Author Archives: powdork
about a week ago i came across an article via facebook stating that tahoe (particularly south lake tahoe) is dying. the piece went on to blame the situation on the lack of snow and the trpa. interestingly, the article used several images to prove tahoe is dying which in fact prove the opposite. for instance this picture of the old bonanza hotel was used to show dilapidated south lake tahoe has become
the problem is that the hotel in the picture has been torn down and is now (as of 2012) a neighborhood park. edgewood companies bought the old hotel in order to gain tourist accommodation units (basically toilets) to use in their planned lodge. they built the park and donated it to the city. the tau program is a brainchild of the trpa.
for the last several weeks we’ve been exploring the rock wall surrounding some of the off the beaten path lakes in the kirkwood area. among these are kirkwood lake, margaret lake, shealor lakes and old camp bluff near silver lake.
we started off with a day trip to margaret lake. i had been there before just after i started climbing so i knew there was potential but wasn’t aware of any development.
last time i was there (august 2012) it looked like this
fast forward 2 years and we came back armed with a rope and a full rack. turns out the rack was just extra weight since walking to the top there several sets of bolts lining the ridge. that worked out well since the hike in took longer than expected and work was looming on the horizon. once top rope was up we started climbing.
jasmyn went first
followed by skylyn working her way up the corner
ashley just past the crux approaches the top of the wall
catching up with more early summer adventures. after our trip to bowman lake we took a week off before heading up for some skiing at highland lakes. this would be a quick overnighter to get the pups out and makes some june turns.
a look at folgers peak as we approach just west of ebbett’s pass and just before we turn onto highland lakes road. our line ended up being off the saddle in the middle. the stuff to lookers right was wicked suncuppy and not as appealing as in this pic. the longer lines on the left may have been the call but were out of view when we were there.
as soon as we arrived stoke was stoked as there was a seemingly endless buffet of cow patties. yum!
after the drive, the pups were excited to be outside
it’s a pretty place
sorry i haven’t been posting here as much of late. i’ve been tying to get at it, but this is the busy time in tahoe and the bumblebeast takes up a lot of time as well. enough with the excuses, let’s get to the story. we were looking for somewhere new to climb. somewhere we could camp with the dogs without worry. bowman lake kept showing up on supertopo as an uncrowded spot with a high density of climbs within our range. and of course the lake was a huge plus as well. so we packed up the bumblebeast and headed to the north shore, and then past the north shore, and then 45 minutes down a forest service road that would be the beast’s first test of this sort
and there were little pools along the creek perfect for doggie deep water soloing (actually nacho was chasing the water bugs, stoke had yet to swim at this point)
we hiked up to the big lake, which held beautiful secluded coves along the shoreline
after visiting sonora pass several weeks earlier, we couldn’t wait to get back. the skiing is still plentiful and the climbing is everywhere. it’s like yosemite minus el cap and minus the crowds. this time we got a little earlier start so we could get a few climbs in when we arrived. still, we didn’t have much time so opted for a roadside attraction, donnel vista. there are a few short but fun routes here
ashley leading the climb me flake (5.7). not sure if the passersby are looking at her, or casing the van. 😉
me top roping on the areas’s 5.9
sir fartsalot (left) and chief poopsinside (right) learning a bit about the area’s geology. chief poopsinside suffers from attention defishit disorder
he still can’t pay attention
after my recent adventure with a broken leg in the backcountry i’d like to share some tips on what to do in case of an emergency out there. i’m not an expert, and this isn’t all encompassing. just some more things to think about and maybe something to add to your pack. sure you can get a calstar membership in fact one in our group had only days before.
but what if there’s no cell phone service? in our case there was none, although oft times you can get kirkwood’s signal if you’re on the ridge above us, about 20 minutes away.
what if it’s storming and a helicopter rescue isn’t possible?
what if the injury occurred in terrain that precludes a rescue by helicopter?
the first things to consider is active self rescue. can you get out without seeking additional help? can you get help? it’s not uncommon to be hours from the nearest cell phone signal.
do you have the items required for self rescue considering the injury? below are some items that you may already have or can easily add to your pack that may help to move an injured person. in most cases they have other uses as well and will most likely end up fixing a broken binding. Continue reading
as ashley stood at the top of the run in i tried to convince her it was all good. ‘as long as you don’t under rotate, there’s no way to get hurt doing a backflip’. she had under rotated her first attempt this day and she was a bit shaken up. i couldn’t convince her to try again and in retrospect i felt bad for even trying. i made my way up top to give it another go since on my first attempts i had slightly over rotated and backslapped before skiing away. still can’t say i stuck it. this time i would get a little more speed and rotate a little slower. still i came down in the back seat and bounced into the air. when i returned to the white planet my skis augured into the slightly crusty snow. my body slammed forward causing my femur to smash into the tibial plateau with enough force that my season was over. i knew it immediately and let out a loud ‘fuuuck!‘ before coming to a stop and the whimpering started.
the tibial plateau fracture would require surgery involving the placement of a cadaver bone graft as ‘scaffolding’ for my bone to grow on plus the addition of two metal screws. i’ll add pictures of the post op xray as well as some of the knee during surgery as soon as i get them from dr. swanson. of course, none of this could happen unless we got ourselves out of the backcountry first. we were about a mile from carson pass and it would require about 1.5 miles of travel to minimize elevation loss and gain. i didn’t know what i had done but i knew i couldn’t weight the leg at all, especially at any angle at all. we made a splint by placing our probes on each side of the knee and then wrapping my skins around the area. then adding a couple voile straps to keep it as tight as possible (the video shows only one probe on the outside, we added ashley’s on the inside shortly after). the majority of the way back was downhill and i was able to ski it on one ski with the other ski on my foot but hanging in tele mode. the pain wasn’t too bad as we started but near the end the combination of the adrenalin wearing off and the snow becoming icy as we skied through refrozen tree pee sections had me on the verge of passing out. finally we hit the old carson pass road and i figured i could pole up that section since it’s uphill, but not steep at all. it was quickly apparent that i just couldn’t do it. ashley donned her skins and towed me through that section all the way to highway 88, where i waited for her to go get the car. if i was alone, things would be very different right now.
here’s the video, which starts out with a few short clips from kirkwood the day before
when we got to elephant back we skied one run to the bottom to check things out. there had been a huge slide during the storm cycle. note the rocks above the riders in the top of the pic. they are roughly 25 feet tall. the pic below is taken from roughly where ashley is standing in this pics (just follow the tracks below jeff)
it’s true! these conditions would be awesome if it were november, and not unheard of for october. unfortunately it’s the beginning of february. still, rather than look a gift horse in the mouth we took full advantage of the 16-20″ that mother nature provided. friday conditions were a little sketchy so we took it pretty easy and kept it above treeline (unusually, the advisory called for higher danger near and below treeline). saturday everything had dropped to moderate or below and the snow was still phenomenal. sunday another weak storm had pulled in and with slabby conditions and limited visibility up high we moved into the trees.
here’s the video from the three days to the sounds of alt-j
enough with the nonsense and on to the pictures. friday was jeff, myself, and nacho
jeff and nacho with elephant back in the background
meadow skipping with the emphasis on skipping
it was deeeeep
after tahoe has suffered through one of the worst starts to a season in, well, forever, a few of us decided to hop in the car and head east. armed with our various passes which included days at vail resorts we headed in search of whiter pastures at the canyons in utah, as well as a-basin, vail pass, and beaver creek in colorado. we through in an awesome day on the rock on the way back to break up the drive.
we’ll get you started with a little video from the week
our first stop was the canyons, and after one run inbounds we headed for sidecountry. we got a late start due to problems with my ski pass. not too many pictures as i left the camera in the car. ashley had hers though.
this is one of the few shots of chris, who came down with the flu as this pic was taken. he was immediately quarantined for the rest of the trip.
first sidecountry run and first decent air of the season.
my plan for the morning was to head up to heavenly’s stagecoach lift for first chair and some fantastic corduroy (which they really do have, btw). but plans for nacho to hang with another pup fell through at the last minute so i audibled. i had been looking at thimble peak on kirkwood’s backside for awhile and knew i could find something worthwhile there. i also knew it would involve somewhat questionable decision making as well, so solo was my best bet. this looked like the perfect opportunity.
every time i’ve done this tour or any variation i’ve skinned from the car. today the skins were just extra weight for training. nacho says good morning from what would be our finishing line on the way out
we were last here on december 12th. our skin track had reversed itself and is now the snow bridge to hike on