock Film Festival will take place at Western Washington University in Bellingham on November 12th, in Seattle on November 14th and in Portland on November 17th. To learn more, click here.

Early morning on Mt. Rainier.

--Public scoping meetings will be taking place throughout November for the Mount Rainier Wilderness Stewardship Plan. To read more, click here.


--A climber paralyzed from the waist down recently made an ascent of Yosemite's El Capitan. To read more, click here.

--Two women made the first all-female, one-day ascent of Salathé Wall, the historic route on El Capitan in Yosemite Valley, this past weekend. Libby Sauter, 31, of Las Vegas, and Alix Morris, 25, of Yosemite Village, started at the base of the 2,900-foot climb in darkness and topped out before 1 a.m., completing their push in less than 19 hours. To read more, click here.

--Mammoth Mountain ski resort is opening today! To read more, click here.

Desert Southwest:

--It's time to start thinking about Red Rock Rendezvous! The event will be April 1-3 this year. To register, click here.

--Zion National Park is extending their shuttle service for the next two weeks, and the move comes after a surge of visitors to the park shut the canyon down earlier this week. To read more, click here.


--The Reel Rock Film Festival will be in Golden on November 6th and Gunnison on November 13th. To learn more, click here.

--Aspen Skiing Company has been one of the ski industry’s leaders on climate action since 1997, and Schendler is the resort’s outspoken climate czar. Nobody in the business has done more to sound the alarm and cajole resorts to confront climate change. He chairs Protect Our Winters, a global nonprofit devoted to climate activism, and he authored the book Getting Green Done, which is about the struggles of greening a big company. Schendler has testified before Congress, lectured at the Harvard Business School, and delivered countless climate talks. He has met with governors, senators, and congressmen and advised White House staff and the director of the Environmental Protection Agency about engaging skiers in the climate fight. Time magazine called him a “climate crusader” in 2006. To read more, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--Jesus Deniz, an 18-year old male, was recently charged with the shooting of a climber who was camping in Wyoming's Ten Sleep Canyon in September of 2013. It appears that the teen confessed to the shooting while he was being interviewed about the shooting of three other individuals. To read more, click here.

--A new ice line was recently climbed in the Bugaboos. Check it out.

--The following was a video taken in the Alps a few weeks ago. Terrifying.

--The misleadingly named Resilient Federal Forests Act, a version of which passed the House in July 2015, would weaken environmental laws and allow the timber industry to log thousands of square miles of national forest land without adequately considering the environmental effects or discussing the impact on local communities. To read more, click here.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

White Gas vs. Canister Stoves

For backcountry cooking, you have to main options on the market for how to heat up your food: white gas stoves and canister stoves. For white gas, the stoves connect to pumps and external fuel cans that you can refill with white gas. For canister stoves, they connect to pre-pressurized canisters of isobutane that you dispose of after use. Each type of stove has its own benefits and drawbacks.

In general, for long (week-plus) high-altitude trips, you will want a liquid fuel stove. They perform better at altitude and in the cold and are easier to fix in the field if something goes wrong. Because you can refill the fuel can, you end up with a less cluttered system because you don't have a bunch of spent canisters lying around. Liquid fuel stoves are also the best option for cooking for groups of 3 or more because you can boil water and get food going for longer and using less fuel. Some options, like the MSR Simmerlite and to some extent the Whisperlite, can be used to simmer food for cooking. Others, like the MSR XGK, are primarily very strong water boilers and not as good for cooking. The downsides of liquid fuel stoves are that they require priming before lighting the stove, which can be complicated and take some practice, and there is a greater risk of fuel leakage than with canisters.

Canister stoves have the benefit of being simple to use for just one or two people for shorter trips. These stoves tend to be more compact and lightweight than liquid fuel stoves. Popular options include the Jetboil, the MSR Reactor, and the MSR Pocketrocket, among others. Canister stoves light quickly without priming and get water boiling quickly. The main downsides of these stoves ares that they are good water boilers but aren't very good for cooking food (they don't really have a "simmer" function and therefore tend to burn it) and they rely on canisters, which are less fuel-efficient than white gas and it's harder to measure how much fuel is left in them once you've started using them. The canisters can also depressurize in the cold which leads to your stove not producing a flame. If this happens, you need to rewarm the canister and it should readjust. You can keep canisters inside your sleeping bag at night and cook on a foam pad to help prevent this problem.

In short, for longer trips at altitude, bigger groups or more elaborate cooking, white gas stoves are the way to go. If you're a small group that just needs to boil water and wants to go light a fast, consider a canister stove. For AAI Operations Manager Jason Martin's review of two different types of canister stoves, the MSR Reactor and the Jetboil, click here.

--Shelby Carpenter, AAI Instructor and Guide

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 10/29/15


--The Northwest Snow and Avalanche Workshop (NSAW) is coming up on Sunday, November 8 at the University of Washington HUB. NSAW is a professional development seminar bringing together professionals and avid backcountry recreationists for a full day of avalanche education presented by some of the leading researchers and avalanche practitioners in North America.


--A Fort Collins man who went missing and was found dead near Allenspark trail head has left behind a legacy as a Colorado climbing pioneer. Thomas Mereness was the first person in Colorado to climb all of the 14ers in the winter. Mereness climbed the 54 mountains between Dec. 21 and March 21 and accomplished his goal in 1992.  Full article here.

Notes from All Over:

--Newly developed Leave No Trace guidelines for winter snowsports. Winter backcountry recreation is on the rise.  As is so often the case, increased use can lead to greater impacts to the landscape as well as on others seeking the same experiences. Trash, human waste issues, excessive noise and disturbances to wildlife have all been cited as issues that can be addressed successfully with relevant Leave No Trace education. Full article and guidelines can be found here.

--REI is paying its employees to take Black Friday off by closing for the day in all 143 stores for a 1st time in push to #OptOutside.

REI is taking direct aim at the frenzied consumerism that dominates the holidays with a message to do the exact opposite of what Black Friday demands. Instead of buying new skis, go skiing!  More here and here.

--Colossal Rock Climbing Gym Coming to Crystal City: With footprint exceeding 45,000 square feet, DC Metro location will be among the biggest climbing gyms in the nation. See it here.

--Russian alpinists claim first ascent of virgin Thulagi Chuli in Nepal.  On 25/09/2015 the Russian mountaineers Aleksander Gukov, Ivan Dozhdev, Valeriy Shamalo and Ruslan Kirichenko completed the first ascent of Thulagi Chuli (7059m) a hitherto unclimbed peak in the Nepalese Himalaya. The new route up the West Face is called Happy Birthday, is 1850m high and is graded TD+, VI (5c), AI 4+, M4.  Get the details here.

--Utah’s newest ski resort prepares for inaugural season. Richmond, Utah’s newest ski resort, Cherry Peak, is scheduled to open this winter. With three chairlifts and 280 acres of terrain for all levels, officials say it will provide fun for families in Cache Valley and across the state. Scope it out here

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 10/22/15


--Soldier Mountain Ski Area, situated 53 miles southwest of Sun Valley Resort, announced their current financial status does not allow for the ski area to open this year via Facebook on Wednesday. “After much deliberation we have decided to sell. Help us to find a buyer that can open up this ski season,” the statement read. The non-profit ski area is on the market for $149,000, the amount owed to the bank for the past three years of improvements and operations. After purchasing the ski hill in the late 90s, “Die Hard” star Bruce Willis donated the mountain to the recently formed 501[c]3 Soldier Mountain Ski Area, Inc in 2012. To read more, click here.

Desert Southwest:

--The 13th annual “Mountain Gear Presents: Red Rock Rendezvous" rock climbing festival will return to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Friday through Sunday, April 1-3, 2016. Mountain Gear is offering early registration packages that start at $119 for the weekend clinics with world-class athletes and the nation’s top climbing guides. For more information on registration options or to register, visit


--A California start-up with $10 million in venture capital funding has partnered with Copper Mountain and Winter Park ski areas to offer drone video services this season. Cape Productions on Tuesday announced nine resorts — including Copper and Winter Park — as partners in the company's plan to deliver drone-captured video to ski resort visitors. To read more, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--U.S. Navy veteran Scott Mace was napping under a bunya pine in San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park when a huge cone fell from the tree and hit him on the head, rendering him unconscious and bleeding. The 16-pound seed pod caused permanent brain damage, required multiple surgeries, and left the 51-year-old with a four-inch dent in his skull. Now he’s suing the park, the National Park Service, and the Department of the Interior for $5 million in damages. To read more, click here.

-Last week, Gov. Jerry Brown signed two important measures that will help move California’s world-class state park system and its steward, the Department of Parks and Recreation, forward in the 21st century. To read more, click here.

Read more here:

Monday, October 19, 2015

First Aid: When Animals Attack!

So you're on the third pitch of a route when you accidentally annoy a cute and fuzzy squirrel. And while squirrels are cute and fuzzy, they also have very sharp teeth. So while finishing your lead, you note that the cute and fuzzy squirrel has fastened his not-so-cute and not-so-fuzzy teeth to your wrist...

So obviously, you do what any big and tough climber would do in such a scream like a little girl.

You scream and you scream. And the squirrel looks at you like it's possessed by the devil and its no longer cute and fuzzy at all. In fact, at that moment, you know that you will have nightmares about squirrels attacking you for the rest of your life. Every time you see a little fuzzy animal -- even a happy teddy bear at Build-a-Bear -- you'll roll up in a little ball and sob...

And while all that is going through your head, your partner laughs.

And then tells everyone about your little girl scream for years and years and years.

While being attacked by a squirrel might give your partner a great story, it could also be very dangerous. Animal bites can happen on any type of trip. And the most important thing a victim can do is to note what kind of animal it was that attacked and what the nature of the attack was. Were you poking it with a stick and throwing rocks at the animal, did you disturb it's "nest," or did it just seem to attack for no reason?

Don't mess with me, I've got a lot more than rabies.

Unprovoked animal bites are particularly dangerous. The unfortunate likelyhood is that warrantless animal attacks are due to rabies, which is almost always deadly in humans who contract it and do not receive treatment. As a result, animal bites must be taken extremely seriously and medical attention should be sought with all animal bites.

Puncture wounds are also dangerous. Animals teeth are covered in bacteria and a bite that breaks the skin could inject said bacteria deep into the tissue. Infection from such a bite develops extremely quickly. A serious infection can develop in as little at 24 hours. Tetanus -- a life-threatening illness -- can develop from any bite, human or animal.

Additionally, bites to the hand, the wrist, the foot or a joint can be very serious. Bite wounds to the hand may result in major complications because the skin's surface is so close to the underlying bones and joints. Other wounds in such areas could create life-long disabilities without proper treatment and antibiotics.

The jist of this is that while being bit by a squirrel might be funny to your partner...all animal bites should be seen as serious events and medical attention should always be sought. Once you're better you can beat-up on your partner for spreading rumors about your childlike scream...

--Jason D. Martin

Friday, October 16, 2015

Route Profile: Cayenne Corners - A Forgotten Red Rock Classic!

It is hot and dry in the desert most of the year down here in Las Vegas.  Temperatures don't start to get reasonable until October, and throughout the summer it averages a sweltering 100+ degrees.  

The city is fast-moving, and home to a strange collection of sprawling suburbs and outlandish attractions and amusements.  But living in the city of sin has its perks for a rock climber- just to the west of the city is Red Rock National Conservation Area, one of the greatest and most popular rock climbing meccas in North America.  While filled with classic routes, the park has a 45+ year history of rock climbing, and living here allows you plenty of time to explore unique and forgotten areas and routes in the Red Rock canyons.  While these explorations aren't always fruitful, more often than not they lead to some excellent climbing.  

One such forgotten and undiscovered route is Cayenne Corners.  Located in the alcove to the right of Ginger Buttress on Juniper Peak, Cayenne Corners is a wild and amazing line, characterized by stellar crack climbing on mostly bullet-proof rock.  The highlight of the route (and namesake) are two corners capped by roofs.

Looking up at Cayenne Corners from the start of the first pitch.  The climb
begins in the left facing corner and continues up the right side of the lower pillar through
corners and roofs. (A. Stephen)
The first pitch is a delicate and thin 5.9 left-facing corner  The crack takes good small gear, and there are two bolts protecting some thin face climbing and stemming where the crack pinches down.  This brings you to a nice handcrack with plentiful face-holds leading to a good two bolt anchor on the left side of a pillar.

The next pitch is the crux- It is called 5.10d in the guidebook, but I felt it checked in a little easier than that- maybe 5.10b.  After traversing to the left side of the pillar, you climb an amazing corner that starts as perfect hand jams. After a few body lengths, the crack thins to green camalots and the corner turns into a slot that you can get great knee-bars in.

Chalking up for the roof! (A. Stephen)
The pitch continues up to a roof with a perfect hand crack leading out its right edge.  Traverse out of this with smearing for your feet and then continue into a finger crack with great locks and face-holds but finnicky gear to a hanging belay.  What a RAD pitch!  Don't forget to put extended draws on any gear placed inside the roof...

PNW climber Micah Faville crushing the stellar corner crack
climbing of the 2nd pitch. (A. Stephen)
 The fun isn't over yet though!  Next, a 5.8 pitch heads up a crack and traverses to the base of another pillar.

The next pitch checks in around 5.10a and traverses out yet another awesome roof on a slightly wider crack (#3 camalot) with better feet.

Two more 5.9 pitches continue up through cracks, neither of which weren't totally memorable, but fun nonetheless.  We rappelled the route with two ropes.

The author traversing around another roof on splitter cracks.
(M. Faville)
If you are looking for a route to do when the other routes on Ginger Buttress are busy or a super fun route that is off the beaten path, Cayenne Corners should be on your list!  Here is a link to some more specific beta-  

--Andy Stephen, Instructor and Guide