Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Long's Peak solo: Lamb's Slide, Loft, Clark's Arrow.

This weekend my climbing partner was out of town, so I decided to do something long and solitary. I decided to try Long's Peak via a reasonably technical route. Enough to make it fun, but not too dangerous to solo. And to make it as solo as possible I decided to start on Monday.

In May we tried to climb Long's via a variation of the Clark's Arrow (Loft) route, where you get to the Loft by climbing Lamb's Slide to its top and then traversing the top of Flying Dutchman Couloir to the saddle itself. Last time we made it only to the top of Lamb's, so this time I decided to start really early. After leaving Fort Collins at midnight, I drove to Estes and ended up starting hiking at 1-35am, from a deserted parking lot. The moon went down by the time I got above the treeline, and I saw Milky Way for the first time in my life. That thing alone was worth all the trouble. And there was more to come ;-). The night was really dark, so I could discern the silhouette of the mountains just by the line between a starry blackness and a tar-like blackness. It was surprisingly warm, and even with the wind picking up I felt comfy in a thin T-shirt.

At 3-35am I got to the Chasm Lake, which was invisible. I could only see what my LED headlamp was illuminating, an oval spot several meters ahead of me. I thought that I'm gonna get in trouble finding my way to the Mills Glacier, but it was surprisingly easy. At 4-25am, when the sky started to change color, I was looking up the Lamb's Slide. After taking a little 15min break I put on my crampons, took one of my ice axes and started to kick steps up the couloir. The snow was perfect, firm but not icy, which made for a very fun climb. As I was getting higher, so was the sun, first turning Diamond red, and then orange. After getting above the Broadway I took some photos:
That's looking down the Lamb's Slide. After 1 hour of climbing I got to the top, from where it was easy to traverse on to the Loft. Here is the top of Flying Dutchman:Another fun and easy patch of snow that brought me to the Loft at 5-40am, with a great view of Meeker with its Flying Buttress (the prow in the center):As it turned out, this was the easiest part of the ascent. The real fun part started higher up...

To be continued.

View of the Long's peak: panorama.

Taken on May 25th, 2007:

Saturday, June 23, 2007


Только что нашел в глубинах жесткого диска:

Захожу к операм в кабинет, а как правило в любом оперском кабинете висят на стенке листочки А-4 с каким нибудь умным изречением, типа: "если вас съели у вас есть два выхода" и т.д. и т.п., сегодня прочитал:

"Трудно собирать выбитые зубы сломанными руками, когда в глазах темно.." и подпись Конфуций.

И я понял что это ментовской ремикс на известное выражение китайского философа: "Трудно искать черную кошку в темной комнате особенно если ее там нет".

Plato's "Allegory of the Cave".

что было -- то и будет, и что делалось -- то и будет делаться, и нет ничего нового под Солнцем!

It amazing what people come up with over 2000 years ago. Following an excellent tip from my climbing partner, Morgan (thanks! the advice is greatly appreciated!), I read Plato's "Allegory of the Cave". It's one piece of deserving reading!

P.S. It was a required reading for a political science class.

Wonderfully intangible: Memes.

During a very cool discussion with my boss about Richard Dawkins, I was acquainted with a concept of memes, which is a unit of cultural information exhibiting a gene-like behavior. I found the concept to be a great example of a pure "informational entity". Wonderfully intangible.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

A riddle.

A man is being hanged. There is a man in the crowd of observers who is asked of his relation to the guy on the gallows. He doesn't want to admit it, so he answers in a riddle:

-Brothers and sisters I have none, but that man's father {pointing to the man about to be hanged} is my father's son.

What is the relation between the condemned and the man in the crowd?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Mono-monostatic body ("GÖMBÖC").

Arnold's conjecture that convex, homogeneous bodies with less than 4 equilibria points (mono-monostatic bodies) exist was shown to be correct. In other words, it's possible to make a "come-back kid" {"ванька-встанька"} from a block of homogeneous material. So no matter how you drop it, it will straighten itself out and get on all four paws :-). Here is a page with a neat video demonstrating how "GÖMBÖC" rolls itself into equilibrium. And this Wikipedia article does a much better job of concisely explaining what this thing is (and what it does).
This picture is taken from a full paper: P. L. Varkonyi, G. Domokos Mathematical Intelligencer 2006, 28(4), 1.

P.S. Why less than four equilibria points, not just one? Because both stable and unstable equilibria count, hence gomboc has two equilibria points, not one.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Changing colors.

Here are two identical solutions of CoCl2 in aqueous HCl, left one is at ~-20C, right one is at room temperature (~20C):As the cold solution warms up, it changes color:Until both solutions become identical close to room temperature:Pink color is due to Oh-Co(H2O)62+ complex, deep-blue - to Th-CoCl42-.

{Yoshi found the experiment and made the solutions, and I sealed the stuff in the ampules.}

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


As just taken from my balcony:

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Just turn it upside down.

Absolutely awesome! {Disclaimer: watch it all the way}

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Larkhill (V for Vendetta).

From Merriam-Webster Online:
Entry Word: lark
Function: noun
Text: a time or instance of carefree fun {the kids had a grand lark at the carnival}
A good choice of the name in the movie: Larkhill.

Long's Peak view.

These photos were taken in Rocky Mountain National Park on 24th of May, 2007. It snowed during the night, so everything was covered with ~2 inches of snow. The views were outstanding. Here is a view across the road from Beaver Meadows Visitor Center:As we drove into the park, we saw Longs Peak, in winter-like snow cover:And here is a closeup. You can see the Diamond (triangular wall left off the peak) and the snow-covered north face to the right of it:More photos are coming!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

1st Flatiron, Direct East Face 5.6R.

On Saturday (3-May-2007), Morgan and I climbed the 1st Flatiron (the large rightmost formation): Here is an approximate line of Direct East Face route that we took (~300m). It is a gentle multi-pitch trad line, which we climbed swapping leads.The first pitch is definitely the crux. The climbing is easy (an easy slab 5.6), but very runout. The first belay station is at the tree (in the middle top of the photo), and it takes a 60m rope to get there. The climb is protected with two bolts in the bottom section, after that there is like 25-30m of unprotected climbing. I think there is a possibility of sticking something half-way, but I saw it when I already climbed above it, so I just went ahead. The climbing is easy, but you really don't want to fall, especially as you are getting close to the tree. Here is pitch 5 in process. The climbing is easy, but slabby, so runouts are ever-present.
Here is Morgan following this pitch. And the trees far below:The pitch 6 is my favorite, first bypassing a little overhang by going left followed by well-protected laybacks on a flake. This pitch gains the ridge. From here it took us 3 pitches of easy climbing/scrambling to get to the summit. From here it's a single 60m rope rappel to the ground. All in all it's a great route, well worth doing. You just need to be comfortable with runouts and slabs on easy terrain (5.4-5.6).

P.S. Protection: a set of nuts, a set of cams up to #4 Camalot (useful in one spot, but not necessary), and a bunch of shoulder length quickdraws.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Montezuma's Tower, North Ridge 5.7.

The tall spire is Montezuma's Tower (Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs). The first time I saw a photo of it, I just fell in love :-). There is a 5.7 route that follows the ridge line (right ridge on the picture), North Ridge. This Sunday (03-May-2007) Morgan and I did it, and the thing is just absolutely incredible. The climbing itself can't be called outstanding, but the route makes up for it hundred-fold. It is such an aesthetic line - you are following the ridge of this skinny spire, with drop offs on both sides. As Morgan put it, it's the ultimate route for fighting fear of heights. For me it was all about trusting my feet. Leading the first pitch was not that easy, since I'm not used to climbing sandstone, and a recent rain gave the rock a very slippery feel. I always had that thought that the surface layer will just slide from under my foot, sending me into a fall. But after I got used to it, leading the second pitch was just so much easier. It's interesting how leading is different from following, although it's exactly the same route.
Here is another view of Montezuma's Tower (leftmost spire):
P.S. To whom it may concern ;-). The climb can be done in one pitch with a 60m rope, but we did it in two pitches, which I think is a way to go. I didn't want to deal with the rope drag, so we sacrificed the speed. Although the route can be climbed with quickdraws only, I also used a sling (hueco) and #1 and #2 Camalots (maybe #0.4 too). To be honest, I was happy to have this stuff with me. Double ropes for rappel!!! {we used 60m and 50m, but two 50m will do fine}