Archive for the ‘climbing’ Category

Boulder Ice

January 11, 2012

A day out in the Boulders – nice weather, great scenery and one of the best challenging ice climbs in Central Idaho.  The pillar is steep and sustained, and even though it’s a bit wet and thin at the moment, still a classic for sure.  Marc H. and Clark getting some laps in:

Ice climbing Ketchum

Melting has caused nice feet.

Ice Climbing Idaho

With impecable timing, as Marc snaps the photo, water from the overhanging ice drips in Clark's eye.

Ice Climbing Boulder Mountains

Hooks after lap 3...

Ice Climbing Idaho

The pillar in all its glory...well part of it anyway.

Custom Ski Mountaineering~~Neil Bradshaw

April 13, 2011

Trei's Haute Faire

April 7 thru 10 provided great powder skiing and high mountain adventures for Neil Bradshaw’s return annual adventure to the Williams Peak Yurts. Neil was joined once again by return veterans from previous seasons: Whit Atkinson, Per Lindfors, George Kirk, &  Brent Estep. Two new additions this season were Sean O’Conner and Dave Hennessy  who completed the group which was guided by Kirk Bachman and Michael Hatch.  Trei Cooke jumped in as Tail-gunner on his snowboard, when not putting out a 4-day menu of Gourmet Faire.

Faceshots of powder were ample thru the 4-day trip on all north aspects including such Classics Steep chutes: among them Big Phatty and KB’s with the requisite adrenalin these runs inspire.  The Group also raised to the Challenge on Day 3 for the Tour of ‘Around the Block’ which opens up seldoms skied High Bowls along with Passes which must be booted up with skis on back. This 10 hour tour brought some great skiing combined with mountaineering skills and many unexpected surprises along the way, as the Sawtooth Weather provided periods of sun mixed with Spring clouds and a Day of Snow Squalls.

Here are a few fotos which were contributed by Neil, Dave, and Kirk.

Can’t wait until next year’s adventure!

Down Mode from the Goat Ladder

Top of the Goat Ladder

Peak 10,082 from Goat Ladder Col

Ridgetop Looking Down KB's

Horstmann- Sickle Couloir Inspiration

Meadow Bowl

Our Crew Almost

George Headin' to the Throne

Neil 'Expedition Visionary'

Topping the Saddle Williams/Thompson

Sean seeking the Skier's Summit

Per re-visiting Familiar Terrain

Profile Basin

Approach to Big Fattie

Big Fattie Climb

Classic Chute-- Big Fattie

Approach to the Goat Ladder

Approaching the Goat Ladder

Goat Ladder

George Up-Mode Goat Ladder

Out and About

March 4, 2011

Although we’ve been pretty busy in January and February, we have managed to get out and explore the mountains on our free time.  Now March is already here and we’re starting to get psyched for the ski mountaineering camps.

I’ll let the pictures tell the story….Jan – early Feb 2011.

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-Clark

Ice Climbing…

January 21, 2011

With such a killer snowpack this year, its hard to give up a free day to do something other than skiing.  However, there are other activities that are good cross training for ski mountaineering objectives, so we justified going ice climbing for a day in the Boulders.  Plus climbing in the mountains is always fun.  Drew and I climbed mostly moderate ice, with some steeper variations.  Marc and Drew had been up to this spot earlier in the season, but had climbed a different pillar, so a few options existed.  Here’s a couple photos.

-Clark

SMG in Ecuador: The Source of La Nina

December 16, 2010

Drew Pogge and I decided to start the ski season off with some ski mountaineering in Ecuador.  Big peaks, glaciers, cool summits, a foreign country; why not?  Kirk has spent quite a bit of amount of time in Ecuador guiding and exploring, and had always talked it up, so the place had always been in the back of my mind.  The picture on Kirk’s wall of his ski descent of Cotopaxi is the classic Andean shot, far above the clouds on a big glaciated peak: we’re sold! November is typically the tail end of their wet season, and we hoped this would mean clearing out of bad weather, with some skiable conditions and good coverage on the glaciers.  But with a strong La Nina in the mix, the weather was very fickle.  We did a lot of hanging out in bad weather, with locals telling us it “usually isn’t this bad in November”.  However, bad weather meant lots of new snow, and all of our skiing was in perfect powder conditions, a true anomaly in Ecuador, and twice as good as we were hoping for.  Plus skiing on glaciers at altitude in low visibility is always exciting!

After spending some time acclimatizing we made ski descents of Cotopaxi (19,347ft), Illiniza Sur (17,267ft) and part of Chimborazo (20,561ft), although we had to bail because of avalanche conditions  With historically low snowlines, we were able to ski lines much further down then normal.

Since the peaks are on the equator, the sun is very intense when it shines, which softens snow bridges over crevasses and can spike avalanche danger.  Because of this, and late morning storms, an ungodly early (12-2am) start is required.  This means you are ascending most of the mountain in the dark, which can be interesting for route finding, and makes for a unique experience.

Ecuador is an amazing diverse country in geography.  This includes the Amazon, lush green valleys, the high paramo grasslands, high altitude glaciated volcanoes and the coast.  Not to mention the indigenous people, food and culture.  It was a great place to visit in the “shoulder season”, and we were glad to see La Nina brewing at the source.

La Nina, or the “the girl” in Spanish is a weather phenomenon that has to do temperatures of the ocean surface on the pacific equator.  If temperatures are cooler then average on the ocean surface on the equator, then this has a domino effect on weather in the norther hemisphere.  This typically means a cooler and wetter winter for the Northwest.  With record low temps in Quito, and snowlines reaching down further into the valleys then normal, La Nina was in full force at the source.  Even though we were focused with the excellent ski conditions and projects on hand, we kept an eye as to what was going on back home, and were pleased to see that the La Nina patterns in Ecuador were resulting in snow continuing to pile up in the NW.  Now that’s a win/win!  Although we may not be getting the cold weather, it looks like we’re sure getting the precip of a La Nina year!

Thanks to Voile, Beyond Coastal and Smith.

-Clark

Summer Wrap Up

October 13, 2010

Its been a good end of the summer season, with a variety of trips and warm temps into the fall months.  The past couple months we’ve climbed the super slabs with the community school kids in the Sawtooths, did a fully custom trip in Moab and went backpacking/peak bagging in the Pioneers.  With October almost halfway through, here’s to the end(?) of the Indian Summer!

Fall Alpine Climbing

September 19, 2010

Yesterday, Drew and I decided to get out and climb some…ice!  We left during the wee hours of the morning and rendezvoused at the Mt. Borah Trailhead.  After hiking up Rock Creek we were rewarded with the view of our objective…the North Face of Mt. Borah (III AI 3).  The North Face is a classic alpine route, which involves several thousand feet of steep snow, ice and even some mixed climbing depending on your exact route.  With a foot of new snow up high from last week, we were pleasantly reminded that winter is on its way!