Archive for April, 2009

Roaming on Rogers

April 23, 2009

I had the great fortune of being invited to Roger’s Pass for a backcountry skiing trip this winter. Reed Finlay and I got to tag along with, Steve Romeo from www.TetonAT.com who was headed to the Cold Smoke Festival in Nelson, B.C. and then to Revelstoke.

We arrived in Nelson at the tail end of a 21 day high pressure spell that had left the surface snow wonderfully faceted. We knew it would not hold up well once new snow came, but for now it made for great skiing on all aspects.

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Reed climbs Ymir

After a few days in the Southern Selkirks we were ready to meet up with Greg Hill and friends in Revelstoke, and get down to business on Roger’s Pass. We headed north into a large storm system that put an end to the high pressure and low danger. The avalanche cycle we all expected started in force and we kicked off numerous small and medium sized avalanches on the McGill Shoulder.      

The going gets good

The going gets good

The next day dawned high and dry, and with Aaron Chance and Greg Hill ready to go, we headed to the top of the pass. The weather was spectacular and we had assembled an all star team of backcountry skiers, but we knew we would have to keep our energy in check as the buried facets and surface hoar were likely to be reactive today. As a few of us stuck our heads in the snow to see what was happening beneath the surface we witnessed the sure sign of a disaster, 2 ridges to the east, a large avalanche released as a group of skiers made their way across it. Greg, a former ski mountaineering champion employed his high speed transition and was off skiing towards the site of the accident. 

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Zioneering

April 16, 2009

ZION IS:

a) Place of Refuge (literal translation from the Old Testament);
b) Place of Beauty (opinion of 3 million visitors a year);
c) Place of Adventure (for surprisingly few people).

So which is Zion National Park?
Answer: d); All of the above.

I met Jared Campbell for a few days of Zioneering this past weekend. We scouted the proposed Patriarch Traverse on Friday, went to rarely visited Bridge Mountain Arch the next day, and bagged a nice link of Mt Spry and Twin Brother on Sunday. The purpose of this quick report is to provide either enough information or inspiration for you to try a Zion adventure yourself. But maybe not these …

patriarchs (more…)

Annapurna Circuit run March 2009

April 14, 2009
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I recently returned from Nepal where I ran/hiked the Annapurna Circuit with three other ultra runners Cindy, Tammy and Todd. It was an amazing journey and experience.
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We started our trek in Besisahar after an 8 hour taxi ride from Kathmandu. The start of the trail was more of a road and I was a little worried that I my visions on single track were way off.  But they came quickly. Each day we traveled 14-18 miles mostly hiking fast and some running. We carried our packs which each weighed about 12+ lbs. That took some getting use to at first and it got heavier as we found fun things we couldn’t resist to buy along the way.   (more…)

Elk Mountains Grand Traverse

April 9, 2009
Homie and I near the top of Aspen Mountain

Homie and I near the top of Aspen Mountain

I recently competed in the 40-mile Elk Mountain Grand Traverse back-country
ski race. Holy cow! This race is tough. It was eye-opening. I liken it to an ultra-marathon, where you see people who you wouldn’t think could hold a candle to you in mountain adventures, passing you. This is an event you have to learn, because pure fitness isn’t nearly enough to conquer this race. The Grand Traverse is very serious, very committing and so very different from nearly any other competition I’ve done. You have to enter this race as a team of two because of the serious nature of it. The race starts at midnight, so you get to do the first 6+ hours by headlamp. We had good snow conditions this year, but horrible wind up high. My buddy Homie and I finished in just over 15 hours (the winners were under 10 hours!) You can read lots more details here, if interested:
http://www.wwwright.com/climbing/tripreports/2009/GrandTraverse.htm