Monday, April 25, 2011


The Pfieferhorn, a.k.a. The Little Matterhorn has been on my list for years. A few years back I looked up some photos of people climbing it and descending the north west couloir. It seemed so gnarly. The line had a rappel half way through that is normally 40-50 feet early season. On a good snow year it gets a lot smaller.

Not knowing what to expect I grabbed 60 meters of rope and we started our ascent at 5:30 a.m. The sun hit early, the cloud cover kept the temperature down. We eventually cleared the treeline and hit the ridge that would lead us to the summit.

It was mellow skinning up until we were making the final push. Clouds moved in as we were almost to the summit. There were no breaks in the clouds. We sat on the summit waiting and deciding our way back down. The NW couloir seemed a little sketchy with no visibility. That was when SLCSHERPA and crew turned up. Those dudes are gnarly. They made us feel confident and we dropped in. Tony went first. The snow was manageable, but we rode with our ice axes for the first little bit. Parker went to the rappel anchors to film our descent. The cliff was completely gone. This is one of the deepest snow years I have ever seen.

I slipped out right at the choke blowing my shot, but tony got a good little pop off of the roller. The snow was great out on the apron and we all had a good time ripping it. It was one of the coolest zones I have ever been in, I hope to go back on a day when we can actually see.

Red Pine Lake

The Summit... What a view....

Parker and Tony in the couloir.

The apron

The way out.

By the time we were done we were so beyond tired. I need to learn to go lighter.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Fun in Costa: The Pee Bus

I took my seat on a hot muggy bus in San Jose, Costa Rica. After driving a motorcycle to Vegas and grabbing an all night flight I was pretty tired and not quite wanting to sit for another six hours. Little did I know that luck was about to take my seat.

A Hippie looking American couple made their way back to me and told me I was in the wrong seat. I apologized and looked across the aisle. There sat the one eyed old guy. He had a deep south version of Spanish and I had no idea what he was saying about 50% of the time. All I really got out of the six hours on the bus was that his town flooded and there were alligators under the bridge.

As we wound through the mountains I looked over at the couple that had taken my spot. In front of them sat another American couple beamed straight out of suburbia. The woman, who was sitting directly in front of my previous seat, wasn't looking to good. The higher we got the worse the lady looked. She was writhing and trying to get her husband to stop the bus. No dice... there was no where to stop.

The hippie girl that had taken my seat suddenly jumped up pulling her feet onto her seat. Her face was a mixture of shock and anger. Pee streamed from the seat in front of her. Not a little bit of pee... a lot a bit of pee. The suburban lady had lost control of her bladder and peed all over the feet of my previous seat's occupant. This is one of those moments where I really considered my blessings.

It wasn't too long before we pulled into a rest stop and the embarrassed suburban woman went to change. I talked to the hippie woman for a bit. She was not happy... But I was.

They exploded... My legs did...

Three miles into a 14 mile team time trial I felt like I was going to die. I couldn't get enough air and my legs felt like stiff chunks of wood that I couldn't will to move faster. Boom! I exploded. I sagged off the back yelling an apology. This was my first race experience this year. Maybe I shouldn't have gone snowboarding the entire day previous... nah, it was worth it. I ended up not racing the road race in the afternoon either because I knew it wouldn't have gone well.

This got me motivated to get my butt in shape. Right now I am a fatty. People always get mad at me when I say that but I know I am not morbidly obese. Obviously I don't mean I am rolling around choking down a ham every day, struggling with self esteem issues, and terrified of taking my shirt off . I am just fatter than I normally am and it totally killed my race performance.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Timpanogos:Everest Ridge- Almost

I pushed my ice axe deep into the snow on a mellow portion of the ridge and laid down letting my breathing calm. Tanner did the same. A sleepless night spent in approach to the ridge had whittled our conversation down. I started to doze.

"Hey," I said. "We should keep going."

In the one minute we had laid there, Tanner had already launched into a dream. I was wishing I had something with caffeine to revive me. We still had a long way to go.

This route really has it all. As you go higher the ridge becomes more accentuated and rugged. Sharp rocks protrude from the snow as the mountain falls away on both sides. We finally reached the step and the summit was in sight. After surveying everything around us, we decided not to go for it. The wind had loaded snow on the leeward slopes making the avalanche hazard a little more pronounced. We traversed over to the south summit saddle where the slope angle was more mellow.

The traverse had an eerie feel. Soft slabs of snow on top of ice caused it to feel almost slippery. I Kicked hard hoping to feel my crampon set only to have my foot slide down on the soft snow. It has been a long time since I have been that gripped. The mental game of climbing can sometimes get the better of you. All the elements in that moment added up making me uncomfortable. Any other day and I don't think I would have had a problem. I had to focus hard on my breathing for a second to get my mind calm. After that I was fine.

We finished the long traverse across to the saddle as the wind continued to gain strength. We dropped in finding the first 500 feet of vertical to be terrible. As soon as we got off of the high ridge the snow immediately became soft. We let it rip. I went first only stopping once to regroup. It was one of the longest runs of my life in amazing snow. Not the best snow, but amazing none the less.

It was an adventure. We didn't conquer our summit, but we didn't care. We got up one of the coolest ascents in Utah and got to rip the West face of Timp. I have dreamed of it since I was little. This wasn't my ideal line, but it was what the conditions called for. That is how things work in the mountains, they decide what you get to ride.

Departure 2:27 a.m.

We spent some time digging pits to asses the snow. One solid piece with wind drifts on top. We weren't too worried about big slides, just slides in inopportune places.

The first of the ridge.

Already loosing it...

Such a good way to watch a sunrise.


Just before the step.

The traverse.... I was gripped at this moment.

We were close but we wanted to snowboard, not summit. Although it would have been nice.


We got to ride almost all the way back to the car. A 15 minute hike down from the last of the snow.

Hot slush down low. Wish we would have dropped an hour earlier.

Tanner is such a rad guy. He is always down, has tons of energy, and is one of the most mellow guys to hang out with. I don't think anyone could say anything bad about this kid.