Saturday, July 30, 2011

Baden-Powell Thunderstorm

Came up the Angeles Crest this morning for a summit attempt at Mt. Baden-Powell via the Dawson Saddle route. There was beautiful, higher elevation terrain with many pine trees, and views north to the Mohave.

Nice view. However, note ominous, dark clouds

I had gotten a late, mid-morning start, knew there was a chance of thunderstorms, and saw some clouds over the peak in the distance. Perhaps against my better judgment, I proceeded anyhow...

Enroute south toward the PCT

All was well as I hit the long, east-west ridgeline traversing toward Baden-Powell past Mt. Burnham. Climbing a short switchback around 9000', I heard a single rumble of thunder, at which point I should have immediately turned around. Again, against my better judgment, I continued, saying "hmm, that was only one very isolated thunderclap." Bad wilderness decision.

About half an hour later, just short of the summit, along the lonely, isolated ridgeline, a righteous thunderstorm arrived, throwing down lightning bolts all around me at an alarmingly high frequency.

Good spot to be in a thunderstorm? Not so much.

Having just that morning reviewed the NOLS lightning safety guidelines, I cursed myself for being an idiot, then set about making the best of a bad situation. I had open ridgeline for a mile or so in either direction. The only real option was to traverse down the north slope of the ridge, seeking relative safety amidst relatively smaller trees. I found a spot in a small gully, and assumed the lightning position, hoping for the best.

Assuming the "lightning position" amidst a clump of smallish trees

It was a pretty intense hour or so as I waited out the storm. When the interval between thunderclaps grew back to 5min or so, I beat a swift retreat back to safety, abandoning my summit attempt, but grateful for lessons learned and the opportunity to try again another day.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Time Lapse

I came across a couple great nature time-lapse videos today. The first, passed along from my friend Joe, features the desert southwest. I find the starry sky shots especially mesmerizing.

Joe's comment, which I can't improve on:

"Sometimes wish there was a timelapse button on life, not that I want to make the moments pass faster, just so I could see water that smooth and the stars spin."

And the second, courtesy of the Patagonia Cleanest Line blog, featuring, well, Patagonia:

Inspiration, found. Aloha.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Quiet Night @ the Secret Spot

Solitude restored at the secret spot...just had to go on an off-night.

Just a few more weeks until a trip to the Pac NW homeland...

Thursday, July 7, 2011