Karate Crack, Smith Rocks

October 20th, 2012

I led Karate last weekend. It may have been my best effort ever. I hung once at the very top, right before the traverse. I could have run for the anchor, but it’s downhill, and I had to protect my follower. We went down there as a big group from the local gym to celebrate my buddies last trip before his hip surgery.

I’m 63 pages into my new textbook on Web Design, I will post pictures later. I have to write 20 new pages this weekend, and they take an hour a page. It’s 10:30 on Saturday and I haven’t even started. The class will have no lesson if I don’t get this done.

This new version of my textbook is 80 percent new material, and covers html 5, and CSS 3.

Here is a video I recorded on my lunch break about using the Photoshop CS6 healing brush to remove a climbing rope from a photo.

my textbook, cover page






story time after climbing at smith


Lisa following me up karate, photo by Kyle

A little climbing, a lot of Overtime

October 5th, 2012

I broke away from lesson plans Sunday to climb at Index for a day. Sue belayed me up Toxic Shock, a 5.9 finger layback and splitter crack. I’ve been climbing that darn crack for 30 years, and it has spanked me many times. Sunday though, I climbed it easily. The finger layback at the bottom went nicely. It’s muscular laybacking on fingertips, but it’s over quickly, and the pro is awesome all the way up. The upper splitter hand crack went smoothly too. As long as you keep raising your right toe, and jamming it in to support the less than perfect hands at the crux, it’s a blast. At one point, I had two manky hand jams, and a manky toe jam, and had to stretch for the nice jam at the end…but again, the pro is awesome.

We went down to K cliff where I was not impressed. The routes have discontinuous cracks, so you are face climbing on runnouts between placements. The really nice one on the left has one piece in about 40 feet. I backed off it. I don’t do runnouts with ledges, I don’t care how easy they are.

Later we ran into Kyle and Lisa. They offered to follow me up Princely Ambitions, which I also led cleanly…for a change. It was a lovely day of climbing for me, though Sue was frustrated at not being able to climb. Her toenail hasn’t grown back yet after a long hike with bad shoes, and she can’t wear rock shoes.

I have written 36 pages in my new book on web design. I’m staying ahead of my class, which eats pages at a rate of about 16 a week. All of today, and most of the weekend I will be creating more pages in my  textbook.

The only way to make this quarter survivable is to simply hang in there and get the work done. Had I been willing to stay home on my vacation and work, I’d not be in this situation. But that I was not willing to do.

The good news is that I will be able to use this book to teach for a couple years, and it’s customized to exactly what my students need to learn. My classes in web are meant to give them both a finished modern website, and prepare them for the advanced classes that are coming their way in future quarters.

It’s a fine line I’m treading. I can’t step on other teachers toes, I can’t get too advanced, and I can’t make it too simple. And it has to make something functional, and pretty that can be used for a portfolio web site, should they decide to buy their own domain name. I’d best get to it. We had a saying back in my previous career as a pressman when faced with a huge project that wasn’t going to go away, and required massive overtime: The only way to it, is through it.

Working Weekend – writing another textbook

September 24th, 2012

I’d hoped to get out for a day of climbing this weekend, but couldn’t find a date. Turns out that was a good thing. It forced me to stay home and work on lesson plans. I created 22 new pages of content for my web classes.

I’m writing these from scratch, and the finished product looks like a book. Pictures and arrows, numbered pages and bulleted lists.

I did not want to create entirely new curriculum, but of the 3 books I purchased on Responsive Design, HTML 5 and CSS 3, none were suitable for use in a college classroom.

On the plus side, I love to create things, and writing textbooks is very creative. By the time I’m finished, I will have written a unique 100 page text book that I can use for a few years…until the web changes again.

Smoke Bluffs climbing

September 17th, 2012

Climbed at the Smoke Bluffs for 2 weeks with James. Chris and family, Ritchie and Karen joined us for 2 days. By day 14 it was starting to feel more like work, despite the fact that I was at the top of my form. The aches and pains, split and bleeding fingers, scraped shins were taking the fun out of the awesome climbing…and I missed Sue.

I’ve already written an anotated trip report on fbook, so this is going to be just pictures.


J. is a neurosurgeon, and leads 10c thin fingers.

Skywalker Traverse - may the force be with you...

Skywalker Traverse - may the force be with you...


Deidre, 5.8 slab and finger jams

This lady and her husband were taking turns holding their 8 month old baby.

The trip is over when there are too many bandaids to climb





Toleak Point, 13 mile Washington Coast hike

August 18th, 2012

Sue and I hiked Toleak Point, a 13 mile round trip out on the Washington Coast south of LaPush. You can also do it as a 17 mile one way hike. I carried out my Canon 7D and 24-105L lens. The images were great, but I wished I’d brought my paints along. I was trying to go light and did not bring my sleeping bag, which led to some chilly dreams in my bivy sack.

Since we got back I bought a two pound tarptent and a 10 ounce titanium cook pot. I also cut the legs off my steel easel and cobbled together some hose clamps that substitute my hiking sticks for legs.  I’m hoping that by bringing a lighter tent that Sue and I can share, and bringing painting gear instead of the heavy camera, my backpack weight will be about the same. I weighed 205 pounds including my backpack, which had 2 nights of gear and camera.

This stuff drifts in and people hang it up for decoration

This stuff drifts in and people hang it up for decoration



burning man

I burned some old bad drawings to lighten my backpack on the return hike

Now that I've taken all the pictures, I will go back and paint it

Now that I've taken all the pictures, I will go back and paint it


weird fungus growing on leaf by the tent

weird fungus growing on leaf by the tent


That was our first overnight backpack on the coast in 20 years. I stopped hiking because my knees hurt. They’ve improved since I started hiking in chaco sandals.

Godzilla at Index Town Wall

August 13th, 2012

I led Godzilla today. This climb is a bar I jump over every summer. When I have warmed up to the point where I can lead Godzilla, I know I’m as good as I will ever get. Today, I didn’t quite make it over the bar. Oh, I got up it, but I had no power, no enthusiasm, and no grace. Sue had to hold me 4 times as I rested on the rope.

When I climbed it last summer with Chris, I sailed up it cleanly, and that was after leading Toxic Shock earlier in the day. Contributing factors in this debacle were: I dieted Saturday, which left me weak. I almost switched gears and went painting instead today…clearly I was not passionate about climbing. I felt it was my “duty” to climb it…strike while the iron is hot. The iron being hot because I just came back from Idaho a month ago and should still be warmed up.

I stayed up late on Tuesday night framing paintings for the Puyallup fair. 3AM to be precise. The weekend before, Sue and I hiked 13 miles to Toleak Point out by LaPush. All in all, I needed a rest weekend instead of climbing.

I’m in the mood to paint. I will try to squeeze in some paintings after work this week.

Crystal at Exit 38, I-90

July 22nd, 2012

Sue, Crystal and I climbed at Exit 38 yesterday. We met Crystal 3 years ago in Joshua Tree. She has moved up here for her job. It’s awesome to climb with old friends.

Crystal above i-90

Crystal above i-90

Crystal and Climbing Barbie

Crystal and Climbing Barbie

Crystal has a mascot called Climbing Barbie. Barbie has a climbing harness of her own, with tape gloves and painted on climbing shoes. Barbie is tied to Crystal’s harness. We climbers are proud of our eccentricities.

We got on some hard routes yesterday. I got up a 10a, but the 10b Crystal is on did not go well. I had to rest on every bolt, and at the crux, there was a 20 foot run out. It looked like the climbing was easy enough up to the next bolt, but you never know. I did not have any beta about the route and this sport is dangerous enough without venturing up into unknown territory.

I chose to back off rather than risk the fall. When we rapped down I discovered that the reason there was a run out was the holds were good, no harder than 5.6. Next time I will run it out.

I’m thinking I will continue to practice the guitar, but I’m going to work on some instrumentals…possibly accompanied with my harmonica.  Lots of guitar players are very good, but they don’t sing. I thought I had the possibility to be both, but after listening to my recording…I realized I need to focus on the guitar, and forget about the voice. And that’s ok, I love the sound of my old Martin.



Open Mic at Antique Sandwich

July 21st, 2012

Sue and I went to the Open Mic at the Antique Sandwich shop in Tacoma. There were at least three very talented singers there in the hour that we stayed. There were also quite a few who were just everyday folks experiencing the thrill of performing before a crowd.

The crowd was very respectful and applauded every performer, regardless of experience or talent. I walked out thinking that it would be a good venue for my modest talents.

Tonight I got out my microphones and recorded myself playing guitar and singing. I knew I needed to get used to the double microphones used on acoustic guitars. When I played it back on our stereo speakers I was shocked. I am off key, creaky, off tempo and generally an all around terrible singer.

Sue has been telling me this for years. I guess I’m kind of like those people who do karaoke. While they are in the moment, singing along in the bar, it feels so good to be the singer. But to people listening to their untrained voice…not so much.

I’m kind of bummed about this. My emotions are telling me that I am singing beautifully, but when I listen to the tape objectively afterward, yikes. Apparently I would need to take voice lessons for a while to learn how to sing. Maybe someday in the future when I have more free time.

A better plan is to switch hobbies and start painting again. It’s almost mid summer and I haven’t touched my easel yet this year.

RattleTale crack, Index, 7-7-2012

July 9th, 2012

Fletch, Lisa and I spent the day at Index climbing RattleTale Crack. They had never been to this awesome crack up by Private Idaho. I’ve posted the trip report here. I may post it in true wordpress form here later.

back from vacation 7-6-2012

July 6th, 2012

I’ve been busy starting up the new quarter at work. I plan to post my trip photos here in a few days. However, I posted them online on a climbing website first. You can view them here: