Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Climbing in the North Cascades

Samantha Goff and Matt Chalmers, filled with anticipation at the start of our trip into the Eldorado Peak high camp.

Samantha and Matt on the Inspiration Glacier on the approach to the West Arete of Eldorado Peak.

Samantha smiling at our first view of the route from the Dorado Needle Col which separates the McAlester Glacier from the Marble Creek Cirque. The climbing route is esentially the right skyline.

Samantha at a belay ledge soon after getting on the arete, just above the layer of clouds which filled the Marble Creek drainage.

Happy faces after enduring an unplanned bivouac high on the west face.

Samantha looking up towards the summit as Matt leads the final pitch of the route. Dorado Needle and Early Morning Spire in the background.

Looking south from the summit across a sea of clouds with only the highest peaks of the North Cascades jutting up like islands.

Johanesberg Mountain in the foreground.

The south ridge of Eldorado Peak and the Eldorado Glacier.

Inspecting the descent off of the snow arete on the south ridge of Eldorado.

Forbidden Peak, the Forbidden Glacier and Moraine Lake with part of the Inspiration Glacier in the foreground, taken from our camp at the base of Eldorado's east ridge.

Samantha leading out across the McAlester glacier towards Dorado Needle.

Samantha navigating the north ridge of Dorado Needle.

Myself at a belay ledge on Dorado Needle.

The massive west face of Eldorado Peak briefly poked out of the clouds while we were on Dorado Needle.

Samantha leading out on the final pitch on Dorado Needle.

Matt nearing the summit.

Matt navigating the final piece of the ridge, a knife edge section which he is climbing "au cheval".

Samantha belaying from just below the summit.

Soaking wet from a long descent in pouring rain, Samantha completes a successful trip with the safe retrieval of several cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer from the Cascade River.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Wolf Tracking in the Salmon River Mountains, Idaho

The landscape, typical of the mountains of central Idaho shows conifer forests, dominated by lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) in various stages of regeneration after naturally occuring fires. Interspersed are large wet and dry meadow systems.

Don Taves inspects the trail of a wolf trotting down a dirt road.

The right front foot of a large wolf. The toes have splayed widely and the claws of each digit have dug in deeply, including in the reduced inside toe due to the fast speed of this animal. The bounding trail of this wolf was adjacent to the trail of two fleeing mule deer indicating a pursuit (apparently unsuccessful for the wolf).

A pine marten (Martes americana) peers down from a safe perch.

Sandhill crane (Grus canadensis) in flight. Cranes breed and rear young in the vast wet meadow systems of central Idaho.

Columbian ground squirrels (Spermophilus columbianus) at a burrow.

Rocky mountain elk (Cervus elaphus)

Students in Wilderness Awareness School's Idaho Wolf Tracking Expedition hiking out across Corduroy meadows at the southern end of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness towards the end of a long day in the field searching for and following wolf tracks and signs.