Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Family Fish

Fly Fishing
Over the past year my Dad has been acquiring his fly fishing gear one piece at a time. Saturday my older brother Jeff and I were able to get him out on the water for his first time. After my outing last weekend I had high hopes for some big fish. As the day wore on it became clear that not much was happening. One fish came to the surface early on in the day, but that was it. 

We hit the lower Provo River for a few hours and decided to grab lunch. It was fun spending time with my Dad and brother. The last time we went fishing together was twenty some odd years ago on a family camping trip to Payson Lakes. So many things have changed since then, but spending time outside with family still feels the same. 

We spend a couple hours on the middle Provo after lunch. After fighting the crowds for a little bit, we decided to head home and try a different spot on the lower. I finally hooked into a big guy but he popped off before I could land him. Even though we got skunked it was just good to be out together. I am really looking forward to doing more of this.
This is probably the last time we went fishing together.
Fly Fishing
Provo River

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Double Day

My hopes for a big line Saturday were trumped by weather and a snowpack that made me feel apprehensive. I called Josh Snow to see if he was down to squeeze a short tour in. He had been trapped inside all week studying for finals and was more than happy to escape. 

As we started our tour the familiar thumps of artillery making the resorts safe reminded us that we needed to keep on our toes. There was significant wind loading and we were able to pop out small pockets along the ridge. We decided to just goof off on a small cliff, something I haven't really done all season, and not to go after any bigger lines. After we had our fill we hiked up for one more little run and headed home.

As soon as I got home I switched into fishing mode and headed out the door. We hit the lower Provo River on one of its prettiest stretches. The fish were really active and before too long I hooked into one of the biggest fish I have landed. Steve nabbed another two big ones and Josh brought in a bunch of little guys. It was a beautiful day to be out and it is always fun to squeeze in two hobbies. I love Utah in the Spring. 

Fishing Provo River


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Morning Shots

Alta, Utah
Another round of snow came through just in time to celebrate Parker's birthday. I wasn't sure what the conditions would be like as I drove toward the canyon, but as soon as we hit the trail we realized it was going to be good. We headed up to Cardiff Pass and took turns behind the lens. It was a great way to celebrate life with a good friend.

I have been trying to learn more about photography lately. I am learning a lot by watching Youtube videos and reading articles, but there is still so much I don't know. I am realizing how much the quality of your images can change the perception of the words you put to paper. Guys like Jimmy Chin, Jim Harris, Cedar Wright, etc.. really get me excited to sit behind the lens and to try to tell stories.
Parker in deep! 
Devil's Castle
Photo Credit: Parker Alec Cross
Photo credit: Parker Alec Cross

Monday, April 15, 2013

Dwindling Dawn Patrols

I am trying to mentally prepare for the end of the season as winter sputters out these last few storms before giving up. Am I ready for summer? Almost. I have a few more goals for this season, but I have already dusted off the bike and am building my climbing hit list.

David and I met in the parking lot and took an easy stroll up Grizzly Gulch. We watched the sun paint the ridges as we walked and talked about the season and how good it was to just be out. "Just being out" is a phrase that we tend to use as an excuse for a day with less than adequate snow or conditions. In all actuality "just being out" is the real blessing of where we live and our circumstances. There are days that I forget how lucky I am to just be out. 

On any given day in the Wasatch there are at most a few hundred of us out in the backcountry. We are such a small percent of the population. Our days start in the dark, we meet up with friends and are on top of mountains before the majority of the valley's alarms are going off. We are a lucky few and are privy to some of the best things Utah has to offer. As David and I walked and talked I couldn't help but be sad that winter is coming to a close, but I also felt so grateful to be where I was in that moment. Utah is rad.  
Photo Credit: David Kaplan
Photo Credit: David Kaplan

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Lone Peak Cirque

I fumbled my pack together before crashing into bed around 1 a.m. Saturday. Three short hours later I was up and on my way to meet Forrest and Caroline. The moon kept the trail lit as we started our way up Bells Canyon. We bobbed and weaved our way through the thick vegetation and eventually hit snow. 

As I unpacked my split board I noticed my heel strap wasn't connected... I had lost a bolt. Thanks to a few Voile straps my day wasn't over. The frozen snow made skinning easy and with a lone coyote yipping away in the background the North East face of Lone Peak came into view. We skinned out of the mountains shadow and the towering face was nearly blinding in the early morning light. Pictures can't really do it justice. 

We continued to the base of the North East Couloir. The temperature seemed to be climbing faster than we were. Before long we were halfway up the chute and about to climb out over some exposure. We had noticed a few wet sloughs and after some debate decided to pull the plug. 

We rode to the base of another couloir that was on a different aspect and that didn't have any exposure. Not knowing if the chute has another name we decided to call it "consolation prize". Forrest was able to put it into a gear that I don't have and he kicked in a solid boot pack to the summit ridge. We topped out and took a break. We talked about going for the summit, but decided against it due to time constraints. 

We dropped in and had a nice long ride to the summit valley. I was a little timid on my makeshift binding, but ended the set up worked out pretty well. We were all amping when we regrouped, we talked about how awesome that was and how much we wanted to just stay up there. We didn't realize that getting out of Bells would be almost as difficult as getting in. 

The trip out was a mix of fun and torture. That area is full of so much amazing terrain, but then we would find ourselves in thick trees, long sections of flat, thigh deep slush, etc... as we fought our way back to the car we all seemed to forget how amazing everything was up high. I don't think I have ever been more dehydrated. 

It took a good night of sleep to help me remember how awesome the tour was. There were quite a few things we could have done to make the tour easier on ourselves, but that is the point of exploration. It was good to just be out with two great people. Forrest and Caroline make a great couple and it is always a treat when I get to hang out with them in the mountains. It was fun to check out a side of the Wasatch none of us had been to. 
 Lone Peak SunriseLone Peak Cirque
Caroline Gleich
Corn Skiing