Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Elephant's Perch

Since returning from Pakistan I've had a pretty whirlwind couple of weeks! After spending two days at home un-packing I quickly re-packed and flew out to Salt Lake City for the Outdoor Retailer show. I'd be challenged to find a more polar opposite experience from being on expedition in Pakistan! Despite the craziness of the "show" it was great to meet with some of my dealers and also to catch up with friends.

I had a chance to chat with Hayden Kennedy who along with Kelly Cordes and Kyle Dempster should be arriving in the Charakusa any day now. Sending the good vibes their way!!!

After the OR show Naomi and I picked up our rental Dodge Grand Caravan (Definitely a contender for my next car now...) and drove northwest to Stanley, Idaho and the Sawtooth Range. The Elephant's Perch was our destination and after a fairly burly hike due to our heavy food (and wine) supply, we were rewarded with views of the golden granite dome spider-webbed with seemingly infinite cracks.

We started out with a sandbagged 5.10 called Astro-Elephant...

Doug Madara on the sandbagged flare of Astro-Elephant

Naomi following pitch 1 of Astro-Elephant

After climbing the classic Mountaineer's Route (5.9) the next day, we took a rest day and hung around camp and the beautiful alpine lakes. I took a nice 30' cliff jump into the freezing waters which woke me up to say the least.

The Elephant's Perch!

The next day Naomi and I climbed the classic "Direct Beckey" (5.11). This was by far the longest and most sustained route that Naomi had ever done and she did AWESOME! We topped out and watched the sunset over the Sawtooths. One of the coolest things about the 'Perch is that you can top out at sunset and then be back in camp in a half-hour due to the easy descent gully.

I'm really looking forward to returning to this area! For now it's back in training mode after a summer of getting out of shape alpine climbing :)

Here's a short video I put together of our trip to the 'Perch...

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