The story of North Ridge Mountain Guide 2017 Ecuador Volcanoes Expedition
Nobody said going off grid would be easy, and if they did they would be wrong. Building a homestead off grid sure can present it's challenges, but the dream of a nearly bill free existence and the ability to travel freely has kept the stoke high. As we near the middle of the build, I thought it would be a good time to catch you all up on the project so far.
In December 2014, my girlfriend and I bought a small parcel in Bethlehem NH. This property is far from the grid and the sounds of the city. It is literally a section of woods I carved out myself with my trusty Johnsered chainsaw, and a small excavator to remove the stumps. this process took us into the Winter of 2015-2016 were work halted for the season.
After the Winter season, we picked up where we left off at the homestead. A little Spring cleanup and the build began. A large order of gravel and a big order from the Orange store got us the supplies we needed to start the build. After around a week of building, the foundation was in along with the floor. The stoke was high "We should have this shit done in a another week" I thought to myself, for the first time in my life, I was wrong.
The next few weeks were spent framing the walls, with advanced framing and insulated headers to reduce future heating and cooling as well as limiting the amount of lumber used. The walls were raised post haste, with level bubbles in the center for days. Everything was going smoothly until that dammed steep roof...
The roof turns out to be a real pain in the ass, the lack of proper tools for roof work sure slowed us down. As of last weekend the roof framing is complete and it is time for the sheathing. The nice part about it is as soon as the roof is done, the project should go more easily. Well... at least we think...
On January 30, 2016 I spent a warm day ice climbing with clients at the far end of the popular ice climbing destination Frankenstein Cliff. After many laps on various routes in balmy temps, we packed up our gear and began to head back to the cars for some R&R. As we approached the parking lot there was a large presence of Fish and Game waiting in the upper lot. When our guide asked what was going on, the ranger quickly stated there was an accident involving a litter carry on the popular route Pegasus. As soon as I had heard, I quickly raced back in to see if I could be of some assistance.
The fast paced walk to the injured climber seemed to take forever, although the trail was a mere 0.5 Miles down flat train tracks. With little info on the shape of the climber, you're mind begins to race through the possible scenarios and what way would be best way to assist this climber by following Wilderness Medicine, and local emergency procedures. Luckily, I had recently upped my emergency medicine cert to an EMT and thought this fresh information could be helpful in this situation.
When I met up with the litter, I instantly noticed that he had not been carried but instead put into a sled and dragged down the tracks. I thought this was odd as the initial report was a 20 foot fall that caused a loss of consciousness. In all the training I have done, when a person has significant MOI (mechanism of injury) with head trauma, a spinal injury can not be ruled out as they are deemed unreliable to have their spine cleared. None the less, I hopped out of the way of the litter and began to follow it in preparation for the lift into the ambulance that was so patiently waiting in the parking lot.
Once we had arrived at the lot, 2 climbers helped the climber to his feet and sat him down on the gurney. I was quite surprised at this as no care had been taken to preserve C-Spine, an important part of a significant MOI to the head with significant injuries. Once loaded onto the gurney the climber gave us a smile that showed us some sign of good health. As the gurney was loaded into the ambulance, one climber said "Injured player leaving the field" and we all clapped as the ambulance doors closed. It seemed at that time that he was going to make out okay.
One thing that all resonates with me is when I was in my first WFR (Wilderness First Responder) course some years back, my instructor said to me that proper care of the spine "Could be the difference between whether or not he will get to dance with his daughter at her wedding". This saying has stuck with me and always made me especially careful when managing trauma patients.
So the summary of this post is to never underestimate the importance of Wilderness Emergency Medicine. Be sure to take a course if you plan on spending some time in the backcountry, it just may save a life someday.
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|A frosty topped Washington|
I arrived at the Lake of the Clouds hut at about 12:15pm, without seeing another soul in site. The weather was beautiful with few clouds and almost no wind, a rare feat on the home of the world's worst weather.
|Keep your phone camera facing away from your body when hauling up the big hill, lesson learned|
It was an inviting site to see some actual snow, so I quickly removed my crampons and continued my way up the mountain. As I zigzagged my way up the summit cone, I finally saw another soul below me just past the hut. I trotted my way up the rest of the mountain and managed to tap the old summit sign in 2:31, which was a bit slower then I had hoped for. None the less, not bad for fresh off the couch.
|"Winter" climb #89|
The first climb of the season was a great one, it reminds me of my connection and love for the mountains. The first time I climbed Mt. Washington I knew what my purpose was, to share the mountains with others. If you haven't done a winter Mt. Washington ascent yet, I highly suggest it. Just be sure to get some proper instruction before heading up the Rock Pile.
|The "kitchen" area and camp.|
|I've got a stick! Note the rocket stove cookin' us up "brekkie".|
|All standing on the summit!|
Double Plastic Boots:
|Scarpa Invernos: Retails for $329|
|Koflach Degres: Retails for $399|
|Scarpa Mont Blanc: Retails for $469|
|Scarpa Triolet Pro: Retails for $369|
|Scarpa Phantom Guide: Retails for $599|
|La Sportiva Batura 2.0 GTX: Retails for $699|
|Scarpa Phantom 6000: Retails for $739|
|La Sportiva Spantik: Retails for $749|
We sorted our gear the next morning and noticed all the snow was gone, I knew then it would be a sporty day in Shoestring. As we headed up the gully we found full on rivers running over the ice. We decided to mix climb around the junk to get in the gully proper. Just as we were working our way around the first section, fellow climber Dan pulled down 2 large boulders just nearly missing us. It got exciting fast. We carried on consciously up the gully through loose choss and occasional bits of ice.
|Kevin and Dan working what was left of the ice|
|NRMG Guide Kevin and friend Dan taking in the views.|
|NRMG Guide Kevin high on Mt. Webster|