May 202014
 

Couloir skiing in Idaho.

Just on the other side of most any high alpine peak or ridge lie the strikingly beautiful shafts of snow which are isolated by rock walls and are better known as couloirs. In french, it means “passage” or “corridor,” and in terms of ski mountaineering, it means a portal into the ephemeral world of steep and exciting turns. There is a little cirque up north that offers a half dozen or so little couloirs that are fun to get into. Matt Sylvester and I went up for some of these tasty turns one stormy day late this Spring.

Couloir skiing in Idaho.

Couloir skiing in Idaho.

Couloir skiing in Idaho.

Couloir skiing in Idaho.

May 202014
 

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

This past weekend I took my wife and kids out the East Fork of the Salmon river for an overnight backpacking adventure. It’s amazing how much fun you can pack into 24 little hours! The East Fork is an amazing place filled with wildlife, scenic mountains, hot springs, and an abundance of trails. If you are looking to get your kids into backpacking, this is a great canyon to start them with; the only caveat being that you’ll have to ford the river about a mile from the trailhead.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Backpacking with kids in Idaho.

Apr 202014
 

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

I’ve just returned from a trek that covered 65+ miles of hiking over the volcanic lava fields in and around Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve here in South Central Idaho. Our expedition was a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Wilderness act and 90th anniversary of Robert Limbert’s National Geographic publication which described his exploratory adventure of the surreal landscape and was a primary factor in the establishment of the area as a National Monument. I’ll be working on an essay in the coming days and weeks and will update this post with the transcript. Until then, enjoy the images!

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Backpacking in the wilderness of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.

Feb 012014
 

Backcountry skiing with kids in Idaho.

A dream came true the other day–I was able to take my oldest kiddo, Kaia (9 years old), out on her first backcountry ski tour! We went up to Galena Pass and skinned up a few hundred vert to the top of a mellow slope, dug down to the ground (a whoping 1.5′ of snow) for some snow analysis, and then enjoyed our first turns together as backcountry partners!

We had a blast and Kaia, on her own, mentioned how she enjoyed the quiet and the spectacular views. Since this trip, she’s been begging to get out again!

Backcountry skiing with kids in Idaho.

Backcountry skiing with kids in Idaho.

Backcountry skiing with kids in Idaho.

Backcountry skiing with kids in Idaho.

Backcountry skiing with kids in Idaho.

Backcountry skiing with kids in Idaho.

Backcountry skiing with kids in Idaho.

Backcountry skiing with kids in Idaho.

Backcountry skiing with kids in Idaho.

Backcountry skiing with kids in Idaho.

Sep 292013
 

A photo of backcountry skiing in Idaho

South Central Idaho recently received a few early season snow storms that have covered the alpine region of some of the nearby ranges with early snow. Christopher Cook, Russel, and I made plans to take “our skis for a walk” this morning in hopes of making a few turns.

When I woke up at 4:30 today, it wasn’t because my alarm sounded, rather, it was the rain that was pelting our metal roof. Rain is not welcome on ski days and I wondered if I should stay in bed. I rolled out and into the kitchen where I realized that I was up early and had beat the coffee machine’s timed brew. After getting the coffee started, I walked upstairs to grab a rain cover for my camera bag and almost stepped in a puddle of green and sparkley diarrhea left by my dog, no doubt caused by her having eaten a bowl of my kids homemade magic-sand. Not the best start what could be the first day of the ski season, but, minor considering the larger picture.

A photo of backcountry skiing in Idaho

I cleaned up the dog mess, cooked a few eggs while the coffee brewed, and then checked the snowtel sites to see if it was snowing up high. Two of the higher snow sites were recording temps in the high 30′s. Enough said, might as well keep with the plan and head up into the alpine to see if we could link some turns.

Leaving Ketchum the temperature was 42 and by the time the truck was on the trail in 4-low, it wasn’t dropping like we’d hoped-still just 40. Though we were passing patches of snow, we were stuck in the rain. That said, looking up canyon looked revealed vistas that gave us hope and we kept on with each roll of the tire, step of the boots, and finally slide of the skins until the temps fell and the precip morphed into its beloved frozen crystal state. Then, at that magic moment with the skins off our skis, goggles on, and boots buckled tight, we all enjoyed the return of that ever addicting, phenomenally fascinating, feeling of skiing. This time, for the first time, in Idaho in September!

A photo of backcountry skiing in Idaho

A photo of backcountry skiing in Idaho

A photo of backcountry skiing in Idaho

A photo of backcountry skiing in Idaho

A photo of backcountry skiing in Idaho

A photo of backcountry skiing in Idaho

A photo of backcountry skiing in Idaho

A photo of backcountry skiing in Idaho