Mount Adams Videos

Here are the three videos I shot while climbing Mount Adams.

On the summit:

Descending below Pikers Peak:

Forest fire damage:

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Rerun: My favorite pictures of 2016

With the WTA Northwest Exposure 2016 photo contest coming up, here are the five pictures I’ve taken in 2016 that I like the best:

Unicorn Peak:

Whistler Mountain:

Mount Adams summit:
Sunrise near the summit.

Mount Rainier, from the summit of Mount Adams:
Tallest mountain in Washington, as seen from the second tallest mountain.

Scrambling up Cathedral Rock:

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Mount Adams Climb

Friday evening we drove out to Hood River, OR, where we stayed at a hotel for a last night in a bed and a gear check. Saturday morning, we ate warm breakfast, drove to the Ranger Station in Trout Lake and self-issued climbing permits. By 8:30, we were at the trailhead, which was quite packed with cars. The last mile of the road was quite rough for my Toyota Camry.

We started hiking on Saturday at about 9 AM and 5500 feet elevation. There was very little shade because of the wildfire last year. We crossed Morrison Creek at about 6800 feet elevation, but weren’t in need of water yet. We just dipped our hats in the water for a quick refreshment. We reached the first bit of contiguous snow at about 7250 feet elevation, at the southern edge of the Crescent Glacier. Since the snow was rather slushy already, we opted to stay on the rocks and do a bit of a scramble to the west instead of ascending directly on the snow.

At about 8500 feet elevation, we switched to the snow and more or less angled directly to the waypoint I had set for the Lunch Counter. We got to our camp site just before 1 PM. The camp site was at 9400 feet elevation, which is higher than Jenny had ever been. I had been at slightly above 10000 feet, but only for a few minutes. There were plenty of available camp sites encircled by rock walls, and we picked a fantastic one at the northeastern edge of the Lunch Counter, just feet from running water and the snow field that we would have to ascend at night. We cooked food and rested.

On Sunday morning at 2:30, we started hiking up from our camp site. We left the tent, sleeping bags, and all the other heavy things there, so our backpacks were a lot lighter. We knew we would get hot with the climbing we had to do, so we wore shorts with gaiters — fashionable! It took us a little under four hours to get from 9400 feet to 12280 feet. For the first hour, we hiked in the dark, because we wanted to see the sky and the shooting stars. When it got a bit steeper and the moon had settled behind the mountain, we turned our head lamps on and climbed with light. We got to the summit just at sunrise. It was an unbelievably beautiful moment.

We stayed on the summit for maybe 30 minutes. It was pretty cold, just barely above freezing, but not windy, fortunately. Then we descended. It took us longer than expected, because the snow was so hard that we couldn’t glissade down on it. We tried at one point, a little ways down from the top, where it was safe, but the snow was so hard, we got bruises on our butts. So we had to hike three hours down to camp. The last bit we were able to glissade again. There, we cooked some noodle soup, took a 20 minute nap, and then packed everything up.

We hiked three more hours with full packs back to the car. Fortunately, we were able to avoid the rock ridge that we scrambled up by glissading down the last 1000 vertical feet of the Crescent Glacier. Note that the main, deep glissade chute was blocked with rocks. Generally, of course, it’s not safe to glissade if you can’t see or know the entire way. We glissaded down the slope a little to the west of the main chute.

It was a wonderful adventure, something I had wanted to do ever since I climbed Mount St. Helens for the first time in 2013.

On the trail from the Cold Creek trailhead.

On the trail from the Cold Creek trailhead.

Crossing Morrison Creek.

Crossing Morrison Creek.

Above the Crescent Glacier.

Above the Crescent Glacier.

At 9000 feet, just below the Lunch Counter.

At 9000 feet, just below the Lunch Counter.

Camp at 9400 feet.

Camp at 9400 feet.

Mount Hood and Mount Jefferson to the South.

Mount Hood and Mount Jefferson to the South.

Panorama of our view up the mountain from camp.

Panorama of our view up the mountain from camp.

Just below Pikers Peak at first light.

Just below Pikers Peak at first light.

Jenny on Pikers Peak.

Jenny on Pikers Peak.

On Pikers Peak, the false summit of Mount Adams.

On Pikers Peak, the false summit of Mount Adams.

Mount St. Helens to the west.

Mount St. Helens to the west.

Sunrise near the summit.

Sunrise near the summit.

Successful summit of Mount Adams at 12280 feet. The only higher mountain in Washington is in the background.

Successful summit of Mount Adams at 12280 feet. The only higher mountain in Washington is in the background.

Jenny at the USGS summit marker.

Jenny at the USGS summit marker.

Mathias at 12280 feet.

Mathias at 12280 feet.

Mount St. Helens and Mount Adams' own shadow on the ground.

Mount St. Helens and Mount Adams’ own shadow on the ground.

Summit panorama.

Summit panorama.

Mount Rainier, as seen from the summit of Mount Adams.

Mount Rainier, as seen from the summit of Mount Adams.

Tallest mountain in Washington, as seen from the second tallest mountain.

Tallest mountain in Washington, as seen from the second tallest mountain.

View back up to the true summit of Mount Adams.

View back up to the true summit of Mount Adams.

On the way down to the ledge below Pikers Peak.

On the way down to the ledge below Pikers Peak.

Sun above Pikers Peak.

Sun above Pikers Peak.

Snow field down to camp.

Snow field down to camp.

Route of the Mount Adams climb

Route of the Mount Adams climb

Route of the Mount Adams climb

Route of the Mount Adams climb

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Olympic Peninsula Trip

This past weekend, Jenny and I went on a trip to the northwest edge of the Olympic Peninsula.

We took the ferry from Seattle to Bremerton, had dinner on the bay, and stayed at a hotel. Early on Saturday, we had breakfast and started driving northwest. We stopped at the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, walked in the sand, and watched little crabs scurry sideways.

After coffee in Port Angeles, we drove out to Shi Shi. Google actually took us to someone’s backyard near Lake Ozette, though. So after that de-tour, we drove back around to the Strait of Juan de Fuca and through the Makah Indian Reservation to Shi Shi Beach.

Saturday night, we camped at Shi Shi Beach. Note that the self-issue permit box isn’t at the trailhead anymore. Instead, go to the NPS in Port Angeles. We camped only over night and never left our camp site unattended, but if you do that, you need an approved bear canister.

On the map, it had looked like Shi Shi Beach was outside the reservation, so we hadn’t purchased a recreation permit from the Makah. Since we were parking on the reservation, though, and then hiking about 2 miles to the coast, we had to get one. I dropped Jenny off with her pack and the tent and then drove away to buy the permit. The closest place that sold the permits turned out to be the Hobuck Beach Resort.

It took me about half an hour to get the permit and get back to the trailhead and grab my pack and gear, so shortly after I started hiking, Jenny already arrived at the beach and started setting up the tent. She got it done in 10 minutes and was starting to settle down in the sunny sand just as I arrived. We enjoyed the sunset with champagne from Nalgene bottles.

On Sunday, we went to Cape Flattery (it’s a great cape!), had brunch at Port Angeles, and then enjoyed a free jazz concert in Kingston as we waited for our ferry back.

Leaving beautiful, sunny Seattle.

Leaving beautiful, sunny Seattle.

Dungeness Bay

Dungeness Bay

Dungeness Bay

Dungeness Bay

Shi Shi Beach sunset

Shi Shi Beach sunset

Shi Shi Beach

Shi Shi Beach

Cape Flattery

Cape Flattery

Cape Flattery

Cape Flattery

On the ferry to Edmonds. Mount Rainier dwarves Seattle.

On the ferry to Edmonds. Mount Rainier dwarves Seattle.

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Eldorado Peak Summit Video

Here’s the video I recorded on the summit of Eldorado Peak. Our knowledgeable climb leaders are pointing out many of the peaks that were visible: Mount Baker, Shuksan, Glacier Peak, Rainier, Forbidden Peak, and many, many more.

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More Eldorado Peak Pictures

Here are a few more pictures from our Eldorado Peak climb. These were taken by fellow climber Phil.

On the ridge towards the Inspiration Glacier, shortly after breaking camp.

On the ridge towards the Inspiration Glacier, shortly after breaking camp.

On the Inspiration Glacier. I'm in the middle of the first rope team.

On the Inspiration Glacier. I’m in the middle of the first rope team.

Heading up the Inspiration Glacier, with some of the few crevasses visible.

Heading up the Inspiration Glacier, with some of the few crevasses visible.

On the Knife Edge at the summit of Eldorado Peak.

On the Knife Edge at the summit of Eldorado Peak.

Coiling our glacier rope on the summit of Eldorado Peak.

Coiling our glacier rope on the summit of Eldorado Peak.

Descending toward the Inspiration Glacier.

Descending toward the Inspiration Glacier.

Still above the Inspiration Glacier. Instead of roping up and crossing the glacier near the big crevasses, we descended a short portion across rock instead.

Still above the Inspiration Glacier. Instead of roping up and crossing the glacier near the big crevasses, we descended a short portion across rock instead.

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Eldorado Peak Graduation Climb

The last climb I needed to graduate from the Mountaineers Basic Alpine Climbing Course was a glacier climb, and after many cancellations due to bad weather, I finally got the chance this past weekend.

We headed up Torment Creek, then followed the ridge line above Moraine Lake to the west. Early in the afternoon, we camped near Point 7252, surrounded by clouds. The visibility on Saturday was only a few hundred feet, and that was definitely a bit of a downer. We were surrounded by amazing mountain beauty, we just couldn’t see it.

In the morning, we headed out at 7 AM and followed the ridge west. We jumped across a moat onto the Inspiration Glacier near Point 7292. There were only very few crevasses. Some of us summited the Eggplant (Point 7733), but I decided to rest my legs. I had felt a twinge in my right thigh since the morning, and I wanted to make sure I make it to the summit of Eldorado Peak. We dropped some gear and joined the standard ascent route. About an hour later, we summited Eldorado Peak at 1 PM. I was standing on top of Washington’s 25th tallest mountain. The Knife Edge leading up to it fortunately was not very edgy. We then took the standard route down Eldorado Creek back to the trailhead. I was at home past midnight, tired and dirty, but very happy.

Now I’m a Mountaineers basic climbing graduate. Out of 160 students this year, I was the 10th to finish. Jenny was 9th, but only because we didn’t fill out her application form for ten days, otherwise she might have been 3rd or so.

Below Mount Torment, heading towards the ridge above Moraine Lake.

Below Mount Torment, heading towards the ridge above Moraine Lake.

First glimpse of Eldorado Peak from our camp site.

First glimpse of Eldorado Peak from our camp site.

At our camp site near Point 7252.

At our camp site near Point 7252.

Eldorado Peak in full morning glory.

Eldorado Peak in full morning glory.

Left camp at 7 AM to head towards the Inspiration Glacier.

Left camp at 7 AM to head towards the Inspiration Glacier.

Following the ridge above Moraine Lake.

Following the ridge above Moraine Lake.

Jumping onto the Inspiration Glacier near Point 7292.

Jumping onto the Inspiration Glacier near Point 7292.

On the Inspiration Glacier, with Eldorado Peak in the background.

On the Inspiration Glacier, with Eldorado Peak in the background.

Happy on the summit of Eldorado Peak, the 25th highest mountain in Washington.

Happy on the summit of Eldorado Peak, the 25th highest mountain in Washington.

Looking back up at the Knife Edge.

Looking back up at the Knife Edge.

Descending below the Knife Edge.

Descending below the Knife Edge.

Streams and waterfall galore on the standard descent along Eldorado Creek.

Streams and waterfall galore on the standard descent along Eldorado Creek.

Log crossing over the North Fork Cascade River.

Log crossing over the North Fork Cascade River.

Unfortunately, I forgot to turn on tracking on the second day, so only my messages are marked in important spots — like the summit!

Track to Eldorado Peak.

Track to Eldorado Peak.

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Dell Zino HD Forgets Its HDMI Port

For the last five years or so I’ve been using a Dell Zino HD as my media center PC. It’s worked pretty well, but lately, the computer sometimes “forgets” that it has an HDMI port. The TV just goes blank, and there’s nothing I can do anymore. I found out that the computer still works, it’s just displaying on the VGA output instead.

My solution in the past had been to hook up a VGA monitor, use that to click on “detect displays”, which usually makes the Zino remember its HDMI port again.

Now that I’ve moved, though, there’s no good place to hide the VGA monitor anymore, and I don’t want to have it just sit on the floor, below the TV. And I actually can’t use the VGA connection. Well, I could, but if I do that, then my TV isn’t connected to the computer using HDMI, and then Windows won’t detect the HDMI port either. So I thought maybe I can solve the problem with a remote desktop connection.

Unfortunately, when I use Remote Desktop, detecting displays isn’t allowed. But I’ve found that using a remote desktop connection to open the Device Manager, looking at the Monitors, and clicking “scan for hardware changes” is usually enough.

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Climbed South Early Winters Spire

Yesterday, Jenny and I climbed South Early Winters Spire with the Mountaineers. For Jenny, it was her graduation climb: She has officially finished all the requirements for the Basic Alpine Climbing course. I still need a successful glacier climb (but I’ve had two more successful rock climbs now than required).

On the way to South Early Winters Spire. From left to right, Liberty Bell, North Early Winters Spire, South Early Winters Spire.

On the way to South Early Winters Spire. From left to right, Liberty Bell, North Early Winters Spire, South Early Winters Spire.

Jenny getting ready to climb South Early Winters Spire.

Jenny getting ready to climb South Early Winters Spire.

Jenny just before the difficult move on pitch 1.

Jenny just before the difficult move on pitch 1.

Michael, Martin and Jenny near the Whale's Back, almost at the top of South Early Winters Spire.

Michael, Martin and Jenny near the Whale’s Back, almost at the top of South Early Winters Spire.

On the summit of South Early Winters Spire, with John and Michael.

On the summit of South Early Winters Spire, with John and Michael.

View of North Early Winters Spire from the summit of South Early Winter Spire, high above the North Cascades Highway.

View of North Early Winters Spire from the summit of South Early Winter Spire, high above the North Cascades Highway.

Another great day in the mountains, spent with amazing people.

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Giving ConcJUnit with JUnit 4.12 Another Shot

On Friday, I started working on integrating my ConcJUnit changes into JUnit 4.12.

I had started that work at the end of 2014, but I never got around to finishing it.

The JUnit unit tests pass now, but there are a few quirks. In the past, I could put the concutest-junit-4.7-withrt.jar file as prefix on the boot classpath, but when I do that now, I get a strange NoClassDefFoundError: org.junit.internal.AssumptionViolatedException.

But I’ll continue to work on it. This time. Hopefully.

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Madame Toulouse Cocktail

This cocktail worked out pretty well:

Madame Toulouse (2 servings)

  • a bit more than 1.5 oz grapefruit vodka
  • 1.5 oz lemon juice
  • 1.5 oz peach simple syrup
  • small drop of honey
  • shake over ice, strain
  • add 3 oz of sparkling wine

For the peach simple syrup, I simmered one cup of water and one cup of sugar with a peach cut in pieces.

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More Pictures from Cathedral Rock

Our awesome climb leader Brett sent out a few more pictures from Sunday’s Cathedral Rock climb. I think we (the climbers and the mountains) look great!

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And finally, I’ve also uploaded two videos to YouTube: one on the summit, one of the rappel down.

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On the Summit of Cathedral Rock

On Sunday, June 26, three other Mountaineers and I climbed Cathedral Rock. It was a perfect day: almost no clouds, a slight breeze that kept the bugs away, a few spots with cooling snow, and dry rock to climb on. There was a lot of loose rock, though, and I was at times kicking rocks down. We managed the rock fall risk by either scrambling really close together, so that a rock wouldn’t have time to pick up speed before it hit someone, or going one at a time.

From the summit, we could see the neighboring Mount Daniel, but also Mount Rainier, Mount Shuksan, and Glacier Peak (along with tons of other peaks).

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So Close to Pinnacle Peak

On June 18, I joined a group of Olympia and Tacoma Mountaineers on a climb to Pinnacle Peak and The Castle.

Unfortunately, it had rained quite a bit the day before and it was still drizzling when we got there. We got to within a few dozen feet of the summit of Pinnacle, but decided to turn around. That decision was almost immediately validated as correct, as frozen rain and hail swept in.

We didn’t reach our summits, but it was still a great day in the mountains.

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Unicorn Peak Climb

On June 1, Jenny and I summited Unicorn Peak in the Tatoosh range, just south of Mount Rainier. I had been particularly excited about this climb, because the Bench Lake/Snow Lake hike had been my first hike in Washington state, and aside from Mt. Si, it’s probably also the one I’ve done most often. I’ve looked up towards Unicorn Peak so many times, I just had to climb it.

We had the perfect day in the mountains. The snow started between the ridges, before we got to Snow Lake. It was a steep but relatively easy ascent up the gully and the snowfield. From the col to the west of Unicorn Peak, we could see the ever-present Mount Rainier, but also Mount St. Helens, Mount Hood, and Mount Adams. A four volcano spot! It was cool to see Mount St. Helens, since we had just summited it three days earlier.

We climbed across a small moat from the snow onto rock and made a relatively simple single-pitch ascent from the south. The rappel, also on the south side, was a bit weird, since the fall line carried us a bit far to the west, but it was still easy and enjoyable.

It was a great day with great people.

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Mount St. Helens via Winter Route

On May 29, Jenny and I climbed Mount St. Helens. This was the second time for me, after summiting in September 2013 via the Monitor Ridge route.

This time, we took the winter route, which is a few miles longer and follows the Wormflows to the east of the Monitor Ridge route, only to join the summer route a few hundred feet from the summit. The summer route had been opened just two days before, but we still wanted to use the winter route, and that was a great decision: While there were a bunch of hikers on the summer route, we saw only two skiers all day on the winter route

The visibility wasn’t as good as 2.5 years ago — Mount Hood was a constant companion, Mount Rainier was visible from the summit, though Mount Adams only peeked through the clouds occasionally — but the snow was beautiful. On the way down, we were able to glissade for about 3000 vertical feet. Epic.

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On the way to our camp site on Saturday, we also visited the Johnson Ridge Observatory and the Ape Cave, a 2-mile lava tube. Both are well worth the visit.

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Mountaineers Field Trip to Whistler Mountain

In mid-April, my Mountaineers SIG went on a snow overnight field trip to Rainy Pass on the North Cascades highway. We summited Whistler Mountain, learned more about snow travel, built snow anchors and practiced crevasse rescue.

On the second day, I started having problems with my eyes, unfortunately, and two instructors had to walk me down the mountain. A slightly sad end to an otherwise perfect field trip.

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This, though, is one of my favorite pictures:

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A Few More Photos from The Tooth Climb

Here are a few more pictures from our The Tooth climb taken by Brett, one of our fearless leaders.

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First Multi-Pitch Alpine Rock Climb

Yesterday, my Mountaineers SIG (small instructional group) climbed to the summit of The Tooth, a granite peak near Alpental, just south of Source Lake.

This was my first multi-pitch alpine rock climb. The approach was harder than I thought, but the actual climbing was easier. Granted, it was only 5.4, but it is way more nerve-wracking when you’re several pitches up than on a crag or climbing wall.

The approach took us from the trailhead at about 3100 feet elevation to the base of The Tooth at 5300 feet. From there, it was four pitches up to 5604 feet. The first and second were long vertical rock climbing pitches with two or three pieces of protection. The third was a scrambling portion, and the last pitch was another short but steep rock climb with two fixed pieces and another placed piece of protection. We descended using four rappels and a short down-climb where we had scrambled up earlier.

I’m sore, but happy. This was an incredible day.

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Rock Climbing in Vantage

With the Mountaineers, I went on my first rock climbing trip. We climbed some of the crag columns in Vantage.

Along with several others, I climbed Shake It Don’t Break It (5.5), Feather in My Cap (5.6), and Ruffled Feathers (5.7).

I can’t wait to go back.

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