The feel of the soft powdery snow, The sun going down with a bright glow. The crunch of the snow as we sled down the hill. The snow dust in your face creates a chill. The strong scent of apple pie Lets you know it's time to say goodbye. The walk to the house is long and cold As the sunset slowly begins to fold. The feel of the heat is warm and cozy. As climbers got better at using ice tools on rock, the routes they tackled had less and less ice. The routes in East Vail offer variation for all skill levels, and options for every condition.
It takes a lot of effort to climb in the winter, you no longer simply throw some gear in a bag and set off on the trail. I feel like I have a decent amount of experience, but on this trip with Ilanna Jesse I was by far the weakest link.
Everybody who was climbing that day in the negative temperatures was an expert in the environment as well as the climbing. I lived in Edwards, Colo. There are a few spots near Vail that have fun little ice falls in series that let you learn the basics in a fairly tame environment. I used to go at night after work, the light from my headlamp seemed to be absorbed by the ice, and the whole waterfall would glow a beautiful blue.
What I find exciting about the backcountry in winter is finding routes through the mountains that are unavailable to those not willing or capable of mountaineering. I took an old pair of ice-climbing boots and some spare snowboard boots and disassembled them. I riveted them together into a frankenstein boot that I could use to ice climb and snowboard.
With those boots I can snap crampons on my feet and climb a steep couloir over ice falls with my board strapped to my back, and then descend the same route I just climbed. It opens up a whole new world of possibilities, and the mountains are no longer just something you look at, they are a playground. Rock climbing is going through the same phase that surfing went through in the 60s.
Crags get crowded and finding solitude has become far more difficult. Classic routes can have a line at the base. Most of these people are fair-weather adventurers, and prefer to head to the climbing gym in the winter rather than brave the cold. Having adventures in winter takes a bit more preparation than it does in summer. Meanwhile, her daughter Rhoda pretty much the only likeable character in the book is living with a guy who doesn't really love her and her son Mark is in his own world of fishing and getting high.
A pretty miserable bunch for sure. So what was it that made this disturbing and depressing book so compelling for me? The writing for one. Vann is a great writer and really brought these characters to life -- not to mention how he pulls Alaska in there as almost another character. Every once in a while a book surprises me and this was one of those books. I'd never read David Vann before but you can bet I'll be reading more of him in the future.
I am predicting this will be my favorite books of I consumed this book in two days. Thank goodness for the blizzard that kept me at home. Caribou Island is a well written book, but a very depressing one, that delves into dark emotions. The characters are completely unlikeable, those people who feel suffocated by their circumstances and sorry about their lives.
Gary and Irene have married for 30 plus years, and Gary wants to leave his wife--or so he thinks. But instead of leaving her outright, he decides to drive her away through circumstance by building, and ultimately living in, an ill conceived cabin on a remote Alaska Island in the middle of an especially harsh winter.
Irene knows what Gary is trying to do and although she hates every single moment of this cabin project, she participates in it, thwarting his great escape-the-marriage plan, but also driving herself insane. Other characters include their equally miserable daughter, Rhoda who may be destined to repeat this couple's failures and their drug addicted, unmotivated son, Mark. He is easily my favorite character, as he accepts life for being just life, no regrets.
The setting is stunning, capturing Alaska in all its brutal mystery. The actual demise of the characters, while violent, is honest. Although there are no good feelings to be had at the end of the book, it does make sense and is a satisfyingly good read.
Reading Caribou Island is the literary equivalent of witnessing a really horrible car accident-you really don't want to see the awfulness that's about to unfold, but there's something holding you there frozen such that you can't look away.
At its core this is the story of the gradual disintegration of the marriage of Gary and Irene, an Alaskan couple in their mids. Gary's decision to build a cabin on remote Caribou Island, against Irene's wishes, brings to a head all the regrets and resentments of their years together and draws the marriage, and both spouses, to the breaking point.
Their unity is necessary for survival and is proven efficacious in the last line where all the bees fly, not just the queen. The key to the survival of the bees is their willingness to accommodate their circumstances. As the speaker consents to their claims on her, they accept hers on them. She gives them Tate and Lyle syrup "To make up for the honey" she has harvested, and "They take it.
Some readers make an effort to extract from this passage a vindictive spirit toward men, but the tone is so obviously detached and humorous the onomatopoeic "stumblers" playing on "bumble-bees," the idea that men are merely boors and not tyrants or attackers that such an interpretation is unconvincing. Thus, the image of the woman as bulb is unquestionably one of renewal both in its similarity to the implied baby in the cradle and, of course, in the realization of the image in the final stanza, where the questions, at last, resolve:.
The speaker learns from the bees in "Wintering" that spring will follow this time of introspection and stillness, of uniting resources and waiting. The answer to her questions comes in the form of an act rather than in words and thus embodies certainty through enacting it.
Only then is she certain that they actually "taste the spring" and have not been deceived by the early blossoms of the Christmas roses. If your boots become too tight, layering your socks works against you by cutting off circulation — you need blood flowing to your feet to keep them warm. The most important layer to consider is your boots. Light hiking boots will not work on a winter excursion. Those Uggs your mom bought you for Christmas?
Leave them home. Winter boots need to be waterproof and insulating. Crampons are a tool that attach to your boots to offer stronger traction. Many crampon options are available for moderate to extreme terrain.
Be sure to ask an expert which style suits your trek the best. Snowshoes and Skis are used when trekking through snow deeper than one foot. They assist you in staying on the surface and allow you to maneuver through both soft and hard packed snow. Trying to hike mile after mile through knee deep snow will exhaust you in a matter of moments. According to Princeton University , a person on a winter backpacking trip needs 4, to 5, calories a day.
This means that your diet for the trip must include high levels of carbs, fats, and protein throughout the day to keep your body fueled. Luckily, it is much easier to pack perishable foods during winter trips because the outdoors is your refridgerator!
This allows you to bring things like meat, cheese, and butter— foods that will work to keep your body fueled. Consider your entire trip one long cheat day on your diet! For breakfast, double down on protein. Try spreading peanut butter on an english muffin for a quick and easy meal. Also, enjoy your cup of coffee to start the day off warm. Lunch should include more protein and carbs.Winter has a similar effect. The farther you live from the equator, the less winter sunlight you get and the more your body wants to approximate hibernation in winter. Our ancestors didn’t have central heat and electric light, so they lived differently in summer and winter of necessity. In summer, they were outdoors and active much of the time.