Scheduling difficulties and mountain links

Pine Creek Gorge, Pa., as seen from mile 10 (from the southern terminus) on the West Rim Trail just after a rain storm. September 2012. ~Photo/Jim T. Ryan

This is technically the first post on this blog since switching from Blogger.

I’m still working out the kinks in everything so bear with me.

But if you’re a returning visitor, you’ll be happy to know I’ve got much more planned for Riverside Hooligans, including a photographic spread of my trip on the West Rim Trail last year.

In addition, I’m planning yet another trip this summer. That’s been a source of frustration lately in trying to sync my schedules with good friends for a good time. You never think that will be the hardest part, but with the kids at young developmental stages and the varied work schedules of friends, planning a backpack or a simple top-roping climb day trip can be a chore.

What’s your advice for syncing schedules with friends? Post a comment.

So in that time, I’m also finding some interesting stuff around the web, mostly to occupy my brain between Facebook messages, texts, emails and late night phone calls. I’m guessing that technology is the backbone of any healthy relationship between outdoor junkies. No?

For starters, respect to someone many in the climbing community would consider a legend for his accomplishments. Layton Kor, a Minnesota native and pioneer in American southwest climbing, died Sunday at the age of 74. Kor pioneered a route on Utah’s Castleton Tower, an iconic image of the southwest.

I recently rented and watched Cold, a documentary by Cory Richards about the first successful winter summit of an 8,000-meter (5-mile or 26,247-foot) peak in Pakistan in 2011. The trip by Richards, Simone Moro and Denis Urubko to Gasherbrum II was the first in 26 years, and the first successful winter summit of an 8k peak by an American (Richards).

I have nothing but acclaim for this film and Richards’s narration. Raw, foreboding, cryptic and honest about the realities, danger and brutality of such journeys to the Himalayan Mountains. My only complaint? I could have watched, simultaneously spellbound and horrified, forever. Here’s the trailer.

And here’s an interview Richards gave after being named the “2o12 Climber of the Year” by National Geographic. Just as riveting.

This makes me want to take a friend up on his offer to try for the Black Mountain Crest Trail in winter. I tried to explain to him that the BMCT hits some of the highest peaks in the east (topping off at Mount Mitchell) east of the Mississippi River and we’d need some serious gear to try the 12-mile trail in winter.

Twelve miles? You scoff. Don’t. BMCT, at over 6,000 feet in elevation, takes two days for many because its elevation changes and difficulty, namely an elevation gain/loss of about 5,00o feet in such a short distance. At more than a mile over sea level, the North Carolina mountain ridges get raked with cold and wind. Yes, winter would be a challenge.

To get an idea of what I’m talking about, here’s a cool blog with tons of photos from BMCT.

But first, I need to get climbing and planning a first overnight hike with my son. Oh, yeah. And I just found a snag in my summer backpack plans. Damn. Til next time.

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