Skip navigation

Category Archives: February 2009

What is up with the night train to Zurich?


In a sense it is a mini version of the past two weeks. From the Keene Valley Ice festival I was home for a day then headed south to Salt Lake City and the Outdoor Retailer trade show. The attendees and exhibitors were quite excited about the new administration and the prospect of greater care and awareness of the wild places we hold so dear. The Conservation Alliance, on which I serve on the board, hosted a wonderful breakfast meeting with Steve Kazlowski, a photographer who has been documenting polar bears and the landscape change in the far north. The climate is changing in the higher latitudes and high mountain ranges faster than in temperate and tropical climates. If you live in an artificial climate with air conditioning, heated buildings and irrigated landscape the chances of a warmer climate might not be as noticeable. If you are a polar bear… it is changing very fast. Except polar bears can’t “wrap their head” around the fact that the ice is moving out to sea, forming thinner and providing fewer opportunities to hunt. Check out Steve’s website: for more information.

Timex launched the WS4 wrist instrument. The WS is wide screen, like in TV sets and movie theaters, providing more information readily available at a glance. The 4 is for the four functions, altimeter, barometer, compass and thermometer. In addition to all the goodies for adventure it tells time and has a stout alarm. Wakes even the most tired alpinist at three AM.

The next leg was back home for four nights and then back to Salt Lake and a flight to Munich for the Ispo trade show. I met up with my good friend, Bob Palais, a math professor at the University of Utah. As I had to hop on a flight in the morning and we had little time we decided to climb “Stairway to heaven” in Provo Canyon from 11 PM until 4 AM. I was a ton of fun and an interesting experience for both of us. I do this stuff kinda regular, but for Bob a math genius (he even has a theorem named after him) it was something new. Getting cold in the dark is something that might even unlock another mathematical mystery. Who knows?tired

I made the flight, which was full. Nothing worse than an empty airplane. Given the impact jets have on our climate full jets are nice. The Ispo trade show is the European coiunterpart to the US trade show. Except it is not limited to outdoor stuff. Table tennis, floor hockey, snow boarding, slack lining and were all bunched together.

Hari Berger, a friend, was killed two years ago in a climbing accident. He left behind Kristen and Zoe, his significant other and their daughter. I had never met Zoe, the spry child she is. The meeting was filled with sorrow and joy. Climbing is dangerous.

Once we wrapped up the WS4 launch at Ispo I caught the night train to Zurich to meet up with Tim, my friend studying biology at the Technical University of Zurich. We met after a night of riding the train and a four hour bivy in the Stuttgart train station. It was well worth it as we were able to share two fine days in Kandersteg, Switzerland ice climbing. The ice was in fantastic form. The January cold snap has frozen a stack of waterfalls into place for us to play on.p1000903

OK… see you soon and remember to get some fresh air 😀