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Monthly Archives: May 2009

el cap

The Capitan. 1000 metres of fun.

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Jenni’s art. This is titled “Ride On The Wild Side”.

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Heidi Wirtz climbing in Morocco. She is a happy person.

Mother’s Day. Jenni and I are enroute home from the 5Point Film Festival in Carbondale, Colorado The Denver airport has the standard “hub hub” of a hub, yet there is an air of kindness that is, by my estimation, the overall feeling of goodwill that Mother’s Day generate.

Like you’d have to be a complete looser to bark at the ticket agent Mother’s Sunday.

Are we responsible for the well being of our planet and the humans & animals we share it with? This theme pervaded the weekend festivities. The work of ophthalmologist Geoff Tabin and his goal to eradicate cataract blindness in the developing world, Kevin Hand and the Cosmos Education program which brings science education to Africa, Mark Godley and the Big City Mountaineers – bringing outdoor skills to inner city youth, and Brad Ludden and the First Descent kayak team working with cancer patients and kayaking. The panel was lively and focused. The overarching sentiment was that as citizens of the US we have an obligation to help make our world a better place. The reason? We are 4 % of the world’s population living a lavish lifestyle. We consume 25 % of the planet’s resources. The world would implode if all 6.7 billion inhabitants lived at the level we do. Big houses, multiple automobiles and inter continental flights all lead to this.

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Jenni and the basket Sam made for her. Nice loving son:)

big wave

The city of Glenwood Springs built an outdoor water park by moving the boulders around to create waves.

surf

This fellow was riding a SURF BOARD! He was on the wave for many minutes. The cold water required wet suits.

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Rob Raker, Hayden Kennedy & Lynn Hill. We climbed in Rifle that day.

The following post was lost in cyberspace. I wrote it on a small phone on the side of Kinabalu at our Easy Camp.

I’m currently in Colorado at the 5Point Film Festival. Located in Carbondale, the festival honors those inspired adventurers who have turned their own individual desire into a determined mission to help others. My dear wife Jenni and I are here to present the Khumbu Climbing School and working with Dr Geoff Tabin at the Himalayan Cataract Project. I’ll snap a few images and post them here.

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Tropical Big Walls
It has been two weeks since I left Montana Jenni and the boys. The snow
on the last day is a far cry from the rain we are experiencing today.
Then again we are 39 degrees closer to the equator. Goes with out saying
rain is our constant companion. Not a day passes with out showers. Not
the type that involve soap and warm water rather the variety that soaks
us through and through. Staying dry is a challenge.

Mt Kinabalu is the highest peak in south east Asia and as such is a
destination for hikers and adventure seekers. The standard route is 8.5
km of trail winding up the steep southern escarpment. We have passed
through several levels of forest, all dictated by altitude. The lower
cloud forest is home to colorful singing birds and a canopy of hardwood
trees. Our camp at the head of Easy Valley is at 3857 metres is just at
the edge of the alpine zone. Similar to the northern latitudes the plant
life is stunted by wind with robust leaves and hardy flowers.

Our climbing goal is a 2000 meter granite wall first ascended by a
Spanish team 10 years ago. Progress has been good so far – we’ve climbed
seven very steep pitches. Today is a rest day before we camp on the wall
with portaledges (aluminium cots clipped to the cliff allowing a nights
rest. We’ll start in the morning and make the best of it. Funny thing is
we are here in the “dry” season. Which begs the question of what the
“rainy” season must be like. Hard to imagine more moisture.

This morning Alex Honnold and I hiked to the summit of the Low’s Peak.
It was refreshing to encounter a bunch of hikers getting out for some
exercise and fresh air. It was nice to share the views with them.

Our team of Mark Synnott, Kevin Thaw, Renan Ozturk, Alex and Jimmy Chin
is having tons of fun. Check out http://www.http.borneobigwall.blogspot.com for
some action updates.

Over the past year I have been putting the WS 4 watch through the paces.
From the Himalaya, to the Rocky Mountains and to Malaysian Borneo the
instrument has been a reliable companion. Glad to have the WS 4 along.

Till the next dispatch have fun, be happy and take time to get outdoors
and get the good tidings nature has to offer.

Your intrepid explorer, Conrad

M-spenceClimb

Spring in the Rockies is a capricious thing – snow one day, rain the next and then vibrant life affirming sunshine every few hours. The grass sprouts, flowers poke their petals of attraction out for the bees and the birds announce sunrise with a symphony of cheer. Even Happy and Leroy, our trusty dogs know spring has turned the corner as they graze on the thick leaves of grass. Nepal Everest Mystery

Just a week ago I was in Malaysian Borneo in the state of Sabah, 6 degrees north of the equator. Today I’m half way to the North Pole at 45 degrees. What a change these 39 degrees of latitude makes. From the tropical rain and cloud forests of Kinabalu to the open plains and coniferous forests it is amazing a to see how much our planet changes. Temperature and precipitation are the two main agents of these different climates. After our climbing journey ( http://borneobigwall.blogspot.com/ ~ eight action packed video dispatches) we spent a half-day swimming, snorkeling and lounging on the beach. The warm ocean was home to a variety of tropical fish and a few patches of coral. Perhaps the best part were the large lizards (monitor) that lounged about looking for scraps under the picnic tables.
To counter act jet lag, Jenni the boys and I ventured off to Bridger Bowl, our local ski area. The lifts have been dormant for three weeks, yet an abundance of snow allowed us to click into our randonee skis. After a nice hike uphill we were rewarded with a fun ski back down. This was a most nice way to start a Saturday.
While in Borneo a PBS / NOW documentary titled “On Thin Ice” aired on the 17th of April. With host David Brancaccio boojbhasa-in-the-rain
we investigate the shrinking glaciers on our planet. The loss of glaciers is the most obvious manifestation of a warmer planet. If you are so inclined you may watch the program via the PBS.ORG website. Look up NOW and “On Thin Ice”.

Let me know what you think….

Till the next installment ~ find happiness in all you do.