April 9, 2014

East Face Descent & Mountain Goat Herding - Mt Helen

Kristin and I took advantage of a nice April refresh and headed to the Ten Mile Range, looking to head up Mt Helen's east face.  The snow coverage was impressive and allowed for a long 2700' descent from the summit proper.  We shared the summit with about two dozen mountain goats who followed us up the NE ridge.

Mt. Helen ( broad face left of center)  as seen from across Goose Pasture Tarn, after our tour.  We soaked up the sun all tour right until we arrived back to the truck to enjoy our snow cold beers, then the clouds started to roll in.

Curious fellas, these guys seemed to be the bravest of the bunch.  As far as I could find there had only been one attack/death from a mountain goat.  Once they got about 6 feet from me I got out of my crouch and started walking towards them and they slowly started backing away.

Ahh spring skiing:)  Dont forget your skin wax


The afro hair anemone in full effect!  Sadly it was all chopped off today, just in time:)  The wifey was about to leave me:)

Looking west from Mt. Helen at Father Dyer Pk. and Crystal Pk.

Notice the herd

Almost too close for comfort

 Some good looking lines

Our days work

March 26, 2014

San Juan Chuting and Ouray Hanging

Grandma McQuade "Grammy D" met us up in Ouray, CO to hang out with Liam while K, Drew, Todd and I got to play in the San Juan sun:)  We set up shop in an amazing house in Ouray cooked gourmet meals, drank cold beers and soaked in hot springs after riding our brains out in the SJ's.  Sorry no pics of the Orvis springs (clothing optional) :)  we kept on our swim suits for Grandma and Liam's sake:)

Thanks Grammy D for playing with us in Ouray!  

Todd carefully negotiating the 3' wide ridge on the approach to "Grandma Couloir"

Mining leftovers :)

K taking the quick way up a steep headwall guarding our 2nd days couloir

The Medela tour pump in full effect

The crew enjoying an apres tour beer on day 3

Old mining town near Red Mountain Pass, Yankee Girl Mine

A celebratory high five'r after braving the narrow ridge.  Pops insisted in carrying moms splitty across the crux ridge:)

A warmup run off the ridges shoulder before heading backup to the couloir in the photos background


Todd and K readying for the descent of "Grandma Couloir"

McQuad's in Ouray (Grammy D)

Todd crushing one of the trips many great lines

Til the next trip spring trip :) We owe you one Grammy D thanks for the great trip!

March 12, 2014

Kick'n Off Spring - West Elks, CO

Grandma Debbie and Liam hold down the fort back home.  Thanks Guys!!  While Anson jumps on a plane from AK to come hang with K, Drew, SB and I.  We spend a few glorious days among the west elks, welcoming spring to CO with perfect conditions under endless sun.  After each day we would drive down to these perfect hotsprings and soak our skied out legs for hours!  Perfect.  

Cant wait for next weekend...Liam's first roadtrip, heading down to the San Juan's to ride some more. Meeting Grandma Diane this time......CHEERS to amazing family!

This about sums it up!  What a perfect few days in the West Elks with some of my favorite peeps and some amazing conditions!

"C-Bass" aka Colleen Bad Ass

What a gem these hotsprings were! Treating us all well for several apres tour soaks.

Anson, comes down from Alaska to get some in CO

A little private summit pump session for our little Liam back at home with grandma.  Thanks grandma for the amazing weekend get away it was perfect!!

Sara Beth sporting her malfunctioning helmet.

Kristin back touring and shredding only a few days after the doc's give her the go ahead!  She's amazing its like she never missed a beat

For our return trip to the hotsprings we thought it would be more fun to change into our swim wear at the trailhead.....COLD:)

The ladies cheers to Liam's full-term birthday (March 7)

Liam breaks 6 1/2 pounds during his two month checkup!!  "Hey mom i weigh as much as you when you were born"

December 31, 2013

Oh San Juan ' ness - How Good You Are

Wrapped up 2013 with good friends and several crystal clear days among the always spectacular San Juan mountains.  We experienced rather stable conditions for the San Juan's allowing for us to safely enjoy the alpine. It had been quite a while since the last major loading event and the snowpack was largely settled and generally nonreactive. While the snow structure remains poor in most areas with our lovely CO persistent slabs. Slides appeared to of become more and more difficult to trigger.  All but southerly aspects below treeline seemed to mainly be made up of very weak faceted snow.  Which will likely cause a problem during the next major snow event. But for now the SJ's were Good to Us.

Here a view of the Sultan group which we we enjoyed on day 1 of the trip, riding three of the summits seen in the pic.

We started the amazing alpine tour at Molas pass with an ascent of the Grand Turk followed by a descent of a northern couloir to the basin in between the Grand Turk and Sultan Mountain. Next we climbed the SE face and ridge of the Sultan, then dropping into the basin via the Northstar Couloir. Followed by a final ascent north to pt. 12300', and a final run down the "Python" and back to HW 550.

Kendall Mountain seen from Mineral Creek after our decent of a northern couloir we called "The Bear Claw" off Bear Mountain 

An old ore Bucket Tram from Mayflower Mine upto Arrasta Gulch with the Sultan group lurking high in the background

Nia and Todd crossing the NW slopes of King Solomon Peak.  We spent a lot of the climb gawking at the impressive Turkey Chute seen just left of Nia.  Coming back for this one in the spring for sure!  Sultan's summit is also seen on right edge of photo 

Our first decent off the Grand Turk seen from the SE ridge of the Sultan  (The widening chute in the middle of the ridge line in the background)

John on the SE ridge of the Sultan with Silverton barely visible down below

Unloading our gear from the sled after Jack and his boy graciously gave us a bump up Arrasta Gulch on their way to their beautiful alpine cabin.  Saved about an hour climb and 500 vertical feet:)    

Nia with the days final climb up pt. 12300'.  Seen in the background is our descent down Sultan's Northstar Couloir ( directly above Nia's head)

Todd making his way down the east ridge of Bear Mountain towards the "Bear Claw" chutes, with the Sultan and the Python in the background

Todd with first tracks down the "Bear Claw" with Red Mountain Pass in the background

My Venture happy to be back in its birthplace.

John catching some air halfway down the Sultan's Northstar Couloir

Turkey Chute in all its glory

Island Lake Basin seen in background just left of center.  Kristin and I got engaged here in the summer of 2012 after riding our mountain bikes to the lower basin.

Todd topping out the steep climb up Grand Turk's SW col