Category Archives: photography
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
waking up at the angora ridge fire lookout
the other requirement was that i could just roll over, open the door and release the hounds
cuz the puppies be cray cray
it’s been forever since i’ve posted here. i haven’t been skiing much at all, and let’s face it, that’s what this site is about. i haven’t lost the love for skiing, but i haven’t felt like going to the same places i went to last summer and those are the places that hold the late snows. i still love photography, but lost my favorite subject, sold one of my good lenses, and then kinda sorta maybe ran over the other one a little bit (while it was on the camera). it still gathers light, but doesn’t focus, so this post should prolly be a little about photography too and how to focus with the camera rather than the lens.
so back to our sad tale. the goal was to camp at the potholes for two days, and #climbeverydamnday at old camp bluff. the girls always want to camp, and they love the potholes enough that i can bribe them into climbing each day while it gets warm enough to hit the water. so we load up, and hop in the car, which has been running rough since an incident several weeks ago where it suddenly sounded like there were bolts bouncing around inside the engine. i stop by high sierra automotive on the way out of town to see what adam thinks about the noise. his advice, the pulley on the timing belt has disintegrated, and the timing belt will go soon too. it’s an interference engine (which means timing belt failure is catastrophic), so i shouldn’t even drive the car home. we’re all loaded up for camping (and i’ve never been one to follow sound professional advice) so off we went with our fingers and toes crossed. an hour later we arrive at the eid silver lake west campground to be greeted by signage saying that camping is $25/night plus $3/night/pet. we had 2 dogs and less than $50. uggh! we could afford across the street, but the camping there is less than stellar for what we were looking for. our next stop, kirkwood lake falls into the category of ‘places i went to last summer’ but even so, we were happy to get their last available campsite.
first things first, let’s get wet! skylyn and nacho at kirkwood lake
jasmyn and nacho
sydney (syd, squid, squiddypups) and nacho (nach, cho, nacho libre, nachorooski, rooski)