Kyle Duba


Feed me to the forest:
August 28, 2009, 8:35 pm
Filed under: Climbing, Photo

Had a couple exciting weekends in the mountains recently.

WEEKEND ONE:

helicopter_winds
This was my first view of the heart of the Wind River Mountain Range.

Why was I in a helicopter you ask? I was asked to help out with a search and rescue mission for a climber stuck on Pingora peak in the Cirque of the Towers.

flightsuit
So I got my gear together, put on a bright yellow shirt and a flight suit, and jumped into the chopper with my climbing partner Graham.

pingora_window
Flying in you can see Pingora on the right.

top_graham
Graham looking cool in front of the helicopter at the landing zone.

joe_kelsey
Here’s where it starts to get interesting. Joe Kelsey (author of ‘Climbing and Hiking in the Wind River Mountains’ 2nd ed.) was the injured climber’s partner. Here he is (in red) explaining to the search and rescuers what’s going on. (Pingora is the prominent peak in the background)

belaying_approach
Turns out the injured woman (pink shirt & white helmet) was Kelsey Dayton a reporter from Jackson who was climbing with the aforementioned Joe Kelsey so as to write an article on him. I’ll let her finish up the story, read her article on the whole incident here.

sunset_cirque
Suffice to say we got her out safely and flew out just as the sun was setting on the glorious granite of the Cirque.

WEEKEND TWO:

My second weekend in the winds was to go after a bit of a lofty goal: summit Gannet Peak with Graham (Wyoming’s highest @ 13,804) in two days rather than the 3-5 days most people say is necessary (oh yeah… it’s a 25 mile approach).

gannet_approach_01
Still in high spirits after the first five miles or so.

streamer
Lot’s of interesting stream crossings.

bassett
We ran into Andy Bassett in the middle of his NOLS instructor course. He was on day 28 or so in the backcountry and was definitely excited to see us.

graham_cloudy
Summiting sunday morning… cloudy.

gannet_summit
Summit success! Just ice axes, no crampons. Half way done. GREAT VIEWS…

looking_back
The weather finally clears as we’re leaving camp on the way out. There’s Gannet!! (upper right)

gannett
There she is again.

hiking_sticks
Hobbling out with hiking sticks. My knees felt like they were gonna explode at about 40 miles in, ugh.

dark
This is pretty much all we saw for the last couple hours as we hobbled back to the trail head in the dark. We finished our food, ran out of water a few miles back, and kept yelling “you go away bears” every now and then to keep our sanity. We finished car to car in just over 40 hours and were crippled most of the next week. Hmmmmm, maybe I’ll just stick to sports climbing.

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