Friday, May 2, 2014

Stories from the seasonal life and the road beyond

The snow season melted to an end and the long planned adventures for the upcoming Spring began to sprout.  For many of us who work for the Utah ski industry those plans often include a getaway to the dry desert just a few hours south. It's a chance to get the choco sandals dusty again for the first time in months, pump up the bike tires and tape up your hands for some desert crack climbing.  It was the perfect direction for Julie and me to start our four month road trip.  We hope it becomes more than just a trip but more of an example of the newest "American dream."  We had been making plans to move our gear into the car, follow our passion and set off to hike, climb, bike and draw in as many inspiring places as possible.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ice soloing sixthwater

I have always thought that the hardest thing about winter climbing is finding someone to climb with.   There is special gear and a special attitude to sometimes embrace the occasional adverse weather.  As the season set on Stu and I set out to look for routes. We spent a day in the car on back roads and getting lost on approaches in central utah while following an old book of ice routes that we hoped had begun to form. After 10 hours we came back to Park City after that early day in November mostly empty handed.
One of the routes we had set off to find was called "sixthwater."   It was a hundred foot ice fall known to form just up stream of the popular "fifthwater" hot springs.   Stu and I never found it but a month later I wrangled some partners and tried again.
By this time the weather was colder and the road was closed low in Diamond Fork canyon because of snowfall, lengthening the hike in to the route. Nate, Kat and I parked the car where the road became snow and loaded our packs. We didn't know what to expect so we nearly brought everything.   We followed the canyon 5 miles up to he hot springs then continued on breaking trail in the fresh snow.   After 3 bends in the canyon we came around to find a pristine fall climbing up before us. We climbed one at a time, the difficulty never enough to require ropes or gear.  We rappelled off the route, dipped in the springs and made it back the 5 miles to the car after dark.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A new season begins

The skiing is not good.  Actually it is probably very bad.  Ten inches of new soft snow is not even close to enough to hide the rocks, branches and logs that are exposed during the warm months.  The best you can hope for is some wind to have pushed the soft new snow into protected areas along ridges where it can accumulate into drifts deep enough to ski.  Or, you ski it anyway.  The relatively soft P-Tex that is used to make modern ski bases is the most vulnerable.  The early season is the best time to turn a nice smooth base on your new skis into a scratched up mess that looks more like tree bark.  It wouldn't be called rock surfing without a few bumps on the way.  

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Castle

Julie joins me at the top of the Castle in Castle Rocks, Idaho.  It was her tallest route.  We shared the new rope she got me on the four pitch 5.7 called Big Time.  We were there in Southern Idaho for the Idaho Mountain Festival where she lead a yoga clinic each morning for climbers who had traveled from all over the region to climb, trail run, bike and socialize.

Touristing in the Tetons

The view from the Eastern front of the Tetons is more dramatic than anything else in the lower United States

Monday, September 9, 2013

Bike the Wasatch

The evening sun and the smooth singletrack fell right into place.

Class 5 Scramble

September is one of the best months all year.  The weather is cooler, afternoon showers less fierce and all is perfect for a class 5 scramble.  Kayleigh and I made our way up the summit of Mount Superior by way of the South Ridge.  As I flipped through the summit registry at the top I found the entry I had mad when I hike the East Ridge a September ago.

Monday, July 29, 2013


On the far right side of the Mule Hollow wall in Big Cottonwood Canyon is the Jamcrack.  Last weekend my buddy Dan gave me a call and asked if I wanted to go Bouldering.  I said, "sure, ill bring a rope."  Seven hours later Dan, Hayden and I had finished the 4 pitch route with the 1 long hour approach.  It was a good outing and far from the original plan of staying only a few feet off the ground.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The West Slabs

A major classic that towers out of the Salt Lake Valley are the West Slabs of Mount Olympus. The climbing is of an easy grade but really long as in 10-12 pitches of roped climbing and 1660 feet of quartzite climbing.  I suggested the route to a new friend who had never done a multi-pitch climb.  There is no better introduction to long climbing than the longest route on the Wasatch Front.