EXPEDITIONS & CLIMBING GALLERY
Expeditions: kind of like fun, but different
There's a lot of content here, and I apologize for the size of the thumbnails, but I encourage you to take a look at them. These have been condensed from hundreds of images for each trip and I have chosen only the best for these galleries.
The full galleries are still on Photobucket and you'll see the links below. At the very bottom of the page are a few video and slideshow links I think you will enjoy.
Siberian Exposure 2016
This was my first solo international mountain voyage. After a work-related conference in Novosibirsk in mid April, I headed southeast to the Altai Mountains where Russia, China, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan all join together. After 20 hours of non-stop ground travel, I arrived in the remote indigenous village of Beltyr, where no one spoke English and I suspect foreigners are rare. Though I remained in Russia, the image of Genghis Khan and his people dominated. Here, camels and raptors roam the rugged, wide open spaces as snow capped peaks tower in all directions, spanning four countries. My goal: to trek a 60 mile circuit into the heart of the mountains and climb something, but much of the adventure came from the constant surprises involved with getting there and back, through an unfamiliar culture in a wild and gritty part of central Asia. Click here to continue reading, and here for the full photo set (here for slideshow format).
2014 Semi Expeditions: Grand Canyon and the Moose's Tooth
The trips of 2014 have been casual compared to most, with minimal suffering and lavish accommodations . First off was floating 150+ miles of the Grand Canyon, in March, over nine days. Although we had more luxuries than I usually have at home, the trip resembled an expedition in many ways; the research and preparation, gear selection, daily boat rigging, and transportation logistics were all fairly involved, especially for the leader and boatmen (which I was neither). And the rapids keep you on alert; even though it's just water, plenty can go wrong. Fortunately, only a few people in our group were tossed out of their rafts and had to swim rapids, and no boats flipped. Props to Steve Baker for getting this trip together, Blue for the chance to row rapids in his raft, and Nemo for a sweet tent. This is one of the wildest and most awe-inspiring landscapes anywhere, and it's right here our backyayds!! Click here for the full gallery on Photobucket.
The other trip has been called "aerial car camping." Indeed, the ski plane lands climbers on a hanging glacier perched above the Ruth Gorge in the Central Alaska Range, east of Denali. Camp is placed on a ridge top, only a 10 minute walk from the landing strip, and the base of two of the major routes on the Moose's Tooth are also just a 15 minute approach from camp. It's pretty luxurious. That said, our chosen route, Ham and Eggs, is pretty tall and has some good cruxes. In mid May, the season was drawing to a close and conditions were pretty thin, with a move or two of AI5 and lots of rock moves. Despite killer weather during most of the trip, the one time it wasn't was precisely when we were heading from the top of the climb to the summit proper, along a corniced ridge. Not able to see each other, or the ridge, or anything else for that matter, we called it a few hundred feet short of the summit and rappelled 18 pitches in a blizzard. With no more routes to climb (the other one had pretty much fallen off while we were there), we flew out after only three nights in the range, hence the term "semi expedition." Click here for the full gallery on photobucket.
Northern Exposure 2013
The Icefields...what place even compares? That was the main reaction after returning from the peaks of the St. Elias Range, in Canada's Yukon Territory, with Jonathan Crabtree and two friends from Fairbanks -- Charlie Parr and Eli Sturm. Over about 10 days, Jon and I managed to make the first ascent of the South Face of Lowell Peak, near Mt. Kennedy, as well as the first ascent of Mt. Alverstone NE 5 and an attempt on a sub-peak on Lowell, while Eli and Charlie attempted the second ascent of the West Ridge of Lowell. Loads of fun, great climbing, great partners and ridiculously phenomenal views made this trip one of the smoothest and most enjoyable expeditions ever. We hope to return soon. Click here for the full trip report, and here for the full photo gallery on Photobucket. Better yet, watch this 6 minute video that Jon put together. Infinite thanks to the American Alpine Club and the Alaska Alpine Club for making this trip happen! It will not be forgotten.
Cleanup Crew 2011: Mt. Hayes, Eastern Alaska Range
Mt. Hayes is the highest mountain in the Eastern Alaska Range. It's eastern aspect rises over 7,000 feet from the Trident Glacier while the summit falls just short of 14,000 feet. Jonathan Crabtree and I attempted the East Ridge from the Trident Glacier in early April, just after a party had called for a rescue and was plucked by helicopter from 11,000 feet on the route, leaving two camps on the mountain. Our plan was to use a brief weather window to fly in, climb the mountain, retrieve all of their gear, then ski 30 miles back to the highway over the course of two weeks. During this relatively brief yet intense expedition, little went as planned, but our efforts nevertheless were sincere. Click here to view an 18 minute video, here for the full photo collection, and here for the trip report with some beta at the end.
Himalayan Exposure 2008
This expedition accomplished a rare ascent of Putha Himal (Dhaulagiri VII; 23,750 feet) in western Nepal, and the possible first ascent of Turka Himal. Blue Eisele and I made what is likely the first alpine style ascent of the mountain from its north side and may be one of just a few overall alpine style ascents of the mountain. But the real challenge was getting there, as we crossed the Himalayas from the lowlands over 6 passes and into the Dhualagiri rain shadow just to reach base camp, which took 21 days in itself. The 40 day expedition covered 250 miles and roughly 50,000 vertical feet. We had no support above 15,000 feet. Click here for the full trip report in the Mazamas Annual Journal.
Click Here to see the full gallery for Himalayan Exposure 2008
Thin air on Aconcagua
A basic expedition logistically, but still pretty tough physically, as we summitted 10 or 11 days after leaving sea level and true acclimatization wasn't really happening. Aconcagua is the highest mountain in the world outside of the Himalayas, at 22, 841 feet. Combining this with some sightseeing in Argentina makes for a great experience. Blue Eisele and I spent about two weeks approaching, climbing, and descending this peak in late 2005. Click here to go to the Features Portfolio to see the full length article in the Reno Gazette-Journal.
This is a trip that will always bring mixed emotions. Baffin Island was the culmination of several years of big wall climbing experience, starting in Yosemite Valley when I was 19. By 2004 I felt I had the skill set and motivation needed to approach some of the biggest and steepest unclimbed big walls in the world -- the granite faces of Baffin Island, in the Canadian Arctic. After nearly a year of organizing and assembling a team of Kyle Dempster, Ross Cowan, Drew Wilson, and Grover Shipman, we headed off into the unknown. After working on an unclimbed spire for 18 days in seige style, Kyle, Drew and I reached the top, with my two partners proving to be some of the boldest and most talented climbers I've ever known. The day after the summit, our expedition met a fate that would change our lives forever. Click here to read my account of this expedition in Alpinist Magazine.
Click here for the full gallery for Baffin Island
Denali was my first expedition. I was 20, and a partner of mine had been there years before, so I figured all would be fine -- until he flaked just weeks before the trip was to begin, in May of 2000. So he referred me to some friends of his who were also heading up the mountain -- Cody Arnold of Anchorage and his friend, Sean. These were young guys like me, who loved to have a good time. We spent 17 days on the West Buttress and reached almost 19,000 feet, but bad weather turned us around and we called it a trip. When I returned in 2003, with long time friend Charlie Baxter, I insisted we take 9 days of food to high camp and stay there until we made it. It proved to be a winning strategy. Click here to go to the Features Portfolio to read my story about these adventures.
Northern Exposure 2002: Ellesmere Island
It only took one photo to convince me that this would become the next big trip. That was in 2001, while I was an intern at Climbing Magazine, spending spare time browsing mountaineering books. A picture of Ellesmere Island's interior ice cap represented one of the most remote, aesthetic and inspiring places I'd ever seen. I began writing grant proposals to make this trip happen, eventually winning the Helly Hansen Adventure Award, a Mountain Fellowship Grant from the American Alpine Club, and the Mazamas Expedition Grant. It turned out to be one of the most logistically complex expeditions imagineable, dealing with major expenses if planned improperly and a sense of self-sufficiency unlike any other trip I've been on. We planned a route that no one had done before -- a direct route from the highest mountain in the Canadian Arctic (Barbeau Peak) to the largest lake in the Canadian Arctic (Lake Hazen). Though less than 60 miles, the glaciers threw obstacles at us regularly. Having made a deliberate decision not to take a satellite phone, a mistake would have initiated a rescue operation costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. As a result, this trip provided some of the wildest experiences of my life and will always be cherished. It may in fact hold a world record for the northern-most snowboard expedition in history, as Barbeau is positioned farther north than almost any other mountain range in the world -- just 500 miles or so from the North Pole. While Jonas Cabiles and Blue Eisele took skis to the summit of Barbeau, I made its first snowboard descent. We then spent 10 days working our way off the ice cap through terrain we believe no humans had ever visited. Click here to read the article I wrote for the Mazamas Annual, or click here to go to the Features Portfolio to view the article Mark Vanderhoff wrote about this expedition for the Reno Gazette-Journal.
Click here for the full gallery for Northern Exposure 2002
ROCK & ICE GALLERY
These are my best action shots from various crags and walls in the Lower 48 states. There's more content like this on Photobucket scattered throughout various links on this site, for both the cragging images and for the expedition images. Enjoy!
Random Trip Slide Shows
Institute Peak, Eastern Alaska Range
Mt. Russell, High Sierras, California
Nabesna Ice Climbing, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska
Tangle Lakes Solo Ski Tour, Eastern Alaska Range
Alaska Ice Caving, Castner Glacier
Gates of the Arctic National Park, Alaska
Delta Range Peak Bagging and Clearwater Canoe Trip, Interior Alaska
Goshute Cave, Eastern Nevada
Eastern Nevada Choss Climbers Association
Leviathan Cave, Eastern Nevada