is tahoe dying? hell no

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
old hotel

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.
bonanza park

the article also used this picture of the now defunct horizon casino ‘resort’.
horizon

the horizon has been in a bad way for quite some time. but as of the writing of mr. morse’s article, it was well on it way to becoming this
hard rock hotel resort

driving highway 50 provides many more examples of tahoe coming back to life. the fence has been removed and the hole in the ground is now partially filled with shops and restaurants. there are a number of new projects in town as well as old hotels being completely refurbished.
the landing, formerly the royal valhalla
the landing tahoe

tahoe new construction
construction of the lodge at edgewood, auto zone in the middle of town, and the new bevmo at they y

to prove how the weather is killing us mr. morse provided this image, which most of us saw last year. the problem with this is that it does not paint a complete picture at all. in fact if you were to show the january 2012 picture next to the 2013 picture you would get the impression that tahoe’s winters are getting better and better
snow

while it’s true that last year was horrible for skiing, even in drought years, tahoe typically gets more snow than most resorts in the rockies. sure a season like last year might make us travel to whiter pastures to get our fix, it’s not going to make us give up on tahoe. for the beauty of tahoe is not just our amazing winters, but also our amazing summers, and falls, and springs. tahoe is truly an amazing place year round and economically the winters pale in comparison to our busy summers, something no other ski destination can claim.

having said all that there is one thing that gives me hope for tahoe’s future. it’s the new attitude of our city leaders. somewhere along the lines they realized there had to be something beyond gaming to make south lake tahoe whole. the casino corridor is no longer the complete focus of everything they do. this is best reflected in new events in the center of town. lakeview commons and the summer concert series are prime examples of this. this is a series of events created for south lake tahoe residents and benefits south lake tahoe rather than solely the stateline district. snowglobe is another example. it is events like these which are not targeted towards the casino corridor or the gambling demographic that will ensure that tahoe moves forward as a viable community with a diversified economic plan.
five or six years ago, commercial space in the y area was largely empty and unrented. with the bevmo and the new shoe store moving into the garfinkle building (tj maxx), and wells fargo moving into the old sports ltd in the raley’s plaza, all the stores at the y will be filled for the first time i remember. so if you ask me, tahoe isn’t dying, it’s thriving.

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climbing the walls (at the lakes on highway 88)

for the last several weeks we’ve been exploring the rock walls 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
Climbing at Margaret Lake

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 were 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 the top rope was up we started climbing.
jasmyn went first
climbing at margaret lake

followed by skylyn working her way up the corner
climbing at margaret lake

ashley just past the crux approaches the top of the wall
climbing at margaret lake

and finally they let me climb. this would have been an uncomfortable lead since there was no pro between the top of the corner until the top except for an uncomfortably flexy pinnacle that could be slung
climbing at margaret lake

then it was the dogs turn for fun as they showed us their new synchronized swimming routine
climbing at margaret lake

climbing at margaret lake

the following week we took a camping trip to kirkwood lake. in addition to excellent rock, kirkwood lake has a rope swing.
jazzy takes off innocently enough. nacho is behind stoke
kirkwood lake rope swing

but nacho jumps in early and she lands on him (you can see him just under her kneee).
kirkwood lake rope swing

do not like do not like!
kirkwood lake rope swing

i didn’t land on anybody. but still, do not like!
kirkwood lake rope swing

we chose a site that allowed the pups to have their fun and do what doggies do
kirkwood lake camping

kirkwood lake camping

the next day we headed to shealor lakes. i’ve lived in tahoe for 20 years now and had never heard of shealor lakes. but recently on the way to work we stopped into sports ltd and dan k. mentioned some climbing in the area. we were late for work and missed some details but we figured we could find it.
after a wrong turn or two we did find it. but naturally there was some ‘nature’ involved.
shealor lake climbing

after a little more ‘do not like’ the pups were excited to be on the ledge.
shealor lake climbing

obviously, jasmyn was excited too
shealor lake climbing

ashley says “i’ll take the sharp end”
shealor lake climbing

clipping
shealor lake climbing

belaggles view
shealor lake climbing

the 4th bolt was where we all got stymied
shealor lake climbing

so we top roped from there
shealor lake climbing

here’s a view of the zone. the red represents our route and there are a couple bolted lines to the right as well. i tried soloing up the yellow line to go around and set up a top rope but the rock got super slick and i’m a giant wuss. down climbing with my pack was super fun though (do not like)
shealor lake climbing

i did a little exploring a couple hundred yards below and found some bolts atop this steep granite. a route for another day (and a better climber)
shealor lake climbing

then we hit shealor lake where the doggies played careers. stoke was so excited to finally become assistant branch manager we didn’t have the heart to explain he was assistant to thebranch manager.
shealor lake

lots of reasons to come back
shealor lake climbing

that afternoon we made our way over to the wall behind our camp site at kirkwood lake. we found this last year but i wasn’t leading much at the time so i wanted to get back
kirkwood lake climbing

jasmyn follows. this has one of the coziest belay stations around
kirkwood lake climbing

kirkwood lake climbing

line #2 on top rope
kirkwood lake climbing

#3 also on top rope. i ended up going around to the chimney
kirkwood lake climbing

jazzy looks up the chimney
kirkwood lake climbing

on the arete after the chimney
kirkwood lake climbing

this tr is brought to by speakeasy’s double daddy (do like)
double daddy

#hashtag
kirkwood lake climbing

the next day it was off to old camp bluff. the water tower marks the start of the short approach
kirkwood lake climbing

me on a route
old camp bluff

look mom, no hands
old camp bluff

jazzy making it look easy
old camp bluff

old camp bluff

ashley too
old camp bluff

our final route of the trip
old camp bluff

old camp bluff

thanks for looking
kirkwood lake climbing

posted in climbing, doggies | Comments Off on climbing the walls (at the lakes on highway 88)

this summer i… highland lakes

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 make 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.
folgers peak

as soon as we arrived stoke was stoked as there was a seemingly endless buffet of cow patties. yum!
stoke dog eats cow poop oh yeah

after the drive, the pups were excited to be outside
highland lakes photo

it’s a pretty place
highland lakes photo

and the views aren’t bad
highland lakes photo

as soon as we found some snow, the pups play instinct was switched to high
highland lakes photo

nacho began to levitate
highland lakes photo

and ashley taught them to meditate
highland lakes photo

the tags say it all. 😉
highland lakes photo

highland lakes photo

awesome on top
highland lakes photo

i told stoke he would get mad treats if he mastered the one ear up trick, cause ashley is a sucker for that.
highland lakes photo

but nacho does not approve, cause he considers those treats his
highland lakes photo

but we were here to ski so let’s get to that. me dropping in with awesome nacho following and lame stoke hesitating
highland lakes photo

stoke (who has only skied powder before, once) was all “whaaaat, you want me to ski that?”
highland lakes photo

and then he accidentally pointed it
highland lakes photo

ashley came down to his rescue
highland lakes photo

woah! don’t know how that got in here.
highland lakes photo

after a couple of short laps it was already 6:00 so it was time to head back. a timed shot with hiram peak (left) and airola peak in the background
highland lakes photo

our longest line of the day was in the gully on the way back down
highland lakes photo

there were a few gaps though. giving my knee it’s biggest test to date (it hurt)
skiing photo

ashley linking up the patches with style and grace (but no helmet!)
highland lakes photo

before making it back to her van, down by the river. it started snowing lightly a few minutes later
highland lakes photo

stoke was still a bit freaked out by his accidental straightline, or he was chewing on the solar cables and got shocked. not sure which
highland lakes photo

the next day as we headed back to tahoe, we got some mountain biking in on the tryon meadow trail (the pics disappeared) and then got some sport climbing in at true value crag. here ashley is approaching the crux of sliver, a 5.9
highland lakes photo

posted in backcountry, climbing, doggies, hiking, skiing | Comments Off on this summer i… highland lakes

this summer i… bowman lake

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
bowman lake
Climbing Bowman Lake

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)
Climbing Bowman Lake

got one
Climbing Bowman Lake

we hiked up to the big lake, which held beautiful secluded coves along the shoreline
Climbing Bowman Lake

there were flowers
Climbing Bowman Lake

Climbing Bowman Lake

and snakes. actually, there were a lot of snakes
Climbing Bowman Lake

hutch dove in
Climbing Bowman Lake

stoke couldn’t stand to see her with nacho, so he took his first voluntary swim
Climbing Bowman Lake

i flipped out
Climbing Bowman Lake

nacho to the rescue
Climbing Bowman Lake

enough of the hijinx, we were here to climb. we started off with the easier climbs here in a zone called the funhouse

ashley leading circus tricks, an easy 5.7
climbing at bowman lake

we busted out the toprope for the unknown 5.10 (5.10b)
Climbing Bowman Lake

next up, candyland, which offers some great moderate routes
me leading up nemo (5.6). ashley played rope gun on the more difficult climbs on this wall. big moves to clear rooves were still tough on the knee
climbing at bowman lake

ashley leading candyland (5.8)
climbing at bowman lake

and here she is on rock n rolla (5.9), an awesome climb. except for one slab move above the roof, this is considerably easier than candyland
Climbing Bowman Lake

a look over at rediscovery dome and boy scout wall. reasons to come back
Climbing Bowman Lake

then we moved over 100 yards or so to the cove. ashley leading up the lower portion of pulp friction (5.7)
Climbing Bowman Lake

me up on the slabs of pulp friction. we also did flumetastic (5.7+), one climb to the left as daylight waned. that took just about all of our 70m rope to descend.
Climbing Bowman Lake

the next day we headed to the emeralds just to check them out. we will be back after only scratching the surface there.

posted in climbing, doggies, photography | Comments Off on this summer i… bowman lake

sonora pass – take 2

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. 😉
Sonora Pass climbing

me top roping on the areas’s 5.9
Sonora Pass climbing

sir fartsalot (left) and chief poopsinside (right) learning a bit about the area’s geology. chief poopsinside suffers from attention defishit disorder
Sonora Pass climbing

he still can’t pay attention
Sonora Pass climbing

sir fartsalot attempts to get his attention
Sonora Pass climbing

the next day we were heading skiing. our original goal was the y couloir on leavitt peak. but sir fartsalot’s dad forgot his skiing backpack and his skins so we had to go to no name peak. sir fartsalot looks longingly at leavitt peak
Sonora Pass climbing

the chief and his mom
Sonora Pass climbing

sir fartsalot giving kisses. the chief’s mom smells something
Sonora Pass climbing

down climbing into no name couloir
Sonora Pass climbing

pmgear skis are either tasty or comfortable. i’m not sure which here.
Sonora Pass climbing

clearly sir fartsalot and the chief were taken hostage on this trip
Sonora Pass climbing

poopsinside was pooped, outside
Sonora Pass climbing

he who poops inside watches intently since he’s never skied a couloir before.
Sonora Pass climbing

sir fartsalot takes off to show him how it’s done.
Sonora Pass climbing

he seemed to get the hang of it
Sonora Pass climbing

just gotta follow mom
Sonora Pass climbing

out in the open, both pups were at home
Sonora Pass climbing

the 4-month old can’t keep up with the 3-year old
Sonora Pass climbing

but he can run back to mom
Sonora Pass climbing

then she passes him too
Sonora Pass climbing

sir fartsalot is all ‘w-t-f is goin’ on here?’
Sonora Pass climbing

there was another small couloir on the way out. sir fartsalot is still confused
Sonora Pass climbing

back at the pass, chief poopsinside is in a hurry to get back inside. ruh-roh
Sonora Pass climbing

living ‘on’ a van, down by the river
Sonora Pass climbing

hummingbird wall was our post skiing destination
Sonora Pass climbing

ashley leading one fine day (5.8)
Sonora Pass climbing

nearing the top
Sonora Pass climbing

while sir fartsalot keeps an eye on the van, chief poopsinside naps
Sonora Pass climbing

Sonora Pass climbing

my turn
Sonora Pass climbing

another successful adventure! 🙂
Sonora Pass climbing

posted in backcountry, climbing, doggies, skiing | Comments Off on sonora pass – take 2

a few backcountry survival tips

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.
helpful pack additions (in addition to basic avalanche gear)
duct tape – many uses- can be wrapped around the top of your poles just below the grip.
zip ties – also many uses.
voile straps
15-20 feet of cord (some AT boot strings are made of strands of survival cord)
first aid kit (link to what some people carry for this)

splints can be fashioned using your skins wrapped around shovel handles, probes, half of a bc pole, etc. in my case it was a probe on each side of the knee wrapped up with a pair of skins and tightened with voile straps.

sleds can be made using skis, poles and your shovel, plus stuff to hold it all together. the movie below shows how to do it but with K2’s proprietary system. to do it without the special pieces requires the duct tape and other items above.
rescue sled built from skis

posted in backcountry, gear reviews and tips, hiking | Comments Off on a few backcountry survival tips

there’s no way to get hurt doing a backflip

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.
xray

here’s the post op view
leg x-ray post tibial plateau surgery

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

from the beginning
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)
powder skiing

this pic shows the rocks almost completely buried. the crown went from one side of the bowl to the other
avie debris

ashley looking good in this pic of her backflip attempt
skier flipping

but the sequence tells another story
sequence

my first attempt went well
skier flipping

skier flipping

and here’s my second attempt. i was fine after this but it is almost identical to my final attempt
sequence

this is the final jump, taken about two seconds before my season ended (or did it?).
skier flipping

below here i”ll add the pictures from the surgery and some from post op.

beware – they may be graphic and gross

we’ll start with the first one i got. had to redo the dressing and it brought me to this. much bigger than i expected and would explain why so much pain seemed to come from lower than i would have thought.
scar

beware – they may be graphic and gross. i considered not posting them
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

tibial plateau surgery

tibial plateau surgery

posted in backcountry, doggies, photography, skiing | Comments Off on there’s no way to get hurt doing a backflip

fantastic november conditions!!

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
backcountry skiing

meadow skipping with the emphasis on skipping
skiing at carson pass

it was deeeeep
skiing at carson pass

and it was purdy
backcountry skiing

nacho was so happy to be back in the snow
backcountry skiing

that he jumped for joy
backcountry skiing

then took a moment to teach jeff the basics of break dancing
backcountry skiing

then we ran into pete, and took a few laps with him. he was clearly happy with the conditions
backcountry skiing

pete, meet nacho. nacho, eat pete
backcountry skiing

jeff finds another fresh line to round out the day
backcountry skiing

saturday rolled around cold and clear and looked to be an awesome day filled with promise
snow picture

for nacho, it was the promise of hunting wabbits
dog hunting wabbit

doggie chasing rabbit

doggie chasing rabbit

i was chasing something else
skier about to crash

i would crash and burn in the pursuit. that didn’t matter i found what i wanted anyway
skier flails

ashley found it too
powder skiing

powder skiing

nacho’s in the cloud too
powder skiing

powder skiing

jeff was on deck and ready to drop
powder skiing

sometimes you have to dig deep to find what you want
deep powder

then ashley found something else, her very first avalanche
powder skiing

she was undeterred
powder skiing

time to leave and head to work, our exit strategy was a good one
powder skiing

hutchski in da pow

super bowl sunday arrived with clouds and the chance for more snow. ashley had a different super bowl in mind and chad was coming from santa cruz so we were committed to head out.
the conditions were not awesome
hiking

after two laps above treeline we opted to hit some tress which held good snow, but lots of tracks as well.
we were able to find some well protected fresh lines
ashley swimming among the sharks
powder skiing

with marvin at her side
powder skiing

powder skiing

powder skiing

chad jumps over the sharks
powder skiing

next we happened upon an abandoned kicker
powder skiing

and then headed up for one more run
again, the fresh lines were well protected. me
cliff jumps

chad
powder skiing

chad from ashley’s view
cliff jump

posted in backcountry, doggies, photography, skiing | Comments Off on fantastic november conditions!!

utalorado for rock and snow

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 threw 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.
snowboarding picture

first sidecountry run at the canyons and my first decent air of the season.
skiing picture

skiing picture

forgot to stomp. oops
skiing picture

skiing picture

the next day we hit a-basin. again our start was delayed to to problems with my pass, which turned out to only be good in tahoe. who knew? no pictures and i’m not sure why. we skied powder. we skied steeps. but we didn’t ski steep powder.

partly due to my pass issues, but mostly because we wanted to, wednesday we toured at vail pass, which seemed to offer a bit more safety than some other areas. there were large slides all around but they were mostly 3-4 days old and the advisory had dropped from considerable to moderate overnight.
ashley enjoys a awkward moment on the up
skiing picture

we took a group shot up top. bret was not impressed
skiing picture

he was impressed on the down though
skiing picture

ashley too
skiing picture

skiing picture

skiing picture

fun was had by all in fact
skiing or climbing picture

skiing picture

skiing picture

then it was time to skin back up to the flank for some beautifully spaced trees we had spied on our original ascent.
ashley with our tracks off the peak above right
skiing or climbing picture

hey that’s me – (click here for high res pano)
climbing picture

and then it was time to ski those beautifully spaced trees
skiing picture

skiing picture

and we did
skiing picture

until the sun went down
skiing

friday we hit beaver creek. i can’t pay $129 for a ticket, but i could scrape up $55
thanks ashley (different ashley)
kangaroo picture

we didn’t take many pictures, but
we skied pow
climbing picture

and we jumped off of things
skiing or climbing picture

the next day we were planning to climb ancient art spire in the fisher towers area of eastern utah. the temperature was in the single digits as we approached
climbing picture

but it was apparent on the frigid approach that our route was in the sun
skiing or climbing picture

that’s our huckleberry there
skiing or climbing picture

atop the fortress of doom
skiing or climbing picture

and apparently guarded by e.t.
climbing picture

the first group was starting up as the route came into view
skiing or climbing picture

ashley led the first pitch. here she is placing her second piece of pro
climbing picture

which soon became her first piece
climbing picture

the crux of the first pitch offers a bolt ladder to pull on through
skiing or climbing picture

the second pitch was a fun lead at a relatively easy 5.8 with a fun roof and a fun chimney along the way. did i mention it was fun?
skiing or climbing picture

skiing or climbing picture

ashley was following up when folks from the first group rappelled down the chimney. most people know it takes two ropes to rappel down from the top of the second pitch to the ground. apparently not everyone knows the reason for this is to avoid rappelling down the route
climbing picture

ashley after clearing the roof and at the bottom of the chimney
climbing picture

the third pitch is a short sport route
skiing or climbing picture

leading the final pitch, lassoing the diving board for emotional support
climbing picture

hells yeah
climbing picture

ashley said she was nervous. but not too nervous to instagram something
skiing or climbing picture

even pulling on the quick draw here i found this to be the crux of the route. the exposure is awesome
skiing or climbing picture

skiing or climbing picture

still hells yeah
skiing or climbing picture

doing the reverse beached whale to get off the diving board
skiing or climbing picture

starting the rap down. that’s our tarp at the base between my legs
skiing or climbing picture

ashley rapping down on the face keeping out of the route in case other climbers head up
climbing picture

the dewey historical bridge in good light
skiing or climbing picture

and then we were treated to an awesome sunset as we headed back to the promise of storms in tahoe
skiing or climbing picture

i couldn’t help feeling we won
skiing picture

posted in backcountry, climbing, photography, skiing | Comments Off on utalorado for rock and snow

marginal – it’s the new epic in tahoe

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
nacho

we were last here on december 12th. our skin track had reversed itself and is now the snow bridge to hike on
no snow

we’re gonna go up there somewhere
kirkwood's backside

more specifically, we’re gonna go there
kirkwood's backside

and even more specifically, there
kirkwood's backside

so we can ski down this from the top
kirkwood's backside

and here’s the video. it’s kind of long and kind of lame. fortunately, lame is the new awesome.

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