Sunday, March 29, 2009

Ben Lomond Periphery

Yesterday my doctor-in-training brother Boog and I went to ski Ben Lomond. I had a man-cold and Jeff ran 13 miles on Friday, so our energy levels were pretty low right from the get go. I've wanted to ski BL for a long time, and it was fun to finally get out on that mountain.

Skin track up. It was really warm.

Willard Peak looks pretty impressive.

I'm afraid I've made a dedicated resort-skier out of Jeff after yesterday. I'm sure there were several times when he was thinking "What are we doing?! Can't we just ride in the gondola and chill on the way up?" Alpine touring is not for sissies. It is alot of work! We were both suffering a little bit and it didn't help that my route finding added an extra 1.5 miles onto the approach, or that I'm using Nordica Beasts as my touring ski boots. One of these days hopefully I can upgrade.

We went up the red path on the map, should've gone up on the orange path, and skied down the green. We opted not to go all the way to the summit as it was pretty wind loaded and exposed so it didn't seem particularly safe to ski it. So, we decided to ski off the shoulder. With a ski cut I released a small slab about 1' deep and 30 feet wide. That confirmed to me that the summit would've been a bad idea yesterday.

We were not dissapointed on the ski down and the hike was worth it. I had the best powder turns of the winter down 35 degree slopes for 2000 feet on cold, soft snow. Below 7,000' the snow was really wet and there were several pinwheels. Skiing the last bit through that wet cement was kind of a bummer, but a wise man once said "It doesn't always have to be fun for it to be fun." Overall, a fun day even though I felt like poo and I was glad to have Jeff along.

Prepping for the down.

Jeff dropping in.

Jeff 5 seconds after dropping in.

Sorry, no action shots. I'm really bad at taking those.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My hand

So I went skiing with Kday a couple months ago and hurt my thumb pretty good skiing down the Mt. Ogden chute. I had an awkward fall and my thumb got all bruised and swollen. The gamekeeper's thumb. Ouch. Good thing I'm a lefty because I couldn't use it for anything. It still actually hurts doing certain things like opening doors. Should I be concerned?

It got pretty discolored.

And swollen.

I had to pick up my Sis at the airport a few weeks ago and I realized one way in which Utah is way di5fferent than Cali. The airport scene. The moms of those guys were right on their shoulders the whole time at the baggage claim. Ah, the memories.

I felt underdressed being around the Scruggs.

Just in case Brad forgot English, they made the sign in Spanish.

Patrolling & Other Stuff

I convinced Wes to do a dawn patrol with me on Tuesday morning. DP's are great in that you get to go skiing on a workday/weekday. The only bummer is the early start.

Waking up is the crux.

The view was worth it though.

It was sort of painful to wake up at 4:40 but well worth it. Quality ski days this time of year are numbered, and I was glad to have the opportunity to get out. Farmington canyon isn’t known for its skiing as it is a sled-neck haven, but they do have some fun terrain without the SLC crowds. And some of it is really close to the parking area. The morning after a storm ours was the only car in the parking lot and we didn’t see another car in the canyon with the exception of one Air Force guy going up to the towers. That is unheard of in LCC or BCC on a new snow day. Wes was on flip-flops, so we skied one of the lower ridges to save time. I forget what the ridge is called. It is a short run to the bottom, but it is super easily accessible from the road, and is a fairly easy skin back up for multiple laps so it made for a good DP choice. I REALLY wish I had ski crampons though, because the new snow was sluffing fairly easy on the older super-firm stuff. It made going up an exercise in patience.

We made a couple quick runs and I was at the office at 9 am. I wish we had time for more, but it was a pretty good morning. No action shots today, but here are a few that I took with my phone.

Looking North towards Ogden Valley.

The first light of the day & a view of our run.

My pirate dude.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Viva la Red Rocks

For spring break we were able to persuade Jami's mom to watch T & the twins and we went to red rocks with Keith & Andrea. It was awesome. We camped at the campground for the first two nights and had a greasy hairdo contest. I think I beat Andrea by a nose with Keith in third and Jami coming in a distant fourth place. It is sad to say that I hadn't tied into a rope since October. Two climbing trips in 13 months is okay though, right? I didn't think so either.

Day 1 we wanted to climb Inti Watana-For those of you that don't speak Quechua, it is the "hitching post of the sun." That sounded like a great route for the ides of March. It can still get really cold in March in the rocks and snow isn't out of the question, so we were thinking of routes that would have good sun exposure for the trip to work on our farmer tans. So we hiked up the white rot gully and then proceeded to kick a few steps in firm snow to put boot rubber to rock. Then midway through the first pitch my digits had the sensitivity of 10 little Jimmy Dean sausages. Luckily, the climbing was easy. 10a or so, but sorta slabby. Pitch 2 got a little more spicy, but Keith led that and I lugged up the pack. It was clear after those two pitches it was too cold for us to climb quickly enough to do all 12 pitches that day because it took several minutes after each pitch for the fingers to warm up again and I was so out of practice. (It was my 5th route in 2 years!) So, we did 4 more pitches (6 total of 12) and headed to Baja Fresh for some burritos.

Day 2 we climbed with the ladies. After shivering up the route the previous day, Solar Slab was the call. They call it “sizzle slab” during the summer because of its orientation towards the sun. 8(?) pitches of 5.6 or easier climbing. Nothing real hard, but it was fun to be out and at the top pitches you could start to see the LV Strip in the distance. I led the pitches and Keith being the stud that he is belayed me, seconded the pitch, and then belayed the girls up. He was doing the monkey all afternoon. The girls probably should have bought him a steak dinner that night for his efforts, but we went to Baja Fresh again instead. We did witness some guys headed for an epic later that night as we were repelling down the SS gully. David and guy #2 were so stoked to be there from Chicago. I wonder if they’ve made it down yet. I hope so. Sometimes epics happen, but these guys were out asking for one. It was kind of fun to see. I wish I could’ve kept tabs on their progress with some GPS tracker or something.

It wasn't your typical dirt-bagging climbing trip because we stayed 2 nights at the red rock casino. We checked into our place and it was sweet! They had a really nice shower (which officially ended the greasy hairdo contest) spa, and gambling I guess, but we didn’t even go down to that area. How Mormon of us not to even walk through the casino. 

Day 3 we climbed Olive Oil. As we had to be back early that day for spa time with the ladies, that was the only route we did that day. It was an awesome route with 3 60 meter pitches and one short one. In hindsight, I wish we would’ve done another route that day, but my skin was starting to wear out, so it is probably good we ended when we did. We ended our Las Vegas-climbing-days-eating-at-Baja-Fresh streak at 6 dating back to last year and went to some Italian place for dinner.

That was the end of our climbing portion of the trip and marked the beginning of the “spa” portion of the trip. As Keith was walking around in his robe and slippers, he pretty much summed it up when he said “What a weird end to a climbing trip.” I can’t wait until next year. Thanks for making it happen Annie & Keith!

Some Stats:

Pitches climbed: 18
Desert bighorns seen: 8
Burros seen: 0
Burritos consumed: several
Miles run by Jami: 20

An awesome tree on the approach.

It was cold!

Keith on pitch 3 of Inti.

View on Inti Watana

The "Euro Death Knot"

My feet hurt after the white rot gully approach in my Evel Knievel shoes.

Andrea the Trad.

Jami hangin' with some hot british dude.

Jami got a nice bum shot of me.

Solar Slab.

As a bonus, a pic of T's Hitler Smoothie Mustache

Jami has some other photos of the trip on the family blog.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Island Park Skinny Ski Festival

My friend Jon's family has an awesome cabin in Island Park, ID. Island Park is mostly a snowmobile (argh!) area, but there are tons of awesome areas for nordic skiing. To get to the cabin, we skied in about 3 miles with our gear for the weekend packed on plastic sleds that we were pulling. Basically, the trip is about xc skiing, and then eating a bunch of good food. Jon made chili verde, and I made fajitas the next night. It was a fun weekend.

A few days before we were there it rained. Usually that makes the snow really suck, but the night before we drove up there it snowed about 5" or so. The rain crust wasn't easily breakable, so it made for easy traveling on the skinny skis. We found a couple of hills to ski down. I've never had so much fun going so slow downhill. XC skis can be kinda sketch on the downhill what with those soft boots with no support.

There were alot of trees on the hills we were skiing, so forget about the turns. The fun part was picking a line that was straight-lineable and hoping that you didn't crash into a tree.

One of the huge hills we skied down. Doesn't it look so scary and intimidating?

I crashed into a small tree.

Boog showing off his years of ski experience.
Jeff #1 watches Jeff #2 roll down the windows on a heinous descent.

Jeff #1 dressed like it is 20 below.

Looking for varmits while we were out and about as it were.


Me and the Mrs.

Island Park is awesome.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Xterra Winter

I've done the off-road triathlon a couple of times up at Snowbasin and it is awesome. The winter race, while not as popular attendance-wise as the summer race, is really cool. I signed up a few weeks ago for the randonee/ski mountaineering race and thought it would be fun to do. I knew I would be out of my league, but I figured I'd give it a shot anyways. I signed up for the lesser race--the 8k (for mere mortals). It was so hard! I've done some tours before, but nothing like that. I'm not an mtb racer or anything, but that was a painful endeavor. It had a total elevation gain of 2200' up some really steep angled slopes. (>40 degrees?)

It was a revelation to me how fast some of those guys are. Also, how much of a difference equipment can make. My skis/boots/bindings must have weighed 8 or 9 lbs. more than most of the people who were in the race. Lifting those extra 8 or 9 lbs. on every stride got pretty tiring. I also got beat to the finish line by the top four finishers in the 12k race, but let's not talk about that.

For anyone that's interested, I'll lend you my stuff if you want to try the powderkeg next week so you can see what the sport is all about.

Sadie helping me get my stuff ready for the race.

Raegan lending a hand.

I was so glad when I hit the finishing line.

I think I almost made the top two guys crash when they passed me on the downhill as I was trying to hit the gates. (The finish for both races was the same.) Not cool. I'm glad they didn't hunt me down and have their goons beat me up afterwards.

Jami did the 10k snowshoe race and did awesome. She had not-so-excellent snowshoes, but she ran pretty well in them nonetheless.