Cold Adventures - January 2017  
Saturday, January 28, 2017, 04:27 PM - Weekend Fun, AMRC
Posted by Administrator
I attended an excellent scenario-based AMRC training on a brutally cold, windy Saturday morning. Hans and I we're on the strike team with Aspen and we discovered a patient had fallen off the limestone band of the Sandias near the Tombstone. Hans and I traversed around to reach the subject, while Aspen sorted out her plan for extraction. I clipped in the subject, before noticing it was a prospective member of the team and fellow Sandia ski team captain, Evan! Hans attended to the broken leg, while I worked on securing the patient to another tree above and boiling water for hot soup/tea. Frank came down and we loaded Evan on the skedco and worked him up the limestone band. I cleaned up the ledge while others hauled the patient to the parking lot. Car-to-car in 2 hours! Not bad.









The next day, Sunday, Jess and I joined Jason and his new dog, Dante, for a Embudo loop hike up to Oso Pass. Similar to this. It was actually a pretty solid hike of 8.5 mi with 2400' of climbing. Dante was loving every minute of it too!




The next weekend, I was lured up to Taos with a 10-12" forecast. I drove up early on Saturday, but without any signs of a storm, went to Black Rock Hot Springs with Bonnie, Dave, Josiah, and Briana. The camper banged its way through the mud and snow to John Dunn Bridge and to a wonderful little spot overlooking the Rio Grande. After a nice long soak, we headed up the hill to the ski valley for the St. B party. The next day only had about 3-4"--a complete disappointment--but we all made the most of it by hitting all our favorite steeps.








The next weekend, it was only calling for 2-3" but the snows came, and they came hard! Jess and I went up and skied with Jeff on Friday for a great powder day. We hit an untracked Donkey Serenade for deep powder turns and lapped the What Chutes and Highline. Unfortunately, I choose very poorly for my last run in the Waterfowl Area where I dropped the lip and got about 1/2 turn in before hitting a big rock and then pinballing for 30 feet through a rock garden while my skis skittered across the obstacles. It was awful, but I was luckily uninjured. Now I remember why I never enter from that spot!






(This looked good, but it was a rock garden!)

Saturday was the first Corporate Cup race of the year at Red River. It was snowing like crazy so the conditions were a little questionable. I skied my standard middle-of-the-pack speed. Then Jeff, Jess, and I explored the limited, but untracked terrain in Red. The Aspens were particularly nice. At the end of the day, Jeff decided to stick around for a Sunday pow day at Taos. Jess had to work, but we found a ride back for her with some of the Lobo team. Back at the camper, I had to shovel for a good hour to dig out from a day of heavy snow.




It snowed fat until 11pm and Jeff and I wondered around the TSV happy in the fact the next day was going to be excellent. Bonnie spotted us and made us come in to the Blonde Bear for a beer, but we turned in early. The next day was a 13" day at Taos and one of my favorite days on skis. Not much was open early, but Jeff and I got waist-deep fresh tracks in Pollux and Castor. Then we slipped over to an untouched chute in Lorelei Trees and lapped hikes: Cuervo, Sauza, Billy Sol/Two Bucks, Wild West, and Juarez. I showed Jeff the cliff that spenser hit in Sauza. I chicked out, but went for it and completely cratered. We found one of his skis 200 feet down the mountain! At the end, we linked up with Briana and Dave for a couple runs. What a killer day!






(Jeff sending the Sauza cliff)

(Jeff's missing ski... after cratering)

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Aspen and Telluride for New Year's Eve 
Monday, January 2, 2017, 06:23 PM - Trips, Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
Jess, Jeff, Sheilah, and I took the camper up to Aspen for New Years. Jeff and Sheliah got a place with some other friends in Snowmass but I scored a deal through the mountain rescue community to crash at Mountain Rescue Aspen's cache to save some cash. Keith gave us the grand tour of the multi-million dollar facility with all their cars, snowmobiles, climbing wall, kitchen, locker room, laundry, etc. It's truly impressive.



On New Year's Eve we hit Snowmass and Jess and I skied for 1/2 day before Jeff and I went out to find bigger lines. The snow wasn't fresh but it was still fun to explore a new place. We hit KT Gully, Possible, Split Tree and at the end of the day, Jeff found a ~8' drop at Rock Island. I couldn't commit to the cliff - and ultimately wouldn't hear the end of it for 24 hours. For NYE, we found a little bar called The Red Onion in Aspen where Keith knew the bartender. We snagged a booth and Jess and I rang in the new year with champagne and a kiss.



(Cliff I chickened out of)


The next morning, the slopes were unsurprisingly and pleasantly empty. Jeff and I went over to Aspen Highlands and beat ourselves up on frozen bumps in Steeplechase bowl before Highland opened. We caught the snow cat to the halfway point with a pile of stoked skiers and then hoofed it to the highland peak summit at 12,392'. The views were wonderful and the run down Ozone was wonderful. At lunch we caught the bus to Aspen Mountain and linked up with Keith, who's on their ski patrol. He directed us under a couple closed ropes to a little place patrol "reserves for themselves and their friends." It was only a few turns, but they were the softest we'd found in the last couple days.








That night I dropped Jess off with Mario and company to drive back to ABQ, while Jeff and I headed to Telluride. We stopped at Lance and Bobbi Jo's in Ridgeway for the night and camped out on the street. Leigh, Justin, and Arthur were also there so it was great to catch up with their family.

In the morning Bobbi Jo loaded us up with egg and bacon bagels and we drove the hour over to Telluride. We found a place to park in the 72 hour lot and then began exploring. I quickly fell in love with the place because they had a whole cirque to play. Sadly Palmyra Peak wasn't open, but we took a couple laps in Black Iron Bowl and hit a great powder line in the (unnamed?) chute on skiers ' left. That night we headed to Smuggler's Brewpub for dinner and watched the dramatic Penn State vs USC Rose Bowl Game. After making friends with the locals, we agreed to ski backcountry the next day with someone. In the morning, I said I texted him saying that I would need to borrow skins because I didn't have any, and I never heard back. Oh well. Instead Jeff and I did a couple laps on Bald Mountain, Revelation Bowl and the frontside steeps. Ultimately, after 4 days of hard skiing, we threw the towel in the early afternoon and headed south.










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Red River Race Camp and Bull-of-the-Wood Yurt 
Monday, December 19, 2016, 04:49 PM - Trips, Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
Jeff and I took the Aliner pop-up camper to Red River and snagged a perfect little camp spot in the forest by the resort parking area. We skied a 3 days with instruction from the Lobos alpine team. It was especially great to ski with Nick because he grew up in Taos and is one of only a few NM racers to make the team. By the end of the three days, I was feeling good on my skis and running gates as well as I ever have (mediocre). Unfortunately the camper was an ice box without reliable heat and the temperature dropped to 1 F. Our breath put a layer of frost on everything in the interior of the camper. One of the perks of supporting the Lobos is that they sometimes offer corporate cup racers tickets to basketball games - so I was lucky enough to snag a seat in the box seats at the Pit later that week.





A couple weekends later, we broke with tradition and moved the Bull-of-the-Woods Yurt trip up to Dec. I brought Jess up with me on Friday and we skied a day inbounds in a whiteout blizzard. It wasn't that fun with the high winds. We met up with Spencer and hiked up to the yurt. I borrowed Leigh's sled and used it to schlep a 1/6th barrel of Marble Pils up the mountain. With me thoroughly weighed down, Jess and I were about the same speed so it worked out well. It did take a very long time, especially through the 5-6 downed trees, and I hurt pretty bad making it up from Taos Ski Valley (9,300') to Bull-of-the-Woods Meadow (10,800'). Fortunately, Spencer was able to break trail for most of the upper stretch.







Jeff came up later and strapped a box of pizza to his pack. In one of the trees, the box popped open and littered the trail with pizza slices. He tried to gather them all up, but managed to miss a couple. Later, Briana was coming up the trail and said that she was feeling really hungry but didn't to take the time to dig through her pack for food; when what should appear in the center of her headlamp glow, but a slice of pizza from the trail gods! She said she didn't even think twice about it and just picked it up and ate it. Once everyone made it up, we cranked the fire and drank merrily.

The following day, Jeff and I took a little tour up to Bull-of-the-Woods Mountain. The snow conditions were extremely unstable and the slope by the trail keep releasing as we hiked up. On the summit, it was freezing cold and the winds were howling. We concluded we couldn't ski anything steep, but we could work down the spine. A few turns into the descent, we dug a pit to check conditions. There were 40 cm of heavy dense wind slab on 30 cm of facets: a very bad combination. The column test failed with one hand tap at the boundary, and the Rutschblock test showed the whole upper layer slide on the facets. Scary! I was starting to think we might have bitten off more than we should have, but we skied the most conservative line we could find through the trees and quickly linked up with a mountain bike trail that took us back to the main road/trail. Definitely very scary conditions for any backcountry skier. Back the yurt, even more people trickled for night 2, making our total party crew 15 people.





Sunday, we cleaned up and skied back to the TSV. My sled was loaded with trash and I had to hold a power wedge all the way down the steeps. Unfortunately, on a couple of the dead tree crossings, the trash bags were punctured and I leaked a few items. Jeff was behind me though, so it helped pick up my mess. Back at Taos, it was chilly but clear and Jess finally got to see the place. We skied the backside for a few laps and then hit the Bav at the end of the day for dinner. Good times in the mountains. But then I spent a couple weeks recovering from a cold that was shared around the yurt...

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Lost hikers in TWA Canyon and the AMRC Rescue Challenge 
Thursday, December 8, 2016, 10:39 PM - Weekend Fun, AMRC
Posted by Administrator
I responded to a mountain rescue pageout for a couple lost hikers in TWA canyon. The last cell phone ping we had, put them on the trail directly under the tram, so Justin, Aspen, Leigh, Frank, Pete and I caught a lift up the tram to the top to search from the top while another team headed up Domingo Baca. As it turned out the ping was way off - and we were at the coordinates when the other team found the patients (approximately 1 km away). They were in good condition, so we walk them out with the other team.







Andy put on another skills-based rescue challenge this year. We did rappelling, ascending, knots, mechanical advantage, and crevasse rescue stations this year by the Eye of the Sandias. It went much smoother than in years past, and we finished up close to noon so we could hold the annual party on time. This year, I proudly earned my 5-year AMRC service pin.






Oh, and we've started up the Karl and Rose weekday night rides again. These are dark and chilly, but a great way to get a few MTB miles in during the winter.


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Birthday Super RTM and Snowzobra/Gelande Quaffing 
Thursday, October 20, 2016, 08:52 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
I spent my birthday doing what I love: pushing through my limits in the mountains. I combined two of ABQ's hardest road rides into something a little insane. A ride that totalled nearly 11 hrs door-to-door (10 hrs in the saddle), 108 miles, and 10,000 ft of climbing. I did the "round the mountain" ride starting about 8am from my place, down Lead to the Bosque Trail and fought a north headwind to Bernalillo. I climbed past Placitas and hit the gravel stretch around 10:30am. That part is brutally relentless climbing over rocks, gravel, and dirt at a crawl for 7-miles. By noon I intersected the paved crest road 536, but turned right to climb the 2000 ft to the top of Sandia Peak. I summitted at 1am and ripped down the hill to have a big lunch burrito at Lazy Lizard. This is the point where any normal cyclist would go home, but instead I stashed my backpack under a tree and reclimbed the 4000 ft to the top of Sandia (in a relaxed 2 1/2 hrs). I didn't think I would make it, but the legs didn't cramp and the podcasts took my mind off the knee pain. I limped into the top and snagged a summit photo at nearly 5pm. From there it was nearly all downhill. I tucked into the standard 40 mph descent, turned right to Tijeras, and rode into a blinding setting sun and up-canyon wind back to my place at 6:45pm. Overall the body felt good the whole day. The Cytomax hydration and Taos Mountain Bar nutrition seemed to work for the extended effort. Unfortunately, my phone had some trouble holding a GPS signal and I didn't get my official stats for what may be the hardest century ride in the state!



2nd Sandia Peak summit of the day after 10,000 ft of climbing!


Birthday dinner: beer and ibuprofen.



I also hosted this year's Snowzobra "Pray For Snow" Party. It was perhaps the best year yet--which is saying a lot because this party has had some rather storied history including ice luges, flaming skis, a full matanza feast, and that one time we made the nightly news. But this year we had 75 people show up to burn the Snowzobra and I started Albuquerque's First Annual Gelande Quaffing Championships. Oh and I also went the extra mile to weld up a monstrous, 12' tall effigy skeleton made of rebar to appease Ullr using Supra's wire-feed welder.

I also built the setup for Gelande Quaffing - a drinking game that originates from the darkest recesses of ski culture (Jackson Hole). This was the centerpiece of this year's festivities so I had everyone cajole their closest friends and remotest colleagues to partake in the event. 4-person teams caught airborne beer with one hand to score points. I was convinced that the Josiah, Spencer, Sam, Jay team would be unbeatable, but when it came to the championship round, a few beers were dropped (Spenc and Sam!), and we fell 19-20 to a co-ed team (Kelley, Laura, Dave, Nathan) that threw a perfect game of 10 for 10 handle catches.





More on Gelande Quaffing:




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South Boundary and Tim & Sharon's Wedding 
Monday, October 10, 2016, 08:11 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
A tradition as old as Snowzobra, the masses have gathered at Garcia Park for mountain biking bliss. This year we timed the Aspens perfectly. There were bonfires, keg beer, one very rough icing, a broken finger, nudity, 4 flat repairs (on the same bike), and somehow 10 people cruised through the golden leaves back down to Taos successfully.








On Sunday, the group split up and Briana, Spencer, and I mountain biked up to Frazer Mountain in TSV. It was a horrible series of 25% grade climbs to the top and I was embarrassed that Briana beat me to the top. The views were amazing and the crest ride and singletrak return was super fun. It was definitely the $10 to ride out toward Wheeler.




The next weekend, I went to Durango for Tim and Sharon's wedding. I stayed with Mike and Allison on Friday night and Mike and I got a great ride in on Saturday morning down Haflin Creek Trail. It was incredibly steep, but super fun and the views were stunning.

The AMRC crew showed up in force as usual for the wedding. The ceremony was simple and sweet in the aspens outside of DMR. Then we went back to the ski lodge for dinner and the highlight: the AMRC crew sang Jennifer Warnes and Joe Cocker's "Love Lift Us Up" in red wigs (Tim and Sharon are gingers). I led the male part and Angela sang the female part, and I hope no videos of the performance ever appear on social media!






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AIT, Golden, Jeff's Birthday, Brewfest, and points in between 
Monday, October 10, 2016, 07:24 PM - Work, Weekend Fun, Week activities
Posted by Administrator
Here's a bunch of random things:

AIT Visit. I hosted a couple colleagues from the Austrian Institute of Technology in the lab to work on hardware-in-the-loop testing of a smart inverter. It was great to have Roland visit, as the two of us have shared some fun times in Japan, India, and France.




NREL meetings. I had a bunch of GMLC meetings in Golden, which sounds boring--and it was--but Spencer lives 5 minutes from NREL and he had a spare mountain bike! We rode over the mesa to dinner and had a couple local brews along the way. It was great to ride again with my ex-housemate while on work travel.

Flying. I went paragliding again - I took my 30th flight and finally got my P-2 rating!



Bike and Brew. Jeff had a bike pub ride for his birthday. He had a good time.



AMRC Brewfest. I survived 12 hours of volunteering at the AMRC Brewfest. Love that event because I see so many of my friends.



UNM talk. Thursday, I gave a talk at UNM on my solar research. "The Science & Society Distinguished The Public Talks are co-sponsored by the Albuquerque Section of the Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and its Life Members Affinity Group, Sigma Xi (the Scientific Research Society), the UNM Department of Physics & Astronomy, and the UNM Division of Continuing Education."

AMRC mission. The next weekend I responded to a stuck climber at Diablo Canyon - but the rest of the team beat me there and got them free before I could be fielded.

Tennis. Jess and I played about 20 minutes of tennis before getting completely soaked in a monsoon deluge.


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Talia's Wedding at Hunter Mountain, NY 
Monday, October 10, 2016, 07:20 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
In a not-so-well-thought-out plan, I caught the last flight to Albany NY on a Friday night. I got in at 12:30 and barely got my Avis rental before they closed up shop in the airport. I drove 1.5 hours south toward Hunter Mountain and hoped that I could find some sort of camping. I lucked out and ran across the Kaaterskill Forest's North/South Lake Campground. Of course it was 2am and pitch black so I meandered through camp until I found an empty spot and threw my tent up. I was woken up by a somewhat irate woman at 7am who was convinced the spot I had taken was her family's. I politely packed up, explained my situation, and took off. I never did figure out how the system worked because there wasn't a pay station, but I was rested enough to begin to explore this new part of the country.

I opted to hike up to Kaaterskill Falls, once a very famous place for painting and poetry, now it's a hot spot for Instragram and facebook check ins. The falls were spectacular even with the low flow rate. I was also thankful to get a little exercise before linking up with the crew.





Paul, Pearl, baby Lee, Dro, Nicole, Rebecca, and I rented an AirBnB a couple blocks from the Hunter Mountain ski lifts. The crew of former NREL interns has stayed remarkably close over all these years and this did act like our 10-year reunion. All these folks are such incredibly intelligent and hard working people. (Excluding the toddler, I'm the only one who didn't have a Ph.D.!)

We picked up where we left off, goofing off and talking energy policy. We met up with the wedding crew that evening for dinner and and drinks. Russell also showed up with his girlfriend - and it was great to see him happy again.

The next day we squeezed in a hike with Lee. Dro and I provided the entertainment by chucking giant rocks into the creek. Lee loved that!





Then we loaded up on the ski chair and were whisked up to top of the mountain for the ceremony. It was a beautiful day and Talia looked so happy. I hadn't been to a Jewish wedding before, so it was fun: they really do that chair dance thing! We partied the night away and had a fire back at the house where we (once again) plotted world domination.




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Sandia Hikes and Flying at the Craters 
Monday, October 10, 2016, 06:27 PM - Weekend Fun, Week activities
Posted by Administrator
Taking advantage of the nice Sept weather (i.e., dodging the recent monsoons), Jess and I hiked La Luz from the tram after work one Thursday night. We got out of the parking lot a little after 5pm, so I knew that we were going to struggle to make the last 9pm tram. There was a great sunset and then it got dark around the rock slide. I pulled out the headlamps and we pushed on but we skipped the upper shortcuts because they were so steep and Jess's calves were tired. We finished off the 9-mile, 3900 ft climb at 8:50 and grabbed the last tram back down the hill - that was a close one!






Not much later, JJ and I hiked up to the TWA crash. The Domingo Baca Trail was well marked up to the crash site, but then we kept going to the crest and it got mighty steep and then the trail vanished for the last 500 ft. Why? I have no idea, but it's probably to keep La Luz hikers from inadvertently dropping down the TWA canyon. It was really cool to finally get up to the crash site because this incident was the start of the Albuquerque Mountain Rescue Team where I volunteer.






It's also green chile season! :)


Paragliding at the Craters in AZ
Aug 26th I flew out and back to Berkeley for a work trip. I landed back in ABQ at 7:30pm and drove 4.5 hours to outside of Leupp, AZ to a paragliding site called Sheba Crater. I was dogsitting Jason's pup, Chama, so he got to accompany me on the trip. It was a warmish night and I slept in the Outback with the rear hatch open so I had more foot space. The coyotes howled through the night so it was nice to have Chama there to keep an eye out. He didn’t seem to be bothered by them.



At 6am, a storm rolled in and provided a great rainbow in the early morning. When the rain finally started, I let Chama into the car with me and I took a couple minutes to warm him up and help dry him out when I noticed he was trembling. He slept by my side until I got up around 7:30am. Five of us paraglider pilots met up that Saturday morning at Sheba. Spencer brought his smaller Border Collie/Terrier mix, Ellie, and Chama played for a while. The rain started again so we went to Flagstaff to get coffee and wait out the storm. At 11:00, we drove an hour south to another paragliding site called Apache Maid. No one flew because the launch was difficult and mid-day thermals are typically unfriendly.





We drove back to the more beginner-friendly Sheba launch site. Since the wind was from the North, we decided to move again. Chasing the wind is common for paraglider pilots. We went around to an easy launch site on the North side of Mirriam Crater, a larger volcano next to Sheba. From there, we kited and took a couple sled runs off the bench to the field below. The flights were less than 5 minutes each but it was still good to finally get into the air. At the end of the evening, toward sunset, the winds shifted East so I never got a final flight. Instead, we had a couple beers and then drove to Flagstaff to get dinner.






Afterwards, I noticed Chama had not eaten anything. He had been going through waves of serious illness (possibly heart cancer) over the last 6 months and not eating was common. I drove the ~30 min to camp near Sheba at 10:45 (35.268832, -111.405448) and Chama barely moved when I opened the door for him. I thought that was strange. His head was on my sleeping bag. I said, “someone had a big day” and I helped him out of the car. He walked around a little and I set his food out for him. As I was getting my toothbrush and tent out of the car, I also noticed Chama defecated in the car. I was worried at this point. I knew Chama was beginning to re-enter one of his low points. (A few month before he developed terrible ascites, didn't eat or move for 5 days, and came within a hair of death.) However, he was mobile now and seemed strong all day, so I figured he was ok. I was completely exhausted so I quickly setup my tent and collapsed into bed. When I got out of the tent at 7am Sunday morning, I walked over to check on Chama. The food was untouched and he was lying under the car. I said, ‘Good morning, Chama!’ but there was no response. I gave him a nudge. There was no movement. I instantly felt my heart sink and I pulled him out from under the car. He was warm and flexible but I could see there wasn’t any breathing and his tongue was unnaturally hanging out of the side of his mouth. I held him a little bit and looked into his open eyes. “I’m so sorry Chama.” He must have expired 30-60 minutes prior. I packed up camp quickly, let the guys know that I would be leaving (they were still in bed), and drove back to Albuquerque to arrange the cremation per Jason's request. Telling your friend that their dog has died is absolutely awful. If Chama suffered, he didn’t give any indications. We knew he was fighting something chronic that would eventually claim his life, so I was happy to him a great day in the wilderness of Arizona before he went. I saw a smile on his face all day long.
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Big Sandia MTB and Leigh and Justin's Wedding 
Monday, July 18, 2016, 07:51 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
Josiah and I hatched a crazy plan to mountain bike to the top of the Sandias from Nob Hill last weekend. We hit the road from my place at 2:30pm in 101 F temperatures and rode up Route 66 to Tijeras, rested a hot minute, and then rode to Lazy Lizard for an early dinner of pizza and beer. We then started the real adventure and biked up Bill Spring to Oso Corredor to Tree Spring to 10K Trail as the sun set. Those trails are very punchy and we ended up walking a good percentage of the techy spots. But once we spotted High Finance and knew we were running short on time, we pushed our bikes as fast as we could up the ski area to the top and stepped into High Finance at exactly 9pm (closing time!) They were nice enough to get us some artichoke dip and a beer while the other patrons cleared out.

At about 10pm, most people were gone and Josiah and I geared back up for the descent. We had just climbed 6000' and were tired, a smidge tipsy, it was dark, my tire pressure was low, and the trail was impossible to ride in the scree field - but I tried my darndest anyway. Needless to say I eventually got sucked into one of the rock traps, OTB'ed, and broke my bike light attachment. I used a little duct tape to get it back on there, but it failed completely soon after that. My two headlamps were both too weak to ride with, but Josiah had a powerful one so he gave me his light. We pieced our way out of the rock piles and eventually the trail became rideable again for the bottom 4 miles. We hit pavement sometime after midnight. We finished the cruise back to Nob Hill. It was a slog and I was beat up again! 6000' climbing over 55 miles in 10.5 hours!


Bigger

Last weekend, I went up to Leigh and Justin's Wedding in Red Feather Lakes. Along the way, I spent a day in Fort Collins with Spencer for his birthday. First we did this wonderfully awful Horsetooth ride up to the towers. The climb was 1500 ft in 3 miles and included 3 pure interval segments at 20+% grade. Now I know how Spencer got so tough when he lived up there. Then Spencer and I did a proper tour de Fort Collins and visited Road 34, CSU, New Belgium, Odells, and Equinox. Then it was up to the wedding site at Leigh's parents' place on Dowdy Lake.



A good chunk of the wedding attendees camped out and were mountain rescue folks, so there was no shortage of fun to be had. Saturday and Sunday mornings I mountain biked around in the forest around their house. Tobi and I climbed up Mt. Margaret one morning, L&J and crew showed me a great hidden lake, and there was a massive lake party after the ceremony with kayaks and SUPs - I managed to lose the kayaking/beer drinking race because I couldn't easily get to Ang and the beer took a brief swim when I asked her to put it on my paddle: instant disqualification :( The wedding itself was simple and wonderful. Lance presided over the whole thing and got in a few great laughs as usual, and it was the perfect mountain location for my favorite mountain people.






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Arkansas Rafting - Browns Canyon, Royal Gorge, and Upper Bighorn 
Tuesday, July 12, 2016, 09:04 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
Jeanne, Andy, and I drove up on Friday to Salida for a weekend of rafting and kayaking on the Arkansas for our 4th of July. We got very lucky to snag a great camp spot overlooking Silver Creek right at 38.405045, -106.126021. Nearly every spot was taken by the time we got up there, but the rain must have scared someone off because we discovered a dry patch in the shape of a tent footprint there.

Saturday we dropped off a car in town and headed up to Ruby Mt to run Browns Canyon. It was a cold morning and since we were expecting rain in the afternoon, we went up to Buena Vista so Andy could buy a wetsuit. It definitely paid off. We ran the class 3-4 rapids from Ruby Mountain to Salida East in Daniel's 16' boat with 8 paddlers while Aaron and Ren rowed their 12 footer. It was a long day on the river, but lots of fun. Daniel guided on the Arkansas for 5 years so he could point out all sites, give us some history of the place, and tell tall tails of guiding (e.g., full moon trips).

Aaron and Ren flipped in Big Drop, when they hit the big drop. We dried off in the last of the sun before the rain hit. My dry top and wetsuit were well suited for the weather. Others were less comfortable. Below Stone Bridge it got more mellow and I took over as skipper for about an hour. At first I wasn't great giving the rowing commands, but did get better by the end - I only hit about 5 rocks! To top off the day Aaron flipped the boat in the play hole 10 feet from the takeout and Daniel had to throw the rescue line and pull them into shore.








We grabbed dinner and a drink at Elevation Brewing before heading back up the hill to camp. That evening Aaron and Ren also came up to our spot with their Westfalia. It was great to have the dry camper since it was raining most of the evening. They pulled out the BB guns and we took turns shooting beer cans out of the tree. Could there be anything more America for the 4th?




It took some debate but we finally decided to load into Daniel's boat and run the the Royal Gorge (Class 4-5) to Centennial Park. We ran shuttle and headed into the Gorge around noon at a respectable 2000 cfs. Daniel had guided this stretch too but it was still exciting. For one, I shifted into the front spot and got hit with my fair share of waves: there were major wave trains on all the Class 4 spots and we got knocked around pretty well in the narrows. Daniel said he felt like Sunshine Falls and Wall Slammer could be considered Class 5 at this level. It was awesome - just like I remembered it from my CO summers in 2006 and 2008. That night everyone came up to the camp and we had a great BBQ party.




Unfortunately, Crystal got a flat on the drive back Sunday and Cami found a flat Monday morning. We got the spare on easy enough, but what are the odds of two flats in 12 hours!? Needless to say, they were interested in getting new tires before making the long drive back to ABQ, so Jeanne, Andy, and I were left to float the Upper Bighorn Sheep Canyon on inflatable kayaks alone for our 4th of July. It was sad the whole gang couldn't join, but we made the most of our 10-mile fun float to Rincon.





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Crested Butte Bike Week 
Tuesday, June 28, 2016, 07:34 PM - Trips, Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
Spencer and I met Josiah and Briana mid-afternoon at the North Bank Campground to shuttle up to Doctor Park for a MTB ride. The weather didn't look too bad as we left and car at 3pm - just a few spotty clouds. ~1200' of climbing later we found ourself at the edge of a storm. There was a distant rumbling of thunder that seemed to be working our direction, so we didn't waste time and pushed up the ridge. It got worse, so we did a check to be sure everyone was still in for the ride. We were essentially at the summit of the climb so it seemed 50/50 for which way we headed down. We continued, but things worsened quickly. The cloud-to-cloud lightning changed directions and started striking near us. I started yelling out the distances to Spencer: "0.8 miles away," wait 10 seconds, "0.4 miles away," wait 3 seconds, "0.1 miles away," flash-bang. "Shit!!" Spencer stopped before the descent at the edge of the meadow. I made a hasty decision and decided the group should make a run for lower ground and screamed, "GO GO GO!!" And Spencer took off at spence-speed through the single track. It started to rain and hail on us and we were flying 25+ mph through a lightning storm. Crash-bang! It was right on top of us!! I have near ridden a bike with such extreme focus. A crash now could mean death! The trail got technical fast as we exited the meadow into the forest and I eventually lost Spencer. Around a couple tight switchbacks I felt comfortable stopping and waiting for Briana and Josiah to re-emerge while I finally donned my rain jacket. After 3 minutes I started to worry. After 5 the storm had lightened up a bit and I started re-climbing the trail to see what happened: mechanical, injury, lightning strike? Luckily a couple minutes later, they showed up and said that they had taken cover before entering the meadow, which Briana said that the San Juan Hut System Biker's Bible recommends. I said that my preference was to get off the ridge at all costs because splash currents exist if the lightning hits nearby trees - and on the ridge that was likely. At any rate, we were happy to be safe and enjoyed riding the mud all the way down Doctor Park through rough rock, smooth sand, and then techy sedimentary layers. Great ride except for the near-death experience. Briana and I huddled in the restroom in the cold rain while Spence and Josiah ran shuttle. We were cold but safe.




The house we VRBO'd was great: right on the main drag with easy access to everything in town. Karl, Rose, Tony, and Laura joined the crew later that evening. The next day we did a nice lap up Tony's (Upper Loop) to the ski area, Snodgrass, Lupine, and back on Slate River Rd because it looked like rain. By the time we were back at the house, the weather looked much better so I went out on my own to do lower loop trail up and around Budd Trail. A great day out with 28 miles with 2500' of climbing.

Back at the house, we were positioned right in front of the chainless race finish. Did I say that this house was perfectly located! Plenty of interesting characters, clothing choices, and "bike" mechanisms came ripping down the trail. The whole town came out to see these characters:

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That night, we stayed up late playing Rock Band, billiards, shuffleboard, and darts while Mel, Bonnie, and Dave made the Friday night drive up.



Crested Butte is wonderfully bike friendly with racks everywhere and no one bothers to lock any of them up. It's great to take a cruise to the grocery store or to the bar and not worry about your bicycle.



In the morning, half the crew headed to the ski area to run downhill laps, but I decided to go with Rose and Karl to get some climbing and reduce my chances of another crash. Hit the ski area, climbed Westside to the top of the ski area, dropped Luge to some combination of other trails, Snod, Lupine, on to the awesome Gunsight Connector descent through tight aspens, and lower loop back to the house. After a shower and stretch, we grabbed a pizza dinner and danced the night away to Trout Steak Revival at the Crested Butte Music Festival. Once back, Spencer and I jumped in on the Bridges of the Butte 24-hour bike tour. We did a couple laps and talked Tony into doing one with us, and then talk Mel into riding with us for our last lap on the seat of Spencer's cruiser. The last lap includes a couple spontaneous bridge parties too. What a wild night!




On the way out of town, we shuttled another Doctor Park ride, but this time it was sunny and wonderful! Spencer, Josiah, Briana, and I jumped in the icy Taylor River to clean up for our nice dinner at Garlic Mike's. And then it was the long haul back to the Burque.






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AMRC MTB mission, skydiving, and paragliding practice 
Monday, June 20, 2016, 10:12 PM - Weekend Fun
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The team was called out for an injured mountain biker on King of the Mountain. I tossed my MTB in the back of the car thinking I could ride it in reverse quickly to find him, if needed, but by the time we hit incident base, the firefighters had already spotted the patient and the helicopter was directing AMRC toward him. Zak and Justin were first on scene and then Frank, Craig, and I arrived to provide litter support. I walked up and instantly recognized the injured guy, Misha! I was just at a party with him a couple weeks ago and I've seen him biking from time to time. He had endo'd the 2nd drop on KOM and broken his pelvis. Luckily, we had a nice easy shot straight down the ski hill to the parking lot. I think the whole thing wrapped up in about an hour - nearly record time! We're all wishing you a quick recovery, Misha!



Saturday, Melanie and I drove down to Belen Municipal Airport to skydive. Kendrick had been begging me to go for close to a year, so I had to make due on my promise and hurl my body out of a perfectly good plane. I opted for a tandem, over the first jump course because that meant, "Less thinking, more falling." My colleague Robert and his girlfriend were also wanting to go, so they joined us at the dropzone. We signed the 200-page waiver and proceeded to wait a good while, because only two tandems could go at a time in the tiny 1950's era cessna. I jokingly said that I was glad we didn't have to land in that POS.

It was about 1pm, before Mel and I got our turn. I had freaked out a little on the drive down, but felt calm waiting in the hangar, going through the short instructional class, and boarding the plane. There was a giant dust devil as we walked out the tarmac, which gave everyone a little pause, but the pilot and instructors decided we were good to go. It was a 100 degree day, so we were happy to climb to 10,500 ft AGL (above ground level). At 9,500 ft we spun around and got hooked to the instructors. I was still feeling pretty good. We opened the door and I was still feeling good. Mel got ready and vanished out of the plane and I was good. I got to the door, got me feet on the step, and actually felt great to finally be doing this. The earth was so far away, how could I possibly hit it? All my paragliding's probably got me slightly anesthetized to heights. I leaned my head back and two slow rocks later we pitched out of the door! We immediately inverted and rolled back around. The instructor pulled the drogue chute to keep us at about 120 mph (not 200 without the chute), and I felt us reach terminal velocity. It was awesome! I held my arms out and legs up and it seemed like the ground wasn't moving toward us at all. I checked my altimeter and we were already at 6000' AGL. Holy shit we were falling fast. At 5000', I got the signal and I reached down to pull the ripcord. The chute opened and kicked us back hard. I gave a thumbs up to the camera and took the riser controls. Brian knew that I was a paraglider pilot so he let me fly. The canopy was super stable so I pulled hard left and right to put us in a solid dive, it was so much fun. 5 minutes later, we lined up the dirt landing zone and plopped down. Success!










Sunday, I drove out with Justin to paraglide in Tome. I've grown rusty but got a little kiting experience in the LZ. I got one nice sled ride from 1850 AGL on tow before things got bumpy. Still having trouble getting into the harness, which is a major annoyance, but certainly no safety risk. Now it's just time to finish up this P2 stuff.


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Taos Closing Weekend 4-1-2016 
Friday, April 1, 2016, 06:26 PM - Weekend Fun
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I've been super behind on updating the blog, but I'm going to try to catch up now...

Per the annual ritual, we got the Bull of the Woods Yurt for Taos' closing weekend. Briana, Josiah, Lisa, Mike, Ximena, Jeff, Sheilah, and myself skinned and snowshoed to the yurt Friday evening and met Spencer at the yurt. He came through with his threats to bring a pony keg of La Cumbre Elevated up to the yurt(!) but said that the climb nearly killed him. We proceeded to run through all the standard games: jenga, twister, heads up, etc. until about 3am.

Saturday, a smaller crew did a backcountry lap behind the yurt but the snow was so sticky that we didn't bother going to gold hill or doing a 2nd lap. Still a fun little shot down that hill on about 70 cm of rock-solid facets. We were at least a little productive and ran some beacon search drills around the yurt in the afternoon for kicks. Dave, Bonnie, and Cat joined the party on Saturday night.

Sunday morning, unfortunately, the snow had melted significantly so we had to walk much of the descent. In bounds, there was still plenty and we did our final rounds to Kachina, Highline, West Basin, Bav, and points in between. The pond skim moved to the backside and was fairly lame, so we made tracks and partied like it was closing day. A moderate protest of locals built up at the end of the day because they closed Highline early (3:45!) - but eventually a couple patrollers came up to give us make our final Juarez run. (Thanks Dave Hahn!) Fantastically fun weekend to end the season!









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Taos Scavenger Hunt, Work Travel, and Spring Paragliding 
Sunday, March 20, 2016, 01:41 PM - Work, Trips, Weekend Fun
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I talked Jason into letting me borrow his Aliner camper indefinitely but after getting ahold of it, there was so much rat damage it seemed a little overwhelming. I spent 8 hours on Thursday and Friday cleaning out the rat poop and mopping up the rat urine stains. I washed the curtains, oiled the jacks and hitch, bought a new battery and wired it up with a switch on the hydrogen gas capturing box, and then spent 3 trips to autozone to get the proper 7 blade to 4 pin trainer adapter to have brakes and turn signals with the outback. It was a lot of effort, but in the end, the smell was tolerable and I rolled out of the driveway before it was completely dark. Driving that 2000 lb box up the mountains was a stressful experience, but the 2.5 L outback managed well and it held 70 mph up La Bajada hill at 4200 rpm. In TSV, Jason helped me park the Aliner in the middle lot and we turned in after getting the heater working and messing with the battery charger for an hour.




The following morning Jason and I formed "Team Happy Dog Lips" and competed in the New Belgium Scavenger hunt. We spent a couple runs at the beginning trying to find a paddle on a run with mythological connections (Castor, Pollux?) and a German gentle giant who helped the poor (St. B?). Well, it turned out to be on Rubezahl (!), so we wasted a good hour doing some extreme scavenging. Then we took one on Reforma to catch the chicken, and one on Trescow with Victor, before coming to our senses and skiing to the Bav. Luckily everyone was already there! With the help of Briana, Josiah, Spencer, Kat, and others, we didn't found the tutus, Yeti, Park Ranger, and a bunch of other wild things around the mountain. Yay for crowdsourcing! Toward the end of the day, Josiah got a crew together to ski a topless (well, shirtless for the ladies) run down Al's and we got a loads of shout outs from everyone on the lift. Gotta say that was one of the funniest runs of the year ;) Then it was on to the party at the New Belgium tents, RVs, Tim's, St. B, and points in between.





That night, Taos got 3" of snow, but the wind loaded up some places to 6-8". No one else got up early but I nabbed fresh tracks on Al's, Inferno, Walkeries (3 times in a row), and Wild West before anyone joined me. Some spots were nice and fluffy, but others were windswept and crunchy; the variable conditions were actually quite challenging for the skinnier Nordica Top Fuels and I wrecked a couple times. Sadly I didn't have anyone there for make fun of me.

Monday I flew to San Francisco for the SunSpec meeting. It was good to see all my colleagues, and continue the good work that I'm doing with their trade alliance. I met Timothy and his wife for dinner at Mikkeller's and sampled some of the SF beers. IPAs were good, but I'm still struggling to find the appeal of sours. From there, I flew to DC for a microgrid workshop. Abe's trying to create a massive testing lab consortium and I seem to be getting roped in as one of the leaders. Fortunately, I found time to visit Pearl and Paul and their son, Lee, on Thursday night. As some of my favorite people from my NREL/Boulder formative years, it's so good to reconnect and see how life has taken people in different directions. I got to read Lee's bedtime story. It's nice to have friends across the country.






Returning from DC late on Friday night, I picked up some sort of cold-like illness. I was achy, had chills, no appetite, a headache, and generally just wanted to sleep the rest of the weekend. I had hot and cold episodes all night but recovered fairly well on Saturday while I ran errands and worked through my list of household chores. Saturday morning, I still wasn't 100%, but I got out to Rio Puerco to take the first paragliding flight of the day the Chuck, Jim, Rich, Max, Spencer, and 3 tandem fliers. I only got 1500 AGL, but the air was smooth in the early morning, so I didn't complain much.


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AMRC MRA Recert - March 2016 
Sunday, March 6, 2016, 09:43 PM - Weekend Fun, AMRC
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Mountain rescue teams in the MRA (Mountain Rescue Association) are recertified every 5 years by peers in their region - the rocky mountain region in our case. This last weekend I helped the Albuquerque Mountain Rescue Council (AMRC) pass the recertification with unanimous positive votes for all 5 scenarios. I led Search Team 3 in the first scenario (search) to look in the hideout climbing canyon for a 67 year old who activated his SPOT device (simulated). The low angle followed and Justin and I led a final team to the base of the technical for a wheel carryout but just as we got involved, the scenario was called. On the high angle, I led Team 3 into the field and brought the litter and other technical gear to the top of a cliff by the Tram base. I assembled the litter, helped with the main front-pretension system, and then ran the main for the lower. At the end of day one, we gathered at the cache for a nice BBQ dinner and drinks. It was great to meet all of our MRA colleagues and get some excellent critiques - many of which I personally took to heart.





On the next day, I messed up from the start and forgot my skins at home so I had to make a run back home before the scenario. I was lucky to rejoin the team at the old triangle grocery and be assigned to the strike team. Kerry put me on the beacon search with Justin and Mike and we cleared the field in record time. I took the right flank and easily cleared the field - Justin stole my beacon at 2.4 meters saying it was his :). I ran the flank, found clues, and ultimately ended up on the probe line that hit the final patient. On the winter technical, I led the technical team to the top of the recert hill, built a "brilliant" bollard, and assembled the raise system with Mike. Everything went smoothly and we passed unanimously.




On a personal note, in the last 5 years on the team I have only seen it grow stronger, faster, fitter, smarter, and more capable. I owe so much to my teammates for their mentorship, trust, and confidence. This team has been my family in Albuquerque. Through their support, I have been fortunate to lend my skills to dozens of people in need to save lives, limbs, digits, and offered closure for grieving families. I feel honored to be on the team and to be there for the New Mexico outdoor community.
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AMRC Firetower training, NREL trip, and 3-resort ski weekend 
Thursday, February 25, 2016, 02:02 PM - Weekend Fun
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Justin arranged a fun training at the AFD Firetower for the team and we ran a couple iterations of high angle raises and lowers. I ran a team that raised Mike up the tower and then we traded places and I rode the dummy back to the ground in a pickoff orientation.





I flew into Denver to give a talk at the NREL Reliability Workshop. Jack and I planned to get some dinner alone that evening, but when we met up in the lobby, I saw Bill, Tim, Greg, and all my old PV reliability friends so we joined their larger crew. After dinner Bill and I got a beer and he explained all the NEC battles. PV Code changes are coming fast and furious, but I don't always agree with the direction they go.

On Friday, Jack, Susan, Scott, and I skied at A-basin. No new snow but conditions weren't terrible. Scott is doing well in Denver and still working on modeling hypersonic fluid dynamics. He filled me in on the CU aerospace crew statuses for Laura, Carl, Noah, Maciej, and others. Later in the afternoon, I taught Jack how to ski bumps on Pali while Scott (on skis) and Susan kept to the beginner runs. Then it was back to DEN for the last flight to ABQ at 10:00pm.



The next morning, I geared up for the Santa Fe ski race - my only GS corporate cup race of the year! I like the SF race because it's steep and plays to my strength of using fearlessness over technical skiing prowess. Plus the higher speeds help me bend those ultrastiff World Cup skis. I didn't do too shabby (18th out of ~50 and posted the fastest time for the Sandia racers). That night I stayed in Josiah's RV in the TSV with Spencer, Kat, and Dirk, the dog. We played some fierce foosball at the St. B and I got my butt kicked at Jenga back at the RV. Sunday, I was on the first chair and tucked the backside. Scary as always to hit 60+ mph but it sure does wake you up. I ran the NASTAR race course all morning but couldn't get better than a bronze. The pacesetter definitely had a great day. Spencer, Kat, and I had a relaxing afternoon playing on the ridge and Kachina.





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AMRC Winter Training 
Friday, January 8, 2016, 06:07 PM - Weekend Fun, AMRC
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Kerry, Brendan, Lance, Zak, Andreas, Paul, and I went up early to do some backcountry Lobo Peak. Kerry, Brendan, and I peeled off from the rest of the gang and played in the fresh snow all the way down Powerline.





On Saturday, the full crew rolled out of Bill's house to go run beacon searches and build winter anchors up by Lobo Peak. Then on Sunday we ran a full avalanche scenario on the south side of Wolf Creek Pass. I was part of the beacon search and got fairly lucky with some targeted probing in a tree well. There was a body there! Sneaky Bill :)




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Ringing in 2016 in Taos and Silverton 
Sunday, January 3, 2016, 06:40 PM - Trips, Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
After Christmas in MO and IL, I headed back to the snow and partied with Jason, Victor, and Jeff by skiing the Taos NYE torchlight. There was a great turnout in the ski valley and the snow was wonderfully soft. Afterward Jason and I hiked up to Goldmine and illegally dropped the Kandahar Chutes. It was fun until the choke with all the small trees. I stayed the night in Ojo Caliente with Spencer, Bonnie, Dave, Sammy, and Laura and jammed in the new year with drums, guitars, and a ukulele. We skied Taos the following day and I got a few ridge hikes in - the snow has been really good this year.






Spencer and I went to drove up to Silverton to use one of our free Sundays and entered the Clauson Classic. There were points awarded for silly things and for serious things (like hauling logs to the billboard. Spencer and I started off strong and topped off at the billboard well in the first 10 people. The skiing was terrible - very chattery and exhausting when we were trying to go fast. We skied the chute under Pope Face and took the road back around. And did it all over again only this time slower. And then we did it again, only this time slower again. And I was really beat up by this point. The hour long hikes from the top of the chair at 12,300’ to the Billboard summit at ~13,200' were killer in ski boots. Spencer and I then did one more hike, this time with a massive log in my backpack (bonus points) up to the ramp entrance. I was dead. Spencer and I took our time skiing the frontside through an avalanche path and stopped off in Concussion Woods for a couple beers in celebration of our feats of strength. Then we went to the after party and tallied our scores. I think it was close to the 50% mark, Spencer hauled a few more logs than I did and weaseled out some bonus gnar points from the judges for wearing pink boots, hand carrying his board (like a fool), telling cancer stories, and carrying extra logs so he might have broken into the top 10 (of about 80). Didn't matter much though as the winner did 7 or 8 billboard hikes (he ran). Actually, the winner is fittingly on the US national skimo team.




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Lost Snowboarder in Santa Fe and Silverton Ice/Snow 
Monday, December 21, 2015, 08:21 PM - Weekend Fun
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Thursday night at 9:00, Spencer and I were turning ski equipment in the garage when the text comes in: missing snowboarder in Santa Fe. I decided to head up to see if I could lend a hand along with Verena and Zak. We got to the ski area at about 11:30 and were briefed in the ski patrol room that Ryan (a former Taos Extreme Freeride Champion) had dropped into the Nambe Chutes at about 3:30pm and his friend had not seen him since. He didn't know the Santa Fe resort and may have triggered an avalanche with all the new snow. No one knew...

By the time we got all our gear together and clicked into our skis, it was 12:30am and somewhere between 0 and 10 F (with a subzero wind chill). We skinned up the Winsor Trail and worked our way toward Nambe Lakes. At the fork toward the lake, the trail was no longer tracked out and I began the task of breaking trail in waist-deep powder up the Rio Nambe. We called every 10th of a mile or so, but there was no answer in the crisp, moonless night. Only deep snowy forest. I had a few minor navigational mistakes but continued up toward the lake with the team in tow. The going was extremely slow and difficult. I was working hard to make kick turns and wind through the forest. Finally, at one rest break, I gave a yell and heard something back. It seemed to come from above me, so I assumed it was Team 2 up on Raven's Ridge. We radioed to the Incident Commander to ask that Team 2 stop shouting so we could be sure it was them. Team 2 responded that they had not yelled in the last 5 minutes. Holy Shit - we've got him! He's alive! And he's awake! I started working my way up to Ryan, zigzagging up the mountain to his spot near the creek. 10 minutes later, I reached him by exchanging yells. I can say with certainty that he was very stoked to see us! After talking with him about his injuries, cold level, and general welfare. We cracked a few jokes and I suggested that he crawl back in his pine bow shelter for a photo, which he did politely while joking about how cozy it was. I pulled out my big puffy, fat mittens, hot tea, and a granola bar for him; packed up his frozen-solid gloves and coat, attached his snowboard to my pack; then I strapped my spare snowshoes on him and started the 3 mile trek out. It was 4:00am now. We moved slowly, and as we made the 800 ft ascent back up to 10,800 ft pass, Ryan's condition deteriorated. So did ours. Ryan was getting progressively more nauseous and stopping regularly to vomit. We diagnosed him with acute mountain sickness since he had just flown in from the Bay Area two days before, but it was unnerving. Zak had been awake for 26 hours straight at this point, and Verena and I were approaching the 24 hour mark. Finally, we reached the pass just as day was breaking. We navigated the final mile of 600' descent to the parking lot. I ripped my skins and struggled to maintain my balance with a massive snowboard on my back. Everyone else slogged it out to keep a close eye on Ryan. We brought him up the ski patrol room and said our goodbyes to everyone. We definitely saved a few fingers and toes that night, if not someone's life entirely. I finally got home and to bed at 9:30am having been up for 27 hours.




I slept for 4.5 hours and then repacked for a trip to Silverton. Spencer, Briana, and I stayed the night in the hostel and then met Sharon for an ice climb of 2nd Gulley. I led the first pitch, but it was 1 degree F so the ice was bulletproof and difficult to get the picks and crampons in. I made it work, but was exhausted at the top of the pitch. I then belayed Spencer up and then simultaneously belayed the girls up to the 1st anchor. Spencer led the 2nd pitch but since I was using 2 singles, one of them was 50m, and we couldn't stretch it out to the top of the next section. As a result, we got to the walk out after 5 pitches instead of 4, but it all worked out. We skipped that last pitch at the top for another time since it was starting to get dark, but it was a fun day out with fun people. Then the 4 of us grabbed some pizza and ended up at the Venture Snowboards party at Grumpy's (for the 2nd year in a row!)








Sunday, Spenc, Briana, and I skied Silverton. They had gotten 7" overnight, but we got caught in some variable depth garbage on our first run in Dolores/RMYP. The 2nd run, called Mandatory Air, was much better with the initial drop containing hero powder all the way down to the choke. We caught the Waterfall Ramp back around and then found the pow stash of the day in Eagle's Nest/Gene Simmons. There was buried treasure: some rocks/trees/etc but there was a good 15 turns of pure bliss in 35 degree waist-deep snow. We hit it twice and finished our day with Tiger 2. No injuries for the Silverton opening - that's a good thing, knowing my record at that resort.


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