Monthly Archives: February 2010

The Gulf of Mexico


“Gulf of Mexico” – Makes it sound warm doesnt it? What about “Sea Kayaking in Alabama”? – Makes you want to look at a map and check if there is any coast in Alabama. I definitely came down here expecting it to be warm and got a bit of a shock. For the last 2 weeks I have been Kayaking on the Mississippi and Alabama coast with US Military Veterans. The photos will show a sunny place but the reality was a very cold first week which saw me cold in a sleeping bag rated to 0degrees F (thats -19C) and some tough mornings pulling on damp wetsuits. The area has grown on me with the highlights being some relatively remote beach campsites and some interesting meetings with locals (the bayou population redefines the word red neck for me). It was great to be back in a sea kayak and see a new part of the USA for me. One more day in Alabama and then headed back to Oregon…………..

The start point at Bayou Cumbest (we were joined at this camp site by a drunk guy who I honestly could not understand his accent was so thick)
Teaching wet exits on day one of course – Thats me standing trying keep my hands out of the freezing water
Ice on the boats in the morning
One of my co-instructors, John and I’s “bat cave” on the last night on coffee island.

Hanging out on the beach on the last afternoon
Pat and I demonstrating safe practice with our flare guns…..
Trying to make john finish the Hummus at lunch time.
Camp on Coffee island
This could almost be a scottish hebridean beach – (but its not – you just have to choose to look away from the oil refinery.
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Another Loss

Another year starts and another amazing person is taken by the mountains. For friends who knew kellen here are some of my better pictures of him living out his passions in the outdoors. You should just be able to click on the photos to get a high quality version of the image and download it. The best I can do for now as I head out on course tommorrow. Kellen – I cant believe you are gone though hopefully your last turns were perfect and your family are coping. I will miss your great taste in bad shirts, dirty martinis and relaxed competence in all that you did.

As ever sporting great facial hair and a rad pair of sunglasses (deschutes 2008)
Odin falls staff training with friends (2008)


milking it for the camera

Cibellis pizza for breakfast before another day in the mountains (odin falls 2008)
Mt hood (2008)
Boxcar rapid, lower deschutes 2007
lower deschutes 2008
top of ciniman slad 2nd pitch (the variation) smith rock (summer 2008)
very happy and a little sunburnt
the true mountain man – hood 2008

deschutes 2008
kellen being kellen (at the rod and gun club on the deschutes 2008)

Posted in Kellen Sams

Oregon again

Back in Oregon (and a couple of other US states) for another year. Occasionally people ask me why I keep returning and as a picture tells a thousand words the below photos should go a long way to explaining. Tomorrow I have to hop on a plane to the other side of the country for some work (well sea kayaking anyway) but the below photos are all from my the third day back in the US where Whitney and I managed to climb and ski all in one day……

Rachel getting ready for the lead at the buckets wall (this was the 5.10) with whitney ready to belay.
Going for it. – this route is awesome except for the bouldery start…..
Me trying to fit in a burger as we drive up the pass towards the snow.
Whitney looking back at Three fingered Jack (thats a mountain not a person) as we skin up hoodoo.The sunset from the top of hoodoo.
On the summit of hoodoo before the ski back down.

So in truth this was indeed a perfect day but we had tried to do the same the day before…… Tried to go skiing but realised that Whitney hadnt fitted her skins to her skis then tried to go climbing and i forgot my left shoe making things a little more tricky. (we did manage one route where I had to stuff my left foot into the toe of whitneys left shoe). But the day was rescued heading to tony and kellys for “fry fest 2010” and some weird american game a bit like rugby. Hopefully the next photos should be of sea kayaking in alabama…..
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Last Scottish Trips for a While

The last couple of weeks has seen the Scottish weather back to roughly its normal self – unpredictable but beautiful all at the same time. Last week I managed a couple of days in Glen Coe with Bob, planning to climb but not feeling brave enough it the +7degreesC weather. We did have two amazing days in the mountains though, first of all going up Boomerang Gully on the summit buttress of Stob Coire an Lochain and the second heading up some unknown gully at the head of the lost valley (with of course a long glissade back down). Beautiful days in mist and occasionally cracking views and some new peaks for me.
This week I have been out on my own for the last 4 days sampling some of the best of the Southern Highlands in Perthshire. I managed a round of 3 bothies (thats a mountain hut for the non british) Tarf Hotel, Glen Feshie and the Bruar Bothy (it has a fancy Gaelic name something like Allt Aeoioutchionaen I think). Again beautiful days with no-one else around and amazingly well kept bothies. I am now a little sun and wind burnt but feel ready for a day of sorting and packing tomorrow before I head back to the states.
For some reason the photos are a bit jumbled…..

My last evening in the Highlands – sitting outside Bruar Bothy watching the sunset.
A Still ice bound Tilt river on my first day. Took me a while to get to the bridge but better than fording this one.
Inside the Glen Feshie bothy with the fire going in the late afternoon – the local estate even supplies firewood…. (for the non british these are free!!!)
The “Tarf Hotel” at sunrise – I had presumed for years that the name was a joke but this is a very palatial bothy with tables, benches, fires, candlesticks, and even a sign that says “hotel” on the door. (and some kind person had left me a third of a bottle of red wine to finish!!)
Looking down the Bruar valley
Looking Down the Tarf Valley as the sun rises
The Glen Bruar Bothy under stars. I have wondered for a while why more photos like this do not appear, 30 mins planning, 32 mins exposure and it took my camera 30mins to process….. that is a lot of battery power and I had to leave the door open during the long exposure. All worth it though.
Looking up at Stob Coire nan Lochain from the Glen Coe road – Boomerang Gully carves up around summit buttress (on the left of the buttress on the right side of the peak in the photo – if that makes any sense).
No its not windy – I am trying to jump – on the summit of Bidenan nam bian
Bob coming up the easy upper section of Boomerang Gully
Bob (thats him far left) coming over the cornice out of the lost valley.

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