Thursday, October 23, 2008

Remembering Todd Andrews

Rememebering a man that changed my life

Me: So what did you think ?
Todd: I think I was boating for my life..
Me: I think we were!
Todd: That was one of the scariest canyons I have been thru in my entire life
Me: Yea I agree it got a little intense in there when the water started rising and logs were coming down.
Todd: Ha what about the rappeling ourselves into a canyon with no escape and mandatory blind drops and oh yeah the drops I wanted to walk but couldn’t because we were trapped in a slot canyon.
Me: Oh yeah I guess I forgot to tell you about those..
Todd: That was the most incredible adventure I have ever been on and my life is better for it.

Walking down the old dirt road Todd and I were recapturing the moments we had just shared and possibly one of the most memorable experiences in our lives. As we shouldered our kayaks dust rolled past our face as an old ranch truck passed by, the man driving was an obvious ranch man with a very raw look on his face as he glared at us like we were carrying skis in the desert. Im sure in all his life he had never seen someone with a kayak in this valley and we felt and looked like the walking dead with a smile on our face as we had just cheated our demise. Those steps to the car and our conversation are burned into my mind and will always be remembered.
Todd and I had just gotten off the 2nd descent of Deer Creek here in Cody with flows 4-5 times what I had on the First Descent. We had gotten a quarter of the way thru the canyon when the day temps rose quickly thru the morning. With warm temps brought stained brown water and wood rocketing its way thru the canyon. Once you rappel into this canyon there is no way out until the end, the canyon snakes its way thru 400 to 600 foot walls and never gets wider then 25 feet. Todd and I at times were boating for our lives, there is no question we were pushing the line but we also knew we had no choice. We managed to keep our heads together and stabilize the situation mentally. We knew there was only one option and if we could have found a way out we would have ran like a dog with our tails between our legs and never looked back. Telling the story could never give our adventure justice our give realization as to what took place and we understood that as we walked down that road.

Sunrise driving over the Big Horns the morning of Todd's Funeral

Todd changed my life, it wasn’t being the greatest kayaker or climber that took him all over the U.S. and other countries it was the adventure and the journey getting there that kept him always smiling.

Mande (Todd's Girlfriend) made her first trip back to the Big Horns this summer to help run shuttle just like old times

Todd and Dan Crain were the kayaking pioneers of the Big Horns and discovered world class runs in this small slice of the Rocky Mountains. It’s a class 5 paradise Todd would say like a proud father of the Big Horns. Im very thankful to have shared time with Todd and learn the secrets to the Big Horn Range without his knowledge my own explorations and experiences would have never happened.

Me looking into the Subway where todd was last seen

Today October 19 is the day Todd died 4 years ago and I still remember the day very clearly. Todd and I had talked for well over an hour the day prior and for Todd that is not normal. We talked about life and my family, we all enjoyed his company. When he would show up at the door he was a part of the family and I was given a pass to play when he arrived. The Summer before Todd died he and I spent a lot of time together exploring and cleaning new runs in the area. I think that summer we discovered 4 first descents and ticked off some high water runs thru the season.

Last rapid on the Great Falls of the Potomac

Last year I went out to the Great falls of the Potomac where Todd had passed away to put all the pieces together of what happened. Putting onto this run was hard for me but I had to for myself and for Todd. In order to get to the place where he died I had to do the run. I felt like he was with me the whole time and standing there looking into whats called the Subway where he was washed into, it all made sense what had happened and helped me with some closure. For more info on what happened click here

The crew gathered from across the globe to celebrate Todds life in 2004

Todd was passionate about everything he did and will always be missed but never forgotten…. LTP baby!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

For The Love of ICE.....

Driving to the ice im reminded how much I enjoy this time of year, cold in the high country and nice in the valleys

Every fall all ice climbers begin to get jittery and anxious in anticapation of the season to come. We get one day of 30 degree weather and we all begin to wonder if ice is forming in the mountains. We frantically search for our guidebook and scope the pages for ice that comes in the earliest thinking, "maybe last year when I searched I missed something..." We then begin calling friends in other places (I think Im this friend to many people) asking if its cold ...."do you think theres ice?". The great part is we repeat this every year like the wind that brings in the cold front or first snow, we begin to salivate over the season to come and its only September!

Little thin on the not so classic "Curtains" 10 min approach and climbing in October doesnt get better....

October 17th was my day this year and its the earliest that I can remember swinging tools. Kenny Gasch and myself enjoyed the warm weather and thin ice. Each season switching from kayaking to ice climbing I always wonder if my passion and drive will still be there. Fortunately the passion for Ice Climbing remains a constant for me in my life and in my world right now anything constant is great. For me - my kids, climbing and kayaking are my passions and loves in life. After being married for over 6 years and now single I feel like climbing and kayaking are the safest relationships for me for many reasons....

1. They are constantly giving
2. There are no expectations
3. They dont complain if you show up late..scratch that...they never complain.
4. They are always satisfying
5. They dont cheat on you
6. Sometimes they hurt you or work you over but you enjoy it and brag about it to your friends

Dont get me wrong I enjoyed marriage for the most part and my x-wife was a big influence in my life but not sure im willing to deal with that pain again.

Carter Mountain Ice Climbing Area

Back to the original post, getting out today reminded me how much I love ice climbing and cant wait for the season to come and I hope all of you are as psyched as I am. The South Fork Valley looks good- lots of water on climbs and Moratorium was already touching down believe it or not, although with the warm temps over the weekend im sure thats gone. Keep training for the season to come its almost here!

A good morning of ice climbing and ready to go rock climbing in the afternoon....

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Ice Climbing Training 101

Butterfly excercise

I often get asked how do you train for ice climbing, and for many years I just climbed and that was by far the best training and still is. When I started pushing my limits on how far I could hike and climb in a day I realized I needed to train harder. Im pretty lucky given I own a climbing gym and I have figured out how to use the gym as great training for the mountains.

Frenchies with feet

For the first phase of this program I figured most of you will not have been training and I wanted to make the first phase a warmup phase to progress you into the next. For the most part you can do this entire training in your local climbing gym, if you dont have a local climbing gym let me know and I can give you some alternative options.

Phase one - two weeks 2-3 times a week

1. Traverse for 5 minutes warming up grabbing jugs only

2 minute rest

2. Traverse non stop on wall for 15 minutes

3. Start Circuit

A. Pull Ups-wide

B. Butterflies- hold yourself to the wall for 10 seconds then lower back to full extension of the arms and come back holding
ur face close to the wall for another 10 seconds and repeat until failure.

C. Frenchies- like a pull up but holding yourself all the way up and holding for 3 seconds, then lower to half way and hold
again for 3 seconds and then lower almost all the way down and hold again for 3 seconds and then all the way back up
and repeat until failure. To get started feel free to use your feet for the sets. Make sure you never straighten your arms.

D. Push Ups

You will do the circuit 4 times all reps until failure and no rest

4. Ice tool dead hangs
Wear gloves if you can, it makes it easier on the hands, also if you can put your feet on something like an edge for the end
burn. You will do 4 sets and resting between sets will be push ups until failure.

Your goal is to workout 2-3 times a week and do at least 30 minutes cardio training on your off days.

Have fun!