Hansen Specialities

“The Journey is the Destination!”

Rappelling, it can be a fun activity, and it also serves as a way of exiting the vertical realm.

I’m excited to share the things which I have found to be fun, important, a great experience, good ideas, skills, and things which make “surviving life” a little more enjoyable.  Some things are available at no-cost to you, and others at a modest price — so please do look around.  I have two websites built around different business aspects:

Hansen Specialities and High Angle Technologies

Hansen Specialities has to do with Mountaineering, Rock Climbing, Rappelling, Hiking, Camping, Wilderness Survival, Back Country Emergency Skills, and the Natural Environment in general.

High Angle Technologies deals with training, work, rescue, and safety in high places and the natural environment.

These sites include a bunch of items; some things are informational and educational, while others are opportunities to attend training, or join us on an adventure, or other type of class.   There is a lot to learn and understand!   

It makes sense to get training if you choose to participate in any type of risk sport; learning on your own, without a skilled instructor, exposes you to more risk than are obvious…

Climbing seems to be a natural pursuit, “It just feels good, The freedom of the hills.” Above my partner this day while climbing in Switzerland. I was attending a ten day, Mammut Rope manufacturing methods training and promotional program–in the afternoons we went climbing!

It seems that “School teaches us the rules, and Experience teaches us the exceptions.”

Anyway, it’s a great sport to share with friends and family, and it is a good way to get to know others.

We like Mountaineering in a broad sense; we enjoy the natural environment, and each other’s company.  It seems we are social creatures.   Reaching a summit is often looked at as if it is end, but, there is more to climbing than just difficult routes.  I believe climbing gives us an excuse (as if we need one…) to get outside, to exercise and to fine tune our skills, while enjoying each others company and the natural environment.

    “The best climber in the world is the one that is having the most fun!” Alex Lowe

Traversing from the top of the “Lost Arrow Spire, over to the Rim of Yosemite Valley, CA (photo by unknown backpacker).   It is one of my favorite pictures, but not because it is me sliding from the tip of the Lost Arrow, over to the Rim of Yosemite Valley; but rather “because of the magic we experienced that day.”    It seems we create synergies when we come together, with a good attitude.  

This may sound trite, but I figure we are floating around on a great big rubber raft, in the endless ocean of universes.  If we are smart (and I believe we are) we will realize that our “rubber raft” is getting rather crowded; and it is very important that we learn to live together, and cooperate with each other, while taking care of our rubber raft, otherwise…

“The real winners of life will be winners of cooperation rather than competition” – Denis Waitley

I have been fortunate enough to have experienced the almost magical power that occurs when we create a synergy.   Many of the jobs and training sessions we have taken part in have had that “magical” sense to them, especially rescues, because we let go of our egos and “cooperate” to save lives and property.

Below: Sitting on the Tip, of Lost Lost Arrow, belaying Steve as he climbs the last pitch.  Next we get to make the traverse from the tip to the rim of Yosemite Valley.  This was one of those magically days.   You can recognize a synergy by the feelings that prevail among the team members.

Bottom Left: The Visitor Center can be seen, and a baseball diamond (bottom right) to add perspective. The Valley floor is about 2,800 feet below.  If one is not used to the great exposure, this can be mind boggling, sapping much of your physical and mental energy!  It is like stepping out of the top window on the Burj Khalifa Dubai, the world’s tallest artificial structure, at   2,722 feet tall (800 meters).

“The pink rope is my safety….? Actually, we use it to retreive our ropes.

To climb Lost Arrow Tip, we packed up our gear and drove to Yosemite National Park in California.  That night we camped out in the high country.  Then we got up well before the sun (about 02:00 Am) and began a six +/-  mile hike to Yosemite Falls, which is just west of Lost Arrow Spire.

We wanted to make the famous Tyrolean type traverse from the Arrow Tip, to the Rim of Yosemite Valley, but there was only two of us.  Our idea, as far as we knew, had not been tested.   Since there was only two of us, we felt like pack animals carrying tons of technical gear: several different ropes, food, water, and the proverbial kitchen sink.

I also carried a brand new SLR camera, which I had bought at the PX while I was on active duty.  I wanted to get some pictures of our climb, but after we arrived and took note of our proposed challenge, I decided to leave it on the rim.  “I did not want it dangling off my shoulder while I was climbing; nor did I want my climbing partner,  belayer and trying to take pictures at the same time.”

Just as we were starting to rappel off the rim, down to the notch, I saw a backpacker and asked, “Hey, if you happen to be around today and wouldn’t mind clicking a few pictures, we would really appreciate it.”  Then I showed him where I had left my new camera, hanging on a tree limb.  Guess what he did…?   

He spent the entire day on the rim and clicked a handful of really great pictures, including the two above (I added the wording).

After we made the climb to the top, we rigged the ropes so we could make the traverse back over to the rim-thus avoiding having to rappel down to the notch, and climb back up.   When I reached the rim I was greeted by the backpacker I had talked to.  He was standing there with my camera around his neck.  He said he had taken some pictures for us.  As a way of saying thanks, I offered to let him and his friend slide over to the top of the Lost Arrow Tip.  They jumped at the offer, so I tied a Swiss Seat for them, with some 1″ tubular webbing.  Then,  I took some pictures of them as they slid over to the top of the Lost Arrow Tip and back, and sent them a copy.  Maybe, Why Trust is worth it.  

Leaving my expensive camera on the rim all day long, was challenging.  It was something I had wished for, for years.  Then telling an anonymous backpacker where it was, well… but it was worth it.  Steve and I ended up getting some great pictures, and they ended up having some too.  We let them slide over to the tip and back, and then got their addresses and mailed them pictures of themselves making the famous traverse.

If you are going to climb, or even if you have been climbing for some time, continue to take classes.  Formal training is a must for any “Risk Sports.”  It is also a great way to meet some neat people.  I have always found that I learn things, if I keep my eyes and ears open.  I ended up helping teach one class, that I attended, but I still learned things, and it ended up being a good experience.  “We usually get out life what we put into it…”

You may notice I share things I have learned that which seem to make life better.  I would guess it sounds a little “less than macho,” but I figure it is like “not littering, or polluting the environment and such,” together they can make a better tomorrow.

Above is an instructional slide from my Rappel Master Certification Test. 

 Formal training, from an skilled instructor is a good way to gain experience while reducing the mistakes that can occur when learning from a book, or a friend.  I began by teaching myself, via a book, it was… well I don’t recommend it.

Another concept to consider it that “We do not do what we know, we do what we have learned…”

You might be surprised at the new skills you pick up, even if you have been climbing for quite a while.

“Good judgment comes from experience, but often that experience comes from poor judgment.”

What is cool about climbing is that you that can spend a lifetime doing it, and still find new related challenges.  Rock Climbing,  Canyoneering, Rappelling, Sport Climbing, Traditional Climbing, Slack-lining, Ice Climbing, Mountaineering, Spelunking, High Altitude Mountaineering, Map and Compass Skills, Glacier Travel, Avalanche Awareness and Forecasting, Alpine Camping, Leadership, Expedition planning, and more.

Here’s the mountaineering bible, it is a great book to start with,  It is now in its 9th or 10th edition.  We have them available for $34.95 for paperback, and $49.95 for hard bound.  Or you may want to consider Vertical Rope Skills DVD (70 minutes) $34.95  for a limited time this is available for $9.90 + s/h

I started with an earlier edition. although do not try to teach yourself the high risk skills.  One mistake can be serious, even videos/DVD’s can’t hope to fill-in the experience and skill of a good instruction. You progress more quickly, and minimize the risk.   “Instruction is pretty much only sensible  way to learn a “risk sport.”

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This DVD covers the fundamental rope skills required by anyone who wants to climb, do vertical caving, rappel, ice climb, and more.

I’ve made a lifelong pursuit of Mountaineering,  it has been great sharing what I have learned.  Life has changed how I am approaching to my career, so in the meantime, while I am working the details out.   I am looking for partners to climb with.  Also, if  you are interested in taking a class, or being involved in another way, you can email me at d.hansen@HansenSpecialities.com

Above I am Climbing a 800 high waterfall in Provo Canyon called “the stairway to heaven.”  (photo by Kris Radish)  I am in my favorite wool knickers, using a Rupal Ice Hammer and a Manaslu Ice Axe, the high tech tools of the day.  They were great for winter climbing.  You may enjoy reading about mountaineering.  I enjoy reading about all the early expeditions that tried to scale 29,029 foot highMt. Everest, the highest mountain in the World.Starting in the 1800’s, no one had even seen Mt. Everest,  let alone climbed to its summit.  In 1924 Lt. Col. Edward Norton, was able to get within 900 feet of the summit “Without supplementary oxygen, and had to descend.  Many overlook the fact that getting to the summit is only halfway there.  The most difficult part is getting back down.  Later, Mallory and Irvine went for the summit, but never returned.     

For me, Mountaineering is a path with heart, and I have chosen to make it a lifelong adventure.   It has been quite challenging, in many different ways, but it has also been very rewarding.   “For me, there is only paths with heart,   There I climb breathlessly, looking, looking…”

Sharing the experience seems to add a different dimension to any activity.  Over the past years I have had the opportunity to share presentations with thousands of people.  These presentations are both entertaining and educational.  If you have a group that would like to have me talk with, please feel free to call or email me.

We use  Strategies to increase our safety, “like minimizing our exposure to dangerous areas.”

Below an avalanche crosses our tracks that we had made while passing through the N.E. Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier. We knew that people had died in avalanches while going through what has been nicknamed, the “valley of death.”  Our plan was to leave early, and move quickly. and set up our camp at 11,000 feet, near the base of the crux that would lead up a 60° 1,200 foot ice couloir to our 14,000 foot high camp so we moved quickly and limited our rest stops, so as to minimize the time we were exposed to serac avalanches.

It worked, later that evening we heard thunder (the sign of a serac avalanche crashing down the mountain side.)  I crawled out of the tent and clicked this picture.  It is a small Serac Avalanche using the “Midnight sun.”  The avalanche is crossing our ski tracks we made earlier that day..

Coming down we were tired and looking forward to a shower (which was well overdue, it had been over a month since our last bath or shower.) and good food.  Working our way up the “Coldest Mountain on Earth”  dealing with high altitude  winter storms, living in two man tents at temperatures well below -25° F was pure fun.

Yet,  while coming down I remember looking back up the North-East Fork of the the Kahiltna Glacier where we had battled storms, avalanches, and more.  I felt sort-of sad because it was just about over.  This had been my first major expedition.  All of the struggles, challenges, and adventure of the experience was winding down. “Life seems to be about the journey, rather than only reaching  a summit and exploding into happiness.”   Oh well, onto the next adventure…

“The out of doors, is just another avenue in which life opens its secrets to us.  Secrets about ourselves, about others, and living life well.”  

I ASKED FOR GUIDANCE and the wise old climber replied, “Do these four things:

  1. Believe in Yourself. Believe in your capacity. Believe in your goodness.
  2. Seek Adventure. Climb high mountains. Run wild rivers. Live daily with the spirit.
  3. Take Care. Follow your dreams, but stay conscious
  4. Have Fun, Sing, Dance, Laugh and spread joy wherever you journey.  –Royal Robbins

“Character is built in the same way as a tree or a house is built–namely, by the ceaseless addition of new material, and the material we use to build character is thought.  By the aid of millions of bricks, a city is built; by the aid of millions of thoughts, a mind, a character, is built” –  From as a man thinketh by James Allen

“You cannot stay on the summit forever;  you have to come down again.  So why bother in the first place?  Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above.  One climbs, one sees.  One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen.  There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know.

“Who is the true failure, the one who tries and fails or the one who never tries?”


“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.  Nature’s peace will flow into you like sunshine into trees.  The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away like the leaves of Autumn.”  — John Muir

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