Satish Shrestha (सतिश श्रेष्ठ )

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Archive for January, 2011

The Mountain will always be there

Posted by Satish Shrestha on January 18, 2011


The Flood


With an intention to learn something new, I had enlisted myself a couple months back for a free snowshoeing class at REI scheduled for last Thursday. The class briefly familiarized me with this goofy looking snow sports called Snowshoeing. And on Friday morning, out of the blue, I receive an invitation from Val for snowshoeing in Mt. Hood. She had registered her son for the event but as he got sick, he couldn’t join the team. Thus, I substituted Val’s son and headed to Mt. Hood with Val, Sue and Petey. While mere Mt. Hood was enough to excite me to the fullest degree, our reservation for rooms at renowned Timberline Lodge just sky-rocketed my excitement.

All psyched, we hit the road at 6:30 am and headed southwest. Interesting conversations, Janis Joplin in the speakers, Washingtonian desert all just made the drive more interesting. As soon as we crossed Umatilla, we were welcomed by the Oregonian rain. The mountains were all shrouded by grey clouds and all we could do was hope that it would clear out. The rain just got worse and we witnessed a massive flood as we headed towards the mountain. We stopped by a fallen tree right by the river and made a quick errand in Tamanawas Falls trail. As we drove uphill, the downpour just swelled up. We stopped at the Timberline Lodge, check in, left our stuff in the rooms and walk around the lodge. The only thing we saw outside was snow and cloud. Had it been a clear day, we would have witnessed the real beauty!

Happy faces

Val and I went out for a snow cat ride. The view was just isotropic! Couldn’t see a damn thing because of the clouds. Back in the lodge we spent time taking silly pictures and checking every possible nooks of the edifice. At 6, we headed down to the Cascade Dining Room, a really expensive restaurant for a student like myself. At the table, we were seated with Carol, a retired professor of French at Whitworth College. The conversation ran a gamut from sky diving to base jumping and trekking in New Zealand and Nepal to Patagonia. I didn’t speak much as I was quite absorbed in the stories of Sue. She’s an outdoor Junkie by hobby and professor of kinesiology by profession. The dinner was followed by an uncertainly for the next plan. Despite extreme wind and rain, we jumped into an outdoor hot tub. While rest of the body was warm and relaxed, the head was almost frozen because of the cold wind. After about an hour in the hot tub and spa, we headed back to the rooms and hit the sack with a hope that the weather would favor us the following day.

Unfortunately the weather didn’t get any better. After eating elegant buffet breakfast at the Timberline, we headed back to Spokane. The drive downhill was pretty amazing as we witnessed at least seven different rainbows and drove under three of them. The green hills and hazelnut trees in the Hood river county reminded me of my first visit to Oregon in the spring of 2008 when I was visiting my ex-girlfriend. It was the same time I first witnessed the beauty of Mt. Hood. The pleasant nostalgia and soporific Rolling Stones ballad Angie in the car’s speakers put me to sleep.

One of the many rainbows we encountered

Over 8.5 inches of continuous rain and massive flood as a result of that forced us to make changes in our plan. Nonetheless, it was one heck of a trip. I’ve heard wise mountaineers say “The Mountain will always be there”. I’ll be back sooner or later. There’s always a good reason to visit Oregon.

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Alone in the Wilderness- Dick Proenneke

Posted by Satish Shrestha on January 10, 2011


As described in the original post:

“Alone in the Wilderness” is the story of Dick Proenneke living in the Alaska wilderness. Dick filmed his adventures so he could show his relatives in the lower 48 states what life was like in Alaska, building his cabin, hunting for food and exploring the area. Bob Swerer has taken the best footage from Dick’s films and he has created 3 videos about Dick, “Alone in the Wilderness”, “Alaska, Silence and Solitude” and “The Frozen North”.

 

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Skiing over the clouds amid fierce storm

Posted by Satish Shrestha on January 8, 2011


Penetrating fogs on a cold Friday morning, we head out to Silver Mountain for yet another day to ski this season. Psyched about leveling up the skills I’ve been learning, I call Jamie to see if he’s going to ski today. Positive reply from him insinuates a good day of skiing. While at car, we hope the mountain is not as foggy as Spokane. After about an hour and half drive, we park the car and head to the ticket counter. Jamie and his brother are already there and so are Audra, her mom and Holly. The weather doesn’t look so great but it doesn’t wane my level of excitement. After twenty minutes long gondola ride, we land at the ski resort’s lodge. Everyone else in the group are avid skiers, thus I ask them several questions before we head out to the snow. It’s windy and foggy, but it doesn’t bother us much.

Holly and Audra’s mom seem very well acquainted with different runs in the mountain. Thus they suggest me different runs considering my experience. While I mostly started at rather easier runs the other times, today I start at more difficult runs. More confident than before, I start shredding the Silver Belt amid fierce wind. As I ski downhill, I get suggestion from Holly and Kaitlin that I lean more towards back, which is just the opposite of what a skier is supposed to do. I realize it, I convince my mind so but my body finds it difficult not to lean backwards. Leaning forward makes me feel like I am going extremely fast and thus harder to maneuver the skis. What keeps ringing in my head most of the times is, ‘Satish, you realize you do not have a health insurance, right?”  This automatic alert in my head prohibits me from doing things I really want to do, be it when Im skiing, or riding my mountain bike or just about everything that has tendency to cause serious injuries. (I think I kind of enjoy and am thankful to such automatic preventive suggestions that my brain propagates. )

I repeat the same run about three times with Holly, a professional ski instructor who’s been skiing for over twenty years. Every time I fall, she explains what I did wrong. At this point I usually fall as I turn my skis when Im going down faster. One of my current biggest weakness is I tend to put more pressure on my quads than on my shin, as supposed to, which wears my energy rapidly. As the quads get sore, it becomes quite difficult to maneuver the skis when turning around. Realizing what I am doing wrong, I try to amend those mistakes and level up. After a couple runs at the Silver Belt, I take Sunrise, the run that I took over ten minutes last time to complete as I was too slow. Sunrise is a pretty steep slope and I didn’t do well enough last time. But today Sunrise felt fabulous with single fall. It was a good reason to be delighted! In addition, later I try other more difficult runs, Northern Lights and Fast Eddy.

Audra’s mom and Holly left at 1 but we kept skiing. I ski with remaining three folks a couple runs and they decide to ski/snowboard most difficult runs. Assessing my confidence and skills I have  gained so far, I decide not to take that risk today. Thus I ski by myself on different more difficult runs. Trying different runs is fun. Though it is severely windy and cloudy, there are quite a few people in the mountain. The cloud and high speed snow storm impair vision of several skiers/snowboarders and so I witness numerous crashes and falls, though none of them are fatal.

The weather gets worse as the day progresses and the storm makes it almost impossible to ski. It is unbearably cold especially in the ski lift as one is not using any muscle at all. The wind slows down the lift and often swings it. My face is numb because of snow stuck in my face worsened by the wind of over 20 mph. Unfortunately a strap of my backpack gets stuck in the lift and I don’t’ realize it. When I try to land, I get stuck in the lift and as the lift turns back down, I get stuck hanging underneath the ski lift. While people around shouts for help, I feel like I am a hang glider and keep smiling. As the lift turn around, it pulls my left shoulder with it. It is painful and not funny but I feel like laughing. The security personnel comes and unhooks me from the lift and merrily says, “Your picture will be on the headline tomorrow”. I just laugh back at him, stretch my shoulders, smile back at people waiting for me and say I am fine. They question a few more times and Kaitlin grabs my backpack. I don’t stop skiing. Tough the pain in the shoulder kind of worries me, I keep skiing and actually it feels a lot better skiing without a backpack. I feel much lighter and thus its much easier to turn.

After couple more runs I decide to stop and take rest for a bit as the storm makes everything invisible 10 feet in front of me. After waiting outside the lodge for about ten minutes, I see them coming towards me in an unusually slow pace. Audra says Kaitlin and John crashed into each other and she hurt her knee. She doesn’t say much but when she goes inside the lodge, I see tears dripping down her cheeks. That’s the first time I’ve that tough Alaskan woman cry. So I realize it must have been pretty bad and excruciating. I convince her to stop by Jamie’s house and ice her knee. The great day of skiing over the cloud amid fierce storm ended with a pretty sad accident. She hopes she doesn’t have to see a doctor.

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Banff Mountain Film Festival 2010/2011 Promo

Posted by Satish Shrestha on January 5, 2011


Compilation of some of the best video shots. Witnessing the festival was just mind blowing.

 

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How LHC works

Posted by Satish Shrestha on January 2, 2011


 

 

 

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