Sunday, September 21, 2008

Snake River Overlook? Not Quite...

Snake River III, originally uploaded by Jeff Sullivan.

This is one of themost dangerous places I've shot from. I don't recommend it. I felt like I should have had a helmet and ropes to get to and out of this spot, but the sunrise was progressing and I had to crawl down to the small standing spot to get the shot. I could figure out how to get out when that time came.

Before climbing out I planned for a major wipeout and put everything in my regular pockets into zippered pockets in case I took the very steep 200 foot tumble into the trees below. I seriously considered making an "if I don't call back in 15 minutes, send a helicopter or ambulence to this location" call on my cell phone!

It's on an exposed 50 degree slope of loose round river stones on top of loose crumbly, dusty dirt. It's what ski areas would classify as a double black diamond ski slope, and I'd definitley feel safer on it in the winter with skis on (5 feet of razor sharp metal edge would hold a lot better than my worn out sneakers). The problem with falling on a hard surface is that there's nothing to stlow or stop your fall, and within 2 or 3 rotations you can start to "tomahawk" where you tumble head over heels and only your head and feet hit the surface. With virtualy no friction you accelerate rapidly. Until you hit something.

Now two days later, my calves are still cramping from balancing on that extremely uneven and unstable slope for over an hour.

If you try to reach this spot, have sturdy boots that can kick footholds into the hill (where possible) and have your hands free for holding on for dear life. Don't assume that i'm exxaggerating on that last part, and don't say that I didn't warn you!