May 162011
 

Rock climbing at the City of Rocks in Idaho

My family and a group of good friends (and dogs) met at the City of Rocks in South Central Idaho this past weekend. We enjoyed a myriad of weather conditions, but, were able to get a good amount of climbing in. A few years ago, I took a big lead fall that generated enough force to lift my wife, who was belaying, ten feet into the air! While the fall occurred on an overhanging route and was clean, it screwed up my lead climbing head pretty good. The routes I led this weekend, albeit easy in grade, were clear-headed and entirely enjoyable once again! Aside from climbing, just being outside in such a spectacular playground with my family and friends, enjoying the weather, sights, and sounds couldn’t have been better. If you get the chance to travel to “The City” soon, the moist Spring we’ve been experiencing is sure to produce amazing wildflowers. Currently, the creeks are flowing, snowdrifts abound and are even blocking vehicle access to the Breadloaf climbs, and the water taps are still locked! Get out there!

Rock climbing at the City of Rocks in Idaho

Rock climbing at the City of Rocks in Idaho

Rock climbing at the City of Rocks in Idaho

Rock climbing at the City of Rocks in Idaho

Nov 232010
 

Climbing and skiing in Utah: Joe's Valley and Little Cottonwood Canyon.

The stars aligned this past weekend for an adventure in Utah. My good friend, Mike, who lives and works as a nurse in the Cascade Mountain town, Leavenworth, had seven days off and home improvement projects to put off. Another, Jared, was in Park City for an extended business trip as he is one of the most amazing wood working craftsman this side of anywhere. We all were watching as many weather stations and avalanche forecasts as are available online and were pleasantly surprised to find that, not only were the three of us going to descend on the Wasatch, so was a heavy winter storm! Mike and I arrived late Friday and crashed in our rigs in an empty Holladay parking lot we’ve nicknamed, “Le Chateau,” while strong winds brought in the storm.

Upon waking Saturday morning only a few inches had fallen in the Wasatch and Mike & I decided to gamble on Joe’s Valley being warm enough to boulder while Jared finished up some work. Joe’s was good to go and we climbed till the storm picked up its intensity; driving back to SLC in snowy conditions. Sunday the three of us skied a foot+ of fresh in hurricane force winds that often times stopped us in our tracks and nearly blew us over. Sunday, Mike and I met up for a dawn tour with another SLC friend, Joel, and found yet another foot of snow up Little Cottonwood canyon. On both days, avy danger kept us to mellower terrain, but, regardless, it was all smiles for everyone.

Utah is an absolute gem of a place. Going from the red rock canyon of Joe’s Valley to the winter wonderland of Little Cottonwood within a few hours was a treat to the eyes and soul. Here are some pics…

Climbing and skiing in Utah: Joe's Valley and Little Cottonwood Canyon.

Climbing and skiing in Utah: Joe's Valley and Little Cottonwood Canyon.

Climbing and skiing in Utah: Joe's Valley and Little Cottonwood Canyon.

Climbing and skiing in Utah: Joe's Valley and Little Cottonwood Canyon.

Climbing and skiing in Utah: Joe's Valley and Little Cottonwood Canyon.

Climbing and skiing in Utah: Joe's Valley and Little Cottonwood Canyon.

Climbing and skiing in Utah: Joe's Valley and Little Cottonwood Canyon.

Climbing and skiing in Utah: Joe's Valley and Little Cottonwood Canyon.

Climbing and skiing in Utah: Joe's Valley and Little Cottonwood Canyon.

Climbing and skiing in Utah: Joe's Valley and Little Cottonwood Canyon.

Sep 202010
 

This past weekend I ventured into the Boulder mountains with my long time friend, Dean, and tried to tackle two peaks in one day. This adventure was aimed at connecting Ryan Peak (Kent’s northern neighbor and highest in the Boulder range) with Kent Peak, via the ridge they share.

Gaining the summit of Ryan was a walk, however, getting to Kent proved a greater challenge than we had anticipated. After descending from Ryan to the saddle between the two peaks, we began our “ascent” of Kent. The route forces you around and through numerous gendarmes of decomposing granite and limestone with random fins of solid rock surrounded by steep shale and talus fields ready to slide. The gendarmes made the route difficult to navigate.

After two hours of avoiding rock slides and starting inadvertent trundles, we found ourselves on top of an impasse, a 200′ cliff on the West face and a 1000′ cliff on Kent’s North face. Without ropes, the only way around these precipices was by descending nearly 1000′ of talus on the West face to get around the fin that created the smaller of the two cliffs. After descending a bit, our minds (via our quads) gladly used the impasse and forced descent as an excuse to end the pursuit of Kent’s summit! We kept descended Kent’s West face dreaming the world was covered in snow and that our feet were on our boards–not scree.

Side note: I used this trip to learn how to operate my Canon 5D Mark II SLR’s HD video function. Take a look (below) at the video from our adventure; my first go at SLR video!