Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day? Nah.....

776" inches so far this year at Snowbird... Yesterday felt like a spring storm that should have blown through in March, not the last days of May. This has been the winter that wont quit and I am loving it. Last year looked a little bit different.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Rock Canyon Lately

 The past few weeks have been cold and wet, but there have been windows of opportunity where we were able to get out and climb. Rock Canyon is home to some amazing climbing and is only a stones throw away from home. We were able to sneak up there twice this week to do some fun multi-pitch routes on the northern side of the canyon.

The first day took us up Trilogy Buttress where Blake, Jeff, Parker and I climbed two separate routes. I let Jeff and Blake take the better more "Fun" route. Parker and I took the other way up which is exposed and thin on protection. We only did the first pitch and then rappelled off of the side while Blake and Jeff climbed on.

Cosmic Space Dust Lasers was the next climb we got to do. Yesterday was perfect for climbing. It drizzled slightly for a moment, but that was all we got while we were up on this three pitch climb. This was Neena's first time going up multiple pitches and this route couldn't have been more perfect. It was simple and fun. She did great and led the second pitch, which had one of the cooler sections of climbing. We had a good group and Parker shot some great photos.


Coming down the last pitch of Cosmic Space Dust Lasers.

Racing Cat Three

 Last Saturday was my first race as a category three racer. I upgraded last fall after the Lotoja, but the snow has been too good to be out on my bike racing. My goal for this race, the Sugarhouse Crit, was to hang on since I have had less than a week total on the bike.

About 20 minutes into the race someone a few guys in front of me hit a small pot hole and got turned taking out everyone around him. I was directly behind the pile up and locked up my brakes sliding sideways before barely missing someones wheel that protruded from the pile up. I released my brakes snapping back into a sprint to catch the group. I was the last one to latch back on as they went up the hill.

Neena came out to watch and it was a lot of fun having her there to cheer me on. I was able to mix it up and pull at the front for a bit. My head wasn't in it to place so when it came time for the final sprint I kind of just let it go. I went for it a little too early and burned out up the hill. I forgot how much I love bike racing and I want to get back in shape to really be able to have some fun.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Shelby's Birthday Bonk.

So.... after my 3:00 a.m. hike I decided to meet up with my buddy Shelby and some other guys for his birthday bike ride. They were already more than half way through when I got to them and we did the final climb up squaw peak. I snuck this picture of him as he was bonking hard. He has been putting in a lot of time on the bike and is becoming a really strong rider. This ride wiped out all the energy I had left for the day and I went home and crashed. I slept for hours.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Turned Back on the Grunge Couloir

 I grew up at the foot of the north summit of Mt. Timpanogos. Every summer my mountain bike would take me to silent meadows that looked out on this peak that I thought only bold mountaineers could handle. I had no idea that this rugged pile of dirt was so accessible. In the spring you can grab a 4 wheeler and cut your ascent down to a few hours, in the winter you can hop on a snowmobile and shorten that even more.

Jeremy picked me up at 3:30 a.m. so we could get high before the snow got too warm. We thought with all the rain we had been getting the snow would be settled up high. We met up with Jim Knight, Rob Greener and Greg Paul. Between the five of us there were two four wheelers, I ended up as the hood ornament. Three guys on a quad with full gear? Poor four wheeler...

The ascent was great. I feel I am in good shape... until I go out with all these guys. I gradually drifted out the back of the pack. I like to blame it on my stopping to take pictures, but that really isn't the reason. As soon as the sun came out it got hot. It went from winter weather to T-shirt weather within a half an hour.

As we were gaining the entrance the the couloir the snow conditions were deteriorating. The snow up high hadn't settled into a corn cycle leaving unstable layers making for hazardous avalanche conditions. The rapid warming aggravated all of this and resulted in our turning around. The ride down was soft and fun. Corn snow had formed up on the lower slopes making for some fun turns.

Rob Greener
The grunge on the far right
The decision to call it a day.
 left: bomber peak Right: The group getting ready to descend

Avalanches are so gnarly. These trees were probably blasted over by a slide close to a mile long.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Pedaling Rainy Days

 The rain has been incessant. The unrelenting downpour has left me with soggy shoes, soggy gloves, and a soggy brain. My hope has been that the snow would be deep and plentiful, but as it turns out it isn't that good and everyone is done with the season. I turned to my bike for reprieve and found some relief. The bike is always an escape, you notice all kinds of things that would normally go by in a blur as you push down on your gas pedal. When you get out and pedal you really get to notice the journey.

I lost my camera last week... I drove off with it on top of my car. Two days of adventures lost forever. Cameras are one of my favorite inventions, they trap memories and preserve them for the future. I want a new one. Maybe a Cannon T3i?...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tower Land: Pounding Pitons

Driving a piton into a moenkopi crack with a massive hammer is something I didn't think I would ever get to do. I had set up this idea of what my climbing life would be like and labeled this as "outside my realm". It is amazing what a lack of understanding can do. Ignorance can stop you from doing just about anything. Dreams change when understanding grows. I now have a completely different idea of what I want to do and accomplish with my climbing. This trip unlocked a whole new world of climbing for me.

Neena, Eric, Whitney and I drove down in a caravan and camped out next to each other. We planned a big breakfast and Eric and I got to be the chefs. We then met up with the rest of the group and got assigned our "coach". Neena and I were assigned Andy Knight, a guy I have heard about and seen around for a long time but never met. He has been at it a long time and done a lot of amazing things in climbing. Andy put up the second ascent of the route we were heading to do. I think the first ascent was in the early 90's sometime.

The climbing was everything I had hoped. Aid climbing is the perfect way to learn to place gear. You put in a cam or a piton and bounce on it to see if it will pull out before trusting it to hold you so you are able to move higher. I learned a lot more in one climb than I think I would in a month of placing gear climbing regular routes.

Neena was a champ on belay as I stayed up on the climb for hours. I climbed about three quarters of the route before turning it over to her to finish. She was amazing. I loved watching her smacking away at those pitons. She was able to get on top of the tower and rappel off the top. It has been fun seeing her take to climbing on her own and push herself. It was an amazing trip and it was only made possible by Darren and Jen over at Mountainworks, the best climbing shop around.

The route was called "Strummer" but the tower is referred to as "The Crooked Penis"

Gear..... Andy was nice enough to let us use his stuff. I need....


Desert Night: Towerland