Winter 2005 - Fall 2006
Early November flying at Point of the Mountain, Utah.
We stayed in Park City, thanks to the discounted lodging Alex found. If you've been to Utah, you gotta love their state liquor laws. Are you a club member? You can only have a heavy beer if you're having dinner. Can I have a sidecar with that?
My first paragliding solo--Sep 30 off of Bellyache Ridge near Wolcott
Well, you're probably wondering why I learned to Paraglide if I used to Hang Glide. Good Question. During a Hobbits Outdoor Club meeting in college, the proprietor of the local hang-gliding business was looking for students with an interest in flying. Although I see myself as an adventure junkie versus adrenaline junkie, I wanted to give it a try. I went through the process of starting a University club / student organization to find other students interested in hang-gliding and to receive discounts on training and equipment usage.
After moving to Vail, my interests grew (I'm sure you realize that by now) and I would have to get extremely creative finding a way to store a hang glider in my condo. After almost a decade of not flying, the sky is calling again. It's great to see the earth from a 14,000 - 20,000 foot peak, but even better to see it from the air. With a very limited number of hang-glider pilots in the area, and not having many mountain foot launches under my belt, I made a bid for a tandem flight with Greg Kelley at one of our Vail Mountain Rescue fundraisers last winter. The rest is history.
Two day adventure from East Lake Creek again! We didn't make it to our
original goal of Gold Dust Peak or Gold Dust Lakes, but at least we made it to
what was probably the water powered (via several mile long flume) rock crusher.
Two day adventure from East Lake Creek TrailHead
to peaks Eagle and UnNamed 13,100
(aka South Eagle). Get back to the TH at 1am on Monday. Ugh.
An evening of bowling from *@$!
Nothing like a little snow in August. Alamosa has received almost 8 times the normal rainfall this summer, and
winter will be here soon...
Barbeque at the The Nature Conservancy's Medano Zapata -- the Linger ranch back in the early 1900s
Click here for video
After volunteering at the Minturn Rummage Sale, I needed to see what kind of
stuff was left.
I found a Li-Ion battery charger and decided to buy it for a buck. I
figured the 5 megapixel camera I found on the Mt. Jackson ski
was dead from sitting in the snow and rain for several months (after dinner one
evening, I popped it in the oven overnight once it cooled to below 120°F
to dry it out). When I arrived home, I bent the pins on the charger
so they would strike the contacts on the battery. I held my breath, hoping
to see the charger glow red with joy. It did! Cool. The next
morning, I popped it in the camera, hit the power button, and expected nothing.
To my great surprise, I heard the motor roar to life, the zoom lens rotated to
full length, and a set time/date screen blinked to life on the LCD display.
Avon to Beaver Creek PHQ to Grouse Mtn to Cross Creek to Fancy Pass to Holy Cross City
to Fall Creek Pass to Tuhare Lakes to Lake Constantine to 12,500 feet on
Notch Mountain (thunderstorms turned me around) to Tigiwon
Hitched a ride back home in less than five minutes (ran into some
friends who just hiked the Halo Ridge Route!). Had to settle for the
camera phone for these shots. Click here
for last year's Holy Cross Ridge loop.
Family in town... No major adventures this weekend. Ground school in
the morning, sailboard in the afternoon, more ground school in the late
afternoon, and top it off with dinner and live music, and some fun in
The weekend was going to be hot. A strong,
upper-level ridge was
heading our way, bringing with it, stagnant hot air (as I write this, I found
out it was 106° in Denver this weekend). On Thursday, July
13, I was getting a Bachelor Gulch permit for my company vehicle and ran into a
former classmate from my EMT course a couple years back. He lives off of Homestake road and was
planning on canoeing at the
the next couple of days.
A few days ago, he glanced down at Nottingham Lake from the gatehouse and saw a sailboard zigzagging its way around the lake like a weight on the end of a pendulum. I told him that was me, my third time on the board, given to me by a ski buddy. His plan for the weekend was to go canoeing and fishing on the res. I told him about my idea of sailing on Homestake, and our weekend plans were now set.
Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures from the Homestake Reservoir adventure. As I neared camp on the far shore late Friday, I noticed something strange. I had two glowing objects emanating from my pack. If one was my always-on-LED-flashlight, what was the other one? As I got closer, I saw the square display and washed out image from a broken LCD display (which happened on Mt Jackson, and broke the display again on Middle Mountain last summer. I pulled the camera out of three zipper lock bags and found water all over the camera. I took the batteries out and resealed it in the bags again. I let it bake in the sun for the next two days and hoped for the best. Well, I recovered the photos from the card, but I get a dreaded flashing red light when I try to take a picture. With a possibly blown CCD, I now have myself a wonderfully expensive paperweight. Oh well, I've had the camera for several years now, and considering where I've taken it, I didn't expect it to last this long. Until now, the Fuji A303 has taken almost all the pictures on this web site.
VMRG fundraising: volunteering for the famous
Sale. Erecting the furniture / auction tent.
Swiftwater Rescue training on Gore Creek
First backpack of the summer. Avon to Buck Creek to Nottingham Ridge
Trail to Metcalf Creek Rd. to Moniger Road to Flagstone Park to Piney River to
Meadow Creek Trail to Elliott Ridge. Camp on the summit of Meridian Peak.
Upper Cataract Trail to Lower Cataract Lake / Green Mountain Reservoir.
Hitch a ride to Avon in less than an hour. Whew.
Bike to 11,440ft, hike to 11,700ft(pass my old snowcave sites), camp under a full moon,
and hear nothing but the sounds of silence (except for a noisy
Gunnison River / Dominguez Canyon
Wilderness Study Area
three day paddle and hike. My first snowless weekend in almost seven months
Last Weekend's Weather: snow & 23° - This Weekend: 101°
My first paragliding tandem - stayed up and ridge soared
for an hour (Mt Jackson in the background of both pics)
Mt. Jackson - Memorial Day Weekend
We started Saturday morning under bright sun and hiked our way up to the snow at Beaver Creek around 10,800 feet. The ski up was much better, especially since we removed 10 pounds of skis and boots from our packs. Not to mention I scored a 5MP digital camera (I wonder how many of these are lost on ski runs across Colorado each year)—too bad it doesn’t work. I also found a mini automatic tape measure (hey, I can use to measure snowpits) buried in the snow near the snowboard park. As we neared timberline, I showed Hap my snowcave locations I dug over the past six months. We continued on to the top of the Bald Spot and headed down the narrow sliver of snow on the south face. When we reached the north side of Grouse Mountain, we donned our skins again and headed up to the saddle to ski the west flank of the mountain. It was getting late in the afternoon, the winds were picking up slightly (they were calling for gusts to 60mph today, but didn't get anywhere close to that). We found a patch of trees near the krummholz zone and decided to call it camp. We built a snow wall to protect us from the wind, watched the alpenglow melt away from a bright red to a deep purple as the evening progressed, and settled down for the night.
The next morning brought us some moderate winds, which zipped around our camp and walloped the top of Grouse Mountain. We were on the move by 9am and worked our way around the east side of Mt Jackson's cirque that contains the headwaters for Beaver Creek. I removed my ski boots and put on my tennis shoes for the long rock scramble we had to the summit. As I turned my head to the heavens, I saw high cirrus clouds at the leading edge of a cold front that is due tonight. It was almost eleven a.m., and the clouds were starting to thicken into stratocumulus. There was no vertical development to the clouds, and the dark cloud bases that are usually evident this time of the day were absent. We took a break at the 13,000ft plateau, and I showed Hap where Neil and I snowcave camped in a drift on last year's climb. The last scramble to the summit stood there in front of us, with the last rock tower on the ridge staring us down like we were no bigger than grains of sand. At around 2pm we made the summit under mostly cloudy skies and light winds. After finding our names in the peak register from climbs in years past, we packed up and headed down.
At around 13,000 feet, we reached the snowfield that snaked its way along Jackson's north flank down to timberline. The corn was perfect, the winds were still light, and cloudbase was slowly inching its way out of the sky and towards our destination. At treeline, we removed our skis and hiked through the dirt down a steep couloir towards Upper Turquoise Lake. Near the bottom, the sky opened up and pelted us with on and off snow. We built our camp in the trees, and strung a tarp between two spruce trunks for protection from the steady snow. Around sunset, the weather tapered off, leaving us with two inches of new snow. From the steep walls above, the winds started howling high above us as the cold front roared its way into the northern end of the Sawatch Range. We left our camp and headed into a grove of tight trees overlooking the lake for dinner. We headed back around dusk and called it a day.
On Memorial Day, we were up early to climb out of the Beaver Creek drainage and back up to the side of Grouse Mountain. Although our trek involved little avalanche danger, looking at my watch early this morning and seeing a temperature of 23° gave me a good indication that the snow would not be wet and prone to slide. Without a trail corridor or cut logs visible, the trail is difficult to find in the winter as it weaves through rock bands and around cliffs, so we headed straight up and managed to stay clear of the hulking rocks that can dead end quickly. As we skied to the top of West Grouse Creek and back up the back side of the Bald Spot, the clouds thickened into the altostratus variety and the sky belched their strong winds into our faces at 12,000 feet. As we weaved back through the trees down below, we headed down the Golden Eagle ski run (Birds of Prey World Cup course) to around 9,900 feet where the last ribbon of snow faded into a puddle of water. I put my tennis shoes back on and we hiked down through the finish arena at Red Tail Camp, and on to the base of the Beav’.
Biking the "Quadruple" bypass: Avon to Vail, to Vail Pass, to Copper Mountain,
to Fremont Pass, to Leadville, to Tennessee Pass, to Redcliff, to Hwy 24 over
Battle Mtn (no, that technically isn't a pass), to Minturn, and back to Avon.
1Meet two friends from Denver to ski French Mtn. 2Arrive
at trailhead to find their truck stuck on a snowdrift covering the road.
They then proceed to tell me that one of them had their pack stolen out of the back of the truck last
night in Leadville. 3Free truck by 11am. After giving it
some thought, they decide to throw in the towel and head home. 4My plan B: Do anything but go home! Bivy at 13,000 ft. on the south
side of Massive (build camp at 11pm under a full moon) and summit the next
Mt. Massive randonnée (randonnée is French for excursion—and no, it doesn't mean "can't tele"!)
Commando Run–Vail Pass to Lionshead
Volunteered for The Community Pride I-70 Trash Clean-up Saturday, and blown off Breck's Peak 10 by 40mph winds Sunday
Closing day at Vail. Off the mountain by 11pm—fifteen minutes earlier than
Closing weekend at the Beav
20-50mph winds. What a great night build a shelter and sleep under the
snow! Wake up at 6am, ski home, shower, and get to work by 9.
VMRG High angle rescue training
in the morning, and ... Snowcave reconstruction in the evening.
BURIED! - had to dig 7 feet down to get to the old entrance
3 days at the Waunita Hot Springs Lodge - Monarch Pass to Waunita Hot Springs
Enjoying our secret stashes with a new foot of fresh on one of the busiest Saturdays of the year.
We only had to wait in one lift line all day.
Two day Mt Elbert climb to 14,433ft
While skiing with some friends on Saturday, one
(who works for Guest Services) mentioned that someone skied from Beaver Creek to
Edwards a while back. What a great idea!
Snowcave camp Sat. night, ski past the Edwards water tank, and down the recreation path to
the Edwards Ambi Building.
Snowcave camping for the first time this season Sunday night (well, since
skiing Chile in September).
It's nice to live in a location where I can skin up to timberline above the ski area at the end of the day, build a snow structure and sleep in it, ski down 12"-18" of new snow early the next morning—although it was only 3" this time—and go to work by 9am.
Course Maintenance - Beaver Creek Birds of Prey Race Weekend
Course Maintenance - Beaver Creek Birds of Prey World Cup Course
- Removing snow the weekend before the race (well, trying to)
2½ day Vail Pass to Blue Sky to Vail
Hiked up to Beaver Lake Friday night after the day's thunderstorms, and skied up to Upper Turquoise Lake Saturday 11/11 - 11/13
Just playing with the Google Earth software and my new laptop... A view
from 5729 feet above my condo.