Saturday, June 30, 2007

Trip Report: Petit Grepon, South Face 5.8+

2007/06/28 Petit Grepon, South Face
Grade IV, 5.8+
5 mile approach, +2870’
8 pitches
Jill Salva & Dave Holliday

With the urge to get my Alpine-Face on, I invited Dave for a day of climbing at altitude on the South Face of the Petit Grepon. He’s been getting out a lot this year, logging more than 325 pitches of technical rock in 2007.

You can refer to The Mountain Project web site for the standard South Face ascent and descent details.

Our adventure begins at 2:45 am with Dave arriving at my home. With a standard Alpine rack, and 2-60 meter, 8.5mm ropes we toss our stuff in the car and head up to Rocky Mountain National Park.

Soon enough, Dave and I are on the trail and in just two hours, twenty minutes we hike from the Glacier Gorge Trailhead to the base of the Petit Grepon. There is already one party climbing the route. Under clear blue skies we get ready to start the climb.

We enjoy the climbing and advance quickly up the route. Near the summit we see some low clouds building, then the skies go electric. With the rock audibly sizzling, we quickly and effortlessly tie our ropes together and setup the first of a series of rappels. Once safely down to our big packs, we change into trail shoes and begin our 5-mile hike out.

The Petit Grepon, South Face is a stellar rock route with great holds and amazing views. Just be sure you get an early start.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Interview: Person-to-Person with Joanne Bradbury

Two years ago I began a still unfinished film that explores the roles and qualities of dance partners and climbing partners.

“Sudden Partnering” is my ongoing project that explores the various dimensions of partnering. To date, most of my interview subjects have been climbers, mountaineers, and dancers. But, that list is rapidly expanding.

The project has taken on a life of its own and beginning today, I’ll begin to publish interviews and film clips on this blog.

So here it is, the first in a series of Person-to-Person “Sudden Partnering” interviews. Thanks to my friend Joanne Bradbury for agreeing to be interviewed.

Q: Based on your highly acclaimed career and years of dance, what is the thing you like most about dance?

A: “The thing I like most about dance I would say is the complete freedom of mind and body to let go of everything in the outside world and be 'me', expressing all my inner feelings through interpretation of dance movements. Being able to interpret rhythm and movement in different styles of music and telling a story with my body and letting go of any stress or problems and enjoying the freedom of movement and the passion inside of me. It doesn't matter who we are in day to day life, you can just let go and become someone completely different loosing all inhibitions and setting yourself free.”

Q: Do you think dance is a mere form of physical expression, or something more?

A: “Dance is definitely more than physical, once you set yourself free and let yourself go it all comes from within, then you are really dancing. A true smile does not start from your face but from deep in your heart! A true dancer does not start by just moving her/his arms or legs but from a burning passion from deep within.”

Q: Given that your husband is an athlete - do you find similarities between your dance teaching and his guiding?

A: “I think that there are similarities between teaching dance and guiding as we are both giving to our students an ability to better their chosen activity. They always feel great afterwards and we both feel rewarded in doing so. You form a special bond, it is not like a teacher at school where you are forced to go, it is a choice and therefore you are fulfilling a dream somehow and helping them move forward in their chosen path.”

Q: I understand that you climb in addition to dance. Do you have any opinions on the qualities of a good climbing partner compared with the qualities of a good dance partner?

A: “A good climbing partner is someone you trust as they have your life in their hands some how. It is a partnership of encouragement and support and complete trust. As for dance the forms of dance I do, I don't need a partner I can just put on a piece of music and let my body move to the rhythm. It is always good to have a group of dancers and watch and admire the different ways in which people interpret the music is you can learn so much from just watching and growing your passion.”

To contact Joanne directly you can email her at or visit her web site at

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Trip Report: Mount Sniktau 13, 235 feet

2007/06/24 Mount Sniktau 13, 235 feet
RT ~4 miles
1,245 feet vertical gain
Alison Wray & Jill "Jillywray" Salva

With another day of sweltering heat due to engulf the lowlands, Alison and I decided to head up to the mountains for a summit bid of Mount Sniktau. The trail begins rather high at an elevation of 11,990 feet at Loveland Pass.

Tagging this particular summit was important to Alison, as she had not been up to this elevation before (out of my womb.) After rigging a pair of play sunglasses with duct tape, she felt ready for the trail.

Alison accidentally forgot her good pair of sunglasses at the theater Friday, so we were left to improvise to shield her eyes from the bright sun. Equipped with two options, a pair of swim goggles and the duct-taped creation, we felt ready and complete for our hike.

The first part of the trail goes up about 1,000 vertical feet presenting you with the choice of turning south to tag Grizzly Peak, or turning north to tag Sniktau. We were set on a Sniktau outing!

One rolls over three false summits before gaining the true summit of Sniktau. For a young mountaineer, this was no “give me” hike. Alison earned every bit of elevation and was able to stay focused on reaching her goal.

The views from the summit were incredible and I thought about coming back with trail running shoes to cruise along some of the ridgelines.

Our descent was uneventful and we felt satisfied at having reached such a beautiful peak on a beautiful day. A must do (at least once) for anyone who enjoys the high country, especially good for beginning hikers, flatlanders, desk jockeys and the like.

Click here to see pics.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

In Honor of Fathers

My own father lives far away
He was always busy when we play
My brothers, sister and I
Until my mother, she did die

Then my father became a man
He learned to love and he so easily can

He learned to listen
To his children’s thoughts
Even if it wasn’t what he taught

He opened himself – no longer afraid
He continues to grow
Now with hairs grey

My own former partner lives close by
He was always busy, too busy to cry
Our beautiful daughter, spirit walker girl
Little Bear to those of the Native world

She doth teach, he and me
She be dialed, more than we
Flexible, frilly, and free

She is strong, powerful and swift
She doth love and love is her gift

To all those dads upon this day
Take heart – and go play

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Trip Report: Longs Peak, North Face

Longs Peak, North Face

On Saturday, June 9th I had the opportunity to shadow Andrew Councell as he guided Mary and Steve on their attempt of the North Face of Longs Peak. This well-read, young, vivacious couple traveled here from our nation’s capitol, Washington, DC.

We began our day by meeting at the Colorado Mountain School at 1am. Mary and Steve were wide-eyed with excitement and ready to hit the trail. After a short drive to the trailhead, we threw on our packs and started our ascent.

We encountered mild temperatures and a clear night sky as we wove our way up to Jim’s Grove. It was there that we started to encounter 30-40 mph wind gusts as we crossed intermittent snowfields. Once the sun came up, I was surprised at the amount of snow on Longs majestic North Face.

Although both Steve and Mary had trekked high passes in Nepal and sumitted Rainer, they were impressed with the scale and seriousness of this North Face route. At Chasm View, our high point, this lovely couple decided to pause, take in the views, and then call it a day.

While we looked over at Lambs Slide at 8:30 am, the Notch Couloir spewed off an avalanche! The sound was loud. Just a week ago, Park Ranger Jim Detterline had taken two rangers up the Notch Couloir and then down the North Face. It seems that the newer snow from this week didn’t adhere to what was already in the Couloir.

The Diamond looked amazing and I wondered what it must be like to climb it. Thankful for having such an amazing job, my thoughts swirled and I marveled at my good fortune, my beautiful daughter and more.

Click Here for photos

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Caroline George: Wife, Athlete, and Alpinist

This afternoon while lifting weights at the North Boulder Rec Center, I looked up and saw my friend Caroline George (Caroline Ware before her marriage to Adam).

About one year ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Caroline for the first time. She was then, a guide for my current employer, the Colorado Mountain School. Since that time Caroline has continued to challenge herself on rock, snow, and ice by climbing around the world.

When I last saw Caroline and Adam in Ouray, they were all smiles while belaying and swinging their tools. This guiding duo has stopped in Boulder for a few weeks of training before heading out to Jackson Hole, WY where they will guide for Exum this summer (starting June 26th).

As the first American woman to climb the three great north faces of the Alps – The Eiger, the Matterhorn and the Walker Spur on the Grandes Jorasses, Caroline continues to be an inspiration. Her positive disposition and endless quest for interesting new lines spurs me on to keep exploring.

In a couple weeks, Caroline will be traveling to New Hampshire for a rock clinic and slide show – Click Here to get more details.