Category Archives: hiking

an exciting day in the carson pass backcountry

sunday night i got a message asking if i’d like to hit moon couloir the next day. the only tracks that should be there would be another couple of friends known for getting after things early. since i had taken out the pups for the last three days and i had the night off this would be the perfect time to leave them behind and get an un-dog-friendly line. we hit the south carson pass trailhead at 8, and found the cars of the group that would be getting there before us. an hour and a half later we were under round top waiting to see which way the group ahead would go. the two guys we thought we would see had come separate, with one tagging all three couloirs (you can see his bootpacks), and the other leading up this group of four. they went up the main crescent so we opted for the center couloir.
round top

jeffjay heading up the gut of the central couloir. just after this shot the skier started descending the main couloir and he set off a pretty big pocket. greg and i were still close to the intersection as it roared below us sounding like a freight train. we all brought crampons and ice axes, but only used the axes.
round top center couloir

waiting for our turn
round top center couloir

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mountain collective (de)tour – the traveling auto repair show

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
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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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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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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. Continue reading

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waiting for winter at skunk spire

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
skunk spire

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
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the art of being homeless

after my landlord told me in mid july that sydney (aka squiddypup) had to go, i started to hatch a plan. i was already taking the girls to yellowstone for a summer/fall vacation, so it seemed like getting a place before we got back from that would just be a waste of money.
it looked like the three of us (me, nacho, and the squiddypup) would be staying at the outback lodge, a subaru resort, for the better part of september.
the outback lodge, a subaru resort property

while being homeless has some challenges, it definitely keeps you motivated. after all, sitting around the house just isn’t an option. what follows is a pictorial of what ended up being closer to 40 days of homelessness.
the first benefit i noticed was that i could decide where i wanted to wake up based on my plans for the next day. but i had my favorites and some requirements.
one requirement was a nice sunrise
the parking near the crystal bay boulders
crystal bay sunrise

waking up at the angora ridge fire lookout
sunrise over emerald bay

the other requirement was that i could just roll over, open the door and release the hounds
puppies are cute

cuz the puppies be cray cray
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three volcanoes in three days

after our last storm in tahoe the temps shot almost immediately up into the 60’s. combined with the high sun angle of late march it didn’t take long for most spots to start transitioning to corn. the same storm was still hitting southern and central oregon, and the forecast was for continued cold. try as i may, i couldn’t come up with a reason not to head north, and had plenty reason to get the hell outta dodge. i tried to rally some friends but really it would have made a lot of the trip more difficult. sometimes it’s nice to roll solo anyway so objectives don’t get in the way of adventures. it’s fun to park at a trailhead, put on the skins, walk a while, and then decide where you’re going. the result is that, other than saturday on broken top, most of the pictures are either scenic, or pictures of nacho.

we left thursday at 3:00 with a stop at the climbing gym in incline village, and after a long delay (forgot my sleeping bag requiring detour to reno) we were on 395 heading north at about 8:00. we pulled into annie creek sno park outside of crater lake national park around 2 am, which ruled out a dawn patrol the following day. no worries though as that just meant that i didn’t have to break trail or get lost.
it was apparent from the start we weren’t in tahoe any more, as there was an 8′-12′ base at the bottom of the hill on south facing slopes. nacho is looking a little rugged in his old pack. fortunately we were on our way to bend, the home of ruffwear performance dog gear.

skiing to the lake is forbidden. and it’s kind of hard to hide your tracks, and it takes a while to get back out, which means they’re waiting for you (and the dog you’re not supposed to have). still it was mighty tempting.

not today though. nacho stomped around cuz he wanted to go for it.
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where the pavement ends

got a call from a buddy to head down south to poke around for some good conditions. nothing too rad and all kosher for nacho. 8 hours later at 0-dark-thirty toby and i were driving off into oblivion. two hours and two more people later we driving up a snow covered road into the sierra eastside.
i mean, what could possibly go wrong

i’ve been thinking and i just can’t figure it out. how do they know where to put that sign??

toby, seth and allison (nacho’s in there too) head back towards the goal, which is still hidden to us

a not so friendly reminder we’re still in the desert.

nacho points out our objective, a dog leg couloir no less.
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fun times on tallac

fall days make for great hiking and mount tallac has always been one of my favorite destinations any time of year. just the approach by car around fallen leaf lake is enough to get the juices flowing

neither ashley nor nacho had ever been, so it would be fun to head up with them on their first time.
nacho was stoked

ashley, not so much
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