Thursday, June 10, 2010

Counting the days...

This has been a stressful, busy couple of weeks. Last weekend was my turn at the on-call wheel and though the weekend was light, just the idea that at any moment the phone could ring induces a certain low-level anxiety. There's really no way one can expect to fulfill plans when on-call for a busy Cath Lab. Complicating matters, my 87 year old grandfather had two falls in a 24 hour period, spent 5 hours on the bathroom floor, got transported to the ER, etc... He looks pretty banged up but is otherwise okay...for now. So that threw a wrench in any plans I might have made to hit a trail on my day off. Instead of pounding dirt I've been trying to break the stairmaster at the gym. Obviously, I would rather be outdoors. This trail deficit will be remedied in one week.

Bring on the big stuff. A week from today Dave Rivas and I depart for the Palisades on the East Side of the Sierra. This is round two as last year the weather basically kicked our ass. This year shall have a more positive outcome. Thanks to the miracle of smart phones I can track the weather, obsessively, for the whole Sierra. Things look good in that department. I dropped a bunch of coin on a new ultra-light shelter that actually shelters people (as opposed to the Sil-tarp we had used last year). I think both Rivas and I are in better physical shape than we were last year (I know I am) , and we've both made improvements in our kit that will make things lighter and more efficient. We expect to be out for 10-12 days, backpack approximately 35 miles from two different trailheads, gain 18-20,000 total feet of elevation, and climb three big peaks by worthy routes:
  • Split Mountain (above), 14,058ft, Class IV via St. Jean Couloir (a 900ft ice chute)
  • Middle Palisade, 14,012ft, Class III via the East Face
  • Norman Clyde peak, 13,920ft, Class IV-V via the North East Face
Though I haven't started packing yet (when I was a kid I would have my kit packed 2 weeks before a big trip and generally drive my parents and everyone else up the wall until D-day), I have gone through and revised my first-aid/repair kit and reviewed my check-list ad-nauseum. I admit that I'm starting to get stir-crazy, a not unfamiliar feeling. This annual alpine trip is about the only thing I can claim to look forward to all year (besides ski season). It's time to go dammit!

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