December 25, 2010

Christmas Day - St Regis Basin

A solo jaunt (10 miles roundtrip) up St. Regis Basin, MT.  A recon mission of sorts, turns into a fan-tabulous bluebird day in the BC.

Skin track in blue

A subtle reminder of the dangers one may encounter in the BC

December 19, 2010

Nelson Newbies: Evening Ridge

Kristin and I ventured into British Columbia, Canada seeking our first exposure to what backcountry enthusiasts call "Canadian Cold-Smoke"  And YES we will we be returning!   

Evening Ridge near Nelson, British Columbia. Ymir Peak the prominent peak to the East is going down this new years :)

The typical evening ridge  tour includes the balder peaks lookers left of our skin track (see this photo taken on 1/2/2011).  However due to limited time, visibility, and a shallow snow pack, we figured it safest to tour among the trees and lower angle slopes

December 8, 2010

LA ROCKS ? - Riverside Quarry

A day after skiing in the Southern Selkirks of northern Idaho, K and I broke out the climbing gear for the last climbing trip of 2010.  I was attending a conference for work in Anaheim, CA of all places :(  A bit to far for Taquitz, Yosemite, Or Joshua Tree.  Leaving us with trying to find some worldclass rock in  the LA area....?  Impossible right?  Actually.... Riverside, CA, one of LA's many neighboring cities is home to what is called Riverside Quarry.  

An abandoned massive hunk of granite left by Lime miners once they cleaned all the Lime out.  The result superb steep climbing on featured granite.  The huge cliff band is 200-300ft tall in spots.  With over 200+ routes.  All quality!  Cant wait to go back, if only it wasn't in LA area!  However being in the LA means warm temps almost year around.  The crag mainly faces west, making winter afternoons perfect.  

Crag Location: google map

Noteworthy Sends: 
Conundrum 5.10d
  RP 2nd go.

The massive granite cliff of Riverside Quarry

December 4, 2010

Schweitzer Area Backcountry

Day #4 of 2010-2011 season: Kristin, Andrew, Brian, Kyle, Alex and I.  Head into the Selkirks of the Idaho Panhandle. Snotel stations in the area, report that the Schweitzer area of the Selkirks with having the most snow fall with a base nearing 5 feet. Plus a bluebird day was on the schedule. 
Our day consisted of skiing un-tracked ( of course its the backcountry) knee deep powder in two different bowls! About 6 transitions from ride to skin mode throughout the day. AMAZING!


Now that's bluebird for ya!

September 27, 2010

Chimney Rock - West Face - Selkirks of Idaho

This "fantabulous" adventure marked Kristin's  first multi-pitch alpine climb....what a magical place to tackle your first "trad" climb!  Granite of this quality is usually spattered with climbers.  Not the case with Chimney Rock of northern Idaho's Selkirk mountains.  We had the entire area to are self.

Chimney Rock:  is a unique granite tower that sits atop of a prominent ridge and has adopted the name "lightning rod" of North Idaho. The West Face was first climbed in 1934 by John Carey, Mart Chamberlain, Fred Theime, and Byron Ward.  This "west face direct route" is the easest way to the formations summit and goes at about 5.5.  The formation today features roughly 50 routes on its west and east faces.  

Kristin and I choose to climb the slightly more challenging Rappel Chimney (5.7) route.  What a brilliant little route this was.  Some excellent pitches and movement packed into this classic route.  (For detailed information on the route see my write up posted on Mountain link above)

First view of Chimney's west face

Rappel Chimney follows the obvious right facing corner system seen near the left edge of the formation

Trying to show her profile here.  The summit was an awesome place...only about 20' wide

Nearing the end of pitch 1

Kristin coming through the perfect pitch 3 corner

1st Alpine route in the books:)....."not the last"

bye chimney....until we come ski you this winter:)

September 18, 2010

The "Epics" Begin - 7 Summits - Rossland, BC

The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) each year publishes an Epic Rides list. The 2010 Epic Rides List included Seven Summits, Rossland British Columbia.  A quick perusal of the Epics list last fall resulted in a weekend venture to our neighbors up north.  The Seven Summits Trail of Rossland, British Columbia.  This 35.8km trail, ok ok I know darn kilometers, but I thought I'd stick with the Canadian theme here.  So the 22.25 mile trail tackles rolling singletrack with beautiful mountain vistas, some steep ascents and thrilling descents. The trail follows ridgelines, affording views of the Columbia River Valley and the Southern Selkirk Mountains, and challenges  riders with technical sub-alpine terrain.

Trail Logistics:

The Seven Summits trail is designed to be ridden in a North – South direction, and to link with the Dewdney trail. Leave a vehicle at the bottom of the Dewdney trail on Hwy 22, near the US Border in Paterson (12 km South of Rossland) and arrange a 30km shuttle to Nancy Greene Pass. The trail begins immediately behind the trailhead kiosk at the Pass.

K scoping out the trail overview map at the trailhead kiosk

our GPS tracks

just another view

April 2, 2010

DAY 15: Davis Creek Drainage - Corner Pocket Area

Back on DAY 2 we skied one of the north facing chutes off of Cornbiscuit PK (summit on right side of photo seen below). We liked the looks of the bowl at the termination of the drainage (Davis Creek) when standing on cornbiscuit's summit, it looked steep / deep and shaded from the intense rays. So we decided to check it out on our final day of touring.

Cornbiscuit Pk on right,  point 3600' the saddle at pictures center.  Our goal for the day

Kristin saving the day as I felt like crap, from a head cold! That women can break a mean trail in 30" of freshies!
Black dots represent our line skied from point 3600'

March 30, 2010

DAY 12: Tincan Mtn -Todd's Run

This was one of trips highlights.  The Tincan formation is very long ridge system ending at its summit.  The ridge system offers countless skiing opportunities, one could spend a full season touring on Tincan itself.  Todd's Run as called by the locals was named after Todd who was killed on the line as the entire bowl ripped out.  When conditions are right this is many's favorite line on Tincan.  I can see why, after 2500 vertical feet and 1 mile of perfect turns I was calling it the best run of my life.  Hmmm thinking back...there is a pattern in AK...every run seems to get the "now that was the best run of my life"  designation.  
9 hours, 8.5 miles and 3 amazing lines later
Looking back towards the Turnagain arm and the Breathtaking Chugach Mtns

March 25, 2010

Day 5: Girls Mtn

8.5 miles 8 hours:  Sick tour to Girls Mtn, rode 3000' down its north face to Worthington Glacier!  Climbed back up the glacier avoiding crevasses, spooky at times, then rode 3000' back down to the car! This one was one for the books:)

Climbed the blue line to the summit of Girls Mtn (@1) rode 3000' down to Worthington Glacier , Climbed back up the glacier to (2), then rode the yellow line 2500' back down to the car

Leaving the clouded valley floor behind

March 22, 2010

Day 1: Pastoral Pk to Sunburst Pk

"The perfect figure 8 tour" Is how I like to think of my first experience touring in the AK.  Defiantly didn't break into it slowly.  As this tour consumed 9 hours over 10 miles and included two peaks.  Well almost, we decided against a summit push to Pastoral Pk due to the previous nights high winds.  Thus we skied off a subpeak to the north.  Then climbed back to Taylor Pass and over to Sunburst Pk.

The figure 8

Kristin and Darcie on the approach up Taylor Creek

If only that Cornice didn't loom over those spines

One of my Fav's:  Kickstep and Tincan Peaks

Kristin adding to the canvas

The Line we wanted to ski off Pastoral's summit

The line we ended up skiing


Kickstep, oh ya and the ladies


February 27, 2010

Santa Fe Baldy - East Chutes

I was once asked if there was good backcountry skiing in New Mexico...Well there is actually, you just have to be willing to work for it.  Santa Fe Baldy, which is located at the southern tip of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range and is the nineteenth highest ranked peak in New Mexico. It has good east and southeast facing slopes with several interesting steep chutes. Our total roundtrip distance was ~11.1 miles with a total elevation climbed/skied of ~3006'. Our car-to-car time was 9 hours.

Although the approach is approx 6 miles via the windsor trail, the first 2 miles are slightly down hill allowing for quick travel. The majority of elevation gain is saved for the final push. Since Baldy is the areas highest peak, you can bet on winds. Favoring the ridge proper can protect you slightly from the W/NW winds. Beware of the significant cornices which develop along most of the approach ridge.

There are 2 prominent east facing chutes prior to reaching Santa Fe Baldy's summit, each providing approx 1000' vertical, and averaging slope angles at approx 38 degrees. Exiting the basin is quick with little elevation gain.

ski in blue

We skied the left most line in this pic taken from the approach ridge