May 30, 2006

Lincoln Hall Survives Everest

It has become another ‘bad’ season on Everest—fifteen climbers dead so far, including skier Tomas Olsson, who was skiing the mountain’s north face.

And then this: following a successful summit bid, climber Lincoln Hall collapsed around 8800 meters, struck by cerebral edema, one of the deadliest of the many high-altitude disorders.

Sherpas tried for nine hours to get him off the upper mountain, but eventually gave up for their own safety. Hall was left on the mountain, and word was sent to his family and to his native Australia that he had perished.

Seven a.m. the next morning: climbers on the way to Everest’s summit found Hall alive. His first words were reportedly, “I imagine you are surprised to see me here.”

Miraculously, Hall had survived a night alone on Everest. With the aid of fresh sherpas, he was assisted down the mountain to base camp, where, aside from frostbite, he quickly recovered.

It is strange, isn’t it, to read these stories? Every year, Everest’s call lures climbers to the deaths, and still they come.

If the opportunity came for you to go to Everest, would you be able to resist? Would you go, but tell yourself (as writer John Krakauer did) you’re only going to climb a little way above base camp? Or would you take your best shot, come what may?

Posted in 8000m Peaks, Climbing | 0 Comments

May 25, 2006

Road Trip

I’m tempted to turn this into a Trip Report: just got back from a 1500+ mile road trip, helping my brother-in-law and his family move from Livermore, California to Castle Rock, Colorado.

The drive was very, very long, as you’d expect. We took I-80 from Oakland to Salt Lake City, and I must say Northern Nevada wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. Fairly mountainous. I saw a few peaks, in fact, that looked tempting for a little backcountry skiing—if we weren’t doing 12-hour days on the road.

The salt flats of Utah were impressive, if bleak, and we diverted south from SLC to hook up with good old I-70 through Grand Junction to Denver, a route that rekindled many happy memories of driving to Colorado ski areas for my brother’s FIS races.

Aside from the usual moving attractions—lifting heavy furniture and being driven crazy by inlaws—this was a fine way for me to wander more of this great land of ours. And it’s always nice to be able to help out family in need.

As for my brother-in-law, he’s a freelance graphic designer who worked for Adobe for a few years, and also does web design. If you’re in the metro Denver area and you can stand to hire a Californian, check out his website,

Posted in Uncategorized | 0 Comments

May 15, 2006

Skiing Mount Williamson

Well, I’ve tried my best to explain what climbing Williamson was like. This was an especially difficult Trip Report to write, because I had so much to say, and because so little of it had anything to do with skiing.

Exactly one week later, I’m still having trouble shaking off the effects of the climb. It’s not so much the body as the mind—operating continously at the edge of my limits took a big mental toll.

I hope you enjoy the report. It’s a long one. For those of you considering your own attempt on Williamson, you should get some idea of what to expect. For everyone else, yes, it really was like that.

Yesterday I successfully summited and skied Mount Williamson, California’s second-highest fourteener, via the Bairs Creek Cirque.

Ordinarily I feel elated in the aftermath of a big peak descent, but today I am just relieved it’s over. If there is a more demanding climb in the Sierra, I don’t want to know about it.

Posted in Skiing | 0 Comments

May 7, 2006

Mountaineering Terms

Did you know has a glossary? Neither did I. Okay, I may have forgotten. I started a glossary in the Basecamp section when I first began working on this site, though my attention soon turned elsewhere.

I mention this because the #1 Google search referral to this site is for “mountaineering terms.”

Not Backcountry Skiing, or Sierra Ski Descents, or Backcountry Gear Reviews…no, Google has decided that this site’s most important content is the glossary.


Well, all you glossary-seekers, hope you enjoy your visit. Don’t forget to bookmark us for all your future glossary needs.

Posted in Musings | 0 Comments