Category Archives: doggies


at this point it’s no secret tahoe had a great january. im fact, in terms many locations saw record january snowfall, while many others saw record precipitation amounts. we saw incredible avalanches and started some scary ones too. there were five days rated high on the avalanche scale and for the first time ever sierra avalanche center offerred up a completely black danger rose. We had some great days, but we also had quite a few down days. i think most would agree that the resorts were closed for weather more than any month in the past and i know the kids had more snow days than any month i’ve been here. enough of all that though let’s get to some pictures.
1/3 – waterhouse – last day skiing with ashley before her big trip. this was the beginning of the condition known as #januburied.

we spent a lot of time here and at powderhouse during the month since it’s always got a pullout plowed and it’s the ‘safe’ alternative on high avy danger days. more on that later.

ashley (follow her adventure with coalition snow at
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summer’s last hurrah – a week on the eastside

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
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new plan – let’s hit the redwood coast

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)
grizzly dome

the artsy shot from the gopro
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a little fun in the back yard

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.
rock on rim trail

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.
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remember that one time when it snowed in tahoe

it’s no secret that tahoe has been hurting for snow this year. as the year started we had promises of storms of the century that yielded nothing more than ‘much needed wind’. our best storms became the inside slider, which in most years simply ushers in colder air. when of these moves west enough to grab a little moisture off the pacific they can bring some decent cold snows, and with little wind. one of these storms came in at the end of february and as the day got closer the forecast got more and more promising. there was a forecast of up to 6-12″ (tiny by normal tahoe standards) with a possibility of twice that wherever the deformation axis set up.
so on friday morning we were a bit disappointed to find that kirkwood had only received around 7″ and apparently the north shore received up to 17″. we skinned up dangberg to get a few quick laps in with the pups while kirkwood’s finest did their patrol work.
febuly 28th. the pups couldn’t care less about no defamation ackses. they just like the snow.
Carson Pass backcountry skiing

hutchski, nacho, and stoke nearing the top. no more pics from today cause it started dumping again
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climbing the walls (at the lakes on highway 88)

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
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 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
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
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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 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.
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
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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
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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
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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.

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)
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