Category Archives: climbing
last summer when i bought my mountain collective pass it was with the idea of traveling around the west in the lavish comfort of the bumble beast, a spacious sprinter van with my partner in crime, hutchski. those plans fell apart but i wasn’t about to let the pass go to waste. so i told my boss i needed three weeks off in late march and prepped my jeep (coco) for the trip. by ‘prepped’, i mean got a roof rack and new tires. there were numerous things wrong with coco but there was no way i could afford to fix them all so i would just have drive off and hope for the best, armed with a set of tools and a few hundred extra dollars. the basic plan was to hit all the resorts from taos to banff and then come down from whistler through the cascades. there was no place i had to be at any given time so the plan was subject to change based on snow conditions. then my father’s failing health necessitated a trip to florida in the middle of the tour so i booked a round trip flight from denver. this cut out taos and banff (taos was having a sub-par year anyway).
my new plan had me heading straight up to whistler with some undetermined stops on the way. before leaving i got in touch with lindsey in bend and asked what she was up to. as luck would have it she was planning a trip to mount hood just as i was passing through. i’d never been so this was perfect. we had planned an early start but a partner coming from portland called to say he was running behind. and then again, and again.
mt hood in the not so early morning light
work was over for the summer, the weather was great, and hutchski was heading down towards bishop before taking the bumble beast east for a while. with some free time i decided to head down there too.
i mean, who could resist a crew like this
in a place like this
obviously the pups were happy to see each other
work ended (until december) on the 12th of this month. on the 14th we planned to head south to do some climbing around mammoth (crystal crag) and then maybe something in tuolomne since it had been so warm. then the forecast took a turn for the worse with much rain in the forecast for the duration. a quick change of plans had us heading north for two days of sunny climbing on the redwood coast then some mountain biking in downieville. fate had other plans and we would not climb in the sun, but still had much fun.
wednesday we get our usual late start but no worries. we don’t have too far to go and grizzly dome doesn’t have too much to offer, especially for the dogs who would have to remain in the car. but then we notice that the bumblebeast is all over the road and wicked scary to drive (and passenger). hutchski just put new shoes on the van so we stopped by the placerville les schwab to see what was up. they said the front tires (which were replaced a month before the rear) were over 100psi. problem is she also has a readout from very recent oil change where part of the service is to check tire pressure, and the front tires were both listed at 55psi. the consensus is one of the front tires was not installed properly and was very loose, but they didn’t want to say that, making their company look bad. either way the issue was solved and for free.
we arrived at the dome as the sun was setting and quickly set up our belay. fortunately that was just a matter of backing up the beast to three weenies doing 5.12 (5.7)
the artsy shot from the gopro
living at the base of one of the better mountain biking trail systems in the country definitely has it’s rewards. it doesn’t hurt that the same system connects to the rim trail which provides much more in the way fun in the sun. one day in july i took off from the house to go on a 15 minute ride to get the pups some exercise. i passed the river at powerline trail and decided to head up corral loop to hit the tabletop section. well things were going so well i headed higher to the top of corral. still feeling good i went up oneidas to the top of the armstrong connector. having recently been up to armstrong pass i knew there were two more clean water sources before star lake so what the heck. along the rim trail between armstrong pass and freel pass i came upon this gem, the buddha. it was then i hatched a plan.
over the next several weeks i rode up there several times. once stashing a 60m rope and some nuts, the next time a tent and pad, and once more with some larger cams. hutchski isn’t so much into epics but all that was needed was a little deceit. “it’s gonna be easy” i said, and she fell for it. fast forward to august 19 and we were on our way, leaving #vanlife behind for 35 pound packs.
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 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.
turkey day is upon us, but the sights and sounds of winter have been slow to arrive. fortunately i found climbing as a new passion to fill up the snowless days. for many years i’ve known that the east shore can be plenty warm for all kinds of fun on pleasant winter days and many times on my trips to skunk harbor i’ve looked up at the spires just to the harbor’s north and wondered. well with the kids out of school all week on thanksgiving break (yeah, it’s a thing now, wtf?) i figured we might as well bushwhack our way over and check it out
picture of the objective taken two days prior
we left the car at noon. the hike until you leave the trail is easy and only about 20 minutes. then the fun starts.
fortunately we had a rescue plane circling if we needed it