30th August, 2014

Needed clear skies, no rain, and warmer temps to navigate a “fast and light” Ptarmigan Traverse, but got no cooperation from the weather. Disappointingly had to call it. Next time! #pnw #pacificnorthwest #mountainrunning #trailrunning (at Cascade Pass)

Needed clear skies, no rain, and warmer temps to navigate a “fast and light” Ptarmigan Traverse, but got no cooperation from the weather. Disappointingly had to call it. Next time! #pnw #pacificnorthwest #mountainrunning #trailrunning (at Cascade Pass)

27th August, 2014

Mt. Rainier via Gibraltar Ledges: May 17, 2014

Joel has a special talent of walking the line between pushing past an appropriate comfort level and getting in over his head. Our first climb up Rainier was an excellent example of that. Never satisfied to take the easiest way up, he somehow convinced us to forego the DC route (the most beginner friendly) and instead take the Gibraltar Ledges (a little more exposed) up the mountain. 

Drunk off the altitude, Bree and I looked around Camp Muir teeming with climbers and nodded in agreement. We didn’t know much about the conditions on the Gib Ledges, other than that the rangers had told us a group of climbers successfully summited via that route a couple days before. But the weather was perfect, we wanted to avoid the crowds, and we were up for an adventure. 

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At 7:30 am (another late start!), we headed up, following the first set of prints on that route in weeks. The ledges had just enough snow and ice to stick our crampons onto and the temperature was just cold enough to keep the rocks above us in place.

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As we traversed along the ledges, we got a fantastic view of the stunning Nisqually Glacier accompanied by the thunderous rumbling of snow and rock falls in the distance. We had roped up for this section, which can be dangerous if you’re careless with your rope management. Because we were meticulously mindful of the rope, I think it helped us pace ourselves through this section.

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The next section was about a 45 degree snow slope up to the top of Gibraltar Rock.

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Joel had been leading the whole way up to this point, but at the top of Gib Rock, we sensed he needed a break. After a few minutes of us telling him to switch positions with Bree, he finally relented.

… which turned out to be the best decision ever because as we started up the next snow slope up to the crater rim, Bree punched through a crevasse, and for a split second it felt like I blacked out (fortunately I was already in a self-belay position). We all kind of froze as if the mountain would open up from any sudden movement from us. Bree had only sunk down to her hips, the snow firm enough to catch her backpack. She gingerly stepped off to the side, kneeled down to take a look at the crevasse, and jumped back. “Holy fuck guys, that is BLACK, I can’t tell where it ends.” 

We stopped to reassess the situation. Do we continue directly up that snow slope or traverse around to connect with the DC route? We decided to continue, following the now faint set of tracks up the slope. Bree took her time, rigorously probing the snow around her; Joel and I on edge behind her, ready to self-arrest at a moment’s notice. But despite Bree’s careful navigation, she punched through several more hidden crevasses, and we had slowed down to a crawl. We were tired, cold, and worried that we would be stuck on that slope longer than was good for us.

When Bree found herself knee deep in a third hidden crevasse, I think that was the last straw for her (and us). This was our first real crevasse experience and even though we were well-prepared for rescue, the constant punching through was such a mind fuck for us at that point in time. We instantly changed directions and carefully picked our way through to the populated and well-marked DC route.

I had never been so happy to see trail markers in my entire life. 

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By then, the winds had picked up, but we were relieved to be “safe.” We made it across the crater and onto the summit. But because of our tired, addled state, we forgot to take a picture because we were busy trying to find a supposed climber’s log, and by the time we realized that even if it did exist, we sure as hell weren’t going to take the time to dig it out of the snow, we were cold and just wanted to get back to camp. So we walked along the rim and I took a picture of the summit behind us instead. 

For our descent, we went down the standard DC route. It was uneventful, but with views of Camp Muir in the distance, it seemed to take forever. Despite our late start and shenanigans through the crevasse field though, we made it back to camp just after 5 p.m. 

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On our own, for our first time, Bree and I would never have chosen to go beyond the standard beginner’s route up Rainier. We like our little zones of safety and comfort. But looking back, we wouldn’t have traded our first Rainier experience for anything else. It was a huge learning experience, with the right amount of challenge and fun, and a healthy dose of fear and respect for the mountain. 

For me, it really brought a whole new meaning to the phrase “past your limits.” In order to grow, as a person and especially as an athlete, you need to go past your limits, sometimes into the deep dark blackout scary places, to find new edges. 

And it’s okay to try, change your mind, and then take a detour to the route more frequently traveled. That’s okay too. 

27th August, 2014

A picture of our approach to Camp Muir with the summit of Rainier faintly in the distance, symbolizing an upcoming report/post with lots of pictures about the actual climb.
It’s kind of crazy to me that just a few months ago, Rainier was the biggest thing on the calendar. But since then, we’ve been on other just-as-thrilling challenges and adventures (with a few more penciled in the next couple months), it’s hard to say which tops what. We’re definitely getting some bigger adventures here in the west coast. Sometimes it feels like we’re in this endless cycle of running/climbing highs and decompression lows. But who am I to complain?    

A picture of our approach to Camp Muir with the summit of Rainier faintly in the distance, symbolizing an upcoming report/post with lots of pictures about the actual climb.

It’s kind of crazy to me that just a few months ago, Rainier was the biggest thing on the calendar. But since then, we’ve been on other just-as-thrilling challenges and adventures (with a few more penciled in the next couple months), it’s hard to say which tops what. We’re definitely getting some bigger adventures here in the west coast. Sometimes it feels like we’re in this endless cycle of running/climbing highs and decompression lows. But who am I to complain?    

21st August, 2014

“"…Rich people don’t riot because they have other forms of influence. Riots are a class act.”

Nobody in their right mind wants more violent protests. But nobody wants more Michael Browns either. And those two things – the violence of the state and the violence of the street – are connected. “A riot,” said Martin Luther King, “is the language of the unheard.” The people on the streets don’t donate thousands of dollars to anyone’s campaign. They don’t get a seat at any table where decisions are made or have the ear of the powerful. But with four black men killed by the police in the country in the last four weeks, they have a lot to say, and precious few avenues through which to say it. The question now is who’s listening.”

Gary Younge (via downlo)

(via helvetica/futura)

16th August, 2014

Farmers’ market bounty, so many good local things this morning! (Personal favorites -wild locally picked mushrooms, lamb bacon, lamb osso bucco, and stumptown coffee liqueur) #pdx #portland  (at Hollywood Farmers Market - Portland, Oregon)

Farmers’ market bounty, so many good local things this morning! (Personal favorites -wild locally picked mushrooms, lamb bacon, lamb osso bucco, and stumptown coffee liqueur) #pdx #portland (at Hollywood Farmers Market - Portland, Oregon)

23rd July, 2014

A bit of a head scratcher

Lately, I’ve been struggling with the biological effects of being a woman and an endurance athlete, but sometimes supplements don’t work for me or they are prohibitively expensive. So I started poking around the internet and found a great article by Primally Inspired about frozen raw liver pills

Anyway, the weird point of the story I’m trying to make (other than the fact that I am putting raw pieces of liver down my gullet every morning) is that Joel is constantly turning up his nose at Frankie’s food, despite the fact that most of her food is basically uncooked human food. So the other day, when I told him I was going to make/take raw liver pills, I was a little shocked when the first thing he said was, “Oooh, let’s both do it, I want to do it.” I almost wanted to wave the container in his face and reply, “This is FRANKIE food, are you sure you’re okay with this?!”

21st July, 2014

Mt. Hood photo dump

Because I suck at blogging.

Halfway up the summit.

View from halfway up the summit.

Going up the south west chutes.

Topped out and heading over the other side.

Joel about ready to drop down the north side (to the right of the picture).

Taking a little breather.

Walking down the Sunshine route.

View from Sunshine.

I think this was after we bailed and we spent some time exploring the north side, checking out Yocum Ridge.

Back on top, making our way to the summit.

The pee-stained summit. The end.

21st July, 2014

“For God’s sake, don’t think about it, don’t dwell on it, don’t allow yourself to fully know how terribly out of control your life is.”

— Rufi Thorpe, The Girls from Corona del Mar (via mar-see-ah)

(via Cool Story, Bro)

21st July, 2014

Anonymous asks:

Love your blog/your pursuits/your internet presence! On the off chance, just wondered if you had any advice or anything to offer re coming back/rehabbing a hip flexor injury? Haha very inconvenient this being injured business... not at all ideal and super frustrating as I just want to GO (have a 50km end of August that training was going really well for, but hadn't quite accounted for this and the 6 day break I've taken so far; planning on testing it tomorrow). Thanks!

Thanks so much for your kind words!

I’m sorry about your situation, unfortunately, I don’t have much to offer regarding hip flexor injuries. The closest I’ve had to one (barely, if that) was when we first started climbing this year. They got a little strained because my legs weren’t used to lifting the weight of my boots (or that’s what it seemed like, and that’s pretty pathetic because my climbing boots are really light).

Once my hip flexors started feeling better, I integrated a lot of exercises to focus on my hips - weighted box jumps, kettlebell swings, deadlifts, various squats and lunges, etc. I really think those workouts helped me jump straight into high mileage without any injuries. 

If your training has been going well, I say don’t worry about taking it easy for a week! I don’t know how serious your injury is, but it sounds like you still have time to put in some training. Good luck with your race!