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[IP] Mountaineering trip report
I've periodically posted about a project that I am very excited to
be a part of. The project is IDEA2000 (International Diabetic Expedition
to Aconcogua year 2000) - a planned all diabetic climb to the highest
point in the Western hemisphere. The group now has approximately 20
members including myself and IP list member Susan Fisher.
The following is a short write-up about a recent trip five of us
took in the California Sierras as a chance to meet each other in person
and to build the necessary skills for a sucessful climb. Three of us
(myself, David Downs, and David Panofsky) use an insulin pump, while Deke
and Doug are on MDI. The write-up was written by David Panofsky (IDEA2000
Expedition Coordinator). Much needed carbohydrates for the trip were
graciously provided by Clif Bar.
For more information about IDEA2000, please see our web site:
http://www.idea2000.org or feel free to contact me. Pictures and some MPEG
clips will probably be available in the next few weeks when the website is
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 1999 10:37:11 -0500
From: David Panofsky & Pat Smith <email @ redacted>
Subject: Sierras Report
We had a great time in the Sierras!! We each learned much about being
diabetic. We also proved that each of us understands the true meaning of
team work. We are ready to take on whatever comes our way!
Deke said it so well: "The end result of this week is that each of you has
expanded my understanding of what it means to climb beyond diabetes. Most
importantly, I gained a new level of trust in my ability to push my diabetic
body hard and far, and stay in relative control of my blood sugars and the
stress of dealing with them getting out of whack. Thanks to you all for
taking the time, effort, and money to make this trip happen."
On July 15, 1999 our group of five (Jeremy Ackerman, Doug Bursnall, David
Downs, Deke Young and me) met up at the Las Vegas airport and made our way
to Big Pine, California, the small gateway city to the Palisades of the High
Sierra on the eastern side of the range. Steve Roper said in his now
classic book "The Climber's Guide to the High Sierra," "...the Palisade
group contains the finest alpine climbing in California.." We were about to
find out that this was the case!
After downing a huge pizza (a very pleasant surprise to Deke and me) we
drove to our camping spot at 7700ft. The following day we met our guides
(Bill Ossofsky and Steve Carey of Kurt Wedberg's Sierra Mountaineering
International) at the trailhead. We loaded up our packs and divied up group
gear and set off for Sam Mack Meadow (10,600 ft). The walk in was
wonderful, with snow-capped peaks and huge granite walls looming overhead.
We spent time teaching Bill and Steve about diabetes and how we dealt with
it (little did they know they would become experts!).
The next morning we broke camp and set off for our high camp not far from
the Palisade Glacier around (12,200 ft). We ascended talus and slabs and
set up our high camp, a place we would call home for a few days. Each
boulder or rock face near camp provided us with great entertainment: Deke
led the bouldering competition in grand style with his beefy leather
mountaineering boots. Jeremy and I set up our tent on a platform which
provided a "very technical entrance." That afternoon, we headed out to the
Palisade glacier and worked on snow climbing skills: roped snow travel,
snow belaying, self arrest, jumping over (or into) crevasses and other
skills. On the 18th of July, we had a mellow day and worked on more
glacier, snow and ice climbing skills and some basic rock climbing skills.
For those of us with prior experience climbing mountains, the day reinforced
good habits and taught us a few new tricks.
On July 19th we left camp and headed off for the summit of North Palisade
(at 14,242 ft, the highest point in the Palisade area). Unfortunately
Jeremy was not feeling well and turned around as we reached the edge of the
glacier. The rest of us took out our ice axes, put on our crampons and
headed across the glacier towards the U-Notch Couloir. Bill, David D., and
I on one rope and Steve, Deke, and Doug on the other....We reached the
enormous bergschrund which we crossed via a nice little snow/ice bridge on
its right, belaying all the while. We climbed the 700-foot couloir in
absolutely perfect snow conditions including the 45 degree upper headwall
section. From the top of the U-Notch we climbed 5th class rock and reached
the exposed arete which we followed until gaining the summit blocks of North
Pal around 3:00 pm. What an amazing view!!! We took photos and Doug,
video and enjoyed our precious spot which we had all to our selves. Slowly
but surely we began our descent of the rock and the U-Notch. By the time we
reached the glacier it was nearly dark. By the time we stumbled into camp
it was completely dark. Doug, Deke, and I were very impressed with what
David D. accomplished in his first mountaineering experience! I was very
impressed with everyone, particularly Doug and Deke's good mountain sense,
abilities , and their rock solid safety- conscious ways.
The next day, Doug, Deke and Bill climbed Mt. Gayley a peak just under 14k
ft close to camp via Glacier Notch. The rest of us packed up as much group
gear as we could and headed down the 10 or so miles to the cars. We met up
with everyone at a swimming spot on the Big Pine Creek.
Doug described our last night together after David D. returned to the
airport and the remaining 4 of us piled into the very compact rental and
headed to Red Rocks. "Our night's bivy was quite special, watching shooting
stars and continuing the jovial banter that marked the trip. We managed one
good climb in Red Rocks before the sun beat us into submission, so we ran
away to eat an enormous buffet, stole a shower and lounged under the shade
of a tree, drinking beer and packing bags."
Just like good diabetics!!! Thanks so much. A wonderful trip. I am very
lucky and proud to be associated with you folks.
Thanks to Clif Bar for providing product for our trip. It helped us
accomplish what we set out to do!
All the best,
Insulin Pumpers website http://www.insulin-pumpers.org/
for mail subscription assistance, contact: HELP@insulin-pumpers.org