observations on gear, adventure, and the world


RSS mess

I’ve not been able to keep up with the really amazing stuff that’s been coming through my RSS feeds lately. So I’m gonna dump it here and now.

First, David Lama is going to blow up alpine climbing. Big time. Here’s a taste of things to come. freeing the compressor route was just the beginning.

So they used ice tools on their ascent and Will Gadd knows a thing or two about holding and swinging them tools. Here’s a post with a very clear title: How to hold an ice tool.

Kelly Cordes, rumored to climb ice, approves of David Lama (he said so on Facebook so it must be true) and Maurice Sendak.

The best thing I’ve ever read on climbing injuries, because it quotes all the other best things I’ve read on climbing injuries. Get well soon Dave MacLeod!

Boots don’t fit? Lace’em gooder!

Five things. A Cold Thistle guest post.

Soloing is cool if you’re good at it.



Throwing the Goat

Data Mike and I went after an objective that we’ve been prepping for pretty hard.

Sunday morning we rolled out at 6:30 AM and headed for albion basin, hiked through the basin to Devil’s Castle and hit the Horns of Satan.

Harness: BD
Shoes: 5.10 Copperheads
Approach Shoes: Merrill Trail Glove
Socks: Lin Manufacturing
A loose pair of Wrangler Kakis
Nano puff
New Bamel Back bladder in the original pack
Marmot Wicking shirt
Gearloop topo
14 BD Hotwire draws
1 set of nuts
half rack of draws
Gear Loop topo.
Giro ski helmet (removed the liner and wore a baseball cap under it, turned out to be perfect).
A few gels and some GU chomps

I’d take a little more sole on my shoe for next time, I’m waiting for my lone peak altras to come in the mail!

The climb is amazing, but it’s loose. REALLY Loose. There are pitches where you feel like you’re climbing a Jenga game and if you weight the wrong hold you’ll knock down the whole of Devil’s castle. But the good pitches and the whole experience are so good it’s easy to forget that.

A new place to lean your bike.

The Girl and I with a little help from Brother Seth and S-n-L Martha and a very very sleepy Father in Law packed up ampersand HQ on Sat and moved it to City Creek Canyon area. We are psyched.

Got in a little spin this morning. Five minutes to dirt. That five minutes is pretty steep pavement but WOW.

The trails up here are no corner canyon but they are athletic and technical so what they lack in buttery smoothness they make up for in toughness.


Race Report: Showdown at 5-Mile Pass

I wrote this origenally as a race report for the Canyon Race Team – so the tone is a little different from what I usually post. More hubris.

The longest race of the Intermountain Cup Series is always a dusty suffer fest at Five Mile Pass. At 11 miles per lap of rocky rolling double track it’s the perfect course for absolutely nobody. Even people who can run uphill with their bike on the back in ankle deep dust.

This year’s race saw some great racing. The strongest representation for the team was in the Men’s 50+ category with Curt Bates throwing down the Watts on the steep punchy climbs and busting away from the Wolfe-man and a couple other sinewy characters in the last quarter lap to take the win with style. Sam rolled, in calm and collected as always, two minutes, two seconds, and two riders later for fourth place.

Or so I assume, because while Expert Women and Single Speed did 2.5 laps, the 50+ men did two, so Jessica and I missed their final moments, though when Curt made his move I was there too see it (5 mile has a long downhill false flat
where all of the geared categories come flying by the those of us with balls too big for gears).

The Expert Women went off one minute before the Single Speed Category, so, while Jessica was duking it out with the likes of Lori Harward and the Revolution ladies, I was turning my 36X18 as fast as I could trying to prove that I’m still faster than her! I caught them on the big running section and charged past – when you have legs as big as mine you take the advantage when you have it. On my way through the Expert Women I saw the third place single speeder in the black and yellow of Utah Mountain Biking.com went pretty deep into the red to pass him on the run up, because having someone run past you while you are walking messes with your head. My hope was that my psychological warfare would end his race and I could just concentrate on keeping my gap to Jessica and the rest of the podium to respectable amounts. Unfortunately, my rigid carbon fork doesn’t do the rocky descents like a squishy fork and Mr. UTMTB.com closed the gap on the descent and made me pay for the matches I burned on the run up.

Then we hit the flats and Jessica came charging by with a couple of the expert ladies in tow, while I spun my gear at a cool 300 rpm. Jessica and I spent the rest of the race passing each other which was fun, since we do most of our training together it was cool to go 100% together. The whole time I was keeping the Yellow and Black of third place in sight hoping to catch him the next trip up the run up. Coming through for the second lap I dropped Jessica and took off to make my move for the podium.

I made the pass on the climb, but with less authority than I needed. Got caught on the descent and fought to keep eye on third until during a long downhill through a rocky river bed I lost my chain. Really. On a single speed – embarrassing. Fixed it quick but had to baby it a little and lost a lot of speed. While I was dealing with the mechanical Jessica and another Expert Woman came flying by. I took off after them and passed them back on some of the short climbs. Then the Men 50+ caught us and we got to see Curt make his move.

Jessica and I came through the start finish just after Curt took the W and just before Sam took fourth, and headed out for our half lap – which was really less than half of a lap but who cares. I got a gap then dropped my chain again, and Jessica caught and passed me. I passed her back and then 10 yards from the line dropped the chain again. Looked back and saw Jessica in full sprint mode so I shouldered the bike and ran like hell only to get chicked at the line by Jessica, who ended up second in her race only by 30 seconds!

Great show all around! I’ll point out that I still won the Morris race, because Jessica had a head start. Also Jessica has made HUGE improvement as a bike handler and is really shredding trail this year.

A shout out to Mike Oblad for taking the W in the Clydesdale division, I’d say more but he started and finished while I was chasing Jessica and trying to stay away from Curt and Sam!

All told, a great weekend for the team: Two wins, a second, and two fourths. Since mountain podiums are four deep, thats five Canyon kits arms up on the podium!

That single track shot.

I’m in love with single track.

Area 51 in the Timp Foothills with the Ninja Stick 6niner

I know there’s only so many ways a guy like me, slinging an iPhone camera that is useually covered in sweat and grime, can get a good shot of trail after trail after trail. But I still love putting a foot down and trying to capture the magic of another twisty trail.

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Slickrock before the lawnmowers come out at 9:00 AM

Three Cups of Pee

Just stumbled upon Three Cups of Deceit by Jon Krakauer.

I’d heard about the allegations against Greg Mortinson of Three Cups of Tea fame, and hadn’t though much of it except that I’d wait until things were settled to read the book, which is sitting on my bookshelf.

I saw the volume sitting there on the shelf last night looking like any other book. And I thought I should make a reading list of false-autobiographies, since I studied the memoir device a bit in college.

I downloaded Three Cups of Deceit this morning and I’m going to plow through it (this will be the first book I’ve read on my iPhone) and then maybe read the book.

I’ll just point out that the line from Krakauer “Mortenson has lied about the nobel deeds he has done, the risks he has taken, the people he has met, the number of schools he has built.” Could be fairly applied to Rousseau, credited with one of the first great memoirs, but since the only thing revolutionary about Mortenson’s memoir is how much money he got (he didn’t even really write the book) I’m not that inclined to give him a hall pass on this one.

Appearantly I should also read A million little pieces

January Award: The Sickest Thing Done In January – Barefoot Kilimanjaro

Barefoot Kilimanjaro, the name sums it up. They went up the tallest mountain in Africa Barefoot.

The Science of Sport has a video diary. Amazing.

Watch this below then read and watch the full report. This may stand the test of time and be the best adventure of the year!

First read Ross’s post introducing the project and it’s unique challenges. Then dive in to the full report.

Here’s an excerpt to whet your whistles:

It would be wrong to say “anything is possible”, because that’s the stuff of fairytales, but this was so clearly possible IF we played the preparation cards right, that it was aproject worth doing only to show that sometimes, when we stop at identifying the problems, we limit ourselves so significantly to “conventional wisdom”.  I was taken aback by the strength of the sentiment AGAINST our goal.  I mean, sure, there would be challenges – the cold, the risk of frost-bite, the altitude, the terrain – but those are challenges that can easily be overcome through good planning, and I couldn’t understand that it was dismissed as “impossible” without thinking through those solutions first.