Thursday, 19 November 2015


             While everyone is table flipping happy over the arrival of winter, take pause for a moment to lament the demise of the funnest time of year:  Mushroom season.

When the Pacific Northwest looks like this, the mycelium under the forest floor pump out a most unique fruit that brings joy to my heart and harmony to the earth.

Humans everywhere forage for food and in Squamish we are blessed with some world class bounty right under our noses.

Hunting for fungus is about as much fun as you can have with your pants on, much like climbing...

                                   You can easily combo climbing and Mushrooming

'Shrooms come in all different shapes and forms; This one as you might have guessed is a Coral

This Amanita would take you to the moon if you dared eat careful, you might not come back...

                      Boletus are my favorite, easy to identify and delicious when fried with butter

These Patagonian Boletes live in a remote valley,  I never ate them, but hope to return now that I know they're good to go

The Robot Valley (real name), home to untouched big walls and fungus galore

 This Reishi lived in a nearby forest before I deracinated it from Nature and had it dried for the purpose of improving my spiritual potency.

                                                           Mushrooms like to party! 

 They are also habit forming.  Our crew of hunters has blown off several days of standard funhogging to score bounty like this.  I fear it's becoming a problem...

                            Reformed climbers pontificating on the merits of the haul

                                  Pines, Bolete and Yellow Foot Chanterelles so yummy!!!!!

  I  haven't summoned the pluck to see if these are actual Liberty Caps.   In quantity, I'm told, these little suckers deliver the Neil Armstrong experience

Beautiful Morels on the approach to a cliff in Annecy, France

   Unknown specimens in Mt. Robson Provincial Park.  Oh so tempting, but we left them unmolested

                                  Some of the most elusive mushrooms on the planet.

After a day of foraging in the Sierra Nevadas of southern Spain. Sending food!

I might not quit climbing to go full time mushroom hunting but I'm already dreaming of the thaw...

Saturday, 10 October 2015


Chamonix... n'est-ce pas?

 Patagonian snow mushrooms?

2000 meter rock pillars in the Karakoram?


This my friends, is what Greg Child describes as Trango Tower sized experience "for the price of a twelve hour drive from Seattle and a $900 helicopter ride." 

Welcome to Mt. Waddington.  What a range and what a bargain!

Tucking in to this mega mountain only 24 hours after leaving home in Squamish was nothing short of miraculous.  I'd first heard about this smash n' grab style when Mikey Shaefer and Colin Haley made a similar hot lap into the mythic Devil's Thumb for a long weekend sendathon of the Diablo Traverse.

Not that I don't enjoy a good schlep, but sometimes life is a busy thing.  So, instead of making the Olympian approach like my friends Jason Kruk and Tony Richarson (see their story here:  I joined Ines Papert and Mayan Smith-Gobat in the whirly bird and dropped in for a quick tour of this incredible massif.


Here's the skinny on some of the crucial gear that was instrumental in helping us climb this Alpine jackhammer of justice.

Mayan with the BD Firstlight.  Used as a light duty basecamp tent and a bivi bag for the three of us.  We left the poles behind for the climb and wriggled into this golden beauty when the anemometer turned up to 11 and darkness caught us on the descent around the same hour.  Light, yet belligerent towards wind, this rig kept us alive during a most rugged scree bivy ca. 3500 meters.

In the wee morning hours I led a frigid block and crammed numb feet into the comfortable and supportive Techno X.   These Italian lace ups let you to jam like a bawse and edge like a ballerina, two things this route demanded.  They even provided the requisite stiffness to kick steps up snow when transitioning to boots would have wasted precious time.

For outerwear I rolled with the Gamma Rock Pant seen below on the tight package that is Austin Ross (during a separate mission).

You can really see how this piece cups the body yet allows for complete freedom of expression.

I use these durable (reinforced knee and derière) lightweight (340 grams) pants for a plethora of  applications:  In summer and winter for rock, ice and mixed as well as for pubwork above treeline and in select European locations.

Thanks Ladies for a great mission!!!!

Friday, 21 August 2015

Sweet Kyle

         Loosing a friend is always rugged.   It's easy to ignore the brevity of our existence, but when a brother falls, the unthinkable slaps us with a cold, opened hand.   Kyle's death is beyond tragic, but in life he found meaning through his community, sky flying and the mountains.  This was his destiny... 
         Risk taking is integral to humanness,  if you never stick your neck out you never fully understand the value of self or others.   It's true in the hunt for daily bread, and in relationships.  Kyle once told me that his way of dealing with a negative person was to go out on a limb and "hit them with  the Love." Words to live by my friends...

                                                Kyle, into the wind of the Thunderbird

Going outside is a good remedy for heartache so the Sunshine Coast pulled  Helen and I to her shores.

The Eldred Valley is a zone I've always wanted to visit - being amongst these backcountry domes was good for the soul

                                                                   Bear Tooth Spire

Colin Dionne pioneered this area for climbers and like Kyle was killed in an aviation accident

                                                 West Main Wall, an honest 800 meters of granite

Carag-Dur, 600 meters high and home to only one route:  "Funk Soul Brother" established by Matt Maddaloni and the late mountain maestro, John Millar


Boulders o' plenty

The Golden Boy at your service

A place called Huber Country

 Without doing any climbing we left for the Island of Savary.


 Savary has a Swiss Family Robinson feel to it and we camped on the beach by these fun driftwood shelters.

Kyle visited Savary last September and noted the flying potential off these sea banks.  We woke to rain so my Yak stayed in the bag.  Here's Kyle with his signature birdman launch

Next up was a hike out to the Skookumchuck Narrows where these paddlers enjoyed a miracle of nature:  The sea transmogrifies into a river in this fjordal constriction.

                        Refreshed, we returned home and finally felt like doing some climbing

                                     Helen enjoying Sunset Strip

That night, we hit the music fest where the eight piece, Slightly Stoopid threw down a five alarm set infused with an irieness that makes you wanna get up and shake your booty.

Kyle, I wish you could have come dancing with us...

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Rollin to the Rockies

             After a protracted stint of the work I jumped into a car named Guillone, with Jason Ammerlaan and Tony McLane. Destination: Cowboy country.  First stop Jasper, Alberta to check out the fabled quartzite walls of the Tonquin.

                                                           Bivi at the stables

                                           Bivi in the rain/snow after walking 25km

The 25km hike was nice enough with small bouts of snow but we made it to the base of the Ramparts with daylight to spare. 

 It was as though the mountains were trying to tell us something;  rain all night and snow to 2300m. We turned around and hiked back out 25 more km to the comfort of Guillone.

 We drove down the road to the promised land of Lake Louise where sun and solid rock befriended us once again.

Next Stop Mt. Louis, the horn o' plenty

We chose a route on the north side of the bohemoth, inspired by this very photo.  The itinerary was clear...

                                                               A comfortable Bivi

 After approaching at the crack of noon and making a nice bivi overlooking 40 mile creek, we got down to the business of getting amongst.

 The stone was good overall and the climbing not extreme, with good protection almost throughout

                       Testing holds on new ground in the Rockies is still de riggeur

 As if to make us pay our dues, we got hammered by no less than three rain pulses, the first of which delivered lightning strikes within one Mississippi of our position and gave us all a reason to find religion.

 Jason starting up another beauty pitch just after the first rains.

                           Tony, a man who does not get too stressed about a little lightning

It was Tony's birthday so we promised him the crux...
He gave it a good effort but had to hang a couple times...solid 5.11.  I recon if he didn't bring the hammer, pitons, and the #4&#5 Camalot I told him would be essential, he could have sent.

 Our route finished by squeezing into the Medieval Alley feature from the north, thus joining the Tim Auger classic Homage to the Spider.

Topping out was a real joy.  The fact that we did not get fried like mosquitos in a Memphis zapper was really a bonus.

   Descending was a joy as well, thanks to the hard working Rockies guides who equipped the egress for single rope raps.

Next Stop Rogers' Pass where we could only gaze on this Quartzite obelisk of justice

To the bluffs of Begbie with Nate MacDonald who showed off his rope access skills by making steep abseils

Steep and wild that's how they like it in Rev...

Thanks for a great trip lads!