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;

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

US Skimo National Championship ~ Crested Butte, CO

Three Races ~ Three Days
Vertical - 1,500'+ Climbing
Individual - 5,500' Climbing, 10 miles
Teams -4,500' (apx) Climbing
A schedule like this doesn't allow a lot of time for recovery.  I wanted to podium in the Vertical without completely burying myself.  This plan quickly went out the door.  I was headed for a third place finish behind Marshall Thomson and Brian Smith but Colin Cares was closing in fast.  I had to kill it to finish third.  I'm still recovering from the effort four days later.
 Everyone got the bulletin to wear yellow (Scarpa Aliens).
(photo: Matson Tew)
 Starting line ~ Individual Race
Thomson and Tom Goth took turns in the lead.  They were followed by Dorais, Simmons and Smith.  This pattern continued until we reached the Guides Ridge.  Marshall was the first on the rope followed by Dorais, Goth, Simmons and Smith.  (Once your on the rope there's no passing.)  I could see the three leaders bunched up ahead of me.  When I topped out, Goth was putting on his skis and Dorais and Marshall were gone.  Unfortunately, Dorais skied down the wrong aspect and had to side-step back up.  Tom screamed down the 3,000' descent, passing Thomson, for the win. 
1.  Tom Goth
2.  Marshall Thomson
3.  Jason Dorais
4.  Scott Simmons
5.  Brian Smith
Resting the legs after the Vertical.
More Finish Line Chit-Chat

Teams Race
I was hoping for a mellow start to the Team's Race after yesterday's Individual.  No chance of that...  Goth and Dorais (Utah) were determined to set a blistering pace right from the gun.  My teammate, Thomson, was right there with them but I was hanging back with Brian Smith/Jon Brown.  At the top of the 2nd bootpack all three teams were close together.  On the third climb, Goth/Dorais were out of sight.  I thought wow, "they're flying", however a broken boot (not a Scarpa!) had taken them out of the race .  I had to dig deep to pass Brown and catch Smith.  Thomson and I won the battle to reach the Guides Ridge rope first.  Barring a disaster we had the W.  My legs were shot on the long descent but I managed to make it down and ski across the line with Marshall to take the Teams Race Championship title.
1.  Marshall Thomson/Scott Simmons
2.  Brian Smith/Jon Brown
3.  Pete Swenson/Teague Holmes
 A great (exhausting) weekend of racing to crown the season.  Time to go to work and recover!
Thanks to race director Bryan Wickenhauser and all the volunteers for all your efforts. 
Nick Gould (Durango) thrilled to be crossing the line ahead of Janelle Smiley and Lyndsay Meyer.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

PowderKeg ~ North American Championship ~ 2014

 5 climbs, 6,500′ climbing, 10 miles
Brighton Ski Resort, Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah
A great weekend of racing in Utah.  I participated in both the Sprint and the Individual races.  I didn't race the teams event as I'm saving some for this coming weekends US Nationals Ski Mountaineering Race in Crested Butte.
Starting Line
(Photo Rick Carter)
 Leaders in the Individual Race
(Photo ISMF)
20 degrees and blue skies on race day.  The race started out with local Salt Laker, Tom Goth leading.  He was followed closely by Marshall Thomson (Crested Butte), Jason Dorais (SLC) and myself (Durango).  At the top of the first climb we had a small gap over Reiner (CAN), John Gaston (Aspen) and Max Taam (Aspen).  I had a sloppy transition and the top 3 left me behind.  A conservative downhill run allowed Gaston and Taam to catch me.  I caught up with the lead group again and the 5 of us topped out together on the second (and third) climb.  By the top of the 4th climb, five of us were still together.  I was charging it in fourth place as I skied over one of the drops we'd been warned about at the pre-race meeting.  I managed to catch the most air I've had in years.  As I was picking myself up from my yardsale I heard a Course Marshall exclaim "That was HUGE, maybe I should stand up there and warn people about that".  Maybe....
Goth passed me as I was recovering and there was no passing back on the downhill. 
1.  John Gaston
2.  Jason Dorais
3.  Marshall Thomson
4.  Tom Goth
5.  Scott Simmons
Women's Top 5
1.  Janelle Smiley
2.  Gemma Ribot
3.  Stevie Kremer
4.  Sari Anderson
5.  Kate Zander
 Starting line of the Sprint Race.
 Finish Line ~ Sprint
My time didn't qualify for the next round as my skis fell off my pack at the start of the bootpack. 

 Boot Pack ~ Team's Race
 Scarpa on the Podium
 (photo ISMF)
 (Photo ISMF)

While Dad "works" we play.
 Checking out the course Friday afternoon.
Pine Needle Mountaineering athletes Miles Venzara, Nick Gould and Scott Simmons enjoying beer, brauts and sunshine post-race.

Quinn getting some.
Thanks to Race Director Chad Brackelsberg and crew for a great weekend of racing.  Thanks to Scarpa, SkiTrab and Tailwind for the support.