Recently, Mike Nash, whom I met on Mount Assiniboine asked me if my movie had been completed. Well, I’d finally got around to it in 2009, three years later. But, I realized that I had only created it for DVD. Here’s the movie, finally, for everyone to enjoy. You can also see it and read the story here.
Finally got around to finishing the Sharkfin Tower movie, the first Cascade Adventures movie in HD! Enjoy it here, or here along with the original story and photos.
The video “North Cascades: People, Places, and Stories” is now available. Doug and crew did a superb job. Some of my footage of Fred Beckey is featured (first six minutes of the video).
KCTS 9 and KYVE 47 premiere NORTH CASCADES: People, Places and Stories on 1/17
Original Production Highlights Environmental Issues and Stories of Individuals Who Protect and Promote the Region
SEATTLE—KCTS 9 is proud to present the premiere of North Cascades: People, Places and Stories, a special showcasing the breathtaking park through the words and actions of Washingtonians of all ages.
Airdates: Sunday, January 17, at 10:30 p.m. on KCTS 9 and KYVE 47. Repeats Wednesday, January 20, at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, January 31, at 4:30 p.m.
KCTS 9 will also be producing a Spanish-language version, which will air on V-Me on Saturdays, January 23 at 7:00 p.m. and January 30 at 7:30 p.m.
Written and produced by Emmy Award-winner Doug Tolmie and hosted by KCTS 9′s Enrique Cerna, North Cascades: People, Places and Stories provides an in-depth look at the region and its relationship to the community. North Cascades highlights both critical environmental issues and the stories of passionate citizens who have worked to create, maintain and preserve this stunning part of our state for the future good of all.
“The North Cascades features one of the most ecologically diverse landscapes in the world,” notes Cerna in the program. “It’s home to a national park, two national forests, more glaciers than any other place in our country outside of Alaska, and more than 300 peaks above 7,000 feet in elevation.”
Three of the stories featured in this program are:
* A profile of legendary mountaineer Fred Beckey who has been climbing in the North Cascades for nearly seven decades, racking up more “first ascents” than any other climber in history. The 86-year-old is the author of the Beckey Guides, indispensable guidebooks for climbers and hikers exploring the backcountry.
* The return of wolves to the North Cascades. Scientists and conservationists are tracking two wolf packs, one in the Methow area and the other near Republic. After being hunted to near extinction, the natural return of this iconic predator is exciting news for wildlife biologists—and a cause of concern for ranchers.
* A look at the North Cascade Institute’s nationally recognized education program, The Mountain School, where hands-on activities introduce hundreds of students each year to diverse ecosystems. Says Professor John Miles of Western Washington University, “There’s a concern that kids are getting disconnected from nature, and if they get too disconnected then they will not be the stewards of the North Cascades of the future.”
North Cascades also examines the effect of wildfires on the ecosystem and First Bloom, a program that teaches kids how to design and develop their own native plant garden.
The full-length program will be available online at KCTS9.org/video in English and Spanish after the premiere. The program will also be available via Comcast Video on Demand.
Like National Parks: Northwest Stories, which premiered in September, 2009, North Cascades is part of KCTS 9’s be more green project, through which we explore the science, policies and personal choices that shape our environment. Viewers can watch complete episodes of National Parks: Northwest Stories, find the replay dates for Ken Burns’ The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, sign the National Parks Stewardship Pledge, find hikes and read media coverage on the parks at KCTS9.org/nationalparks.
For additional details, a press preview DVD or interview opportunities, contact Daphne Adair, dadair@KCTS9.org | 206.443.4835 or 206.599.9435.
The KCTS 9 mission is to improve the quality of life in the communities we serve by providing meaningful programming on air, online and in the community that informs, involves and inspires.
North Cascades: People, Places and Stories
North Cascades: People, Places and Stories provides an in-depth look at the region and its relationship to the community, highlighting both critical environmental issues and the stories of passionate citizens who have worked to create, maintain and preserve this stunning part of our state for the future good of all.
Doug Tolmie, writer and producer
Enrique Cerna, host and executive producer
Bill Strothman, photographer
David Solheim, editor
North Cascades: People, Places and Stories is made possible by support from the following:
The Wilderness Society
Sun Mountain Lodge
Mazama Country Inn
PCC Natural Markets
KCTS 9 Members
Still wanting to do a climb in North Cascades National Park, I solicited Daniel for a midweek climb of the North Ridge of Forbidden Peak. I want to have climbed all three ridges on the mountain. Then of course, I’d have to come back and climb the wild and enticing Northwest rib. I thought the chances might be low that he could pull it off in such short notice, but either way, I’d be happy: If the trip fell through, I’d just stay in Robert’s cabin, extending my trip and building more trails. But, Daniel made it happen.
I was a little late in arriving the next day, and we wasted a bit of time hunting down the rope from a co-worker, but we arrived at the Boston Basin trailhead around 3pm, enough time for the relatively modest hike in. the trail was hot and the usual July biting flies were out, serving to push us onward and upward to our camp, somewhere beyond Sharkfin Col on the Boston Glacier.
(above) Sharkfin Tower is located between Boston Peak and Forbidden Peak
I have been to Boston Basin many times but never to Sharkfin col, the key to accessing the North Ridge route and, unfortunately, upon arriving in the high basin, I realized that our lack of planning might cost us, or so it would seem. Locating the col is tough; from below, there seems to be multiple possibilities, and all are unsavory. So, we moved right, looking for a break in the imposing cliffs. We found one, almost immediately underneath Sharkfin Tower. We hopped over the bergeschrund, climbed some low fifth class rock, and continued up to the base of the tower. The rock pitch wasn’t very hard, so we were skeptical that this was the route to Sharkfin Col. The view from the snowfield at the base of the tower confirmed it – the col was much farther below to the west. It was getting late at this point so we wondered what to do. Daniel suggested a climb of Sharkfin Tower instead of Forbidden. It didn’t take much persuasion; I’ve been stymied once on each ridge I’ve climbed. Maybe this was fate. Plus, I could use the extra time back in Seattle. OK, let’s do it!
But then, we had an even better idea: climb now, during the sunset, bivy at the base, and hike out in the morning.
We found a good bivy site, then headed up Sharkfin Tower for our sunset climb. The climb is great, I really can’t say enough about it. The only problem is it’s so short! There are only three pitches and all are easy. We soloed the first, a rather exposed but easy traverse to the base of the ridge. The second pitch is the money pitch – right up the edge of the ridge on solid granite. We just simuled through the third pitch to the summit just as the sky turned a deep orange.
The final rappel was by headlamp, but we were back to the bivy sites less than two hours later. After a late dinner (the sun went down around 9:30pm) we turned in, probably around 11pm.
I slept like a log on the edge of the cliff, much like Frodo and Sam in “Return of the King”. Daniel woke me up in the morning around 6:30. Apparently, he’d been up for a while taking pictures. It wasn’t until he had to say, “Uh, turn around and have a look”, that I realized just how fortunate we were. Iw as delighted to see the ocean clouds down in Boston Basin. I always enjoy being above the clouds.
Daniel patiently waited on me while I prepared my things. We made two rappels down to the Quien Sabe Glacier. Below the glacier, we began feeling raindrops. The rain was quite gentle at first, then stopped. A second gentle shower visted us, then stopped. It wasn’t until the third time that the rain we realized how fortunate we were that we didn’t find Sharkfin Col. The clouds opened up. I quickly pulled out my rain jacket, but Daniel, who only had a soft shell just endured the driving rain. My shell ended up making very little difference actually (and I am half wondering about the place that I ordered in from in the US…have they been importing fake goods from China?) It rained the whole way down and the wet brush caused the moisture to penetrate every dry spot. We were utterly soaked when we got back to the car. Good thing we weren’t on the North Ridge. To quote Daniel’s pithy comment: “What a wonderfully successful failure!”
Having missed visiting the Cascades in the summer of 2008, I was eager to make a trip or two into the range this summer. sunday, Robert and i took the day to climb Slippery Slab tower, a relatively unknown little spire in the central Cascades near Stevens Pass. We left his house at 6am for the drive out. Robert was kind enough to offer me his cabin in Cashmere for a few days after our hike so I followed him in my rental car. After the climb, I’d just continue driving 40 minutes or so through Leavenworth and into Cashmere.
Robert set a brisk pace up the trail. We hiked a little under two miles to an intersection with the Pacific Crest trail and a lake (whose name now escapes me), turned right, and began the longer traversing hike to get to a pass above Trap Lake. From there, we could follow climber’s trails to the tower.
We had a perfect day for this hike. The forest and meadow greens were deep, and the sky’s blue was radiant. At a luxurious meadow, we had our first view of the tower. It was a typical Cascades view: a small dark spire sitting on a burly glacial ridge. It was good to finally have a view; I had been doubting if this trail was correct. I studied the trailhead map for maybe 5 seconds but it felt like we were traveling along in the wrong direction.
The climber’s path took us along the ridge, through tight scrub pine bands and finally on to easy snow that led us to the base of the tower.
Robert took the first pitch and elected to start at the base of the tower instead of the higher and easier start. This was easy enough, though I did remind him that I was climbing in boots instead of rock shoes and hadn’t climbed in about a year.
He passed over a small roof and was out of sight. The rope moved slowly up, indicating that maybe the terrain wasn’t so easy. Then, I heard a loud whirring and buzzing sound above me. Thinking for an instant that it was a giant hummingbird, I looked up to see a large spinning rock come flying past me. This actually shocked me quite a bit. I felt foolishly cavalier for being so ill prepared than I should be. Having no helmet was dumb – for the two of us.
Finally, I followed up, having to get creative with my boots. The rock was great below the roof, but was covered in lichen above. It reminded me of a sunny Johannesburg. The steepness relented and I emerged into some trees to meet Robert.
I decided to lead the second pitch, a solid leaning dihedral. The pitch was easy and fun, leading up to a belay station at another pine tree. I decided to continue on up a steeper wall to the ridge crest. From there, I turned left and we were at the top.
Back below the tower, along a small convex snowy shelf, Robert got in some bouldering on some large glacial rocks while I climbed to a high spot and took pictures. We said goodbye back at the cars and I continued on to Cashmere.