This Van Is Definitely NOT Rebuilding Itself (and the dog is only getting bigger)…

One thing that always helps me focus...a pound of bacon. The only problem: keeping it away from Desiree'.

Now that I have your attention… ūüôā

Paps has the keyboard for a post. ¬†Here’s an update on the build/inside of the van. ¬†We’ve ultimately had three rather different interiors. ¬†We’ve spent probably close to 60 nights in the van in 10 months, so we’ve spent a lot of time already tweaking things, trying new configurations and pulled everything out but the bed frame on multiple occasions. ¬†The nice thing about this whole project is that it all builds onto a previous piece. ¬†In other words, the structure isn’t mounted to the van anywhere. ¬†Essentially the entire structure is somehow reliant on the main 2×4 on the drivers side; which is held off the ground by two 2x3s, and then ¬†pulled back and down to the rear cargo tie-down point with a steel cable. ¬†The bed frame/platform sandwiches between the two walls and is help up by two other 2x3s on the passenger side. ¬†A combination of the overall weight, the steel cable anchor, and the wedging between the walls and insulation…the whole thing stays pretty secured. ¬†¬†We could have the the entire structure¬†out of the van in about an hour.

Another evening spent reinventing the wheel.

Another evening spent reinventing the wheel.

One thing that always helps me focus at 9 PM…a pound of bacon. The only problem: keeping it away from Desiree’.

Desiree' enjoying some organic soup from Whole Foods in Boulder, CO. The current version of the van gives us a lot of living/movement space. We pop open some REI chairs and it's like a little livingroom.

Desiree’ enjoying some organic soup from Whole Foods in Boulder, CO. The current version of the van gives us a lot of living/movement space. We pop open some REI chairs and it’s like a little livingroom.

Trango likes to be the center of attention. So she gets on the table.

Trango likes to be the center of attention. So she gets on the table.

Let’s get back to rebuilding the van.

Plans plans, plans for the van...

Every home project needs a good soundtrack; and we’re playing a lot of air guitar!

First Build – ¬†We built most of this in the garage before we even had the van. ¬†A few minor tweaks and it actually fit. ¬†We had nice matching HomeDepot cabinets with a 1-1/2″ thick butcher block counter, dreams of a gator-skin couch built onto the water tank and the entire rear floor of the van sliding out on 60″ sliders to carry a tandem bike, skis and a whole lot of fun. ¬†Those cabinets got demolished when Mitch (Paps’ Pap) came to visit…we actually roasted our hotdogs on the beach using the wood from the cabinets. ¬†Why? ¬†Because Desiree’ wanted a puppy… ¬†On to build #2.

This was our first change after getting TrangoPup. We ripped the cabinets out, tied the shelf thing to the side support and lived more out of totes o the floor.This was our first change after getting TrangoPup. ¬†We ripped the cabinets out, tied the shelf thing to the side support to hold some clothes and lived more out of totes on the floor. ¬†Not enough time between trips to build anything new so we “dealt” for a couple trips. ¬†The vertical shelf was built to be mounted on each side of the bed, up at the ceiling, for overhead storage. ¬†We eventually mounted this to the actual bed frame beside the mattress (perfect fit!) and we store guide books, towels, and other items in there. ¬†This same box is what we eventually mounted the potable water spigot into. ¬†Quite the multipurpose box!

Second version – We needed a place to house the dog and more (better) storage. We also had to keep in mind that our 10 lb fluff ball would be an 85 lb shed ball by next year. ¬†We got rid of the cabinets and I built these ghetto shelves above the water tank. ¬†I wasn’t smart enough to flip them over to use their down turned lip as a stop…I wasted time and 1×2″ lumber to make the wooden stops you see in the pictures. ¬†At some point I figured I would try them upside down and they work like a charm. ¬†We put the dog crate under the bed on the slide-out-floor and rearranged things every time the music stopped…trying to find the best place for each piece of the puzzle. ¬†I’ll add captions to the pictures to explain each notable point.

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Here’s another view of the guts to our final shelf version. I regularly check the cull (damaged) lumber bin at Home Depot…that’s where I got the key piece of wood for the van build. The super long 2×4 on the driver’s side runs almost the full length of the van and holds everything together. I splinted that 2×4 to to a couple other pieces to support these wire shelves. I cut them to length so this shelving unit fits the same spot as our old cabinets. The 2×4, and rest of the bed, are supported by a couple braces. The window frame shaped support on the floor holds a lot of the weight and eventually acts as a good divider for our clothes hamper and gear storage.

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The inside of the battery box. Keeps them in place and offers a little bit of insulation to the bottom of the batteries.

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View from the back of the van. The water tank box is now over in the far right-bottom corner. The box is anchored to the rear bed frame support. So, 400 lb of water adds to the anchoring of the bed system…in addition to the driver’s side 2×4 being anchored back and down to the back of the van with a steel cable and turn-buckle. The early version of the frame kept the bed about 6″ forward of the doors (true back of the cargo area). We cut notches out of the back corners of the bed frame and pulled it back even farther. Now, there’s less room to drop things (pillows) off of the back of the mattress and cold air won’t move as well when we’re cold camping.

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With the water tank up front, we used the lid as a make shift counter and rando-storage area. The tank was originally going to go under the front of the bed and have a gator-skin covered cushion to serve as a couch type seat.

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The wood piece in the middle of the shelves is notched out to hold/support each shelf and ultimately transfer the weight onto the 2×4 support across the back of the bottom shelf.

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This was our first attempt to relocate the dog crate. In this version, the crate took up half of the slide-out floor and we piled gear and shoes on both sides of the crate.

Third – And pretty close to final. ¬†We removed the slide out floor all together, pseudo secured the dog crate to the rear driver’s side of the van and secured the water tank to the rear passenger side. ¬†One of the best outcomes of Mod-3 is that we got the water running (the day before we left for 2 weeks in Colorado!). ¬†We now have a water spigot (like you’d install on your kitchen sink with a water filter or heater add-on) and an extendable hose connected to a spray nozzle (like you pull up out of your kitchen sink to spray the food of your dishes) that will reach out of the van for gear/dog washing and showers. ¬†We installed the spigot inside the storage box alongside our mattress so that it’s protected from dirt, damage, and dog but we can still access it without opening the lid or too much effort. ¬†We also installed 5 LED lights that run off of the house battery system. ¬†Unfortunately, we bought a POS storage chest from HomeDepot that can barely support the weight of our snacks and cookware…but it works. ¬†Pictures below:

The mattress helps keep the back wall pressed into the PVC hanger which presses into the shelves. Nicely sandwiched together.

The mattress helps keep the back wall pressed into the PVC hanger which presses into the shelves. Nicely sandwiched together.

Front side of our bedside storage system. This is one of the LED lights that we installed. This one floods the open area inside the sliding door. This is also a decent picture of the front face where we later cut the access hole to the water spigot.

Front side of our bedside storage system. This is one of the LED lights that we installed. This one floods the open area inside the sliding door. This is also a decent picture of the front face where we later cut the access hole to the water spigot.  Also, the slide-out-floor has been removed and the plumbing is yet to be installed.

Since the whole shelf system is anchored to that one 2x4 along the driver's side of the van, the shelves would rock pretty violently when going around turns. Particularly left turns... So, a little chain and a turnbuckle and now it's pretty secure. I also rebuilt the battery box so that it's not so janky...it's still a little ghetto, but it works.

Since the whole shelf system is anchored to that one 2×4 along the driver’s side of the van, the shelves would rock pretty violently when going around turns. Particularly left turns… So, a little chain and a turnbuckle and now it’s pretty secure. I also rebuilt the battery box so that it’s not so janky…it’s still a little ghetto, but it works.

LED light on the back side of our coat closet...lights up the sleeping area nicely.

LED light on the back side of our coat closet…lights up the sleeping area nicely.

You can see the one 2x4 that runs from the back of the van up to the middle of the gray wire shelves.

You can see the one 2×4 that runs from the back of the van up to the middle of the gray wire shelves. ¬†The wires for our electronics charging run through the flywood wall on the picture’s right. ¬†All of our headlamps, batteries, cameras, etc., sit on the plastic drawers to get charged. ¬†Our clothes hamper, CO detector and fire extinguisher live behind the short plywood divider on the left of the photo.

Either open the lid to run the lever, or reach in under your bottle, and you're good to go. This area is also perfect for keeping a roll of paper towels and maybe even some chocolate rice cakes... :)

Either open the lid to run the lever, or reach in under your bottle, and you’re good to go. This area is also perfect for keeping a roll of paper towels and maybe even some chocolate rice cakes… ūüôā

Storage bin lids double as a nice bedside table and movie watching platform.

Here's the opening on the front of the storage box.

Here’s the opening on the front of the storage box for running the spigot. ¬†You can see the lid on the top, each compartment has it’s own lid. ¬†Below the light you can see the water pump and some of the plumbing. ¬†The water comes out of the tank and into the pump through the right vertical line, left of the blue wrap. ¬†The pump sends it left across the picture and up to a T-fitting for the spigot and shower line. ¬†The shower line is on the end of the far left, angled, white tubing and it hangs from the orange twist tie.

imageThe main thing that we have to do yet is install the ceiling. We were close to finishing it before we left for CO but I had the wrong size screws and didn’t have the time to get it back in place to secure before we left.

We’ve also been trying to socialize Trango to sleeping in a tent so that she’ll be used to sleeping with us. ¬†Our plan is to have her sleep with us on the bed this winter while ice climbing and skiing. ¬†She’s great…for most of the night.

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Trango trying to wiggle between our sleeping bags. She slept so peacefully at Desiree’s feet until we started to move a bit more when the sun was up. Then, it began…

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Catch us next time…we might need to borrow some tools.

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Happy Trails and Wagging Tails (Summertime Flashback). 

Trango and Paps relaxing at Helen's Dome

Trango and Paps relaxing at French’s Dome

Summertime got away without a chance to post much.¬† We had some fun this summer; both worked a lot and rebuilt the van!¬† I will post more on that later. ¬†With all the rain here, maybe I’ll have time to work on the blog.

I’m going to summarize summertime with a quick blog and many pictures.¬† There were many micro adventures in this blog post and a lot of friends!

Trip one (see photo above).  Paps flew in late one night with plans to drive to Smith to Climb for the weekend.  Trango and I hung out in Portland to pick him up.  The flights came in later than we thought so we spent the weekend between Portland and Mt Hood with Trango Pup (TP).

This turned out to be good development for her.¬† We hiked the Salmon River Trail.¬† She had her first river experience.¬† And we climbed at French’s Dome, which allowed for uninterrupted training on how to be a “CragDog.”

Dat face though...waiting to pick Pappy D up at the airport.

Dat face though…waiting to pick Pappy D up at the airport.

TP what are you doing?

TP, what are you doing?

TP and dad out on a limb

TP and dad out on a limb…Paps working on “fear training”

My baby!

My baby!

A little concerned

A little concerned…but brave!

Cutest face out on a hike

Cutest face, out on a hike (at least both ears are up!)

Pooped pup

One pooped pup

Crag dog in practice.

Crag dog in practice.

Dad and baby.

Dad and baby.

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Trip Two consisted of hanging out in Bend for a few days and climbing at Smith with friends.¬† Trango continued to develop good behavior at the “crag” and we had some awesome and supportive friends along the way.¬† And a whole lotta fun!¬† We were joined by Heather and Jason, Moriah and Brent, and Phil! ¬†Oh, and in between all of these trips, we had a fan installed in the van so we wouldn’t suffocate! ¬†Well, Paps still worries about moisture (rust) in the van and makes it safe for us to leave Trango in the van at a wider temperature range.

Smith Rock, watching Trango grow.

The Family.

Friendships are what make life go round ūüôā

TP hiding from the sun.

Warming up on Irreverence.

Great capture by Heather! How many married couples get their photos taken like this?!

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Brent, a good sport, watching us climb.

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Daniel on some random 5.10

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TP explaining how she has been a good girl and wishes to go play now.

Camping with friends.

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Did I mention we have a fan now?!

Trip Three consisted of just me…no Paps, meeting up with Moriah to climb.¬† Moriah brought along a couple of friends and we spent a couple of hot, quick days climbing. Trango also had her first tent experience (it didn’t last all night, but she made up for it later with a few good nights in a tent with Paps and me in the front yard!).

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Strong Women Climbing

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Jenna leading Snuffy Smith (left), Moriah about to rappel from something on the peanut.

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Pup Tent?

Thanks for the pictures and memories from some good friends.  @heather_anne_87, @_windwalker_

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Until next time…

“You wanted a puppy”…the raising of a “crag dog”

Van at Crater Lake

Titus at Crater Lake

Paps often says “You wanted a Puppy!”….and at times I question my sanity. ¬†Even as I sit here trying to remember the events of June, I’m wrestling a 44 lb German Shepherd Dog (GSD) on her bed. ¬†Note, not the couch, not MY bed…her bed. ¬†Because I can’t do anything without the land shark finding her next victim.

So let me take you back, waaaaaay back to June.  Oh man.  Remember that sweet, sweet puppy on the rope bag?  The one that so incredibly cute, sweet, and slept in my lap?  That pup has been replaced with an autonomous, intelligent, cunning and sometimes very naughty little dog (part alligator?).

So we made our second trip towards Trango’s mother land…Central Oregon.

such a sweet lapdog.

Such a sweet lapdog.

Road Trip, van reinvented, but not permanently.

Road Trip, van reinvented, but not permanently.

So…we made it there! ¬†But did we climb a lot? ¬†Oh, heck no. ¬†The first day we started out early only to deal with barking, whining, digging, eating rocks, and acting like a maniac. So, we bailed like the embarrassed parents in a church service whose toddler threw himself across the pews.

Trango riding shotgun on the rope bag, it was a little harder with a doubled weight.

Trango riding shotgun on the rope bag, a little harder since she doubled her weight.

TP (Trango pup) apparently gets priority.  We found some shade for a puppy to relax and flexed our tolerance muscles to make a plan.

We climbed at sunset while she napped!

Multi pitching with the kid in bed.

Multi pitching with the kid in bed.

Paps on top of some random 5.9

Paps on top of some random 5.9

watching him rappel

Watching him rappel

Paps and Mama D after climbing Lion Zion 5.10c. An amazing lead.

Paps and Mama D after climbing Lion Zion 5.10c.  An amazing lead.

Climbing at sunset.

Climbing at sunset.

Tiny little paps WAAAAY up there!

Tiny little paps WAAAAY up there!

The next day we went to Crater Lake, because cleary that was puppy compatible.

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a little family time.

A little family time.

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So, we tried climbing again, but this time raced the sun, and found a spot where we (Paps) could could work on Trad and Trango could hang out.

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You’re probably curious why she has a tarp. ¬†She eats rocks.

Climbing while the baby naps.

Climbing while the baby naps.

Girl, put that ear up!

Girl, put that ear up!

We really enjoyed our time with TP.  We learned a lot, and all of us still have a lot to learn.

As for the van, at this time we have a plan.  More to come!

Hanging out at an outdoor Patio/our favorite spot.

Hanging out at McMennamins‘ outdoor patio, our¬†favorite spot.

Homeward bound...

Homeward bound…one ear up, one eye open…

Until next time…

Happy Anniversary!

Van at the Painted Hills

Titus at the Painted Hills

So….lets go back….like back to May…where I stopped posting. ¬†For good reason, we’ve been raising a child.

Welcome to the Cathell Family Trango!

Welcome to the Cathell Family Trango!

This was our anniversary trip to Colorado. ¬†It didn’t happen. ¬†The weather in Colorado was awful. ¬†And with such a small amount of time, we decided we would go to Smith and climb our hearts out there without the stress of driving.

Heading to the Marsupials on a hot Sunday.

Heading to the Marsupials on a hot Sunday.

Wondering how excited we were to walk back.

Wondering how excited we were to walk back?

Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary!

We climbed on Sunday (our actual anniversary). ¬†Due to some injuries Paps decided he would belay me on Monday while I worked on some “projects.” ¬†While we were getting ready at the van the cutest family walked by us with the CUTEST puppy! ¬†I pointed this pup out to Daniel and less than 30 minutes after we visited with the family we were on the phone with the breeder. ¬†Whoops.

Back story: ¬†I’ve wanted a dog for the last three years. Specifically a chihuahua. ¬†Or a Pomeranian. ¬†You know, a small lap dog that I could tote around with us while we climb. ¬†He was less than excited and said he would agree to something “bigger” and “smarter”. ¬†He is indeed discriminatory to small breed “rats.” ¬†With the response, “we already have two cats”.

my dreams of a lap dpg come true

My dreams of a lap dog come true!

First day with Trango...Dad meet Trango, Trango meet Dad.

First day with Trango…Dad meet Trango, Trango meet Dad.

There was one boy and one girl left out of 8 puppies. ¬†And since we agreed to a girl only, the choice was easy. ¬†Many people ask where we got the name “Trango.” ¬†I wish I could say it was because of the Trango Towers in Pakistan, but unfortunately it’s because the company Trango makes pink climbing ropes.

So what did we do with a puppy the rest of the week? ¬†We quickly had her adapt to van life of course! ¬†The first night was rough. ¬†We slept as much as 2 hours at a time the entire night. ¬†Many times less than that. ¬†Puppy cries can really echo in a well insulated van. ¬†In and out we went with a yelping pup who was scared, confused, and seemed to not enjoy her current situation…but we didn’t have an accident!

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Van life is tiring.

Van Life is tiring.

She’s asleep in her food bowl.

We met up with my mom who was in town and went to the Painted Hills

Painted Hills

Painted Hills

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Already posing for snapshots.

Already posing for snapshots.

We spent more time playing in random lawns, going to and from Petsmart, and learning the life of a puppy.  Our sleepless nights began to decrease as we took turns getting up throughout the night.

On Thursday night, my climbing buddy Moriah met us to climb outside for the first time. ¬†The best thing was, this was Trango’s first day as a “cragdog“!

8lb sandbagger

8lb sandbagger

Welcome to outdoor climbing Moriah

Welcome to outdoor climbing Moriah

Moriah's First Multipitch experience.

Moriah’s first Multipitch experience.

Attempting to redpoint this silly climb

Attempting to redpoint this silly climb

Paps teaching Moriah some multi pitch basics

Paps teaching Moriah some multi pitch basics

Between a rock and a climbing bag.

Between a rock and a climbing bag.

Sweet furbaby on the rope bag

Sweet furbaby on the rope bag

One of my favorite shots of us getting ready at Smith..thanks Moriah!

One of my favorite shots of us getting ready at Smith…thanks Moriah!

Trango walking

Trango walking

So, Moriah did awesome and so did Trango! ¬†What an experience this week was for all of us. ¬†ūüėČ ¬† We ended the trip 8 days later with a visit to the vet before we left Bend.

First vet visit, blindsided by the thermometer.

First vet visit, blindsided by the thermometer.

Thanks Moriah for meeting up with us and allowing us to bring Trango along. ¬†She has an awesome instagram page…check her out @_windwalker_

Until next time…

The last few….

Sunny Days....

Sunny Days….

I’m behind. ¬†It’s hard to keep up when you have a job, family visiting, lots of driving…and well…life.

I’m going to combine two of the Smith Rock weekends into one. ¬†The first weekend was Paps and Mama D. ¬†And well, there weren’t really any pictures. ¬†We climbed some 10s and that’s about it. ¬†Ate really good food, slept in the van.

The second trip, Paps had to work for the weekend, so I took Titus and met the Holzeman’s and their friend to climb.

Hanging in the van post climbing.

Hanging in the van post climbing.

Rob (above left) has recently written guidebooks on bouldering in the PNW. ¬†They are fantastic. ¬†His brain is a blast to pick. ¬†Also, there is his wife Jess (seen in the middle). She’s an awesome climber, full of energy and a doctor in Vancouver, WA. ¬†Then there is their friend David. ¬†He’s from the east coast. ¬†A business owner, just hanging out for the weekend. ¬†Why I say all of this is because it’s awesome to see people passionate about climbing and being outdoors when they have a busy life and other responsibilities.

So…we climbed!

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Screaming Yellow Zonkers, 100′, 5.10b

Rob and Jess chilling.

Rob and Jess chilling

A busy day on wherever I may roam.

A busy day on Wherever I May Roam.

Rob took some awesome pictures of me leading.

Rob took some awesome pictures of me leading.

Beautiful sunset with Monkey's Face in the foreground.

Beautiful sunset with Monkey’s Face in the foreground.

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Pretty pink rope.

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Me on Double Trouble

Me on Double Trouble

If you are interested in guidebooks, check out Rob’s company: Next Ascent

Vegas or Bust!

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This trip was by far our favorite as a couple.  First of all, I love climbing in Vegas.  I love the weather and the atmosphere.  Red Rocks is a HUGE playground for both sport and trad climbers.  We climbed Cat in the Hat the year before.  I fell in love with his place and this is where I decided I really wanted the van (see our first post).

So…Paps had a work trip the week before and I didn’t want to wait around. ¬†I got an invite to show up and climb with some awesome climbers…what was I to do? ¬†I packed the van and drove it to Vegas. It was a glorious two days. ¬†This trip, we didn’t have the cupboards, so we lived completely out of storage tubs. ¬†It was really nice, we had a lot of room to move around and sit.

The van was HOT this trip. ¬†We went to bed sweating and woke up freezing. ¬†We showered at the climbing gym. ¬†I attempted a shower at the Veterans’ center, but due to cold water and lack of privacy, we opted to go the old way. ¬†Discount showers at the local climbing gym

We ate our share of Jason’s¬†Deli, Wahoo’s Tacos, and Pf Changs…..and we almost bought a puppy.

Ready to Go!

Ready to Go!

Max trying to help me pack the van.

Max trying to help me pack the van.

Past Reno!

Past Reno!

The first night I slept in Grants Pass due to a late start and finished my drive the next day. I arrived in Vegas around midnight. ¬†I attempted to sleep in the parking lot of Red Rocks Casino with plans to meet up with Halina and Alex at 730 the next morning. ¬†Promptly after 1 am, I heard a knock on the van. I was then kicked out of the parking lot by security. ¬†But, never fear, I drove closer to Red Rocks and slept in the Albertson’s parking lot. ¬†The next couple of nights I stayed at Alex’s house (that’s where the party was), by pulling the van into the RV spot by the house. ¬†It was the hardest I slept until I picked up Paps at the airport. But, until I picked him up, I had a blast climbing with my new found friends at the Panty Wall and Sunny and Steep crags.

Hallelujah! Red Rocks!

Hallelujah! Red Rocks!

Day 1

Day 1

Beautiful Views

Beautiful Views

Alex at the Panty Wall

Alex at the Panty Wall

Day 2. 5.11b

Day 2. 5.11b

Then I picked this guy up at the airport!

Spending the week with this guy.

Spending the week with this guy.

We spent Saturday with Halina and Alex at the Black Corridor.  It was amazing.  Paps led his first 5.10d outside.

Halina hiding in the Huecos of a 5.10d

Halina hiding in the Huecos of a 5.10d

Alex rockin the 10's and showing us a great time.

Alex rockin the 10’s and showing us a great time.

We spent Sunday at the Panty Wall doing some easy climbs and then went to the Valley of Fire…it was awesome!

Valley of Fire with Paps!

Valley of Fire with Paps!

Back bends at the Valley of Fire

Back bends at the Valley of Fire

Come Monday, I had some goals. ¬†I wanted to lead all the pitches of Big Bad Wolf…which I did! ¬†This included a bolt to bolt fall on lead…not because it was hard (I was feeling cocky), but I lost my footing. ¬†Either way, I did it, and came out trusting my belay partner more.

Good morning! Breakfast in the Van...at the coffee shop.

Good morning! Breakfast in the Van…at the coffee shop.

Multi-pitch 5.9 lead for me including my first lead fall! (You can see all 3 pitches in the picture).

Multi-pitch 5.9 lead for me including my first lead fall! (You can see all 3 pitches in the picture).

We did entertain ourselves in Vegas other than Climbing…we visited the Body’s and Titanic exhibit. ¬†Then, we ate our share of popcorn from Popcorn Girl.

Popcorn!

Popcorn!

With the fall out of the way, we headed to the Civilization Crag to lead some 5.10s.

Leading 5.10s!

I lead 5.10s!

Checking out all of those 5.10 leads.

Checking it all out

lessons on where not to throw the rope.

Lessons on where not to throw the rope.

Looking up some climbs at Calico Basin

Looking up some climbs at Calico Basin

Wednesday we went to the Black Corridor again and led some 5.9s.  We then had two massages and enjoyed a partial rest day.  Thursday, we went to the Fringe and climbed some more..due to the crumbling rock we headed back to the Black Corridor (I know, but there was so much to do!).

Looking over Vegas at the Fringe

Looking over Vegas at the Fringe

The approach pitch at the Fringe.

The approach pitch at the Fringe.

Scoping out some climbs

Scoping out some climbs

But before the Black Corridor, we might have taken a two hour nap and had a beverage before heading out.

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

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Beautiful scenery everywhere

Beautiful scenery everywhere

Leaving the Black Corridor

Leaving the Black Corridor

Yet another 5.10 lead

Black Corridor 5.10s

Black Corridor

We then climbed another day at the Meet up Wall, then finished at the Black Corridor.  Before we went home, we got an oil change and stocked up on Popcorn, the essentials.

Beautiful Rocks everywhere!

Beautiful rocks everywhere!

Until next time.

Until next time.

On the way home, we made a stop to look at mountain goats…then when we got home, there was ¬†a pink rope waiting for me as a prize for climbing hard and meeting some goals! ¬†Trango, makes the only pink climbing rope, the Lotus!

Mountain Goats!

Mountain goats!

New Pink Rope!!!

My new pink rope!!!

A special thanks to Alex and Halina for letting me crash their party, and for them being so welcoming to Paps and me!  We enjoyed their company and Happy Birthday Alex!

Gut it and lets go!

Titus at the Falls.

Titus at the Falls.

It’s been a minute since the last update. So, the next couple will come out pretty close to one another. ¬†Since the awesome ski/climbing adventure we have gutted the van, had a finger heal, got the van stuck in the backwoods and the van has been driven to Vegas and back. ¬†But for now, I’ll run you through our last advanture to Smith Rock…

I should be getting ready to climb, but instead I was relaxing on the bed...what a view!

I should be getting ready to climb, but instead I was relaxing on the bed…what a view!

Avoiding rust is the name of the game. ¬†Titus was wet after our ski trip. So wet, we had to gut it, seal it up better, and put more insulation in. ¬†Specifically, the Pink Panther type.¬† Hopefully this fixed our moisture problem. ¬†Also, we have had to have the door painted twice because the door hits the body when it opens and closes (They couldn’t get it right. And still haven’t). ¬†Update November 6th, 2015: Ford has been completely unhelpful, dishonest, and disgusting to work with.

So…now we are not sure what to do with the van. ¬†Add different storage? Add the water tank? Replace the cabinets? ¬†Decisions, decisions…but it hasn’t stopped us from partying on.

At the top of a short Multi-pitch at Smith Rock. I think it was Rodney's Frosted Chocolate Love Donut.

At the top of a short Multi-pitch at Smith Rock. I think it was Rodney’s Frosted Chocolate something…

So on the way to Smith, Paps was so sweet to allow us to go to Bridal Veil falls. ¬†This was awesome and allowed me to play with the camera and he was my model. ¬†It’s a beautiful spot in the Gorge.

Paps at the Falls

Paps at the falls

Strangers on the Bridge.

Strangers on the bridge.

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Paps on the Bridge.

Paps on the bridge.

We went to Smith for the weekend.  Beautiful weather!  And met up with some of our friends who took wonderful pictures for us.

Paps leading Helium Woman

Paps leading Helium Woman

Paps following me up Chalk Wave

Paps following me up Chalk Wave

Hanging out in Holes.

Hanging out in holes.

Me on Helium Woman

Me on Helium Woman.

Looking for Climbs

Looking for climbs

That is about all.  After we arrived home, we went on a quick weekend to Portland to climb and then started getting the van ready for Vegas!

Jason on Kathleen Finds an Edge.

Jason on Kathleen Finds an Edge.

Paps vs geese.

Paps vs geese.

Until next time,

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I really want to say thank you to Heather for taking pictures of us. ¬†I really appreciate her. ¬†She takes some awesome pictures. ¬†If you want to see the PNW and all it’s beauty follow her on Instagram at Heather_Anne_87.

Broken Plans and Caravans

Paps cutting his nails from the front porch.

Paps cutting his nails from the front porch.

The plan was Bozeman, but we changed that plan. ¬†(Long story, but I’ll take the blame…something about a hurt finger and a long drive). ¬†So we ended up on a short five day adventure around the pacific northwest. ¬†Here’s how it went…

We left on a Wednesday morning and started driving. ¬†We just drove. ¬†We had a plan to try to summit a few “easy” peaks, but were shut down by bad weather. ¬†What’s the point of going up high if there isn’t anything to see?

We ended up with a good weather window for a few hours that day so we headed to Mt Hood to check an item off my bucket list: a quick jaunt up French’s Dome to see the sunset. I have a hurt finger, so climbing is something I am trying to avoid at this time. ¬†So I did it with one hand and balanced with the palm of my hurt hand. ¬†The route we did was “Giant’s Staircase.” ¬†It’s a quick easy way to get to the top (5.6) and can be done when the temperature is around freezing (though, not enjoyable).

32 degrees and dropping

32 degrees and dropping

Bringing up the rear..one handed and frozen.

Bringing up the rear…one handed and frozen.

We made it to the top!!!

We made it to the top!!!

Teamwork and cold feet.

Teamwork and cold feet.

Side-note: While Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgenson were tearing up the Dawn Wall, we were tearing up French’s dome…

So then we didn’t know what to do. ¬†We had an aborted weekend plan and some time to kill so we headed to Smith Rock. ¬†We woke up at the campground and had our first breakfast with the van. ¬†Turkey Chili from Panera, reheated.

First time using the Stansport two burner camp stove.

First time using the Stansport two burner camp stove.

Paps then climbed a couple of routes.  After the third route we bailed and attempted to get warm.  We woke up the next morning and decided to head to Mt Hood due to the cold.

Paps on Phoenix.

Paps on Phoenix.

Paps on the rappel from Phoenix

Paps on the rappel from Phoenix

Arriving to Mt Hood.

Arriving at Mt Hood.

In the meantime, and beforehand, there was some peer pressure to meet up with our other adventure vehicle buddies and “shred the gnar” (is that right?) at Mt Hood. ¬†We would then place our vehicles (one truck, two vans) strategically to give us a courtyard to hang out in. ¬†It worked out well, but only for a night.

Blue skies when we arrived.

Blue skies when we arrived.

Erin tearing it up at sunset! Go girl!

Erin tearing it up at sunset! Go girl!

Nice scenery

Nice scenery

And alas, the birth of a dream.

Overnight parking take over by the "A" team.

Overnight parking taken over by the “A” team.

Gotta love the setup.

Gotta love the setup.

Propane fires all around.

Propane fires all around.

Early Morning "First chair" breakfast.

Early Morning “First chair” breakfast.

So, these cats (as Paps would call them) had done this the weekend before while I was on call. ¬†After the numerous texts and pics, we had to try it. ¬†It was a blast..then this happened…

Rain all day

Rain all day

This is why every other picture you will see, will be indoors with no more ski pics. ¬†We were drenched. ¬†But, it was great snow! ¬†And we gave it a hard go with all the rain. ¬†By the end of the day this is how we ended up…

Drying out

Drying out

Lunch in the lower lodge.

Lunch in the lower lodge.

Friends all around.

Friends all around.

Closing down the lower lodge to dry out our gear, followed by games in the upper lodge

Closing down the lower lodge to dry out our gear, followed by games in the upper lodge

So we finished the night playing games in the upper lodge, and fell asleep being rocked by the wind (literally thought the van the going to take out another car after tumbling over.  Dramamine came in super handy).  The next morning we did a run but bailed due to all the ice and wet gear.

Driving home.

Driving home.

Now for the van…not much to update. ¬†The cabinets stay closed..thank you Paps and Home Depot! ¬†Since we like to have fun and build the van, some things are just on hold until we get time. ¬†We still need to do underneath the bed (make drawers, organize gear), finish the water tank which will be a bench, ¬†add a water faucet, and a whole lot more. ¬†In the meantime we are going to have fun. ¬†We don’t have forever in the PNW so we are trying to take advantage of the time we have!

It's getting there...

It’s getting there…

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In the meantime, climb on!

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Last shot in the lodge. Thanks to everyone for taking the pics and letting me use them for the post!

Last shot in the lodge. Thanks to everyone for taking the pics and letting me use them for the post!

Over the river and through the woods, to Hyalite Canyon we go.

Titus holding stout through the snowy canyon.

Titus holding stout through the snowy canyon.

We left on Christmas day (never a good idea because there isn’t anywhere to eat), and spent the next 9 days exploring/ice climbing in Hyalite Canyon, near Bozeman, MT. ¬†What an adventure it was. This was my first time ice climbing and Titus’s first, and hopefully only, time in record -35 degrees F temperatures. ¬†The coldest we climbed in was -7. The other days we spent at Yellowstone, where we rode snowmobiles to Old Faithful at -20.

Titus, however, did awesome in the snow. ¬†His ice tires held strong and we only had to use chains once. ¬†But, it wasn’t just him sliding!

Paps getting ready.

Paps getting ready.

We arrived at Bozeman on Friday where I practiced axing it up….and proceeded to do my first waterfall on Saturday. ¬†This is the day we also watched a self proclaimed “very seasoned” climber rappel off the end of his rope 35 ft, flip off of a snow ledge half way down, and land safely on his feet in two feet of powder three feet in front of Daniel. ¬†After a few minutes of making sure he was ok, and talking things over, Daniel made the rhetorical suggestion: “Maybe this is a good reminder to tie knots in the end of our ropes for rappel.” ¬†The “experienced” guy’s response: “I don’t really believe in that.” ¬†Okay, guy, you should have just died…but you got lucky…let’s go climb somewhere else ¬†(Lets not forget to tie knots in the end of our ropes!)

Cold approaches, but it was beautiful

Cold approaches, but it was beautiful

Now to all of the “hardcorians” out there…I’m sorry, but -7 is cold! ¬†To be honest, we didn’t get many routes done because I was slow…layers, pants, gators, crampons, and packs. ¬†Hiking to the falls, adding one of your ten puffies and changing one of your twenty pairs of gloves just to stay warm. Then, wrestling with your harness through gloves that could be worn on Denali, and finally trying to warm up to climb. I have a new respect for Alpinists. I think next time around I can conquer getting ready in under 4 hours.

Having hot water at the base of a climb

Warming up

He's a hottie.

He’s a hottie.

-7 degrees.

-7 degrees.

After a few days of climbing and ¬†temperatures well into sub-freezing, we headed to Yellowstone because there was a “cold front” coming…colder than -7. ¬†We used the company “Yellowstone Adventures” to get a guided snowmobile tour through Yellowstone. ¬†It was fantastic. ¬†We also went to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center. ¬†I would recommend this to anyone traveling to West Yellowstone. ¬†The night we stayed in West Yellowstone, we drove to a hotel that was closed for the season and plugged into their outlets to charge the batteries and got ready for a very cold night. (-29 was the coldest the dashboard registered).

Arriving at Yellowstone late at night. -20's.

Arriving at Yellowstone late at night. -20’s.

Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center

Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center

Yellowstone snowmobile....-23 degrees!

Yellowstone snowmobiling…-23 degrees!

Bison at Yellowstone

Bison at Yellowstone

Beautiful views!

Beautiful views!

Old Faithful, erupting into steam.

Old Faithful, erupting into steam.

We then drove back to Bozeman and finished our last couple of days climbing in the canyon with temperatures that made climbing more than bearable.

Warmer days were more enjoyable.

Warmer days were more enjoyable.

Bottom of the "Crag"

Bottom of the “Crag”

Paps at the bottom of G2.

Paps at the bottom of “G2.”

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Paps’ boots on the ice.

Now for the van. ¬†It was well insulated, but the floor was freezing. ¬†(I guess we need to insulate that too). ¬†We used the Mr. Heater Little Buddy, a ‘”safe inside” tent/camping propane heater…but no worries, we read many reviews and also had a smoke/co detector in the van with cracked windows. ¬†It gave us about 6 hours of heat before it needed to be changed. ¬†Keeping everything dry was also another huge problem. ¬†Snow is wet. ¬†ūüėČ ¬†We often left the van running with the heat on high while we were at dinner. ¬†We also used a painters extension pole from home depot to suspend our ropes and harnesses in the air to dry out. Last, but not least, we ran a dehumidifier the entire time. ¬†It’s the “Eva Dry Electric Petite Dehumidifier.”

Suspended ropes and harnesses. Great for drying things out and for a a stick-clip!

Suspended ropes and harnesses. Great for drying things out and for a a stick-clip!

Dehumidifier

Dehumidifier

There were so many times things were hanging all over the van. ¬†You’d turn around to a bouquet of gloves drying out on a hanger. ¬†At other times, you’d turn to get a gator in the mouth. ¬†But the system worked!

Storeables shelves in the bottom cabinets to store our clothes.

Storeables shelves in the bottom cabinets to store our clothes.

The bed with the trimmed insulation and with the bins. (Note the new "closet" to the right to hang our puffies).

The bed with the trimmed insulation and with the bins. (Note the new “closet” to the right to hang our puffies).

Someday, I’ll take some better pictures so the lighting will be a little better and the images won’t look so grainy…but this is what you get for now.

What a poser.

What a poser.

Snow tires a must, chains….wouldn’t hurt either.

Titus had his first snow experience.

Titus had his first snow experience.

After acquiring our season’s pass to Timberline, Paps backed out of our side sloped parking spot, nose uphill, and we got stuck…no upward movement. ¬†We pulled back into our spot, and then back out, nose downhill and backed up the hill to leave. ¬†Titus needs some chains, and to be¬†parked level¬†when¬†it’s snowing. ¬†But on a good note, we named the van Titus and Titus goes up hills better backwards. ¬†Titus seems appropriate.¬† We debated Greek names and translations, but we settled on Titus.

There have been just a few small touches to the van since the last post.¬† Paps rebuilt the water box to the correct size of the new fittings, and built a box around the batteries.¬† I attempted to make more room for clothing by sliding the bed to the driver’s side wall (originally centered with 4 inches on both sides) to allow room for bins.

Battery box

Battery box

Finished (for now) cupboards.

Finished (for now) cupboards.

Water box (still being worked on)

Water box (still being worked on)

The bed slid over (makes all kinds of room for strorage!)

The bed slid over makes all kinds of room for storage!

with the bins on the side (makes for a nice table).

Bins on the side makes for a nice table.

A little fun at Planet Granite in PDX

A little fun at Planet Granite in PDX

Paps hanging on the wall.

Paps hanging on the wall.

At this point, we are trying to get the van “Ready for Bozeman” as Paps calls it. ¬†I don’t have much to update on since we last went climbing at Smith.