How To Start Climbing 5.12…

There are a lot of people aspiring to climb 5.12, well for me 5.12 is the ceiling ! Last year i could lead 5.8, atmost 5.9 trad and 5.9 (consistently) and atmost 5.10 sports. Well thats all numbers and very geeky rock rat talk! What i really aim to achieve is getting more comfortable on the rock. When i first started rock climbing two years ago I feared heights :), well the reason i climbed was just to get over my fear! Now i have come along long ways :).

Last season I started leading trad, I learned a lot of composure and mind tricks! Almost everyone can climb 5.8/5.9 but when it comes to leading it all in the mind! While doing a leading harder stuff i learnt from a friend and colleague (Damon) a very cool trick of extending your arms and using your legs. Damon is an awesome climber and when he climbs it almost looks out of a video, also note that most rock climbing books and websites stress on the fact of using your legs and not relying on hands. It was sort of ‘AHA’ moment when Damon showed me how to hang on hands and move your legs up and then stand on a good hold, and keep repeating the same tactic. I wish i had a picture or a video to illustrate. This has helped me a lot, many time i’m just able to cruise up on the juggy 5.10’s without any problem using this technique. Well, no only if I had a cool technigue to negiotiate the tiny handholds i would be a 5.10 champ :).

Anyways, to the point this season i’m planning to use this book to first get the 5.10’s and then move on the oh well.. lets see :). But from what my friends (Wayne) have told me about the book, it seems to lay out a great process of trying to make training pyramid of grades you can climb to grade you want to achieve, end of the day its all about miles and constant tiny improvements with ‘AHA’ moments inter-spread.. sounds familiar ??

Backpacking with Mountain Lions, RattleSnakes and Maris!

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originally uploaded by vbha.

Man! memorial weekend was awesome, we went backpacking on the lakeshore trail! More pics at the two days of 17.5 was action packed with sightings of mountain lion and rattle snakes. We did make it in time for the ferry back from Stehekin to Fields landing and yep! we did manage to get lunch in Stehekin!. Oh ya !! we also figured out how people in stehekin get their cars!

Well! this isnt exactly detailed but more interesting details coming up, soon!!

Mt. Rainier – A Blissful Climb!!

Vaibhav at Mt. Rainier Summit
Originally uploaded by vbha.

Yesterday I was fortunate to be on Mt. Rainier, such an awesome day, great views and gracious weather. This was one of the most blissful climb i have done. I was enjoying each moment of the climb and the motto was enjoy the journey than the end! Nine of us summited at about 9:00ish am. Pictures at:

We started the climb on Saturday Aug 5, 2006 at about 9:30am from the Paradise parking lot. We was team of 12 lead by Olympia mountaineer Barney. Going at an easy pace we reach camp Muir at 2:00pm. The weather was awesome and blissful vista. I tented up with Robert. We had our dinner at 5:30pm. I really enjoyed the Mountain house Pasta i bought for dinner! We were planning to start the summit day at 11:30pm, it was going be a one long day from base camp to summit and back to cars! So after cranking up tonne of water from ice got to bed at 6:30pm.

Barney woke us all by 11:00pm the same evening and after roping up we left for destination 14411ft. We had about 4500ft of elevation to cover and the plan was to do 500ft per hour and call if a day if we dont summit by 10am. With tonnes of folks attempting the summit and the RMI light lamp crew we slowed a bunch. At Ingram flats Michael a little fatigued, called it a day and decided to stay. From 4 ropes team and 12 member crew we went down to 3 roped teams with 11 people. For another 3 and half hours we travelled the nasty and steep rock route to get on top of dissapointment cleaver. It was 5:30am and our team was ready to launch from the cleaver! However we doing a very slow pace and with this rhythm we could never make the summit before 10am, however every was feeling quite strong! Barney with Garette and Robert made a call to take back Coleen and have the rest of crew give a shot to the summit!!

Garette from assiting Barney become the climb lead. At 5:30am we just took of for the summit, Garette really pulled hard and I kept up with him while the other rope teams (Robert and Peter) were hauling their asses behind us as well. After about an hour of climbing I asked Garetter to slow down a bit so that i can keep up – man he was just running!! We had to take a de-route from the standard path as lot of crevasses had opened up. After solid hour and half of climbing we were at 13400ft and there we saw the hope of summitting!!! We kept up the pace and at 8:30am we were at the lip of the crater, booyaa!!! We all then shot for the true summit at the other side of crater. Very strangely the whole journey seemed to have a very satisfying resemblance to life, I enjoyed each moment of it but never was really crazy about a great end, but you know if you play it well you do succeed!! Soo.. we took a log of summit pics, signed the log, eat, drank, relaxed, Jeff and Larry even sh*?ed :) at 10am we headed back to the base camp!!!

From Summit to Cleaver to Ingram flats to Camp Muir we were back !! The down climbing had really killed me, my inned thigh muscles and calves are still sore!!!! We got at the base camp at 3, Barney had graciously melt us some water. I immediately guled a bit and stared packing for way down!!! We left Camp Muir at 4pm and reached cars at about 7:00pm, I was really taking it slow and for last mile i almost baby stepped! Robert and Garette hung out with me all the while testing out all the possible trail benches!!!!

From Saturday 9:00am to Sunday 7:00pm the whole journey was blissful!!! I’m really glad to have done this and lucky to have a great team and amazing weather!!

I did the climb to fund raise for a non-profit clinic for the needy in my home area, Nashik. In case you are interested to help out to help this clinic get started please give me your donation checks. This effort is not under any US-NGOs but I’m trying to get this running myself – with local help and charities. Will let donors know about the progress of project as it un-rolls.

Sahalee Peak – Glacier Cimb

At the ridge
Originally uploaded by vbha.

The weekend of July 4th I did the Sahalee peak climb through Quien Sabe glacier. It was such an awesome day, my most scenic climb so far. We slept under the huge and threatening Johanesburg mountain and then hauled about 12 hour day to complete the glacier climb, the last portion of it was a class 3/4 scramble. In this picture I’m traversing a very narrow and exposed ridge making way towards the last pitch! I was holding my breadht – dont fall, dont fall dont fall!! But hey now i’m Mountaineers Basic graduate!! hurray I have completed all my required alpine, glacier and rock climbs!!

My First Summit!!!

Originally uploaded by vbha.

So my first summit!! I summited Unicorn this saturday with my mentor Ed. We traversed from the trail head on Unicorn glacier to reach the base of peak. From the base we did a roped rock climb of about 40 feet to the summit. The whole round trip was about 6 hours and the weather was awesome!! This picture is the stichted panorama from the unicorn peak and as you notice the prominent feature in the panorama is Mount Rainier :). Climb on!!

Excursions In Mountaineering – Snow Camping and Glacier Climbing

Originally uploaded by vbha.

This weekend I enjoyed amazing time overnight blacier climbing around stevens pass. I learnt some basic techiques for glacier climbing like stepping, using the ice axe, demo of cravasse rescue and knowing snow you are climbing on.

Here are picture of the trip by rockymountain.

In this picture I’m standing next the bunker tent myself and David (my tent-mate) made up with advice and help from Rayner (our trip leader). This was the first time I camped in snow. Tricks like putting snow between raincover and tent to form an insulating layer, assiting tent access using feet hole and building a brick baricade around tent for protecting – are some of the things we learnt with this.