Thursday, March 26, 2009

Its a Wet One!!

With a huge spring blizzard dumping up to a foot of the wet stuff on Boulder this morning just getting into work was an epic battle. Last week I was riding around in a t-shirt and shorts, but this particular morning I find myself putting on my mid winter ski gear ; minus skis and AT boots. With roads too dangerous to ride on, and the bike paths still not plowed and pretty much unrideable, it was definitely slow going. Thankfully Chris lent me one of his extra mountain bikes so at least I had fatter tires...But the snow was so heavy with moisture that even having a studded tire mountain bike wasn't cutting it....I'd say that the time I spent actually trying to ride was equal to the time I just spent walking due to occasionally unrideable areas. So with most of Boulder shutting down around noon, as well as buses stuck on I- 70, the couriers had no choice but to close early as well. With the 4 hours of work I actually did on a loop that consisted of riding, slipping, walking, wrecking, and carrying a mountain bike ( hike- a- bike) I did get first tracks on the Goose Creek bike path sucka!

Really wet snow makes it easy to park your bike though....
Peace, Jason

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Red Peak 13,189

To start off the weekend Evan, Aaron, Eszter, Chris and myself set off to ski Red Peak. North of Buffalo Mountain, Red Peak and Buffalo are the first major mountains that greet you as you exit the Eisenhower tunnel on the western side of the continental divide. With temps expected to reach the 60's in the mountains we were excited to get in some of the first real corn turns of the season.
After the delicate and tretrous approach, which included skining over a snow covered waterfall, we were finally awed when we crested tree line and were welcomed by the Gore range in all its rugged beauty. Hands down my favorite mountain range in Colorado.

Eszter and Chris kickin steps to the summit.

The Doc a few steps from the summit..Buffalo Mountain visible in the background.

Some more pics from our awesome 2,700 foot ski descent.

Back at the trail head Aaron in his surfing attire getting ready for a return trip to the Goodwin Greene hut with Eszter and Chris over the remainder of the weekend....Good luck guys, and please come back with all your toes...
Peace, Jason

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

On the Eva spring

With the Spring ski season right around the corner I have been itching with anticipation to strap the skis to my pack and start climbing the high peaks. No better way to kick off the spring season than to head out with the Gooney crew to kick some steps up the east ridge of Mt. Eva 13,130 ft, and ski Eva's South bowl.

Mt Eva in the distance, south bowl on left side of pic...

The girls get'in it done....

The challenge for the day: finding soft snow. With day time temps still at about freezing up above treeline the snow wasn't quite metamorphasizing into what we spring skiers like to call corn.
But the snow did turn into something ,not quite corn, but also not a concrete wind slab. It was actually soft...

The turns? Fast....Chris Miller check'in out a northeast facing bowl across the saddle. Of course we skied it. Chris got a great shot of Issac huck'in off a cornice that's just out of view.

Look'in back at Eva, and our fresh tracks, on our way to the top of the north facing bowl we were scoping from the summit.

Awesome late day back light highlighting our rooster tails.

Completely exhausted we skied back across the sketchy Fall River Reservoir, which both Aaron and myself post holed through( soaking us up to our knee) earlier that day on the approach.....Luckily enough young ninja sensei Sarah had brought an extra pair of socks which Doc and I split. 1st rule of being a snow ninja: always be prepared for anything....Good job Sarah!

Spring skiing definitely has some kind of spiritual hold on me. Get'in up high in the mountains, the solitude, fresh air, exposure, and friendships built in such awesome settings will always leave me craving for more.....

Later, Jason

Monday, March 2, 2009

The First, on the first

With winter behind us and spring approaching quickly it's once again Flatiron season. Well at least first flatiron season due to the seasonal wildlife closures on the Third and Second flatirons.
So Evan, Amber, and myself decided to get a jump start on the rock climbing season and climb the First, on the first. Both Amber and Evan had never climbed the 1st so I was excited to be their guide for the day and show them how much fun it is to climb a flatiron.
My initial plans were to climb the Standard route (5.6s, 1000ft, 6pitches) but of course due to it being Sunday and that routs overall popularity there was already a line forming to climb it. One thing you must always have as a front range climber is a backup plan. Fandango was mine. Just 200 feet to the left of the Standard route. Although shorter by 2 pitches it is definitely just as good a route as the Standard. Interesting slabs, cool solution pockets, wave like overlaps, all high over Boulder.

Evan in mountain man pose...

The first two pitches of Fandango went smooth although at the end of pitch 2 while squeezing between a tree and a rock overhang, somehow one of the 2 Upslope beers I had in my pack sprung a leak. I hurried up , set an anchor, and dugout the leaking beer from my pack. 400 feet up, Let the drinking begin!

We drank up the leaking beer and saved the other one for the summit. Feelin the buzz, due to the fact I don't really drink that often, I left the belay and instead of climbing up and right off pitch 2 I accidentally climbed over to the left onto Zig Zag, a different route rated at 5.7s. Other than cutting off some climbers who were on the route below us it was no big deal. Having climbed almost all the routes on the 1st numerous times I still knew exactly where I was. Just felt a little foolish for getting off route due to a little beer buzz...I guess the important thing is that Evan and Amber didn't seem to mind and the last two pitches of Zig Zag went great.

Evan and Amber on the "tricky" part of Zig Zag..

Once on the ridge most of the technical climbing is over and you are awarded with a spectacular view of the Indian Peaks and Longs Peak for the 300 foot ridge traverse....

Evan and Amber gigglin on the ridge......... Climbing over the first false summit..

Once on the summit it was time to rig up the 100 foot free hanging rapel. Showing Evan the safer method to descent a rope we all rappelled safely to the ground anxious to drink the surviving beer.

And it was good!!! I'm pretty sure this was the first time an Upslope beer made it up the First flatiron.

Peace, Jason