Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Lofty Goals

On Friday night, Jeremy, Walker, my dad Jeff, and I went to bed around 10pm. We awoke at 12:50 and drove to Longs Peak Trailhead. At 2am, we hit the trail.
We hiked above the trees and then the clouds, looking for a trail that would take us to the Loft Couloir. We entered the couloir shortly before dawn.
As day broke around us, we made our way up steep slopes lit by Alpenglow.
 Although over 200 people would summit Longs Peak today, only about 15 attempted this route.
The couloir exit involved a small amount of exposure but no tricky moves. You can see the trail into the couloir far below.
 This hike is incredibly dramatic. It is easily one of my top three favorite climbs.
 After reaching the loft, we began traversing along the backside of Longs Peak (behind the Beaver and The Notch). This involved downclimbing a scary section in order to reach Keplinger's Couloir.

There are definitely some class 4 moves on this trip.

After ascending Keplinger's, we joined the final stage of the Keyhole Route (at The Homestretch) and made the final push to the top. This is Walker and Jeff summitting Long's Peak together.
Unbeknownst to us, Walker had packed a nice bottle of champagne and 3lbs of dry ice to celebrate. Best champagne I've ever had!
After our champagne brunch and a nap, we headed down via the Keyhole Route.
15 hours after we'd begun, we reached the cars.

South and North Arapaho Peaks

The day after climbing Navajo, I met Tom, Ryan, and Jeremy to attempt the traverse between South and North Arapaho Peaks.

Navajo Peak

Sometimes I think it takes me longer to post about peaks than it does to climb them. As always, the photos do the talking.

Walker, my dad, and I set out to climb Navajo Peak, the pointy, beehive-like one to the left of center.
After a quick three mile cruise past two lakes, we arrived at this lake and the vertical part of the climb. As Gerry Roach often says, "the introduction was over."
We climbed up a few snow fields, and across this long boulder strewn basin before entering Airplane Gully, named for a plane that crashed high on the mountain in 1948.
Walker by the part of the wreckage
Nearing the top
Jeff and Walker climbing out of Airplane Gully
Dad atop Navajo peak.
After a short nap, we headed back down. A nice warmup for the Longs Peak climb in 6 days.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Why I spend so much time outside in the summer

My "sports' options are NASCAR, steroids cycling, or the most riveting of all...stadium food?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Thoughts from class

I spent most of the weekend hiking with friends and family instead of studying for tonight's econ exam. This was a great decision.

Three-year olds appear to be an insane amount of work.

I am now responsible for running a business with about 10 employees. It's much easier to get on my sh!t list than it is to get off of it.

Local government is both meddlesome and ignorant.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Scrambling ahead

photo by Greenhouseguy

This Sunday I am hoping to attempt North and South Arapaho Peaks with Walker, Jeremy, and possibly Bad Moon Rising. This is the ridge between the two.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Fools on the Hill

To celebrate the Fourth of July, Walker, Jeremy, and I attempted to summit Fools Peak, one of the mountains listed in Dave Coopers (now self-published?) book Colorado Scrambles. We chose Fools for three reasons:
  1. "Towering" at not even 13,000', Fools is not well known. We hoped to avoid crowds.
  2. This peak offers some of the best class 3 scrambling in the state; a perfect warm up for potential assents on Longs and Capital Peaks, The Maroon Bells and/or Ice Mountain
  3. Brooks and Natalie happened to be camping about ninety minutes from the trailhead. 
Hiking trips are better seen than described.
We met up with Brooks and Natalie at a camp site on the Colorado River. Walker fixed a wonderful dutch oven stew. Brooks snagged Jeremy's machete and the best image of the trip. At 5:30 a.m., Jeremy, Walker, and I left the other two snoozing and headed to the trailhead.

The trail begins at Fulford Cave Campground, and proceeds quickly up through 4 easy miles of lush woodland. I decided to tell REI that yes, it's still legal to hike in cotton.

Our first destination was Lake Charles, a wonderful camp spot set below Fools Peak (to Walker's left).

After circling to the far side of the lake, we headed up a grassy, boulder strewn gully to reach the rocky base of Fools Peak.

After reaching treeline, we crossed a small basin and headed up the North ridge of the peak (straight up the middle of the mountain in this photo)

This is what it looked like up close.

 The mountain is actually split by a large gully, which tops out at this steep notch. The route suggested reaching the gully by finding a downward sloping ramp, which can be clearly seen in the middle of this photo, (which I took from a thousand feet away after we'd descended). Up close, however, the ramp proved very difficult to find. We first tried the lower ramp, but balked at the steepness of the gully at the ramp's end. We then retraced our steps all the way to the left and climbed to the top of the spire, only to find ourselves peering off that poky point at the top, a sight that left Walker and I with goosebumps. Finally Jeremy worked his way down and found the correct ramp which soon brought us to the gully.

Although it's not visible in this photo, the suggested route involved climbing directly up 600 vertical feet of rock slicked by melting ice and snow. This seemed like a terrible idea so we angled our way from left to right between these snowfields and then scrambled up 400 feet of scree to gain the soft ridge on the right. From there it was only 20 minutes or so to the top!

Rarely have I encountered such perfect weather on a Colorado climb. After a sparse lunch, the three of us found flat-ish spots and fell asleep.

Too quickly, it was time to head down. During lunch, my IT bands had stiffened, which made for a rather painful descent. I popped some Ibuprofen and at Walker's suggestion, rolled back and forth on top of a waterbottle. Painful but  effective.

To save my knees, we slid down some gentile snowfields. On one of these, I accidentally almost peed on Jeremy. I limped down the remaining scree field and the gully, returning to Lake Charles. By the time we reached the lake, my body had warmed up. 2 hours later, we were at the cars. 12 miles in 10 hours. Not too shabby when you factor in that we lost the route, amended the route, and napped at the top. Can't wait for Longs in two weeks!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

It might be time to reevaluate your life

if you are the one who wrote 6 pages on how to hard boil an egg. This, by the way is the third google hit. I'll let you know how they turn out.

**Update: The eggs had a slight green ring but tasted great.

Zhong Biao

Copied from Luxury City

During the last (and free) day at the Denver Art Museum's Embrace! exhibition, Amanda and I stumbled upon a piece by Zhong Biao. As an informative pdf from the exhibit states, "Zhong Biao has captured the pulse of China's social reform through visual symbols familiar in contemporary Chinese culture." I don't know anything about that but what I do know is that this piece was incredible. Using sharply colored images overlaid atop grayscale-like drawings, Biao made me feel excited, angry, and that something was not quite right--and I was glad to have it pointed out. Biao is who I'd commission if I wanted a Chinese version of Dick and Jane at the Power Plant.

Other pieces that I'm afraid to post for fear of getting into copyright trouble:

Really amazing stuff.