Thursday, December 11, 2014

Irwin Lodge Race ~ Crested Butte Backcountry

Race Division –  5000ft of elevation gain/loss, 10 miles and a three loop race course.
 The Venue
The day started with a 10 mile snowmobile ride to the venue.  This was the first qualifying event for the U.S. Worlds Team so the competition was stout.  All of the top racers in the country were present.  A very fast start.  I lead until we reached tree-line when Marshall Thomson joined me.  Marshall led the first downhill until imploding on a dip ("early season conditions exist").  I came into the transition zone 20 seconds ahead followed closely by Jon Gaston.  The three of us stayed in this order until the bootpack.  Marshall and Jon caught me at the top as I was struggling to get back in my bindings.  I caught back up and led the second downhill until Jon predictably passed me about a third of the way down.  Jon took the W and I skated in a minute behind followed by Marshall.  It was a great 3 way battle the entire time.  Excellent skin-tracks and challenging, soft descents.  Had a blast snowmobiling the ten miles out and towing Team Pine Needle Mountaineering at Mach speed behind us. 
 The Course
 The Transportation
 (if you don't have a snowmobile)
 The Support
 Lots of lightweight gear to be found.
 Durango's Team Pine Needle Mountaineering
(Jen Gersbach, Miles Venzara & Nick Gould)
Team Pine Needle dialing it all in (pieps, shovel, probe, helmet, skins....).
Giving it!
"Team Mommy" Skins Up
 Course Marshal Colby
 Feed Zone Colby
Dicing it out with J. Marshall Thomson.
 Finish Line Chit Chat
1st Place ~ Jon Gaston
2nd Place ~ Scott Simmons
3rd Place ~ J. Marshall Thomson
Why didn't you get first Dad?
Women's Results
1st Place ~ Lyndsey Plant
2nd Place ~ Jessie Young
3rd Place ~ Nikki LaRochelle
Thanks to Elk Mountain Events and Scarpa/Trab!  Congrats to all who raced!
Photo Credits:
Quinn Simmons
Kirk Haskell
Kevin Krill

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Pine Needle Mountaineering~Wolf Creek COSMIC Race #1

The first COSMIC race of the 2014-2015 season is in the books. 

 3,250' Vertical, 8.2 miles, 9 transitions, countless kick turns!
Do you think Ski Patrol will let this fly....? 
(Course consultation with Pagosa Skimo racer, Jesse Morehouse)

 Not a yard sale.... All the necessary personnel/equipment required for course setting. 
 Stormtroopers headed to Alberta Peak

Child Labor
 Left to Right;
Billy Laird - 4th Place
Jon Brown - 2nd Place (Scarpa)
Scott Simmons - 1st Place (Scarpa)
Pete Swenson - 2nd Place (Dynafit)
 Rec Racer/Professional Skier, Sven Brunso bringing it home!
 Race Director Miles Venzara takes a post-race time-out.

Natalie Brandsma all smiles after completing her first SkiMo race.
Women's Race
1st - Lindsey Plante
2nd - Sarah Stubbe
3rd - Christena Ward
4th -Natalie Brandsma
Computing race results after racing.... Not recommended.
Pine Needle Mountaineering Founder Keith Roush performs course clean-up.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Presidential Traverse ~ White Mountains ~ New Hampshire

19.8 miles ~ 8,500'
Presidential Traverses are usually hiked from north to south, climbing the following sequence of peaks, in order to get the greatest elevation gains over with early on
  1. Mt Madison – 5367 feet
  2. Mt Adams – 5774 feet
  3. Mt Jefferson – 5712 feet
  4. Mt Clay – 5533 feet
  5. Mt Washington – 6288 feet
  6. Mt Monroe – 5384 feet
  7. Mt Franklin – 5001 feet
  8. Mt Eisenhower – 4780 feet
  9. Mt Pierce – 4310 feet
  10. Mt Jackson – 4052 feet

Two years ago I came within seconds of the FKT despite getting lost several times.  This year I decided to go my wife's pace (7 hours 50 minutes) and enjoy the scenery/wind. 

 The Crawford Path

 The Cog Railway coming off of Mt Washington.
 Madison & Adams
 Summit of Mt Washington.  Taking a photo break a little over half-way there. 50 mph winds today!

Now for the 40 mile bike ride back to the car.....

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Boys in the Backcountry

It's springtime in the San Juan's which means avalanche danger is low and temps are warm.  Time to head to the backcountry with the family.  There are several rules to follow when attempting a feat like this;
1.  Leave expectations back at the car.
2.  Yelling is NOT a motivator (sugar however....).
3.  Bring a tow system for anyone under 12.
4.  Leave nervous mother bears at home.

5.  Keep an eye on the teenagers as they think they're invincible (cornices are for jumping off of right?).  "Why do I have to wear this beacon?" "I don't need a jacket or a warm hat, its 45 degrees." 
6.  If you manage to reach the summit consider it a bonus.

McMillan Peak
McMillan Peak, along with Red Mountain #3 (12890 ft) to the north, Ohio Peak (12673 ft) and Anvil Mountain (12537 ft) to the south, form a chain of 12ers that runs north-south on the east side of Route 550 between the town of Silverton and the Red Mountain Pass in the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado.
 7.  Try to "ski" back to your car.  Kids may become cranky if they have to hike back.

8.  Give the promised sugary reward/bribe ASAP.
9.  Enjoy every moment!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

LaSal Mountains Traverse

7pm Friday night Andy Dorais sent a text to meet at the Junction of UT Highway 191 and 46 @ 3am Saturday morning.  The plan was to ski across the LaSal range.  Who could say no to skiing ten, 12,000' peaks in one day (well, my wife maybe...), I'm in! 
The La Sal Mountains are located in  Utah along the Utah/Colorado border. The range rises above a Moab and north of the town of La Sal. This range is part of the Manti-La Sal National Forest and the southern Rocky Mountains. The maximum elevation is at Mount Peale, reaching 12,721 feet. The range contains three clusters of peaks separated by passes. The peaks span a distance of about 10 miles.
7 spandex clad skiers (Teague Holmes, Brad LaRochelle, Lars, Andy/Jason Dorais, Tom Goth and myself) set out to conquer the range in one day.  The boys set a blistering pace right from the gun(wait, I didn't know it was race....oh wait, its always a race).  Taking photos wasn't an option. I'd get dropped every time I pulled out the camera and then pay the price to catch back up. 


Not quite ready for bikes yet.
"Arguably one of the top mountain bike trails on the planet. Linking up several Moab favourites, this trail spans almost 30 miles and has a cumulative descent of over 8,000 feet."

Mission Accomplished ~ An Amazing Day
Thanks Scarpa/SkiTrab for getting us there!
The significant peaks of the La Sal Mountains;