ARCHIVES

FRED BECKEY’S AUTOGRAPHED NEW BOOK: 100 FAVORITE NORTH AMERICAN CLIMBS

January 10th, 2012

Fred Beckey 100 Favorite Climbs ManuscriptThere are many stories of Fred Beckey, considered one of the most prolific alpinists of our time. He is constantly in motion from one climbing trip to the next, the quintessential “dirt bagger” and master of living cheaply. He is an icon in the mountaineering community.

Nearing 89 years of age, he has established first ascents across the globe and authored, among other books, the definitive climbing guide to the Cascades; three volumes essential to any Cascade climber’s library. And now, Patagonia Books published Fred Beckey’s “100 Favorite North American Climbs.”

A hybrid of coffee table and guide book, it is large format, with narrative and climbing route topographic maps. It is meant to inspire and, as I heard last night, imbue pride in climbers when they see Fred included their favorite route. I also understand it was hard getting him to whittle it down to 100 climbs!

My Fred stories are limited. I’ve gotten lost by misreading his sometimes vague route descriptions (like “trend up and right past the white block to the second corner and onto the ridge”). While working outdoor retail, I’ve accepted his well-worn down sleeping bag for washing. I’ve successfully avoided his propositions for climbing and ski trips, I think more out of fear than anything else, as I understand they are enriching experiences in and of themselves. But with no shortage of Beckey Tales, I’ve been able to appreciate his endeavors from the safety of the published word and the stories I’ve heard from many others.

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PUBLISHED IN CLIMBING MAGAZINE

July 29th, 2011

Colin Haley climbing in ChamonixBefore he went to Alaska this year, I had the pleasure of another bouldering session with Colin Haley. He’s built a life that puts him on an international circuit climbing and skiing in Patagonia, Chamonix, Alaska, Yosemite, and the Himalaya which means we don’t see much of him in the Seattle area these days.

I first met Colin in the winter, at the base of The Tooth, nub of a peak that’s fairly accessible from the highway. I’m not sure he could drive yet, but over the next few years he got his license, he went to college, and he kept on climbing. We did some Cascade routes together, some cragging, and I visited him on his first trip to Chamonix (where he was “studying” French).

While bouldering at the gym, he looked at me and said, “I think I’m the same age as you were when we first met.” It was a bit of a reality check for both of us. In that decade, or so, Colin has gone from bold and opinionated teen to professional alpinist; he is a sponsored athlete in a niche market so tight and so new (in the US) that making a living from it is possible for only the rarest few.

Colin Haley Climbing ResumeWe caught up a bit on some of the trips we’d taken and what our personal lives looked like, but mostly it was about climbing and laughter. That’s something I forgot–there’s a lot of laughter when you’re around Colin.

This month, in Climbing Magazine, is a feature in the Question-Answer format with Colin. My friend, Frank Huster has the lead image, Chris Wiedner (who left Seattle for Boulder) wrote it, and I’ve got a couple of historical images of Colin. One from a climb in Chamonix, and one from our first climb together: the NE Buttress of Chair Peak. When he was just 16.

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BACK IN THE HILLS: MT. RAINIER, VIA THE DECEPTION CLEAVER

July 25th, 2011

It was an effort of putting one foot in front of the other and keeping my mind occupied enough that I could press on. It was mountaineering; not terribly technical, but physical, requiring some skill, and managing risk from crevasses, rockfall, and altitude.

At 14,000 feet I shuffled like a 80 year old, teetered like a drunk. Altitude is a hangover without the party. My head was starting to hurt and my nausea passed only after I dry heaved. Forcibly hyperventilating was the only way I could capture enough oxygen; even so, I was out of breath and, more annoyingly, low on energy. Two fast breaths for each step. I wanted more red blood cells.

(Mt. Rainier by moonlight. 13 second exposure, f5.6, ISO3200, using a rock as a tripod. Note the three lights on the mountain of teams on different routes starting their ascent ~2.00am)

For all the effort, it was also a huge relief. I’ve been missing the mountains. I hiked up the Muir Snowfield by the light of a half moon. I watched the sun rise from eastern Washington, spilling its light across the Cascades to brighten the dark valleys below. I made my body hurt, and in that hurt was presence and connection. Immediacy.

It was Frank’s idea to do it in a day from the car; it’s not uncommon, but most people choose to hike the Disappointment Cleaver, a heavily guided trade route, in two or three days. By doing it in a day, with optimal weather conditions (sunny and calm), we could lighten our loads and move faster.

Frank was great company and, as another photographer, understanding of the camera weight we carried and our pausing for pictures. His only complaint was that I was wearing all black on the summit, which isn’t so great for his photos. Fine by me. At that moment, all I wanted to do was head down to the thicker air below.

See more images in this gallery:


Deception Cleaver, Mt. Rainier – Images by Tim Matsui

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Posted in Canon 5D Mark II, climbing, outdoor industry Comments Off on BACK IN THE HILLS: MT. RAINIER, VIA THE DECEPTION CLEAVER

ALL I CAN: NEW TRAILER FOR UPCOMING FILM

November 11th, 2010

This came through FaceBook, and was first released on the Arc’Teryx website, a company making high end technical outerwear, harnesses, backpacks, etc. that is kind of like the Mercedes Benz of the outdoor industry. They also support film projects, like “The Season,” a series my friend Fitz Cahall produced with Bryan Smith.

This is a ski film with purpose, says the website, and you can see it in the six minute trailer. Since I think I’ll actually be in Seattle this winter, it got me thinking of some skiing. Lu, even though she’s only alpine skied one day in her life, is going to give the back country a shot. (I’m excited).

Back to the film. Skiers and alpinists are seeing the effects of climate change first hand. This film purports to hook in outdoor enthusiasts and skiers alike with all the action, then deliver a message about being responsible and doing not just something, but “All I Can.” I like some of the techniques in this trailer; they use a lot of time lapse, slow motion, and aerials, plus have some well-timed cuts to the music. I have to say, after my time working on multimedia production in NYC this spring, I look at films much, much differently now. Blessing or curse, I’m not sure…

I hope they do a good job with it. Not just the ski-porn part, but the message as well. Speaking of which, I just read an article in Outside about Jeremy Jones of Jones Snowboards. Looks like somebody grew a conscience.

Anyway. I don’t do big mountains, but I’m psyched to ski the back country this winter, and I hope this film gets others psyched to do all they can for the environment.

(Looks like Arc’Teryx had all videos pulled down except what was on their cover page. Too bad you can’t embed this version. Click through to their website for the trailer.)

Picture 3

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Posted in activisim, advocacy, art, coolness, movies, multimedia, outdoor industry, technique, video, work of others Comments Off on ALL I CAN: NEW TRAILER FOR UPCOMING FILM

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