Sunday, December 13, 2009

Luke Gullberg

updated 12.16.09 @7:37pm

this article details the current status of the search for Katie Nolan and Anthony Vietti:

while the search has been suspended, please continue to pray that God would work in this situation.

a past video from Luke's myspace:

Mt. Rainier

Lukey | MySpace Video

The past 24 hours has been quite difficult. We heard that our friend Luke Gullberg's body was found on Mt Hood. Luke, and two others [still missing] had attempted a difficult line on the summit of Mt. Hood.

Luke was one of the most positive people we have ever met, and had a smile that would immediately warm your heart. If you ever talked with him, you will always remember his smile, and his head nodding in excitement.

Our confidence rests knowing that Luke is in a much better place, Heaven. He passed doing something he loved. Luke was an expert climber and his story will encourage many.

luke in lighter times; our halloween party dressed as his english professor, in our attic.

Please pray for his family [His father Rod, sister Becky, and brother Scott], and the two other lost climbers, Katie and Anthony.

UPDATES: 12.15.09 @ 4.45pm
Still searching for Katie and Anthony. They have been out for 5 days. But we do not lose hope.
For those of you questioning the use of Personal Locater Beacons, and wondering who is paying for this...please read this article posted by Portland Mountain Rescue.

For current information:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Yosemite Backpack Days 3 & 4

Our second night in the backcountry was the coldest. We found a great site tucked within a boulder field and out of the wind.

We were able to have a fire here, so we took full advantage. We warmed our core before hopping into tent.

Here was our view each night before turning off our headlamps. Dry socks each morning was an important thing. Especially when they are the only ones you have.

We awoke the next morning to frosty gear and frozen water bottles. We never thought about putting our water filter into the tent with us so it wouldn't freeze. We hung around camp 'til it thawed and we could fill up our nalgenes from the stream.

Fresh and ready to hit the trail.

Yosemite's backcountry is absolutely stunning.
We made sure to take it all in.

Day three we hiked to the top of Clouds Rest at 9930 ft. It had incredible views looking down through the valley. From the top we had a killer view of Half Dome and could see El Cap peeking through.

The backcountry had been fairly quiet through most of our trip. Today we ran into the 6th and 7th people we had seen so far. They took our picture before heading on their way.

A US Geological survey marker was found at the top of Clouds Rest.

Heading back down the spine of Clouds Rest.

Leaning tree framing Half Dome.

We hiked down to near the junction leading to the trail toward Half Dome. We grabbed a campsite with a beautiful view of this monstrous slab of granite.

We awoke with a clear view of our morning's activity. Half Dome.

Half Dome sits at 8836 ft. Not the highest in the park, but is known for its popular shape (an inspiration for The North Face logo.) It is a climbing haven for many. But more people chose to day hike the granite peak.

We read the stories of the hike up to Half Dome, but had no idea of the amount of granite stairs that were involved. Can you imagine crafting this trail?

Then we hit the bottom of the cables....
We had seen this photo before. Everyone takes it with the hopes to try and show their friends and family at home of what they accomplished. It didn't look very steep to us. So it was quite the surprise to see it in real life at a much sharper angle than the one we imagined! Nevertheless...we made it this far...we will continue to the top.

We grabbed some gloves left at the bottom and shimmied our way up the cables. It wasn't as rough as we was actually fun! Just don't look down.

Cairns greeted us at the top.

We made it!
Standing on the diving board with El Cap in the back.

Andrea, peering over the ledge.

We were glad to ascend the cables earlier in the morning with only a few people. Our descent was a little more crowded, but was filled with encouraging words to help get us down safely.

Back down at sub dome, we celebrated! That was awesome!

Now, back down to our campsite to grab lunch and pack out. We still had 7 miles ahead of us back to Little Yosemite Valley. We were glad that it was almost all downhill, but had no idea of the slabs of granite our poor feet would slam down onto.

Nevada Falls. Running low, but at least it's turned on this late in the season, thanks to the bit of snow earlier this week.

and Vernal Falls. One of the last main attractions before we made it back into civilization.

We enjoyed time out in the woods. to be quiet. to converse and dream together. to release control in this wild environment. to take in views and admire its Creator.

Yosemite Backpack Days 1 & 2

we entered yosemite np through the north entrance and drove across tuolumne [too-all-uh-me] meadows. one of the largest alpine meadows in the states; it's quite majestic. we stopped to pick up our wilderness pass for our backpack, and continued down the road to yosemite valley.

upon arriving in yosemite valley you are immediately greeted by el cap. we'd learn a day later that it takes climbers normally 3-5 days to climb el capitan's 3000ft face!

as you're careening your neck to keep peeking a view of el cap, you find yourself faced by half dome.

with getting into the valley late, we set up our camp in the backpackers campground and headed off to the mountain lounge. for those east coast readers out there, i'll use this analogy: yosemite valley is to yosemite backcountry as gatlinburg is to the smokies. the only thing this valley lacks is a putt-putt course; although i'm sure it's hidden in curry village.

rising early, we broke camp, packed our bags and hopped a shuttle bus to the visitor center. we double checked the weather, used the bathroom for the last time, and started walking down the road. our plan was to hitch-hike up to tuolumne meadows and hike back to the valley. our hitch hiking proved to be harder than thought. the only two folks who stopped were from france and mexico. one wasn't sure where he was going and the latter had a full car. after walking down the shoulder for two miles, finally two guys stopped. they informed us they were heading up to tuolumne and would be glad to give us a ride. we enjoyed the hour and a half ride, and learned they both worked at the mountain shop. we thanked mike and eric as we exited the car at tuolumne meadows, hoisted our packs up, and started our four day hike into yosemite's backcountry.

yosemite has the coolest looking trail markers.

making our way up the trail to upper cathedral lake.

getting camp set up with just a few remaining minutes of daylight left. the temperature drops quickly at 9000 ft, so out came the down puffy sweaters!

as the sun began to set, we got treated to beautiful cathedral peak.

watching the night settle in.

we awoke to a bright sunny day. we hiked up over cathedral pass...

where we were passed up by a few groups of mule trains!

enjoying the warm afternoon and the open views.

a lunch spot with the most amazing views! we sat eating our bagel sandwiches over looking the sierra nevada mountains.
(side note: always pre-pack your bear cannister before heading out for a 4 day adventure. if this step is forgotten, be sure to eat the large items first.)

after crossing up and over cathedral pass, we came to long meadow. long meadow is the sight of one of a 'high sierra camps.'

this high sierra camp definitely had the nicest toilet! solar powered vent fan! very posh!

long meadow was a great place to take our packs off and stretch before we began the downhill section of our hike.

as we wound our way down to our next campsite, we passed many trees that looked withered and worn. there's a whole lot of sun, and not a lot of air up here.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Truckee -> Lake Tahoe -> Yosemite

heading east from lassen volcanic national park we were hoping for warmer weather around lake tahoe, but we found more snow and our new favorite mountain town: truckee!

truckee is a wonderful little mountain town with amazing people and awesome art studios.

we first wandered into drake and lulu's. a cheerful little space that had a lot of metal and cloth art. we inquired about a cheap place to stay, as it was snowing and the temperature was dropping. many great suggestions were given, including one offer to stay at a friend's recently converted studio apartment.

Linknext, we headed next door to Riverside Studio to check out pottery and other fine art creations. we ended up spending the snowy evening sharing stories over bottles of wine with allana and amie. we extended the evening over dinner at trio, and took them up on their offer of the studio apartment. amie and blake were gracious hosts. we hope we can return the favor someday.

when we awoke, snow covered the ground. we were thankful for a roof overhead, and warm blankets. southboard to yosemite national park was our agenda for today, but not without checking out lake tahoe first.

the water was so blue. snow had started to cover the mountains surrounding the lake.

andrea and i decided that the west road of lake tahoe, at the time we were driving it, was one of the most beautiful drives we've been on. above is emerald bay.

when we stopped for photos andrea found this big-ass pine cone! she stole it.

andrea wanted her photo with her and this peak!

as we were leaving the lake tahoe area, we began to ascend up and over monitor pass. in the distance we saw a weather station...or fire tower, or military installment. we really didn't know what it was, but the road was rocky, winding, and long. as our traveling motto is "leave no rock unturned" we turned off the nicely paved road. further proof that you need four-wheel drive.

here's a sample of what we get into.

twenty minutes up the rock road and the gate was locked! can you believe it! nobody came down to meet us. i was happy not to get arrested. we walked a little ways up the road, but then decided whatever was at the top wasn't worth the walk.

we could see forever up here. i think we were above the weather.

it was quite peaceful up here. nobody but us and the mountain. after "wasting" enough time, we traversed back down the mountain side to head south to yosemite.