My name is Dan Kaufman. I seek challenges and problems to solve. I have
found that computer science and nature offer a multitude of opportunities
In December 2011, I graduated from the University of Illinois (UIUC)
a degree in Computer Science. I now live in San Francisco where I have been
working on some side projects and exploring roles that ride the line
between product and engineering.
Despite growing up in Danvers, IL
surrounded by cornfields, I developed a love for the mountains. Whether I am
climbing up them, skiing down them, or biking on them, some of the happiest
moments of my life have been in the mountains. The following are some of my adventures.
The Ouray Ice Fest
The Ouray Ice Fest is one of my favorite extreme sports festivals. Complete with
parties, presentations, hot springs, and, of course, hours of ice climbing, it's
hard to beat. Having attended the Ouray Ice Fest twice before, my friends and
I decided to change things up this year. Instead of cramming 6 people into one
hotel room, as we had in the past, we decided to rent a condo for the weekend.
While the cost is slightly more, I definitely recommend this option for the future.
This is one of the main bridges that crosses the canyon. Gravity fed water pipes
line nearly a mile of the canyon rim and provide water for the ice generation.
Every night, between the hours of 4pm and 8am, water runs through 150 shower,
heads adding a fresh layer of ice.
On the route above, we had to belay from the top because the wall was too tall
for our ropes. Jason set up a
top belay that was a little more complex, but very effective. Since we were
belaying from the top, we had to be lowered into the canyon, then climb out.
Unsure of what waited below, and with all climbing companions waiting above, it
was one of the most nerve wracking climbs I have done.
Obviously for an ice festival it would have to be really cold, but lacing on
your boots at dawn with the temperature of -6 is very unpleasant.
Nearly every major brand in outdoor adventure gear is represented at the ice fest,
bringing with them their latest and greatest gear. Everything from crampons to
ice tools, and coats to backpacks may be demoed. I decided to demo a very, very
warm Rab puffy, which definitely helped to keep me warm.
While I love climbing and being outside, one of the main reasons I go on adventures
like this is the chance to spend time with friends.
One of my close friends, Ben Ritter
, and I have some mountaineering experience, but this trip opened our eyes
to a number of other things that we were not prepared
for. First of all, how to rescue each other in the event that one of us fell
into a crevasse. Fortunately this didn't happen, but it is important to be prepared.
Below is one of the diagrams that we found to help explain the proper setup. Keep in
mind that while you are setting that up, the person in the crevasse is hanging from your
harness and pulling you in.
The weather looked pretty good, but there was a forecast for high winds. We
decided to try and go for it regardless.
We reached 10,000 feet by about 6 pm and began to set up our campsite. The
wind was blowing very hard so we found a large boulder to shelter us from
the wind. When that proved insufficient, we decided to build a snow wall
to provide further protection. After cooking a quick dinner, we got ready for
bed around 8 pm, with our alarms set for an alpine start at 2 am. Shivering
in our sleeping bags, hoping that the seams on the tent would hold, we spent
the next 6 hours with less than 15 minutes of sleep. Due to the strong winds
we decided to postpone our start till 3 am. We emerged from our tent only to
see the winds ripping over the corniced summit. After little deliberation, we
opted to play it safe and pass on our summit attempt. After a short nap we
packed up our site, and glissaded down the glacier, heading for the car.