Saturday, August 02, 2008

Chelan Ice Caves and Bouldering

Yesterday was blown out for flying so pilots started searching out other adventures. Mini-golf, mountain biking and "toasting" (Franglish for tanning) were all popular. James and Pam suggested that we check out some "ice caves" near Chelan. The problem was that the entrance to the caves was dynamited in the sixties because the local government figured they were a hazard. This is despite the fact that the the local fruit growers used to store their fruit over the summer in the caves. The caves were popular enough to have been a state park at one time... They must have been big, there is a lot of fruit around here. A local pilot, Brad, thought he might know where they were because every time he rides his motorcycle through a small canyon the air temperature drops very noticeably. Pam and James went to the Chelan museum, checked out Google Earth, and we were off. We found where the cave used to be--the air blowing out between the boulders was frigid. I went on a bit of a hike up the hill side (first one with my knee, feeling good!) in search of other entrances but couldn't find any unfortunately. But from my perch up on the hillside I could see what looked like a decent boulder field across the canyon. Our ice cave expedition turned into a boulder recon mission in short order.

I think somebody at some time must have climbed a little on these boulders as there were some rocks stacked up in strategic places, but there had been no cleaning, no chalk, just a collection of decent boulders. I did a half dozen good problems in my running shoes before the expedition was called due to hunger. It's not Bishop, but it's a worthwhile spot given that there doesn't seem to be much in the way of climbing close to Chelan. The wind finally died this morning so we might get to fly today, but if not I'm pretty fired up to go back and get amongst the Ice Cave boulders. Anyone who knows about these boulders might drop me a line, I'd be a curious on their history if any.

Friday, August 01, 2008


We've only had two days of flying at the Chelan XC open/Canadian Nationals. Both days have been relatively weak and low, with short tasks. Very challenging flying. I'm doing my usual thing, which is to head off on my own plan. This isn't working, but I dislike gaggle flying enough that I'm resigned to it. It's not the strategy to pull a result on weak days, but I'd rather finish last doing my own thing than gaggle fly for a place other than first. Right now I'm working on finishing last, grin... Keith is doing well for Team Canada, currently winning our Nationals and third overall, which if he can hold onto it will be his best finish in a major meet yet. Keep with it Keith!

Tomorrow looks OK, but if it's not on we're going to head north and check out the Nelson/Slocan area and do some flying there. The knee is feeling pretty healed despite falling off a bicycle a couple of nights ago when a little kid challenged me to do a wheelie. How can you resit, "Hey, old guy, can you do a wheelie? Just try!" I did and busted out a decent wheelie but came off the bike with less than perfect coordination. It was all worth it to hear the kid say with the supreme confidence of a ten-year old, "Hey, you got skills."

Time to hit the taco cart up in downtown Chelan. That cart is one of the very best things about Chelan.