Ryan, Mendenhall Towers, Youtube discussed on Seek Outside Podcast
Ninety nine percent of the people they think that's totally nuts and suicidal System seems to work. I haven't tried it myself Righty of other bizarre systems. They have like another one to `fiddlesticks where it's like a cotter pin almost in this your health system So that repel down single line and again you pull a another line and the whole anchor just like untie itself and falls down and you have to really make sure that that doesn't happen while you're repelling or you're going these kind of like thought processes would like blow the minds of most rock climbers That are used to like a bolted. Anchor so it's it's interesting. How Adventures put into the sport. You know I guess. I climbers don't like to have a lot of adventure in their repels. There doesn't need to be but canyoneering. That's kind of like the core part of the sport you repelling these big spaces and they love it. Grammars love going up so I it's interesting and you might be a slippery waterfall with a whole host of other villages in the canyoneering environment oil. Oh Yeah can you. Nearing can make repelling pretty yet. Well I guess adventurous or potentially dangerous. Zip waters hit new from a waterfall. That usually it's cold at least around here until your breath away and then it's also you know you're losing your footwork trying to push you upside down It can get quite uncomfortable in what was the name of the the sand Tarp it's called the sand trap anchored and you can look it up on. Youtube is probably the most entertaining way. Watch people repelling off these things and I think they're nuts. It's encouraging critter. When you go check it out at least once threatened. Be like okay. I mean not that. That's the best definition of canyoneering bet. it'll show you something. Just kinda crazy well. I think it's a good like that like Example of the thought process of by the leave no trace and they a very interesting technical solution to you know accomplish like leave no trace down canyon And then the you know Kenyans are also rapidly changing not quite as fast as nice climb but more so than say a rock climb because they have you know they flash flood which means logs get moved and boulders get moved in them and that can wipe out any existing anchors. There's all kinds of Water levels will make a big difference in the canyon to if a pot holes full of water that you need to cross That may totally change the techniques. You need to use to get through it. Especially in the southwest. You also have the risk of flash flooding within specific canyons and stuff as well. So it's it's got a lot of variables. Yeah I got surprised with the PLAS. Flood wants And it was. It was pretty scary like you. You were you're in a like canyoneering so we I was Guiding a group of Eighth Graders I think from Kentucky and That morning actually had a conversation with my The lead guide and the boss. I'm like you know Wendy Wendy. Call the trip off. And he's like oh I pretty much never called one off in this canyon and It's really safe and such. There's all these various escapes out of the Canyon and I was like Oh okay. Great so I'll tell you what we're hiking up. You know to start the Canyon and it's raining as we hike up. Maybe it started raining when we got there regardless of Rian for like twenty minutes and we stopped and had some food and get the kids out of the water and stuff and And it was nice again. So we're like. Oh all right cool. Everything seem safe and You know there's no obvious warning signs So we started down the Canyon and It was short beginner canyon to it's not like particularly extreme But we did like a real short repel into this cool little like I guess you'd call it a groom Where it's a tight slot. It's probably like six feet wide or something I think. Put my hands on either side span the gap and got like a couple of kids down in there and we were kind of it up so that they would have another short repel to get out. I had like four kids in there and one of the instructors and all of a sudden we could hear this like sound coming down the canyon. I think I overheard a voice of some other canyoneering party. Going like over. Here comes the water and It was like somebody turned a faucet on and what was dry canyon now became a creek so water poured into our room and filled it up and it was only I dunno calf deep or something because the then poured out the next one But it happened pretty fast. No okay I'm back Happen fast and you know. Got The kids out of there by lowering and lower them down through the waterfall so they kind of like extreme experienced than they bargained for and by the time. I got them all out. The water had stopped pouring. And you know it was Kinda. It was scary. But there's nothing like there was no extreme hazards Aside from like you know the imagine potential But it's definitely a shot across the bow In terms of you know worrying about that And thinking about that for future future judgment calls How long do you think it took from the time? It's quit raining to the water. Actually getting to you. It was probably half an hour an hour because these were all like kids like the first time repelling Her to get yeah. It was probably know by the time. We got him like geared up and then there so it must have just been enough time for this like sandstone based on all the little bits water. You know to gather up and come down and it wasn't you know wasn't that far wasn't that big of a basement. I guess you'd say In terms of South West became It wasn't like you know. Twenty miles of base in or anything it was probably like a mile or two maybe probably mile Above us that continued so Yeah that kind of stuff can Certainly catch you off guard and they tell that story just because like I want to say like it can happen to everybody like even if you feel like you're know what you're doing and you feel like you're making good judgement calls and you've done your research get surprised now you've also done some more remote stuff like in Alaska. I know you you used to at least go area and do a lot of first climbs and stuff as well. Yeah starting in two thousand and nine A friend of mine who was on Outdoor research team with me Said Hey WANNA go up to Juno I got a friend up there and Supposed to be some great rock climbing like story. That sounds great. We got some. You know little bit of information against started and you know turned out. I get stuck in the tent for a week and I hate this guy. Then you know. I haven't had a Lotta time to get to know him anyway so up because you never know fear right you go somewhere and you get stuck in the tent for a while you might like the longer be out the other side and I'd say that a little bit jokingly but So we went out there and we ended up staying with Ryan. Johnson The connection Blake and I had an amazing trip. We flew up and we got We did like four big routes and five days and three of which refers to send out on the Mendenhall Towers and he was like twelve hundred foot faces that stick up out of the ice deal. It's a really dramatic setting All around you you see. Like glacier and rock spire sticking out then you can see all the way down to the kind of the Ocean. But it's just the inside passage way 'cause they're still islands full mountains all over the place it's a bit like never never So we had a fantastic trip and Ryan was like. Hey man you gotta come back and go ice climbing knew I loved ice cutting and like all right cool so a couple of years later. I showed up with my ice gear and We went out and And which trip was this And we went to a place called Bart Lake and we found some big first ascents one thousand feet vertical. The whole way with no alleges. They came back a couple of years later and we did this. Really cool boat trip for we We chartered a boat for a week. We had a crew of like six. Six climbers and went back into tracy arm FJORD. What's on that? Boat is about a five hour boat ride from Juno and Juno has no roads going to it. So we're just like that's how far you know out in the Wilderness. We were And I think we saw like one other boat on the way in there maybe the whole trip And at. I we didn't see any ice because it's it's coastal and you're right on the water And but the the cloud wear layer was low. We like flow today. And we're like oh no. We got skunk. You know we got like six people together here and we're paying all this money and there's no ice But the next morning With a because the what is it fewer so deep anchor the Bowdoin that we'd have to like drive it in and out each day So we're driving in early in the morning and Ryan comes down and wakes me up and he's like J. K. You GotTa Come See. This brings me up on deck and we look out and you know appear on the Fjord side. You callers huge cliff. He giant three stripes vice coming down. Like oh wow crap we gotta get ready. We're going to go climb this And it took US three attempts to get up and climbed that thing. Just figuring out the approach and What else just the first couple pitches were kinda like half raw. Did Not really in and sorting logistics and in our third try. We finally were able to complete the whole face Then they had a number of other Trips up there with Ryan both rock climbing and ice climbing And then unfortunately he passed away. I think it's been two years ago now on the Mendenhall Towers They finished a a big Ice Klein. Ryan had dreaming for. She's probably about a decade. I remember am showing pictures of it to me and talking about it kind of little sad. I didn't get the call to go do with them But they finish the root and then they walked across the top and beautiful day and then as they were descending. We don't know exactly what happened. But we assume like a coroner's might have broken off the summit ridge and push them into and Crevasse and.