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Ascender Title
August 2008
Volume 14, Issue 8

ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK


Typical Colorado Scenery

 


Valentina, Nathan, and Joel on summit of Mt. Elbert, Colorado's highest peak

 


Kenny enjoying the scenery

 


Joel and Sierra crossing a bridge on way to Alberta Falls

 


Toby, Sierra, and Amy at Alberta Falls

 


Mills Lake

 


Chad walks across a log dam

 


Chris and sleeping Kenny near the summit of Twin Sisters Peak

 


Meyers on summit of Twin Sisters Peak

 


Joel en route to Mt. Elbert, Mt. Massive in background

 


All smiles now, but the rain catches us in a few minutes!

 


Williams Lake on the way to Wheeler Peak (NM)

 


This "tame" marmot got so close I was actually able to pet him!

 


Joel on summit of Wheeler Peak, highest peak in New Mexico

 


LAS VEGAS MOUNTAINEERS CLUB
BOARD OF DIRECTORS


President: Nadia von Magdenko
Vice President/Training Director: Richard Baugh
Secretary: Xavier Wasiak
Treasurer: Beth Ransel
Newsletter Editor: Joel Brewster
Outings Director: Annalisa Helm
Membership Director: Chris Ransel
Website Director: Amy Brewster
Public Relations/Marketing Director: John "Snafu" Mueller
Club Gear Director: Chris Ransel
Social Director: Kristi Meyer
Assistant Director: Grant Brownback
Assistant Director: Paul Des Roches
Assistant Director: Kim Owen

Assistant Director: Harlan Stockman


The Ascender is published monthly by the Las Vegas Mountaineers Club. It can be viewed on the “Members Only” section of our website. Current Club membership is approximately 140.
All Club members are invited to submit trip reports, photos, trip listings, recipes, classified ads and other related information. Please include the name and date of the trip or outing and the author’s name. September 10th is the deadline for the next issue.

SUBMIT ARTICLES TO:
Joel Brewster
E-mail: amyjoel@cox.net
Phone: 456-8520



MEMBERSHIP ISSUES...

YOU MAY NOW RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIP ONLINE!

Please contact the membership director if you have questions about your membership.

Please make your check payable to the Las Vegas Mountaineers Club and mail to: P.O. Box 36026, Las Vegas, NV 89133-6026.
Single membership is $30 per year, $85 for three years. Family annual membership is $40, $110 for three years. Please mail all renewals prior to the end of the month to ensure uninterrupted notification of your Ascender password.

To the following members, please note that your membership will expire this month:

Nadia von Magdenko
Pat Antonellf
George Reyling
Janice Barrow
John Gronowski
Kahmien Larusch
Jung-Taek Yoon
Jon O'Brien
Mike Melnick

To All Members:
Please send any address, phone number and e-mail changes to Chris Ransel.

Chris Ransel
Membership Director


CLUB GEAR

This club gear is available at no charge to members:


4-season tent
Helmets
Bear Barrels
Alpine Axes*
Snowshoes
Strap-on Crampons*

Quantity
1
5
3
5
3
6
Deposit
$150
$20
$20
$25
$25
$30

*Will require a signed waiver.

Non-members are not eligible to borrow club gear. Deposits taken on gear must be in the form of cash or check and will be returned upon return of equipment. Gear is also available to members for courses with no deposit required. If you have any questions or would like to inquire about club gear, please contact Chris Ransel.

ADVERTISING

Classified Ads
Members: Free
Non-members: $5

Business Ads
1/8 page (business card): $5
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1/2 page: $15
Full page: $20
All rates are per issue and will be discontinued automatically unless renewed. Ads must be prepaid and sent by e-mail or submitted on CD. Please make checks payable to Las Vegas Mountaineers Club.


RED ROCK TRIFECTA: THREE BIG PEAKS IN A DAY

April 25-26, 2008
Report by Harlan Stockman, Photos by Harlan Stockman
and Lori Curry

Introduction: Why Not?

Wilson, Rainbow, and Bridge are the three mountains that dominate Red Rock Canyon in views from the east, such as this view from Redcap:

The peaks are well separated by deep, technical valleys. Normally, each peak is climbed in a separate, day-long grueling excursion. Each is on the LVMC "Fifty Classic Peaks" list.

One day in December 2007, Bruce L. asked: "Has anyone climbed Bridge Mountain, Rainbow Wall, and Mount Wilson in one day?" I thought someone must have – I recalled seeing register entries for a 5-peak hike. But the logistics of such a hat trick intrigued me. Could one do this hike in such a way that didn’t involve massive heroics and all-American fitness? We quickly settled on a route that involved the high limestone ridge in back of the peaks, with forays down to two or three peaks, followed by returns to the ridge. I calculated that if we started from the east side, we would have about 20 miles, and at least 8000’ accumulated elevation gain, over 14 hours. And this is not exactly a typical hike; largely trailless, it has class 3 sections, some quite nasty. As such, we would have problems with a balance of two critical factors: 1) the length of day, and 2) heat. Ideally, one would like to do the hike before the spring and summer heat, yet would like to wait as long as possible, so the days were at least 11 hours long, perhaps augmented by moonlight.

So I started by determining which weekends, from January to May, would have a gibbous waxing moon – that is, a nearly-full moon that rose before sunset, so one would immediately have moonlight before the sun went down. An end-of-day, road- or trail-walk would be comfortable under a gibbous waxing moon. If our plans went awry, we could go the following weekend, and have a gibbous waning moon; such a moon might rise after midnight, but would be high in the sky in the hours before sunrise, so a pre-dawn start would be possible.

That Durn Scenic Loop - A Plan Emerges

The "scenic loop" is the one-way road that runs through Red Rock Canyon, past the fee booth, by the Calico overlooks, then by Sandstone Quarry, Willow Springs Road, Icebox Canyon, Pine Creek, and other popular trailheads. When one tries to plan a long trip that starts at one of these trailheads, the restrictions for the loop become apparent. The loop doesn’t open until 6AM. Moreover, the closure times are 5 to 8PM. So you can’t get in early to spot a car at one trailhead, then drive to another for the start. You must have special permission to leave a car on the loop after hours (or overnight). And, you must get permission to camp in the wilderness area. Camp spots in the wilderness are supposed to be above 5000’, and that limits one to a few spots on the Rocky Gap Road.

One way to surmount the scenic loop "problem", is to avoid the loop completely. I had done a lot of hiking from Lovell Canyon, far to the west of Red Rock, and knew that there were two rough roads (outside the wilderness area) that would position one for a traverse over the limestone ridge, and a one-day shot at all three peaks. One road is just the western extension of the Rocky Gap Road; the other, to the south, is the approach used by the Desert Peak Society (DPS). The latter road is used by the DPS for climbs of Wilson and Rainbow, from the west.

So, my plan was to approach the hike totally from the west, spotting a car at the end of the southern road. One attraction of this route was that one could just walk the limestone ridge, over a few highpoints, and do any of Bridge, Rainbow and Wilson as options – the hike could be as hard as you made it. Two people wanted to try the hike, but also expressed concerns that they would be unable to do all the peaks; this west-side plan gave options. In the end, this approach worked, and was pleasant in execution; but the planning was fitful.

Here is the map for our eventual trip:

To save you the suspense, here is a quick summary. Friday afternoon, we spotted one car at the southernmost trailhead, near the very bottom of the map. Then we drove back west to the Lovell Canyon Road, then north, up a gravel road to where the map indicates "camp here Friday night". Early Saturday morn, we hiked up Red Rock Summit to the limestone ridge west of the three peaks. Then we walked S and SE on the ridge, making side trips to the three peaks. Then we hiked out SW to the spotted car.

Synching (Sinking?) Schedules

Several of us met in January to discuss planning this and other trips. Only the weekend of April 18-19 was vaguely agreeable. As time wore on, people had to drop out, due to far more important issues. Bruce L. politely began to plan his own, fewer-strings trip -- no doubt underwhelmed by the chaos that surrounded the complicated, multi-person plans. By early April, it looked like only two of us could make the original planned date, so we switched to the weekend of April 25-26, and planned to get up early and take advantage of the waning gibbous moon. In the end, only four went on this hike -- Lori, Doug, Britta and myself (Harlan).

Pre-hike Exploration and Water Caches

Much of this limestone ridge was unknown to me before April, and I wouldn't feel comfortable till I knew what to expect. I was also concerned that April 26th would prove rather hot, so I made forays to the ridge to explore and cache water. In all, I cached 7 liters, and got to explore most of the rarely traveled ridge. Bruce and I both made the hikes from the limestone to Wilson and Rainbow, and shared notes; even though we expected to hike on different days, from different starting points, our plans had a large stretch in common. About that time, we read an epic account of a fellow who had recently done a two-day (bivy on the ridge) trip over all these peaks, then at least 5 more peaks to the south. He described the traverses to Rainbow and Wilson, from the backside, as "ugly… grueling", but mentioned finding a marked route over to Wilson. I found that marked route, and also did a more direct climb up the east "face" of the limestone ridge. I decided against the more direct route, because as I was climbing, several large masses of rock broke free and launched down the cliffs. In retrospect, the crumbly nature of the route may have been due the season; the snow-covered rocks were freezing at night, then the black limestone absorbed sunlight and expanded in the day.

Twice I ascended the ridge from the west, to clear brush from the planned descent canyon. Initially the wash was fairly choked with dead branches. I figured that if we had to descend near or after sunset, we should make these final two miles as easy as possible. Plus, I wanted to lessen the chance that ticks would drop from brush onto our clothes. I also put cairns on the upper part of the descent route, in case we had to separate for the descent; I wanted people to find the route without benefit of a GPS.

As the critical weekend approached, the forecasts were for 91F in Las Vegas on Saturday, the critical day, with bright sunny skies. Factoring in the normal geographic cooling rate of 4 degrees F/1000’, we might see a high of 72F on the ridge at 6700’… but I knew that seemingly mild temperature could seem brutally hot in the direct sun. So on Sunday, I went up and cached an extra 1.5 liters of water, and did a quick trip to Bridge. On the way, I met a woman from Phoenix, who was sort-of lost, so I showed her the path up Bridge. Surely I would get karma points for that good deed.

More Planning: Cars and Roads

This hike required two cars with 4WD or at least moderate clearance. I’ve gotten my Subaru Outback up both roads, as far as needed, but I wasn’t sure how I would do with several passengers in the car. I made some attempts to smooth out the major problems in each road, but in the end, my attempts were pretty pitiful. Very fortunately, Britta R. and Doug stepped up with 4WD vehicles; along with my Subaru as backup, we would be fine. Now we just needed to get ourselves out to the intersection of Lovell Canyon Road and route 160 at 5PM, and we would have plenty of time to spot cars, then take a leisurely drive up to the campsite for the big day. Since I work out of my home, I would have little trouble; but the other folks had tight schedules, drives across town, traffic, and so on.

At long last, the First Day, with Speedbumps

Finally Friday arrived! I was not very efficient that day, fidgeted through the morning, and eventually admitted I was getting little done. So I drove out early, and reached our meeting place by about 4:45 PM. Doug arrived early, then Britta and Lori drove up.

We all arrived in good cardiovascular condition. However, Doug and Lori had each completed a grueling hike six days before, and were still feeling their separate adventures. Britta had a sinus infection. Well, we would all do what we could; after all, the hike was planned with bailouts in mind.

There was another snag; in the chaotic rush, Britta had forgotten her boots. At first I thought she was joking, because we have a running joke to remind Britta to bring shoes… then I realized she was serious, but unperturbed (if only I could be more like that). Oddly enough, I had an extra pair of boots in the back of my car. These boots are a little small for me, but amazingly, they fit Britta (she is taller than I am, and thinner). However, we weren’t sure if Britta would choose to travel back to town that eve to retrieve her boots, so we decided to spot Doug’s car at the southern trailhead, and take Britta’s to the campsite. So we caravanned to the end of the southern road. I was worried about taking Doug’s long-wheelbase Explorer up to the tight turn-around, which I’d barely managed in my Soob, but I’d forgotten one thing: the Explorer had so much clearance and power, Doug could basically drive over the obstacles that had blocked my path. We then piled into Britta’s Jeep and my Soob, drove back to Lovell Canyon Road, then took the rough Rocky Gap Road 1.6 miles to the campsite.

The campsite at 5800’ is easy to miss, but is pretty nice. There are big junipers and pinyons, and places for several tents. I just put my bivy sack down next to my car, while my three compadres each set up a tent. Lori put down an endless series of foam pads, and Doug asked if she might have trouble breathing, with her face so close to the top of the tent.

This campsite is really the last substantial place – other than the road – to set up camp before Red Rock Summit. (In fact, there is really only one other anemic site about 0.25 miles down the road, at lower elevation; and that site is only fit for smaller people, like Danny DeVito.) Moreover, the campsite is outside the wilderness area, and escapes a lot of regulation.

About 7PM, three high clearance jeeps rumbled up the road. The lead driver saw us, and commenced to turn around. I walked out and asked him why they were turning around. The leader said he didn’t remember a campsite, so was sure he was on the wrong road. I convinced him that they were on the Rocky Gap Road, so they continued on; they camped somewhere on the other side of the Summit that night. I guess that incident cements how easy it is to go by the site, and never know it exists.

We ate dinner, talked and joked a bit, but hit the sack by 8PM. In 30 minutes I was asleep.

The Big Day Starts: Saturday Morning

At 3:15 AM, my wristwatch alarm chirped me out of sleep. I had told everyone that I hoped to get moving by 4 AM, when I calculated the moon would be nearly overhead; in reality, I was merely hoping we would be moving by 4:30.

I was surprised not to see the moon; then I realized that the slope behind us was so steep, that the moon was blocked – moonlight was shining on the wall across the ravine, but not on us. In the dark, I fell down twice, but soon adjusted my brain to a vertical body position. When we started moving out in the open by 4:20, the moon was nearly bright enough to obviate headlamps, and the road walk, as rough as it was, helped calibrate my balance*.

For the first half mile, the western Rocky Gap Road looks pretty good; we walked easily in the moonlight. Then, shortly after the "Rainbow Wilderness" sign, the road becomes very rough and chaotic. The BLM and USFS have decided this road should be allowed to decay into oblivion; and the rainy seasons of 2004 and 2005 have helped meet that goal. Real off-road Jeeps, with high clearance and short wheelbase, do go up this stretch, through a series of clever alternative paths and stone ramps heaped up in front of ledges. The tire marks of the jeeps are obvious… as are the pieces of undercarriage, headlamps, and the roughly abused rocks that probably took out differentials and oil pans. Then suddenly, the road leaves the wash, and is in good shape for much of the remaining way to Red Rock Summit.

A very car-unfriendly section of the west Rocky Gap Road

When we reached Red Rock Summit, we cut right (east) in the bright moonlight. The valley had a surreal, beautiful look; we really didn’t need our headlamps, as we trudged up the trail. Soon we reached the pass where the Bridge trail drops east over the limestone.

At this point, Britta evaluated her sinus infection, and her less-than-optimal shoes, and opted to continue on with the ridge walk south, skipping Bridge. I had given her an extra GPS with all the tracks and waypoints on it, and she ended up using that GPS quite expertly. But I must admit that the rest of us felt trepidation about letting her head on alone through Terra Incognita. But she was confident, so Lori, Doug and I headed down toward Bridge, without her. Britta's plan was to hike south to just before the cutoff for Rainbow Peak, where she would wait near one of the water caches (indicated on the GPS).

About Bridge

If you’ve been to Bridge by the traditional Red Rock Summit route, you can skip the next few paragraphs. Else, the story makes a lot more sense with some background.

The trail is pretty distinct, as it winds east from Red Rock Summit, up to the ridge, then continues south with a few dips. The scenery is pleasant, through pinyon-juniper forest. The ridge is actually higher than Bridge Mountain itself.

Then the trail descends for 800’ vertical. First the trail is a distinct path through the limestone soil and junipers. But when it hits the sandstone, the path gradually becomes indistinct, and one must look for cairns. Depending on the year, there may be many cairns – or not. The trail continues over mild sandstone, then drops through three class 3 chutes, marked by subtle black paint marks and indifferent cairns (some mark incorrect paths!) and eventually spills onto the causeway that leads to the true Bridge sandstone peak, about 550’ vertical above the causeway.

The fun begins at this point, as the route heads up an impossible-looking crack, under a natural arch, and up still another impossible-looking crack.

The route up Bridge, viewed from the west

Back to the Story…Bridge

We left Britta and walked fast down the trail toward Bridge. The sky was lightening, and the sun rose behind Bridge.

Then we crossed onto the sandstone and looked for cairns. I had been to Bridge 11 times previously, so we wasted no time as we found the three chutes quickly and got to the causeway. Soon we climbed the big crack, passed the natural arch, passed the Hidden Forest, and started the last 200 vertical feet. The contrasts in lighting were awesome.

Doug and Lori come down one of three chutes… before the real climbing begins!

Through the natural bridge

View to Rainbow

Top of Bridge: e pluribus unum

We summitted near 7AM, and after a brief rest … turned around and made the tiring trudge back over all the sandstone obstacles, up to the limestone ridge. In the back of my mind, I was a bit worried about Britta, and probably went a little too fast. There are mountain lions in Red Rock.

The Ridge and Deutsche Marks

Now we were back on the ridge, and began heading south, with no trail. The ridge vegetation is generally sparse, and from previous explorations, I knew which side of the crest had the fewest tangles. The brush avoidance was partly for skin preservation; but I also wanted to avoid ticks that might drop off the brush onto our persons. My shorts, boot-tops, hat and shirt were treated with permethrin, and the treatment makes ticks drop off quickly, if not die on contact. Nonetheless, I found one tick crawling on my untreated bare arm, and Lori later found a tick on her shirt.

Along ridge: view to the east of the deep divide between Bridge (left) and Rainbow (right)

The ridge is actually quite beautiful in this area, and not all that rough; often, one simply walks along on limestone soil with sparse junipers and pinyons, occasionally making fairly easy detours around cliffs and limestone spires. There are probably about 5 peaklets on this ridge, but the drops between are rarely more than 50'. Lori and Doug were admirably slogging along close behind. I was still going a bit too fast, especially on the downslopes.

I was still a little concerned about Britta. She had trekking poles, so I kept looking for pole marks, as a hopeful sign that we were indeed going the same place. I began arguing with myself; we should be looking for Deutsche Marks, not Pole marks, since Britta is German. Ha Ha. In my hypoxic state, this seemed like humor, or logic, or something. About one mile from the pre-agreed Rainbow meeting place, I began to shout, loud enough that I hoped Britta would hear. Nothing. Then when we were about 0.25 miles away, I finally heard something. Closer still, and we could see her waving from an uphill position -- with not one mountain lion bite.

Rainbow

Now we looked forward to the first of two "ugly… grueling" limestone ridge descents. Lori felt the previous week's hike, and opted not to try Rainbow; she and Britta would continue south to the Wilson climbout, and wait. So Doug and I dropped off the NE side of the perpendicular limestone ridge that connects to Rainbow.

The route up Rainbow, as seen from the west

I had been this way a few weeks before, so there were no surprises. I fantasized about surprises -- like maybe the five irritating intermediate peaks had eroded level in the interim. Not a chance. We slogged down to the sandstone saddle, with a final spectacular push through manzanita.

From the sandstone on the west, Rainbow isn't much of a challenge. You just have to know when to cut north around the cliffs -- but there were lots of cairns this year. We summited… and soon headed back, enjoying the descent to the saddle. When we hit the limestone, I said, "now prepare for 30 minutes of misery". We trudged back up to the ridge. (I wished this part of the trip would be sort of like conscious anesthesia; I wanted it done, but didn't really want to experience the feeling.)

From the top of Rainbow, we look back west at the limestone ridge we must now ascend!

Finally on back the main ridge, we headed south again. Now there was an interesting obstacle in the path; a rougher limestone peak with at least 500' of prominence above the ridgeline, and a few subpeaks to boot. This peak is known simply as "2198" for its marked elevation in meters, and there is a register on top. Normally, the climb wouldn't seem like much; but we had done a lot already, and still had Wilson. My right leg started to go anaerobic -- that wonderful lactic-acid-laced feeling. OK, this wasn't a joke; I slowed down a bit and began to "pressure-breathe". I don't think pressure-breathing works for the originally-claimed reasons… but somehow, the mechanics force me to breathe hard and deeply. With a few minutes of this annoying wheeze, my right leg began to feel normal. Finally, after what seemed like eternity, we met Lori and Britta at the next water cache, by the Wilson climbout.

Lori and Britta on top of Peak 2198

Wilson - Oh, the Humanity!

Lori was rested and felt like trying Wilson. Doug now felt the previous week's 33-mile hike, and his knees were shot; so he opted to rest with Britta until Lori and I returned from Wilson. So we two descended on the second "ugly…grueling" limestone talus traverse. I had also done this route 10 days before, so didn't expect surprises. I had made it from the ridge to Wilson and back in less than two hours before… but now we were tired.

This descent is even uglier than the drop to Rainbow saddle. The talus is steeper, and less consolidated. The less I say about it the better.

The route to Wilson, view east, after descending the most obnoxious limestone talus

The low point west of Wilson, near 6400', is actually on limestone. Shortly after crossing the low point, the ridge turns to gentle sandstone, mainly talus free. From here, the hike to the summit involves about 700' of uneventful elevation gain, with one false peak. For some reason, I tend to climb this last section right on the edge of the cliff; Lori pointed out that as tired as we were, maybe my modified route was not such a good idea. She was right, of course.

Top of Wilson, view south; Lori writes something philosophical

We sat on top for what seemed like an eternity, compared to our previous summits. Then we turned around and headed down the sandstone. Then we had 30 minutes of Hell as we climbed back up to the ridge.

Back to the Spotted Car, then to the Campsite, then Home

Lori and I managed just 1 hour from the top of Wilson, till we once again crested the limestone ridge. This was actually quite good time; I had done barely better 10 days before, when I was fresh. We expected to find Britta and Doug twiddling their thumbs, impatiently. Actually, when we reached the ridgetop, we were relieved to find a message that said, "C U at Car"; they had headed down early, using just my loaned GPS and the simple instructions: "head for THAT wash". The note was a curiosity -- it looked like it was written with fingerpaints or brown lipstick or… hmmmm. Actually, Doug had mixed red gatorade with reddish dirt, and used a stick to brush on the letters.

From this point, it was downhill with minimal brush, first down an open slope, then into a wash. Lori told some IRS jokes. As it was, we had plenty of light. At this point I realized I had been suppressing a limp for several hours; my right foot had gone spastic, and I was keeping my ankle stiff and bent for the talus traverses. Consequently, my right ankle had a serious bruise from the constant pressure of the talus guard on my flesh. When we finally saw Doug's car, I was ready to yelp in pain.

Doug and Britta had saved us some beer. Britta had insisted that Doug wait till Lori and I returned, before they opened beers to join us. Britta handed me my spare boots and said, "thank you very much, but I never want to see these again."

Back at the spotted car… we're done!

The big Ford Explorer took us comfortably back to Lovell Canyon Road, where we had the odd experience of avoiding the cleanup crews from a foot race. We headed north, got visually distracted by porta-potties, but finally made the trip up to the campsite. We were relieved to see that no vandals had torn apart Lori's and Britta's tents. I started down, lone in my Subaru. Doug waited for Lori and Britta, so they could caravan out in to deal with potential car problems. And incredibly, I was back at my house Saturday evening.

Retrospect: Some Luck with Weather, and Bad Pacing

As it turned out, Las Vegas reached just 82F that day, 9F cooler than the predictions. There was also a variable breeze, which made the hike seem reasonably cool; yet on the trip back from Wilson, even Lori noted that she felt hot. We tapped only about 1.5 Liters of the cached water, and in reality, Doug and Lori were probably carrying enough as it was. But if it had been 9F warmer, we may have used all the caches.

We should have gone slower on the legs before Wilson. As it was, Lori and I reached the spotted car with at least 2.5 hours of usable light; the last descent faces west, so the sun never sets behind a ridge, as happens in most Red Rock hikes. If we had used just an hour more time on other legs, Lori and Doug would have better knees today.

I've done lots of multi-peak hikes, and high-elevation gain hikes. For example, I've done the hike from below sea level, to the top of Telescope Peak; I think this Red Rock trifecta was at least as hard. The accumulated elevation gain was nowhere as great, but the terrain was a lot tougher.

*Twenty Seconds of Panic: a Small Diversion of Attention

I hate to belabor the point, but I have disability that requires special plans. I am missing part of my cerebellum (a part of the brain near spinal cord and brainstem). Specifically, I’m missing the portion that controls balance and fine motions on my right side – motions that control handwriting, speech (via tongue and vocal cords), and precise placement of my right hand and foot. In normal people, the cerebellum handles these fine motions subconsciously; but I’ve learned to replace much of cerebellar function with conscious, cerebral thought, from the upper part of my brain. However, there are serious downsides to this accommodation; while my upper brain is focusing on these normally trivial things, I shut out much of the world. I can’t really write and listen well at the same time, and my writing is so slow and inefficient, that I have about 5% of the capacity of "normal" people. In addition, the tweaks to my cerebellum are little flashes of panic; if they just happen once in a while, I do well. But if the flashes are fairly continuous, the distraction is quite disturbing. In normal people, when a fine adjustment fails to bring the desired result, the brain sends a somewhat alarmed message to try harder, and the cerebellum accommodates; in me, the alarm messages just keep going and going.

The good news is that most outdoor activities don’t require really fine motions; in fact I feel most "normal" in the outdoors. However, I have to watch out for a few things. For one, it is hard for me to balance in the dark, at least for the first part of the day; my sense of balance is artificial, gained from my perception of the horizon. Second, my right leg is not as efficient as my left, and I get "foot drop" and cramps in my right leg after many miles, which make me more likely to stumble. There is no feedback between my right foot and my cerebellum, at least for fine motions, so I must be very attentive if my right foot is on very steep slickrock. Third, my right hand and arm tend to spasm at inconvenient times, as in hand jams or mantles. Fourth, my right hand tends to "forget" things that most of you take for granted, things subconsciously aided by the cerebellum – like the tying of knots. For that reason, I’ve decided to eschew all but the most rudimentary "technical" rock climbing. It’s not that I can’t tie the knots; but someone will invariably want to talk to me while doing so, and the distraction could prove dangerous. And fifth, my right hand and foot don’t react that quickly.

The twenty seconds of panic? They happened on Saturday when I was signing my name into registers. For me, that activity is much more alarming and difficult than climbing on class 4 rock. ‘Nuff said.


MEMORABLE MOMENTS FROM ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK

July 2008
Report by Kristi Meyer, Photos by Kristi Meyer and Joel Brewster

For an unforgettable week in mid-July 2008, Kristi, Chris and Kenny Meyer; Joel, Amy, Toby and Sierra Brewster; Nathan Petrosian and Valentina Fields; and Chad Corbin shared a couple campsites at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. They didn’t share a whole lot else, since they tended to part ways during the day to bag a 14er, take in a music festival, get in a great climb, stroll the streets and shops of Estes Park, hike to a serene lake, drive the Trail Ridge Road, or just hang out at camp to read a book or settle in for an afternoon nap as the predictable rain bounced off the tent/camper. We learned something about each other, though.

o Toby Brewster toasts the best marshmallows this side of the Mississippi. His patience is remarkable, especially given his slight age.

o You should be careful (Chad) not to chastise your friends for leaving your cooler out and getting it confiscated by the Rangers if you intend to do the same thing the very next day.

o These words can be uttered by Chris Meyer to his wife, Kristi, on the trail: “I’m going to go ahead while you finish up your snack. I know you’ll catch up with me.”
**footnote: Chris was carrying Kenny on his back at the time**

o If there is a sale at a gear shop within 100 miles, Nathan and Valentina will show up at camp with a trunk full of sleek, shiny new stuff. Oh, and Nathan could make a good living as a gear model.

o It may seem needlessly laborious to completely break your tent down when moving it to a campsite 150 yards away – through tall grass and thistle – but in reality, it makes it a whole lot easier. (I suspect Joel would still argue this point).

o For a good nap experience, Sierra Brewster demands her mommy, Amy, stay in the tent with her.

o It’s a long drive to RMNP (especially with a baby, a dog, a camper and a ridiculous amount of gear – your own and Chad’s), but it is worth the gas $$ and the effort. We’d do it again in a heartbeat.


Relocation of the Brewster tent (over the thistles)

 


Meyer family at Alberta Falls

 


CLICK HERE FOR LVMC EVENT SCHEDULE


GENERAL MEETINGS

The Las Vegas Mountaineers monthly meeting this month
is on Tuesday, August 19th (THIRD Tuesday of the month) at
Sahara West Library, 9600 W. Sahara Rd.
Meeting time is 7:00 p.m.

AUGUST

Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Sahara West Library

Posh Sport Climbing Crags

Nadia von Magdenko & Steve Krall

Questions to determine if you could be a Sport Climber:
1) After more than a 20-minute hike are you too winded to effectively climb?
2) Do you want to eat cheeseburgers and soft serve ice cream during your climbing day?
3) Do you like belaying off of a bench?
4) Do you like to dress well while climbing?
5) Do you believe that a Stick Clip is a necessary piece of climbing equipment?
6) Do you believe that GriGri's were the best invention next to sliced bread?
7) Do you want to relax and bring your kids to a safe and level spot to play while you climb?
8) Do you want to hang out with friends while you climb?
9) Do you like to car camp with a fire, drinking, eating and having fun?

Answer Key:
0-3 yes answers: Sport climbing is not for you, put on your hiking shoes or trad gear and skip the August meeting.
4-6 yes answers: You could be a Sport-head after all!
6 or more yes answers: You are a Dedicated Sport Climber!!!

If you answered yes to four or more of the above questions then Sport Climbing is for YOU!!!! Come to the August Mountaineer's Meeting and see what Sport Climbing is all about!

SEPTEMBER

Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Clark County Library

Search & Rescue in Southern Nevada

Officer Jim Roberts

Officer Roberts has been a Las Vegas Metro Police Officer for 8 1/2 years, and been assigned to Search and Rescue for 4 1/2 years. He is also trained as a paramedic and certified in all aspects of search and rescue.

Officer Roberts will give a presentation and talk about desert survival as well as the do's and don't's of experiencing the great outdoors.

 


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