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.



‘cross calendars

Just got an email from the Girl – linking to the NoTubes team cross schedule, it’s a good list of the bigger events that are going on in North America leading up to Louisville.

Here’s the list:

Date Race City State
7/24/12 Raleigh’s Midsummer Nights Park City WA
9/15/12 Nittany Lion Cross, C2 Breiningsville PA
9/16/12 Nittany Lion Cross, C2 Breiningsville PA
9/19/12 CrossVegas, C1 LasVegas NV
9/22/12 USGP C1 Sun Prairie WI
9/23/12 USGP C2 Sun Prairie WI
10/13/12 USGP C1 Fort Collins CO
10/14/12 USGP C2 Fort Collins CO
10/20/12 DownEast Cross C2 New Gloucester ME
10/21/12 DownEast Cross C2 New Gloucester ME
10/20/12 Spooky Cross Irvine CA
10/21/12 Spooky Cross Irvine CA
10/27/12 Boulder Cup C2 Boulder CO
10/28/12 Colorado Cup C2 Boulder CO
11/02/12 Cincy 3 Cincinnati OH
11/03/12 Cincy 3 Cincinnati OH
11/04/12 Cincy 3 Cincinnati OH
11/10/12 USGP C1 Louisville KY
11/11/12 USGP C2 Louisville KY
11/17/12 Canadian Nationals Stevenson BC
11/18/12 Canadian Nationals Stevenson BC
11/17/12 Super Cross Cup C2 East Meadow NY
11/18/12 Super Cross Cup C2 East Meadow NY
12/02/12 CXLA Los Angeles CA
12/03/12 CXLA Los Angeles CA
12/8/12 USGP C1 Bend OR
12/9/12 USGP C1 Bend OR
1/10/13 National Championships Madison WI
1/11/13 National Championships Madison WI
1/12/13 National Championships Madison WI
1/13/13 National Championships Madison WI
1/29/13 World Championships Louisville KY
1/30/13 World Championships Louisville KY
1/31/13 World Championships Louisville KY
2/1/13 World Championships Louisville KY
2/2/13 World Championships Louisville KY

This is as much for me to keep track of the dates as it is for you. We’ll be attempting to get to a few of these while we work on getting the Girl back from injury and into the big show!

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.

Quick Post-Zion Post

Just wrapping up the unpacking from this weekend’s Zion National Park run.

Thanks to RR’s impecable planning, and a great group of friends, I’m going to struggle to cover everything that we did. Here’s what we did and some quick lessons:

Day 1, Orderville:

Its all about the shoes – all river hiking/canyoneering is this deservers it’s own post. Bring a short rope and harnesses for the whole party. There is one obstacle that is a heinous down climb or so you can a cake walk rappel. Just tie a stone, and have people rap right on top of each other (with some care of course) and you can get a big group through the obstacle really quickly. Plan on several hours… like nine and expect to be doing a bit of bouldery down-climbing into water. One of the best adventures you can have on a day hike! I liked having one collapsable trekking pole for the long rough beginning and end.

DAy 2-3, The Narrows:
Light is right. This isn’t a really long walk it’s just a rough walk. So leave as much behind as you can. Consistently one of my favorite things is getting to camp in the narrows and just drinking in the canyon.

Day 4, Pine Creek: Don’t panic, and shoes. Again shoes are important… very important. The last mile of hiking is VERY bouldery, and I’d recommend an approach shoe that climbs well because there isn’t much walking on this “trail.”Also, that last rappel, yes you should be careful, but don’t panic. It’s not that exposed and it’s only free for ten feet, and you’ve just done two 65′ raps to get there so carry a 10.5 mm rope, have a fireman’s belay at the bottom use an ATC guide (because it’s awesome) and enjoy the view. And look down because it’s less tall than the pictures make it look. This isn’t the place to figure out how to do canyon stuff so make sure that you’re with someone who knows what they are doing.

How many days will you?

Great little piece from adventure-journal.com reminded me about my goal to get out on skis at least 10 days by New Year’s day. Done and done! Two solid weeks off of work I got in five days per week.

I’m pretty ambivalent (having mixed or conflicted feelings… people misuse that one a lot – I like the biblical phrase “halt between two opinions” because it captures my situation.) about resolutions and goals, but I’m a big proponent of habits/routines  you enjoy and that prepare you for the adventures you want to do.

For example, I’ve been climbing twice per week and doing some hangboard/pullup bar work twice per week. This gives me a nice workout, plenty of  time to just play, and plenty of recovery. I’m using this work as most of my core/strength training for the coming bike season, and I don’t have to burn any of my stoke thinking about preping the season.

Ski mountaineering has the same benifit. Great way to improve the engine while staying off the bike.

My workout plan for Jan/Feb is:

2 Sessions on Skis
2 Sessions in the gym (a muerte)
2 short runs + some stretching and back/hip work
1 Trainer session

… and taste 100 bottles of wine this year… but that’s a whole other blog, well actually it’s this thing made of paper called a notebook.

Laps at Brighton Brought to you by UTA!

Trekking to the Bus Stop

Back last summer, when the day job was demanding some twitter time (which it does in fits and spurts) I happened to win a little something from the UTA!

A group day pass.

The day pass is a pretty sweet little piece of paper, since it allows a group of four to ride anything that UTA drives for a whole day. I had hatched several big plans for epic mountain bike link-ups but never could make them happen, but the expiration date was drawing near so I had to just make it happen. So I decided to do a little link-up by taking the ski bus to Brighton, skinning some laps there, and then riding TRAX to meet The Girl and some friends at the Front for a session on the boulders. Along the way I gave a few people a lift with my pass.

So yesterday I got up, mixed up some fuel, and caught the 960 ski bus up Big Cottonwood Canyon. I’ve gotta point out that lots of people try to get on the ski bus to go places that are not ski places… like work lots of stops to tell confused people that they are confused.

Fuels for the trip (not pictured: An Apple)

Once I got up to Brighton, here is what went down:

3400' in 2:30

For reference that’s roughly what I did in 3:30 on Tuesday!

After UTA dropped me at Bri the legs took me here!

I’m always amazed at how easy it is to move on my Dynafit/Volkl setup! Partway up the second lap I saw Tom again, he stopped to chat, and mentioned that he was going to be climbing at Momentum so he was cutting down his laps to make sure he had arms left for the evening. Inspired by that thought and a project I really wanted to send I skipped my third lap and packed it in while I could still move.

My other mode of transport after the Ski Bus

Then I caught the 960 down to the 7200 S Trax stop. I made some kids day first. I saw some middle schoolers pull out cash their moms had forked over for the bus ride down and told them I’d use my group pass to cover their ticket down. They were super stoked! I’m pretty sure that they hoofed it straight to the gas station to turn their newfound cash into slushies before their ride showed up. Took me back…

Looking back at the mountains from Trax. Always slightly surreal.

Made it to SLC starving. So I hit Ekimai for some more fuel before heading to the gym with The Girl where she nailed a reachy-for-6’3″-me V3 and I finally got my V4 roof project to go. Over hung stuff has never been my forte so this is a big breakthrough for me, and The Girl is really progressing fast. Always forget to take pictures in the gym… but here’s dinner:

V4 sendege powered by ekimai thai!

A big thanks to Brighton for being a great resort all around. Most of Utah’s resorts are on public land, but they act like they own the place (I’m glaring at you Alta and Snowbird) but Brighton has raised the bar. They’ve posted a VERY VERY generous uphill skiing policy, so thanks guys.

The Sweat Test

I move a lot of water when I’m really working.

Training for 100 mile mountain bike racing all year has left me with a damn fine base of fitness and a pretty stellar power threshold. I can climb 2000′ of vertical an hour at about 80% of my max hear rate for a few hours with a pack on in difficult terrain, but I generate A LOT of heat and water, so as soon as I cool down I begin to notice that I’m 6000′ above where I started, it’s cold and windy and I’m soaked.

So I’m looking for good solutions. I need something that can block the wind, insulate, and breathe. I’m sure there is a brilliant soft shell solution but I’m also working through what I have to see what combinations work well.

Last night I went out for a hard run in temps just above freezingwearing the following:

Head: Pearl Izumi Balakava in beanie mode.

Patagonia Torrentshell pullover

Patagonia Capaline 3

Wicking drawrs from Champion

Adidas Soccer Shorts

Smart wool mid weight backpacker socks

Merril Trail Glove shoes (just found that they have a version of this shoe with gore-tex, I’m interested).

The loop I ran was a perfect test with a moderate uphill and steep downhill followed by slight downhill then a parking lot cool-down walk and some pull-ups on the stairs (flogging molly came up on pandora so I couldn’t repress the training urges). I got hot on the way out I heald my HR at 90% for several minutes, and felt the heat and wet really turning on. Then on the steep descent my HR fell 15% as I simply tried to control speed.

I felt comfortable and dry the whole run. There is a tag in the shirt that has to go. Otherwise I was never hot or cold, even on the cooldown. When I got inside and pulled off the torrent shell it was damp on the inside, though the capaline was still dry to the touch.

Brilliant performance for what will be my go to setup for charging up-hill when I need something between me and the weather.

I think my lone peak would have gone better from a moisture management perspective with capaline replacing the merino wool.