How To

All posts

How to: Prepare for Variable Weather

With the days getting shorter and colder as we creep into winter, many climbers start looking for warmer venues for their climbing excursions. If you are looking for a weekend warm-up, we have good crags close to home, like Vantage, Tieton, and Smith Rock. However, even though these areas are usually warm during the day, they can still get bitterly cold at night. Climbers should be prepared for the temperature swings that accompany these arid, deserty crags. Read more…

Leave No Trace: Rappel and Belay Stations in the Alpine

Leave No Trace isn't just for orange peels or poop. It applies to all facets of our outdoor explorations. Climbing is unique because it is one of the few outdoor sports where you often must leave gear or webbing behind to descend safely. Consequently, the climbing community must work as a team to limit our collective impact, especially on our popular climbing routes.   Read more…

Balance and Coordination - One-leg deadlift

One of the most important exercises in my own outdoor-conditioning strength program, and indeed in the program of many hundreds of mountaineers I've trained over the past fifteen years, is the one-legged deadlift. Whether you are 8 or 88, you need balance, coordination, and strength. To go faster uphill on foot, include the one-legged deadlift in your program. It will help your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and balancing muscles around the feet, ankles, hips and knees. Read more…

Word of the Day: Benighted

On a Bellingham Basic Alpine Climb of Horseshoe Peak, the group chose to stay out an extra night at their base camp after returning from their climb. As climbers progress and start attempting longer, more technical routes, it becomes a matter of not if, but when they will be benighted.   Read more…

How to: Purchasing a stove

Purchasing a new stove can be a confusing process. There is a wide range of information on the web, and most manufacturers include a lot of different test numbers. It isn’t always clear what these numbers mean or how they’ll impact real-world performance. In this article I explain which numbers you need to know and which you don’t. Read more…

"Rock, Rock, Rock, Rock, Rock!": How to Avoid Rockfall

"OUCH!" screamed my instructor at the rock field trip last month. A golf ball-sized piece of Mt. Erie had just bounced off the top of her helmet and she asked her students why no one had been screaming the "rock, rock, rock!" warning. In this case, however, no climbers were above her and as best as we could figure out, an empty rope had knocked it loose earlier in a climb and it finally fell after the climber was off rappel. "Thank you" to Instructor Sherrie Trecker for that perfect demonstration why you always wear your helmet at the crag - even if you're not belaying or on a rope. Because of that, one modest "ouch" was all Sherrie had to say to convey her level of surprise: no injury was caused.  Read more…

Our Secret Rainier: Lookout Towers

Mount Rainier National Park has over 100 climbable peaks — not counting Mount Rainier itself — either within or immediately adjacent to the Park boundary. Most are scrambles, a few are climbs, and 15 peaks are reachable as hikes.  Read more…

How To: Preventing Descent Accidents

Recently, a group of 6 climbers were on Sahale Peak in the Boston Basin area of North Cascades National Park. They'd enjoyed great weather, and  climbed efficiently up the Quien Sabe Glacier on the northwest side of the peak, reaching the summit around 10:30am. Read more…

How To: Hiking "Hacks"

One of our members, Linsey Warren, recently became the youngest person to complete the Bulger List, climbing to the top of the 100 highest peaks in Washington. All those miles on the trail taught her some valuable lessons. Check out some of her favorite hacks to make your time on the trail more comfortable, convenient, and FUN! Read more…