this is andy. for those of you reading who don't know who i am, well, i'm jason's other half. not that other half - his twin brother rather. i'm part of the adventure racing team, but haven't been racing much this year (looks like the teams' not any the worse for my absence, either!) as i am kind of busy with all the things that we're taught growing up that we're supposed to do. i have a lawn that i mow regularly, own a house that i'm 'remodelling', am married with two kids (ages two and a half and three weeks), and am getting a masters degree in physics and a teaching credential. while i have by any measure a pretty full life and enjoy all of these things at least some of the time (house, school) and some of them all of the time (wife, kids) I can't seem to shake the need to do crazy stuff, although with a frequency that is a fraction of that of the rest of the slackers. as a result, however i probably dream and obsess about adventure as much as the rest of the team combined.....
This summer i very thankfully recieved the blessing from my wife for a 5 day trip. I quickly ruled out a race, as entry fees and travel costs are simply too high to stomach on my GTA stipend, considering mortgage payments and feeding the family come out first. so i decided to put together my own adventure - the criteria bieng that i wanted to jam as much as possible into the time frame, include climbing, paddling, endurance, heaps of suffering, ultra-light gear, real wilderness, and an unknown outcome. Here is what i came up with.
starting around midnight on july 30th, a team of YS adventurers (plus guest adventurer tom grundy, from cirque 2005 fame) will drive to west rosebud lake in the absaroka mountains of south central montana. carrying boats on our back we'll head into avalanche lake, at the base of the N face of granite peak (elevation 12 799), a peak that is widely regarded as the hardest state high point to reach (easiest route is 5.7 according to joe josephson's guide). We'll climb the couloir on the Nface (5.7, 55 degree snow and ice) if it's in condition, otherwise we'll climb the N face itself. upon reaching the summit, we'll traverse the NW ridge a few miles before dropping down into a basin below glacier peak. we'll then climb the becky couloir on the N face of this peak (55-60 degree snow, 5.7, mixed). both faces are over 2000 feet high and will involve glacier travel to access them. upon reaching the summit, we'll navigate using map and compass (we're adventure racers - GPS's still feel like cheating) to glacier creek and follow it to where it hits the upper stillwater river. at this point we'll pullout our boats, pad our crampon spikes, and begin a 60 plus mile paddle through the wilderness to the town of absarokee. enroute we'll encounter 3 class V gorges which we'll have to negotiate (either by paddling if the water levels are low enough or portaging) and heaps of class II-IV whitewater. one of these gorges, called the POTS, is a 3 mile long section of 'suicide boating' at normal flows. we hope it's at really low flows so we can have a crack at the technical creek boating with lots of 1-2 meter drops and chutes. this will be exciting. only one other team on record (a couple of play boaters, years ago) has run the full length of the river. we'll be the first packraft descent (fingers crossed).
In absarokee we'll pick up bikes which we dropped on the way in and cycle the 30 miles back to west rosebud lake where we began. in all the trip will be well over 100 miles, with over half of that being totally in the middle of nowhere. if we can pull it off, it may well be the first trip of it's kind to combine Ultralight fast-packing, technical mountaineering, and technical river boating.
and then of course there's the movie......
here's a link to the map which details the proposed route.
wish us luck! more to follow!