Six adventurers were gathered for breakfast Saturday morning in the small kitchen of the Painter household.
Five were locals from as far away as Rexburg, but the sixth was a vagabond hippie who had driven down from Montana with her dog named Booter.
Sarah spends about half the year working in the northern forests of British Columbia and the other half traveling around the world climbing, backpacking, kayaking and getting into other outdoor mischief. I met her a couple of years ago at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area outside Las Vegas after she hitchhiked into town from Canada. Through the miracle of social media, we sort of stayed in touch.
On this morning, she was fixing eggs Benedict for the crew while we discussed what we were going to do with about 6 inches of fresh snow blanketing the town.
Our plan was to drive south to American Falls and rock climb on the cliffs near Massacre Rocks.
Every 15 minutes we’d study the weather forecast. It promised sunny skies and warmer temperatures by 11 a.m. In the distance we could see the sky breaking up, hinting at a brighter day.
Some suggested going skiing or soaking in a hot spring or going back to bed.
In the end, we piled into cars and drove to American Falls. The closer we got, the better the weather became. By the time we walked down to the base of the basalt cliffs west of town, the temperatures were pleasant and the climbing was spot on.
It’s an interesting phenomenon when the sun hits the dark rock walls, heat is captured and temperatures rise. We climbed in one layer of clothing. In summer, this situation works against you, making the area a blast furnace.
We finished the day eating Mexican food in Pocatello and hugging Sarah goodbye. She drove to the City of Rocks south of Burley that night and has since met up with other friends at Smith Rock State Park near Bend, Ore., for more climbing. She said she was killing time while her work visa was processed allowing her back into Canada.
Good luck Sarah. Maybe I’ll see you in another two years.
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The annual Avalanche Awareness Night is scheduled for 7 p.m. Dec. 4 at the Taylorview Middle School auditorium. This course is free and open to the public.
The Idaho Falls Ski Club, The American Avalanche Institute and Wray and Lani Landon sponsor the course, which covers material important to anyone considering venturing into the winter backcountry.
This provides good refresher material for experienced backcountry users. You’ll hear about the fundamentals of snowpack, weather, and terrain. Experts will talk about avalanche forecast bulletins, backcountry decision-making basics and current season snowpack overview.
There should be nice assortment of door prizes to keep people around.
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The Edge Climbing Gym in Idaho Falls is holding the Cutting Edge Boulder Competition starting at 9 a.m. Saturday at its gym at 844 E. 14 North.
The comp will have $1,000 in prizes for four divisions — beginner to advanced. For more information, go to the Edge Climbing Gym on Facebook or call 208-552-7625.