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Archive for the 'Trip Reports' Category

Climbing Weather

We had 17 folks that camped although it was cold and windy. Some left early on day Two, but everyone got some climbing in.Displaying image (1).jpg

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Stone Mountain

We had an interesting trip to Stone this weekend.  Everyone enjoyed climbing in the beautiful weather.

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One Last Look

One last look before leaving the valley.

We left the Valley today with heavy hearts.
Everyone fell in love with all the wonders and marvels of Yosemite. It truly is a magical place.
The entire trip has been simply amazing. So many stories, great times and fond memories. Best of all, everyone is returning with stronger friendships.
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A Great Job …

           … leading a bunch of routes.

 … climbing the difficult corner on “Lena’s Lieback.”

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Yosemite Search and Rescue

Last night we attended Mike’s old friend, John Dill’s SAR talk. John is now 75 years old and regarded as an international legend in the rescue world.

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Day 6 Update

The dreaded Idol’s Dam portage turned out to be easy and short.
The waterfall was safe to play in, so we did! Everyone had a ball!
 
     We are now at Mile 111 out of 175, leaving 64 miles to go in 4 days. Piece of cake!
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Sixteen people, 7 canoes and Mike in a kayak.

 The first two days have been fairly hard.
Day one we put in on the Yadkin where it was rather small and paddled down to Kerr Scott Reservoir.

After paddling across the reservoir, we
had to portage up and over the massive earthen dam. That was really tough and folks were so tired that we just camped in the woods on the back side of the dam. We only covered 11 miles that day. Our goal is 17 per day. 

Everyone got up early Sunday and finished the portage. We were on the water by 10:30. Not bad. We paddled about 18 miles.
The river current is helping. Everyone is in good spirits. We will pass Elkin on Monday and hopefully make up a few lost miles.
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Banff Film Festival

 We had a perfect weekend! Rainy hiking and camping, mixed with sunshine and climbing, and of course two nights of spectacular Banff films.
Banff 1
We had 25 Morganton TAASC folks at Brevard College Friday and Saturday night. Asheville TAASC came with 25 Saturday night. Brevard College president Dr. David Joyce recognized TAASC both nights.
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Happy New Year!

Christmas Climbing Trip 2015
 The phrase “pulling rocks down” refers to a person pulling so hard on the rock to make a move, you would think the rock is going to sink into the ground from the force of the person pulling themselves upward.
Well the yucky weather finally left us and our kids and parents are pulling so hard you’d think zombies were chasing them.
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Rock Climbing and Star Gazing Trip

A small but hearty group of us climbed for two fantastic days. On the summit we watched one of nature’DSC04477s greatest shows. The meteor shower was perhaps one of the most spectacular that I can recall and the viewing location certainly made the night. Windy and cold at first folks quickly cooked food and settled down into their sleeping bags and watched the night sky. We were not disappointed. Climbers were challenged by some of the classic routes such as Slipping Into Darkness (5.9) and A Tall Climb To Be Good On ( Solid 5.9+ no matter ones height).

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Worley’s Cave

Howdy! We had a fantastic trip to Worley’s Cave on Sunday. WorleysWe probably set a new TAASC record of participants with 28 folks underground. We also set a speed record, not that we were rushing, but somehow we did everything we wanted to do in 3 hours! Thanks to all the Olders who kept everyone flowing safely along.

We carried a 10’ ladder for the tricky sections and it seemed to really help with the movement of the troops. Everyone had a great time!

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Multi-Pitch and Bivouacking on Table Rock

Olders climbed the east face of Table Rock on Saturday, then hiked to the North Ridge area. Some of them bivouacked 150′ off the ground on a ledge at the top of the first pitch of the North Ridge. Others bivied at the base in the woods. Joe Lackey and his son joined us. The weather was windy and cold with a few false alarms of rain, but everyone was well trained and did fine.

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Last Evening at the Beach

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Some of our gang played in the ocean one last time before we head home tomorrow. Wilson is in the kayak.

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The Famous Angel Oak Tree

We took a field trip today to visit the Angel Oak.photo

It is a live oak tree estimated to possibly be 1500 years old. It was gigantic!!!

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River Rescue Training

photo 3We had a great weekend of canoe training. Saturday afternoon we practiced strokes and rescue techniques, and Sunday we went to the river and practiced.

 

 

 

 

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BANFF

The Banff Film Festival was a lot of fun. We camped in our secret campsite, got in some great climbing, went to both film nights, and lots of TAASC parents went with us. We were rained out Sunday, but joined Asheville TAASC for breakfast, and then went to REI to drool. Great trip!

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Youngers Trip

What a fine looking crew!

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The kids worked on learning to fit packs well, treat water, and some tried bivying out since we had such a pretty star filled evening. Temps were mild to warm and it is time to start remembering the sun hats and sunscreen! Thanks to everyone for coming out.T

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It’s Finally Stopped Raining!

The boulders were too wet to climb so we photo 5headed up Pigeon Mountain in search of the Historic Entrance to Ellison’s Cave. We had a great afternoon exploring on the mountain with radar on for possible new caves. After several hours of looking in the wrong area, we finally found the entrance and looked around inside for about 200′. Everyone is very excited to return with our caving gear and explore it fully.

 

Ellison's Fantastic PitEllison’s is one of the deepest caves in the U.S., with two of the deepest free fall pits. The Fantastic Pit rappel is 586′. The Washington Monument would fit inside the pit. We did not bring the vertical gear to do any rope work this trip, but the kids are psyched to train and return.

 

National Geographic photo of Fantastic Pit in Ellison’s Cave!

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Annual Rock Town Trip

Everyone slept warm last night even though the temp was 32 degrees.  imageWe were able to get in a few hours of climbing before the rain started.

We have 13 folks on the trip this year, with the possibility of some TAASC graduates joining us at some point.

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We had a great weekend of cold weather camping, bouldering and movies!
We tested the new Fortress bivy sacks while we cooked supper. I made the Fortresses for the 2014 TAASC Ragged Range Expedition and we tested them on the 2013 Mt. Nirvana-Ragged Range Expedition. These sacks, made from Tyvek, make winter camping enjoyable. Meal times, when people are sitting still, is typically when they get cold. The Fortress allows them to cook while being in a wind proof, cozy cocoon. Cooking inside it is possible, but it gets too steamy, but by sitting in the entrance, a person can cook with the stove on the ground and be fairly sheltered. 
     Everyone was really warm Saturday night even though the low temp was 14 with high winds. Connor, Jacob and Davis  wanted more of a winter challenge, so they bivied in the exposed upper treehouse, 60 feet above ground with awesome views into Linville Gorge. They were warm also.
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Youngers’ Climbing Trip

Gingercake Climbing (2)We set up camp in a beautiful forest, ate lunch, then hiked across the top of the mountain to the climbing and rappelling area.Gingercake Climbing (1)         Lots of parents and Olders on the trip. Should be a great one!

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Beach Trip

Beach Trip (1)We left Lake Marion Saturday afternoon and headed for Folly Beach.  A visit to the grocery store was challenging, as it always is after a long trip. The urge to buy everything is powerful. Everyone agreed to clean all gear before taking showers and moving into the beach house. Noah, Jacob and Jo were waiting for us, as were TAASC graduates Tyler Lindell and Sarah Cioffoletti. All is going well here at the beach house. We may stop on the way home to serve as guinea pigs for the new zip guides that TJ and Joe Lovenshimer are training. If we do, it will probably be around 8:00 pm when we arrive home.

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Congaree Swamp Trip

Well, do you remember the Humphrey Bogart movie, the African Queen? The past two days have been challenging with bugs, fallen trees, mud, passing fully loaded canoes through trees across Cedar Creek and lots of gigantic snakes.
Congaree River 1
Nineteen TAASC kids and parents slugged it out thru Congaree National Park until 10pm last night then busted out onto the mighty Congaree River! Whew! Everyone loved the beauty of the swamp, giant cypress and tupelo trees, thousands of cypress knees and the twisty- turny nature of the small, creek, never knowing what we are going to see around each bend, BUT a huge cheer rose from the group when we reached the Congaree late last night. We had to paddle til 1:00 am Congaree River 3under a nice moon sans headlamps until we finally found a place to set up camp. Everyone was in good spirits for the most part during the ordeal. High spirits this morning!
No sunburn, but definitely some bug bites. One of the highlights was the massive, friendly rat snake that everyone enjoyed having their photo with.
 
Three more campsites until we take out on Saturday, then onwards to a well deserved beach trip!
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Green River Kayak Trip

Howdy! Green River Kayak (1)
We had a great kayak trip down the lower Green River and we were joined by the Lackey family of 6!

Green River Kayak (2)

 

 

The Green was running well with all the recent rain and everyone learned a lot, but we were reminded that we have a lot more teaching to do to raise everyone’s skill levels.

Unfortunately, I did not get any action photos, because we hurried down the river to avoid the afternoon storm, but here are the before and after shots.

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Worley’s Cave

We had a great time caving.Worley's Cave (2)

Twenty people total!

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Camp Harrison

Camp Harrison (2) Camp Harrison (5)

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Bailing Out!

Appalachian Trail (3)
Well, we had to abort the annual AT trip one day early due to serious weather conditions. Friday was forecast to have more cold rain and wind, so we bailed. The kids now know that they have the option of hunkering down and staying in camp when weather gets serious or bail if that is possible. This was the most continuously cold AT trip we have had in years, yet all the kids and parents ( 21 total ) did an awesome job of staying warm!
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Annual Appalachian Trail Backpack Trip

Howdy!Appalachian Trail (2)Both groups are off to a wild start!

The Youngers started at Carver’s Gap and are hiking through snow, but dealing with it just fine.

The Olders were dropped off near Erwin, TN along the Nolichucky River. It’s a cold, windy, snowy trip, but everyone is psyched!!!            See you in 5 days!

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Winter Trip

Youngers' Winter Trip 1We backpacked in to the east side of the mountain today and found a delightful campsite near a beautiful creek. After pitching camp and eating lunch, we began a long, hard day hike up the side. We reached the top around 4:00pm, took a break, then started back to camp along a different route and arrived back to camp around dark. Everyone is tired, but doing well and staying warm.

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Wintery Mix!

Highlights from the winter trip this weekend: watching the moon light up the tops of clouds Saturday night from the Brown Mountain overlook and top of Hawksbill; seeing tons of beautiful icicles; exploring a gigantic shelter cave.

winter-trip-6 winter-trip-10

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Cold, Windy and Lots of Snow!

winter-trip-4

Ahhh…..the Olders finally got their wish:  cold, windy and lots of snow!!! After setting up camp at Carver’s Gap, we hiked up to the top of one of the grassy balds under the light of a beautiful moon. Everyone is staying warm and toasty. They are well prepared.

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Cooking in a snow kitchen last night and back to the summit today to explore new snow drift tent sites for next weekend.

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Birthday Whirl

Here’s one of many beautiful ascents from the Rock Town trip. Since it is her birthday today, she created this cool boulder problem and called it, “Birthday Whirl.”

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Annual Bouldering Trip

Having a great day, everyone’s in bouldering heaven!!!

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Fantastic Climbing Weather!

Enjoyed fantastic climbing weather this weekend in Linville Gorge. Everyone tried hard to pull Hawksbill down into the ground!

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Sunday Morning

After a warm 47 degree night, we are exploring some cool areas on the top. Everyone is having a great time!

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On the Trail

Everyone is doing well as we trudge up the trail to the top. The 2000 forest fire is still very evident. At this rate it will be 100 years before the forest returns. On to the summit after lunch!

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Everyone slept warm last night, but the rock is really cold for climbing.

Look at the huge surviving hemlock tree that we need to treat.

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Trail Work

We had a great weekend of service, camping and climbing. On Saturday we had a strong turn-out of Olders to help with trail work on the Mountains to Sea Trail. We then drove over to Table Rock and had a beautiful evening.

On Sunday everyone wore their fingers to the bone on the amazing, private boulder problems at the Outward Bound School. People were trying to fight gravity so hard that you would have thought a pack of jackals were nipping at their heels. Everyone will probably be at school all week dreaming of at least one boulder problem that they want to return to and complete.

The hardest problem of the day and he almost completes it!

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Climbing on Stone

We have four rope teams working their way up different routes. The new guy is having the time of his life on rope with famous climber and TAASC graduate, Brad Wilson. In the photo they have 300′ more to go. See Gallery for more photos.

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Youngers’ Trip

Despite the rain, everyone is having a good time. We are half way to camp and the rain has stopped for the time being. The views are really cool looking out over the clouds!

 

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Annual Summersville Lake Family Weekend

Sunday at Lunch Rock on Summersville Lake with 36 crazy TAASC kids and parents!

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New River Gorge Bridge

Hi Everyone!
A friend of Mike’s allowed 31 of the TAASC kids and parents to do the BRIDGE WALK! A lifetime adventure 875′ above the New River.

Look at that smile!

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170 Miles Completed!

On Saturday morning, June 23, Morganton TAASC members completed their 170 mile canoe expedition across South Carolina. The trip was a huge success with all members arriving strong, healthy and tanned.

We headed to the rental house at Folly Beach, where everyone will recuperate from the canoe trip and a year of school. The beach house is really nice and everyone has gone into slug mode, with some bursts of energetic activity. Some folks did some nice surf kayaking today. Loralie and David Clark came down today and are staying nearby. Nina Fischesser and Isaac Hoff arrive tomorrow and Mark Vitrone returns on Tuesday. TAASC graduate, Sarah Cioffoletti, surprised her brother and arrived from Chapel Hill last night. I have a meeting with the USS Yorktown people sometime this week to sell them ziplines from ship to shore and hopefully a Beanstalk Forest adventure park. I will probably take the kids to the Yorktown and some to walk around Charleston.

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Here are all the expedition members after the confluence with the Congaree River. Everyone is still doing well and we are camped at the beginning of Lake Marion tonight after a 17 mile day.

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170 Mile Canoe Expedition

Howdy!
We just set up camp several miles upstream from the confluence of the Congaree and Wateree Rivers. It is Day 3 and we have 20 awesome people on this expedition and everyone is fantastic! Day 1 we paddled 16 miles in 4 hours! Day 2 we paddled an unbelievable 34 miles, from 10:00 to 8:00PM! Day 3, today, we got to camp at 5:00PM after 20 miles of paddling. We have 6 adults and 14 kids. Ten of the kids are age 13 and under. Minor sunburn turning tan. Beautiful weather. Deep wilderness. Lots of fun. Heading to Lake Marion tomorrow.

By the time we get to the end of Day 5 this group will have paddled about 100 miles.

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