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Showing posts from 2008

Pacific Peak

So Lubin calls me last night and suggests we go climb something. I'd been browsing Dave Cooper's Snow Climbs book and seen the North Couloir route on Pacific Peak so I suggested it to Lubin. He wasn't familiar with the route, but it sounded good. Our plans were set.

I realized after we talked that I never really read the route description all the way through, and I hadn't checked other sources. I didn't have to read long to find out that the North Coulior is a serious climb, with 60 degree slopes, possible alpine ice, and a need for some gear we didn't have. I called Lubin back to give him an update and we decided to head to the couloir anyway. The trip there should be a spectacular hike and if we didn't like the looks of the couloir, we'd find another way to the top.

We met just off of Highway 9 at 6:30 and took Lubin's car as far as we could up the road. The four-wheel section is rough but was passable in Lubin's Suburu Outback. We final…

George Carlin, 1937-2008

Somehow, I could feel this coming. In the days following Tim Russert's death a little over a week ago, I repeatedly got this feeling like George Carlin would be soon to follow. I wonder if he got the two-minute warning? I wonder if he'll get blown up? (Listen to "Death and Dying" from Carlin's 1977 album On the Road.)

I can't think of any other single person in popular culture that has done more to influence my sense of humor and personal philosophies than George Carlin. It's strange, really, since I'm nothing like Carlin - I don't use profanity, have never drank or used drugs, and I generally avoid controversy. I've always liked stand-up comedy, however, and Carlin has been my favorite ever since I heard Playin' With Your Head when I was in middle school. (Big thanks to Phil Walters, who borrowed the tape from his brother so he could share it with me and others while we detasseled corn.) I understand those who think Pryor was funni…

Sherman and Gemini

Today I got my first two mountains of the year, Mt. Sherman (14,036') and Gemini Peak (13,951'). I look at these peaks every day out my front window, so it was about time to pay them a visit. I climbed Sherman in 2000, and today's climb made it the first 14er I've summitted twice. I hadn't gotten Gemini on my last trip, which is a shame because the pair make a pretty easy double.

Our times were good: I met Peter Lubin at his house at 5:30am; we were at the trailhead at 6:08 and hiking at 6:22. I hiked with trekking poles and carried an ice axe on my pack for glissades on the way down; Lubin carried skis with the hopes of skiing the big east-facing bowl between Sherman and Gemini. We climbed quickly (over 1200 vertical feet per hour, not bad at all for my first time out) and reached Sherman's summit at 8:02. It was windy on the ridge, but we managed to not get swept off our feet.

After summitting Sherman we headed to Gemini to eat. Things for me got pretty…

Wrestling and The Clash

I've done a lot of things in wrestling without actually having had a competitive match since 3rd grade. (Long story short: injuries ended my high school career after 6 practices.) This year I'm helping coach the proud but few (7, curently) South Park Burros wrestlers. We're a relatively young and inexperienced team, so my lack of actual wrestling experience hasn't been worth worrying about. I just try to rely on my own observations and my experience with the myriad of head coaches with whom I've worked since high school:

Rick Caldwell (currently the head coach of Waverly-Shell Rock, IA...more on them later)
Leonard "Butch" Wingett (currently teaching at Clarke Middle School in Osceola, IA...coaching status unknown)
Steve Price (currently an assistant coach at Johnston, IA...good to see him coaching again)
Don Briggs (still teaching at the University of Northern Iowa when he's not exploring the world)
Mark Manning (currently the head coach at the Univer…

Broadband Internet in South Park

When I moved to Fairplay a year and a half ago, one of my major concerns about living here was the lack of broadband. The only options at the time were two I weren't willing to accept: satellite service from WildBlue and HughesNet. It's not that the service they offer is all that horrible, but the service agreements and contracts (you know, all that fine-print stuff most people don't want to read) were just plain ugly to me. So ugly, in fact, that I went with dialup, something I never thought I'd ever have to do again.

Fortunately, another Fairplay resident named Jerry Wilson with the same distaste for satellite, similar broadband needs, and greater entrepreneurial spirit decided to take matters into his own hands. He bought a T1, put up a big antenna, and resold wireless broadband to people around town. The service is called Parkspeed, and as you can see from the website, it's pretty low-key and still a way for Jerry to satisfy his gaming habits. Despite some…