Home 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012

May 1: Road Tripping Up To Alaska

Steve and I wanted to climb Denali's Cassin Ridge (Alaska Grade V, 5.8 AI4, -40 F) and so we decided to road trip up there. We left Phoenix, Arizona Friday night (10pm) April 21st ...just had to get out of town! 20 miles out, we were pulled over by a cop because our running lights were not working -- pheww! Thought it was something worse!

After 400 miles, the radiator blew up just south of Death Valley, and so we got stuck here in Baker, CA for 2 days. Population 350, and the "Mad Greek Restaurant" seems to be the place to hang out.

Here's the auto shop we were stuck at for 2 days. There's our van circled in red. Fortunately, the owner let us stay inside this "compound" at night. Like watch dogs, we were fenced in overnight... but I guess we didn't par well since we were lazy asses sleeping most of the night. We did find a metal bucket to try to make a campfire at night... but it was lined with tar and so the smell was toxic. Oh well, back to bed...

The Chaw Vessel and Steve. It got boring really quick! The Mad Greek advertisement became annoying after awhile.

We had to pass time. Found a beam, threw webbing over it, and used an ice ax to make a pull up bar. Steve hard at work rigging it up.



After 49 hours, the radiator was fixed -- took some time getting it from Barstow, the nearest city some 60 miles away. And here is proof that the van was back in action -- circled. Here is Badwater in Death Valley.

Badwater... elevation -282 feet. Nothing. Just nothing.

So far about 700 miles from point of origin! We made it into Lone Pine, CA... which is where Mt. Whitney is... almost halfway up California near the Nevada border. We camped here and did some rock climbing before continuing. By this point, with the radiator working well... the engine crapped out. We were losing about 1 quart of oil every 20 miles. Bad, really bad. But we had to get to Bishop, the next "big" town 50 miles uproad.

Another view before we headed north towards Bishop, Ca. Beautiful.

Near Bishop, we found hot springs. Steve immersed in warm water. Also, this was where we took our first bath since leaving Arizona. Much needed...

The Vessel. Made it to Bishop, though smoking the whole way! Verdict: Oil pan gasket is kaput, will take 2 days to get the gasket from LA and replace. Ouch! Stuck again?! 2 days?! Again, we stayed in our van in the parking lot waiting for the gasket to arrive. Living out of auto shops seems to be the theme of our trip.

The setup. Flaps open up for gear-access, but when down, they made a huge bed. Very comfy.

Side view. Shelves behind driver seat for storage, cooking, etc... Note the cooler... that's where we keep beer.

We were so lucky to have been hooked up with someone who knew someone who knew someone who actually lived in Bishop! So they let us borrow their van so that we could pass time rock climbing or whatever. We are at the parking lot for Owen's River Gorge. Did some climbing there to pass time. Awesome.

They let us stay at their house. In their backyard, they had a slack line. Here is Steve.

Me. Oh, yeah, I still haven't had a change of clothes, yet. Perhaps will do so if and when we get to Seattle.




  • 3/16: Camping on Flatiron, AZ

  • 4: Ice Climbing in Ouray, Colorado
  • 18: Winter in the Sierras

  • 5: Rock Climbing Flatiron
  • 11: Colorado Snow Trip

  • 3: Humphrey's Peak, AZ
  • 18: Joshua Tree Trip

  • 1: Road Tripping to Alaska
  • 6: Mt. Rainier, Washington
  • 11: To Talkeetna, Alaska
  • 28: Climbing Denali's Upper West Rib

  • 15: Washing Dishes After Denali

  • 19: 4th July Trip to the Sierras

  • No Update. Didn't do much.

  • 5: Hiked Lone Pine Peak (Sierras)

  • 27: Rock Climbing in Moab

  • 30: Thanksgiving at J-Tree

  • 8: Christi's Birthday
  • 17: Rock Climbing in Sedona, AZ