Monday, January 31, 2011

Diving in Thailand

Today I took a rest day from rock climbing and went diving. Deb came along and snorkeled. We were in a small group of Europeans and went to two different small islands to dive. Because of the recent rains the water clarity was not that good but the reefs around these small islands are teaming with life. On the second dive I followed the Thai dive master through a "dive through" or a tunnel underneath rock. It was a bit spooky but also a neat dive. The sun came out today and the rain storms stayed in the distance. Now I have a good sunburn. Some people never learn (like me). We hope the rains stay away for the rest of the week. I hope to do another multiple pitch climb in the morning. Deb says she will watch from the beach.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Another Day in Paradise

Today I got up early in order to do a multiple pitch climb with Tully on Tonsai Beach. This climb was touted as a "classic" for the area. It was steep and overhanging in places and required good rope management especially on the rappels. It has rained every day. One of the afternoon storms lasted several hours and really soaked the jungle. Fortunately the sun does come out in between storms and we have been able to rock climb and hang out on the beach and swim in the ocean. The food has been awesome and we had authentic traditional Thai dancing at the restaurant we ate at last evening. I have also managed to get a "Thai Massage" which helped my sore back muscles from the climbing. Debbie has been doing really well at climbing and she has made a lot of progress since our trip here 2 years ago. She still prefers the sunny beach though. I have plans to go diving in the morning as I need a rest day from hard sport climbing. We miss everybody back home, but we still are enjoying ourselves immensely. Vacations are really cool!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Thailand January 2011

It is 5 a.m. local time. I can't sleep anymore. After an exhausting 34 hour travel from our home in St. George, Utah we arrived on Railay Beach in Southern Thailand. Our trip began with a shuttle ride from St. George to the Las Vegas airport. We then flew to San Francisco where we boarded a Cathway Pacific 747 plane and rode on it for 15 hours to Hong Kong. The layover in Hong Kong was 2 hours and the airport was like being in a big fancy mall. Quite nice. We then flew on Dragonair airline to Phuket, Thailand. The beautiful beaches of Phuket were visible from the air as we came in for the landing about mid day (2 calendar days after we left home). The next portion of our journey was a 2.5 hour taxi ride on winding roads through tropical forests and the occasional jungle-covered limestone tower. The air was humid and the temperatures very warm. I had already changed into my shorts and tevas at the airport. We drove through some tropical rain storms but nothing sustained and the sun was poking through the clouds often. The last link of our travels was a "long-tail" boat ride from the small pier at Ao Namow out to Railay Beach. This was through moderately rough seas and lasted about 30 minutes. We finally arrived at the Bhu Nga Thani Resort & Spa at 3 p.m. local time. This resort was under construction while we were here in Railay 2 years ago and is absolutely beautiful. I feel like we have our own personal resort because the occupancy rate seems very low. The Thai staff are always very eager to serve and help and their English language skills range from very good to extremely limited. Even though we were quite tired we quickly changed into our swim suits and walked over to the west side of Railay where we looked for John Tully and his wife Jacqueline. John works as a PA with me at the hospital. We found them at a beach side restaurant and we all went for a swm in the warm shallow waters of the Andaman Sea. It wasn't long before John and I decided to grab our climbing gear and find a few good routes to do before the sun went down. Deb and I skipped dinner as we were way too tired to keep going, therefore, we fell asleep early in the evening. That would be why I am now wide awake this early in the morning and ready to start another exciting day in Thailand. Sawatdee!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Southern Utah Ice

This winter has been the season for ice in Southern Utah. First the deluge of rain and then came the cold temperatures. Every mesa top, cliff and wash in the area has snow and running water in it. Now with the sunny afternoons and crisp clear cold nights the water flows during the day and freezes during the night. This has produced some impressive ice flows where before there has been none or at least nothing visible or climbable. If I had had the right partner and the time and the boldness I could have gone around the Zion greater area and made first ascents on multiple ice falls, pillars and flows. The Kolob finger section of Zion had some particularly long ice falls. I can only imagine what the deep back country of Zion had in the slot canyons. I did do at least one ascent that my partner and I think is a first for the area. We called it "Checkshani Pillar" and I climbed it on two different days. I have climbed "Camp Creek" our reliable ice fall behind Kanarravile and a couple of days ago I climbed "Cedarcicle" for the first time as I have never timed it right to climb it before now. Across from that ice fall we climbed what we call the "Cedar Slabs". This section of ice flow was a little less difficult as the angle was less than vertical and made for some fun and moderate climbing that allowed use to test our skills at leading and placing ice screws. Also the sun touched down on this area early in the morning allowing us to climb in the sun briefly which is unusual for ice climbing. I hear that there is a big ice fall just north of Kanab that has been climbed this year. One of my dilemmas is whether to get up early and venture into the snowy cold canyons to ice climb or stay close to home and climb with short sleeve shirts on the rock in the desert. Sometimes it is hard to get motivated to get up early and freeze just to climb.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Yesterday our hospital in St. George got it's first helicopter. LifeFlight has had a fixed wing plane (kind of like a leer jet) to do patient transfers in the air, but now we have a "rotar" stationed permanently here. In the past we had to summon helicopters from Las Vegas or Page, Arizona over by Lake Powell. To add to the event was the fact that my daughter Angie is one of the flight nurses. She recently completed her training on the helicopter and with the NICU to be a part of the team that can transfer critically ill premature infants in the air ambulances. She is really excited to be a part of the flight team and it is a credit to her competency as a nurse as she is one of the youngest flight nurses. We hung out with her while she took part in the activities and the official "landing" of the LifeFlight helicopter at our hospital (Dixie Regional Medical Center). Most people there also knew me because of my 17 years of working in the Emergency Department. I have now been working in Emergency Medicine for 20 years. I started my ER residency in Illinois in 1991. I guess you could say that I have seen a lot of stuff over the past 20 years.