A Most Memorable Week

Wow. What a week. So many firsts. I bought my first house! I climbed my first time outdoors (Marymoor Park), I got my first drone. Went to my first crag, the infamous Exit 38, and sent/flashed/on-sighted my first 5.7 and 5.8 pitches on top rope. Scrambled up Mount Ellinor in the Olympics. Saw Mt. Olympus for the first time. Did my first 3rd class rock pitch. Oh, and I got a Garmin GPSMAP 66i too. Also got some good work done for Expedia. Hence the wow. Let’s dive into some more details.

The House

We moved to Seattle in December of 2019 after more than 30 years in Canada. Expedia arranged for an apartment for a few weeks. Kasia and I had spent the previous few months waiting for our Visa by checking out listings on Redfin and Zillow for anything with a 2 car garage as close as possible to the Expedia Campus. My second day in Seattle (after driving from Toronto in 2.5 days) I had 4 viewings lined up. The first one was a bust, but after seeing the second one. I signed right there and then. Moved in Jan 1, 2020. What a year that would be.

Flash forward to December 2020, now Visa has been upgraded to H1B from TN. Time to finally start looking to buy a house. Many failed offers, 2 realtors later (Check out: Leah Davidson (Pham) if you ever need an AMAZING realtor in the Seattle area) and we arrive to this week.

Our latest offer was 12,000$ over the other bidders on a West Seattle home but waiving everything (typical Seattle 2021 market) but financing (see H1B above, 850+ Canadian credit score counts for NOTHING here) on the offer and still lost out. It was 800$+ sq/ft in WEST SEATTLE, still didn’t work.

Monday my landlord emails me, “Sylvester I’m selling XXXX property, -landlord” – cue heavy breathing. OK, respond to said email with here’s $$$$$$$$ please sell it to me, kthxbye. A summary of that process to today would be:

homeless notice -> offer -> accepted -> formal offer -> wait -> rejected with no reason -> new offer -> wait -> being told I’m an idiot for using a realtor -> wait -> accept


Not only a most memorable week, but up there in the feels for an emotional one. Oh yeah, don’t forget telling everyone I bought my rental and then over the next 3 days backpedaling on that story. 🤦‍♂️ Bonus to this would be I dropped the wifey at SEA for a 4 week trip to Canada, so everything was with her help remote. Thanks Honey you-are-da-best.gif!

Also in that process I had to buy a drone to inspect the roof, and spent an hour on a ladder addressing neglected maint. (What? you mean vines won’t rip off your siding and damage stuff if you ignore multiple calls to action from your tenant… figures)

Following all FAA regulations, DJI Mini 2.

As of today, 75,000$ was taken from me via courier (Thanks for the call confirming that was legit chase, not. You’ll block 800$ Visa purchase that is legit, but a “signed” cheque for 75,000, no call? Seriously?) and a few steps to closing. 🤞

Well, at least I don’t need to deal with a move right?!?!

Marymoor Park

James is an SDEIII at Expedia in my group. He boulders V11, yeah 😲 was my face too. He writes a mean line or two of Scala to boot. We hopped in the BMW and headed to Redmond (I guess first time in Redmond too?) and hit up Marymoor park.

James rapping down a route.

Not exactly what I expected for my first time climbing outdoors. After lots of skills review and teaching, I ended up falling my way upwards two routes. Not sure if by design, but each hold must have been hit with a sandblaster before being put into the “wall.” I couldn’t hold onto almost anything.

Turns out this is the place James runs his “will you kill me” test, and I guess I passed?

Exit 38

Ah, Exit 38, the place reddit/mountainproject/countless-others refer to solely by it’s exit number alone and the world knows. Have I mentioned yet on the blog that PNW is at the top for places to start “a journey into the mountains?” As posted above in the intro, I sent two routes. What I didn’t mention was on my 2nd hold I yelled “TAKE TAKE TAKE” like a schoolgirl – but didn’t fall! Amazing experience. Looking forward to a lot more of this.

Also a shoutout to a fellow climbing team that showed me the ropes (or the device 😕) literally by correcting my lead belay GriGri technique. Thanks for being awesome Dan.

The offer was officially “signed” at this point too. Thanks James for the beer and dumplings (First Rainier beer -meh? And first Tzar dumplings)

This is me.
This is route #1
This is the valley.
This is James smiling at the drone paparazzi. (Note he’s off belay here and cleaning the anchor)
This is what a celebratory meal looks like.

Love Death Robots Season 2

Worth a watch, Season 1 was longer and better, but S2 still worth a watch. Got a chance to spend some awesome time with my Brother and talk my family through all the planned renovations to the house. ($$$$$)

Mount Ellinor

Mountaineers scramble up Mount Ellinor in the Olympics.

Great time as always. Mandi was the trip leader and did a great job (10% slower doesn’t mean go faster Mandi 👆 – 😂) we had a group of 8.

Our group, bonus Rainier in the background. A7R4 ,16-35 ƒ2.8, BD Alpine Carbon Cork WR w/ RRS BC-18 head, worked amazingly well.

Hi Alison! Here’s the photos you asked for, glad you are ok! Alison took a tumble on her Skis when her? a? dog crossed across her route. After a quick check, she resumed sending it down the mountain. I think I would have gone a bit slower after smashing my skis into a rock face, but you know “SEND IT” 😃

Oh snap.
Zoomed in, thanks Sony for the 61 megapixels to work with.

We ended up doing the route in 5.5 hours from the lower trailhead. Hiking with Mandi will get you into shape quick. The glissade down was super quick and was able to send almost all of the snow on the route. Check out the Strava and gallery below. Keeping with the first trend, I think this was the first time I had the smallest pack of everybody and still had everything needed for the worst possible outcomes given the conditions. And lugged the 3lbs of camera gear up/down the mountain! We also did a small 3rd class rock pitch to practice some skills for our upcoming Rock Skills field trip with the Mountaineers in June.

One minor note. Another first. First time running out into the highway after witnessing a pretty nasty accident. I grabbed the medkit with trauma supplies but thankfully nobody was seriously injured. From my viewpoint this was one person being a horrible idiot messing up at least 6 families days/weeks/months for no reason.

New Gear

Garmin GPSMAP 66i, ready for Antarctica and the PNW? Just the first trip on this unit, so more to come.

Other stuff

A few other callouts: Thanks friends for coming over for an awesome BBQ and bringing all the food after wifey flew off to Canada. You’re both awesome. Thanks Doc for bringing your M2 and bonus Pizza. Thanks employee-x for borrowing 2,000$ worth of gear (and returning it) for your failed bid of Panorama Point at Rainier, you’ll be back soon enough! (Glad your boyfriend got over his food poising quick) Thanks to all my coworkers and my boss for putting up with my cue-heavy-breathing this week at work. Also super happy to have had one offer accepted and one drafted for positions I’ve tried to hire for at Expedia for some time now 🥂.


Congrats on making it this far (or sorry?). I sit here finishing up this post on Sunday morning and looking forward to what’s coming next. A sneak preview of that is: https://www.mountainproject.com/route/105792904/south-side-route We have a party of 4. James, myself and two others who have already summited Hood. Forecast shows some snow, we’ll see how it goes next weekend. Next weekend might be first 60* pitch of snow and first bergschrund!

Thanks for reading this, don’t hesitate to reach out and say hi!