Sunday, July 15, 2007

NOLS: North Cascades Mountaineering

The past 30 days were spent in the mountains and valleys of Washington state, instructing a NOLS North Cascades Mountaineering course. Ten students and one other instructor and I headed out for 30 days of glacier mountaineering. But first we had to get there.

From the dense forrests we climbed up and up and up towards the snow in our not-so-trail-friendly plastic mountaineering boots. We had a ration periods of 8 days, then two 10-day ration periods. With each re-ration we had to descend into the lush forrest to get another 10 days of food. Not easy to add 20lbs of food to a pack that was just starting to feel good, and then start heading up again. But I was always happy to be heading back up towards the snow and rocky peaks.

The work was hard, but the living was simple, as I like it. Keep yourself dry, warm, fed and rested. No phones, no television, just the team and the surrounding world. Here are my favorite pics:

During my week off, I flew east to NYC to see my brother, Chad, play in his band, Dispatch for two of the three sold out shows at Madison Square Garden. It was an unreal experience to be in New York after this last month in the wilderness with our small team, and then seeing 20,000 wild fans singing my brother's songs.

I am now back in Washington getting ready to head out on another 30 day expedition. This time, we are heading to the Waddington Range of British Columbia. We spend more time on the glaciers here, getting resupplied not by van or horse packer, but by... ....helicopter. And we get into the wilderness not by van, but by ... ... float plane. Yes, I am very excited. It will be fun. All the best to you all.


  1. My old friend from CU and the SSV Westward days - I knew I'd find you on the net. I saw all the press on your bro's MSG gigs and googled you for the heck of it... looks like you are staying true to your adventureous roots. Hope all is well, your blog is great - my email is -drop me a line if you have a chance. Cheers - The Student Formerly Known as Stuart the Scientist

  2. Hello old friend, I knew I'd find you on the net. It is your old friend from CU and the SSV Westward. I saw all the press on your bro's MSG gigs and figured I'd google you guys for the hell of it. Glad I did, great to see you are staying true to your adventurous roots, you blog is great. Drop me a line when you can - The Student Formerly Know as Stuart the Scientist,

  3. dude, it's kevin p. Email me at my usap account when you get a chance. Later bro!

  4. hi ben, we met at the elias fund show in new york, i was working the registration table - -
    i met someone last night who has worked in archeology in alaska and it had me thinking of you :) your blog is amazing. hope all is well!