Silverton with Briana 
Saturday, December 20, 2014, 09:54 PM - Weekend Fun
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Briana and I went up to Silverton for the first unguided weekend on our passes. There had not been much snow on the year, but the prospect of getting fresh snow was enough for us to be stoked. I stayed in the Blair Street Hostel while Briana toughed it out in her van. We started by skiing Cabin and I straight away skied off a couple foot avalanche crown that I couldn't see in the low light. That got my attention, but I still managed to find about as much powder as I did rocks and trees for the first day - lost lots of base, skis, and pride that day. We did Rope Dee Dope #4 for our 2nd run, which required a 3+ ft cornice drop to enter the 40 degree ice chute. I think I did two turns all the way down before exiting to a great powder bowl which made the hike worth it. At lunch we met up with Justin and Leigh and skied a couple runs in the Dolores trees (great!). The final run down Sunset to the Maze ended poorly when I crashed and jabbed my ski pole tip into my thigh. I knew this was a distinct possibility: I was bleeding and bruised at the end of my first Silverton day.

On Sunday, Bri and I linked up with Leigh, Justin, and Marc for a backcountry trip. We went up Country Road 52 to what I think is called King Solomon. It a a tough slog with a lot of downed trees, and then snowpack in the bowl was too unstable and we had to ski low angle trees back out to the road :(






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Backcountry Ski Climbing/Skiing - Stairway to Heaven 
Sunday, December 14, 2014, 09:41 PM - Weekend Fun
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Kaela and I join a big group of AMRC folks for a weekend of fun up in Ouray. Zak, Andy, Lance, Frank, Leigh, and Justin climbed on Saturday in a couple groups. Our group attempted Stairway to Heaven (Stairway to Eleven) in Silverton. At WI4, I wasn't super excited to lead, but sucked it up and hyperventilated through the first couple pitches. We didn't end up going past that due to time, but as Kaela's first ice climbing outing she did great(!), even if she freaked out a little when her crampon fell off half way up the first pitch.









Sunday, we did a fun backcountry line called Sam's Trees close to Silverton. Kaela tried out splitboarding for the first time and did just fine on the climb. Going down the big board and thick powder got the better of her, but she ended the day with a big smile and I couldn't have been more proud :)






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Red River Ski Race Camp 
Friday, December 5, 2014, 09:31 PM - Weekend Fun
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The tradition of Jason and I heading up to Red River to train gates with the UNM ski team continues! We did the Friday and Saturday training with the GS and Slalom team - a couple of whom (Ponda and Mark) are also on my Lovelace soccer team. We had the Sandia dinner on Friday with Evan, Saturday banquet, and shared in the merriment of watching the U.S. women sweep the World Cup downhill ski race in Lake Louise, Alberta, Saturday, Dec. 6.


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Moab Canyons with Kaela 
Friday, November 7, 2014, 08:37 PM - Weekend Fun
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Kaela and I drove up to Moab and met a large crew including Mike and Allison, Josiah and Leah, UT folks like Sarah, and camped on the Colorado River at the Porcupine Rim Trail intersection. Our first evening, we did a quick mountain bike loop out to Gemini Bridges via Bull Run/Magnificent Seven.



After a good Friday pre-party, Kaela and I struck out to find some canyoneering adventures. We did Not Tierdrop and ate lunch up by Balanced Rock. We gave up on doing another in Arches in hopes of ticking off Medieval Canyon with M&A, but their Marathon effort ran late. Instead, we mountain biked up Porcupine a couple miles and descended into to sunset. The riding was very challenging (plenty of walking) but I was surprised at how much was ride-able. I was also very impressed with Kaela for sticking out this ride because it was mostly a sufferfest for her.





The following day, Mike, Allison, Kaela, and myself went all the way out to Lost and Found Canyon. We did the Lost Spring Exit variation by shuttling a car around and it took the full day. (We'll have to head back to this area to do MMI canyon as well next year.) The canyon was SUPER fun. The first rappel was a neat drop through an arch formation, then the walls shrunk to a spectacular slot canyon. The next rap was 76 ft and a bit awkward, so Allison required a little coaching to get her through the notch. The only downside of this route was a nasty rap off a wedged log that got Allison stuck, caused Kaela to take a little swing to the ground, and banged up my shin on the transition. If it wasn't for this spot the canyon would have received 5/5 stars from me. Lastly, a massive 132 ft rappel from an Indiana Jones-style ledge took us to the canyon floor where we made the long walk out. Then we drove back to Mike's parent's place in Durango via a 4WD road to the CO River.







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Moab - Oct 2014 
Monday, October 27, 2014, 08:28 PM - Weekend Fun
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I caught a ride up to Moab on Friday with Tim and Sharon. We headed directly to the slickrock trail where I gave Tim a few pointers on the practice loop. Then I struck out into the trail proper just before sunset and had a drink at sunset. Challenging riding as always but I was feeling strong and I only supermanned once into a sandpit.



That evening the crew rolled into a great campspot: group site C at big bend. We started on the Genepy by the fire and we watched the milky way come out.



Leaving Leigh's parents back in camp, Justin, Leigh, Arthur, Ian, Tim, Sharon, Eliza, Mark, and I went out to Rock of Ages Canyon. We hiked up into a cool area on the south side of the CO and then rappelled 170' down by Pool Arch. Wading through the pools down to a couple more rappels, everyone was in high spirits. It's always great to have Justin around to make sure everyone's being safe. Canyoneering is really fun.




The following day people split up to do their own thing, but I talked Tim and Sharon to drop me off at the top of Porcupine. I mountain biked the 14.4 miles quick and confident, but it was the most challenging riding I've ever done. The "jackhammer" riding is super challenging and rattled my wrists to death. The payoff was a beautiful singletrack trail around the south rim of the CO river (crazy exposure!) back down to the road. I met an ER doc who refused help but said that he thinks he broke both of his wrists endo'ing on the final stretch. He was in rough shape but refused any help - gotta love MTBer bravado.








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30th Birthday 
Saturday, October 11, 2014, 10:42 PM - Weekend Fun
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My parents and brother came to ABQ for my 30th birthday. We took a bike ride out to see the balloon fiesta and did some other small trips around town. I was spending a lot of time trying to figure out all the "clues" - my Mom asked a bunch of my friends to send me riddles and puzzles to unlock a code. Here's the full synopses.







My party was reasonably well attended and I got to see a few friends I hadn't seen in years. There was a huge cake, a bonfire, dancing, and New Mexican food. The beer came via tandem bicycle, which made it taste that much better!






I also tallied up my 30-before-30 list that I put together when I turned 29:
1. Ski Mt. Rainier. Half credit since the intent was to ski off the summit. Mike and I turned back at Ingraham Flats when the avalanche danger seemed too high.
2. Scuba dive a tropical reef. Full credit for doing a great drift dive in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
3. Eat an amazing steak in Argentina. Full credit for the great ribeye in Mendoza.
4. Buy fat skis, shred pow, and huck a 10+ footer. Full credit. Got Volkl Katanas, played in powder, and dropped the Chair 4 cliff on a hardpack day.
5. Bike 3,000 miles with 50,000 ft of elevation gain. Half credit for logging 2648.3 mi and 116,531 ft on Strava. Not bad for an average of 50.9 mi/week!
6. Climb South Maroon Peak via the Bell Cord. No credit.
7. Mountain bike 20 miles at night. Full credit with Josiah, Briana, Mike, Allison, and Sam out at White Mesa.
8. Climb a high alpine route to a major summit (e.g., Ellingwood Ledges). No credit.
9. Take a train from Oslo to the Norwegian fjords. No credit.
10. Become a technician on Albuquerque Mountain Rescue. No credit.
11. Spend a week at burning man. No credit. Did get the option to buy tickets, but was double booked with a work trip. Next year!
12. Go hot air ballooning. Full credit for a great flight with Alejandro.
13. Ski every named run at Taos. No credit. This is extremely difficult! Still missing about 10 from the ticklist.
14. Mountaineer in the southern hemisphere. Half credit for the journey up Cerro Martin near Las Leñas. Not extreme enough for full credit.
15. Watch a U.S. soccer game at the world cup in Brazil. Full credit for the U.S. v Portugal game.
16. Eat curry in India without getting sick. Full credit for a week of spices in Bangalore.
17. Gamble in Vegas. Half credit for using a slot machine in the airport. Certainly not the full experience.
18. Heli-ski in South America. No heli but half credit for skiing Las Leñas.
19. Raft the Taos Box. Full credit. Chilly run with Jeff and Mike.
20. Attend an epic music festival (Tomorrowland?). No credit.
21. Ski Vallee Blanche from Aiguille du Midi in Chamonix. No credit – pushed to 2015.
22. Brew a tasty ale while drinking a tasty beer. Full credit. Thanks Kenny and Jack.
23. Canyoneer in Utah with a 100+ ft rappel. Full credit for a great Moab trip with Leigh, Justin, Mike, Tom, Mark, Sam, and Leana.
24. Create a video of time lapse photography. No credit. How did this not happen?
25. Party with a shot luge. Full credit.
26. Climb a multi-pitch ice or mixed route. No credit. Only top rope work in the ice park.
27. Get a ski race suit and take home NASTAR gold. Half credit. Borrowed a race suit but after 3 days in the race course I was still 0.13 seconds away from the gold. 0.13 seconds!
28. Chase animals around the African savanna. No credit.
29. Backpack in the Canadian Rockies, e.g., Banff. No credit.
30. Get a couple more house plants. Full cred.
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AMRC Training on the Shield 
Friday, September 5, 2014, 10:10 PM - Weekend Fun
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I wanted to create a fun and difficult training for the AMRC team, so I hatched a scenario involving the biggest cliff I could find: the Shield.

The Scenario: Two moderately experienced climbers (Justin and Jay) were planning on completing a 2-day ascent of Purple Haze. They had some difficulty finding and staying on the route, so the climbers could be located anywhere between Procrastination and Rainbow Dancer. On one of the last 3 pitches, Jay was belaying Justin up to their planned portaledge spot when his wig got caught in the grigri. While trying to free it, Justin continued seconding the route, but slack built. Justin yelled, "take!" but all this did was to startle a misplaced gray squirrel which jumped on Justin's face, causing him to fall 10 feet and injure his ankle. Jay managed (over the course of hours) to haul Justin and their gear up to the belay, set up the portaledge, and crack a couple beers in defeat. Admitting there was no way to finish the route without assistance, the two climbers eventually called their closest friend, Leeroy Jenkins, for swift, unsupported action. Unfortunately, Leeroy was in Canada at the time, jogging a traverse of the Vallée des Dix Pics, so by the time Leeroy could call his friends on AMRC, day was already breaking on the Shield...



Team Response We had excellent attendance. 26 people came out to the training, but it wasn't easy to execute. Due to Forest Service regulations, no more than 10 people can be gathered in the wilderness zone because this may hinder the wilderness experience of others. Therefore, we broke into 3 teams:

1. Recon Team. A hasty team (Cassy and Brad) which provided reconnaissance of the climbing party from below the Shield. They spotted the climbers from the La Luz parking lot and radio'ed the location of the subjects and other key pieces of information to the High Angle Team.

2. High Angle Team. The high angle rescue team made their way to the top of the Shield from the crest parking lot. Communication with the Recon Team helped indicate where to drop the first rescuers. Operations at the top with be run by our Rock Technician, Zak.

3. Low Angle Team. A small team was needed to get Justin up the rock steps of North Sandia Peak, so a few rescuers stayed back and set up a low angle raise for the injured patient.

Safety The training was in an extremely hazardous area and ultimately led to its cancellation. As the high angle team came off the top, loose scree was dropped off the edge - no real way to avoid this - so Justin and I traversed over to some trees to get out of the way. Unfortunately, despite my warnings on mountainproject, there were other climbers on the Shield due to the limited climbing season (mid-August to Feb when Peregrine Falcons aren't nesting). There was no way to run the training without triggering rockfall so the decision was made to cancel it.

My portion of the training: I went out to the Shield the night before with a crazy-heavy pack of ~75 lbs of gear. I rappelled into place, set an anchor, and built the portaledge. The evening was very calm and warm which was great because I needed a lot of time to configure the portaledge for the first time. I crawled into my sleeping bag, grazed up at the stars and 250ft of the top of the Shield, and passed out at about 10pm. At daybreak the following morning, I heard my fellow training partner, Justin, working with my rappel line from above. He came down, cooked up breakfast for me (Chai and beans&rice), and we started the process of packing up all the gear. Once the team arrived, found us, and figured out a plan of action, Hans came down to assess the injuries. At this point we got the information from the climbers below (who knew people on the team and called us) that the rockfall was continuing, so we had to cancel the training. We spent the next hours ascending back off the Shield and hauling the gear out. I struggled with my pack going up, had to switch to a 3:1 with grigri capture, and it took forever (more than an hour).

Overall disappointing we didn't get to do the training, but I learned a lot and no one was hurt. For those on Procrastination, we were right above them, so it's clear we couldn't do this training with people on the route.













Procrastination route and our rockfall path.
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Dro and Nicole Visit 
Tuesday, August 19, 2014, 08:49 PM - Weekend Fun
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Dro and Nicole came out to visit because of a conference in town. We caught the train up to Santa Fe, did a biking tour of downtown, and Dro and I took a great Hot Air Ballooning flight! It was super peaceful and quiet (except when the burners would kick on), and we got to do a splashdown in the Rio. It was everything I hoped it would be.

HDR Photos are here.







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August in Missouri 
Monday, August 18, 2014, 07:56 PM - Weekend Fun
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I spent the weekend back in St. Louis and Washington, MO with the family. Mom did a great job to pack the weekend with lots of adventures.

I landed on Friday and was whisked off to a nice dinner in outside of Redbud as a fundraiser for a kids outdoor education center that my cousin attended. Then Saturday we all headed down to my uncle's cabin on the Meramec River for a float, complete with rope swing and cliff jumping. We BBQed out by the river at Randy's place, and aside with some problems with my grandfather's fading health, had a very pleasant time exploring the country.









Later that night Anne Elise + Adrian, Steve, Josh, Dad, Mom, and I did the 51st Moonlight Ramble in St. Louis. It had over 5,000 cyclists (apparently down from 25,000 in 1989). We were toward the back of the pack, so it took a good 20 minutes to get rolling, but once we did it was a great ~20 mile cruise through downtown. It was crowded but the people/bike show was half the fun.




Sunday was Josh's birthday. I helped pick out a suit for him to try his job seeking luck in Austin, TX. Cake, presents, and a little car repair rounded out the weekend. Then it was off to airport. It was nice to be back in the Midwest in summer. It'd been at least 3 years since seeing all the green in IL/MO.
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Pajarito MTB and Chama Kayak 8-2-14 
Monday, August 4, 2014, 08:06 PM - Weekend Fun
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Mike and I left ABQ in nasty-ish weather in the late morning on Saturday. Originally, we had signed up for the Enduro race in pajarito, but we mainly wanted the free swag that came with the race admission. We pulled up about 1pm in Los Alamos as the racers finished the 3rd downhill segment. Instead, we earned our turns and rode up the hill and took the 'blue' Aspenola to Aspenola Loop route back down. It was rocky and steep up top and then turned to overgrown locust (where the brush was coming back from the burn). It was ok, but challenging. Mike and I were both glad we didn't try to be competitive that morning. We had a beer and green chile burger while the cover band played for the small audience.




Then it was off to the Chama to round out our multisport adventure. The weather kept burning off and by night we were camped along the river with the stars brightly shining. We turned on some tunes and cooked up noodle dinner with salad and watermelon. A perfect summer evening.




The following morning, we had a lazy morning packing up camp and driving up to the put-in. We were sorted out and on the river at a little after 11am. The river was fairly crowded with weekend traffic, but Mike and I found a couple sections of isolation. The tiny hardshell was bigger than a playboat, but it still felt plenty tight and my legs and toes quickly grew sore. We had to take a couple breaks to let me stretch back out, but otherwise I handled the moderate class 3 water well. I"m still plenty tippy in those boats, but I kept it upright through the waves - more than Mike can say ;) My boat's pointy tip would cut through the chop and I'd get knocked around as I took the wave to the chest, but I managed to avoid the frightening wet exit. I really need to learn to roll one of these days. We popped off about 1/2 mile before Big Eddy at camp to mountain bike back up the road to the car. On the way home we stopped off at Andreas' BBQ in Rio Rancho. Nothing too crazy, but good to run into a few AMRCers there.








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White Mesa Super Moon Mountain Bike Ride 
Saturday, July 12, 2014, 07:48 PM - Weekend Fun
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As part of my 30-before-30 list, I needed to take a 20-mile mountain bike ride at night. The opportunity arose during July's supermoon where Josiah, Briana, Sam, Mike, Allison, and Marc camped out at white mesa. Josiah and I decided to take a couple laps of the standard Lizard's Back clockwise loop. We we cycling fast and confidently until it got really dark when the storm clouds moved over. We couldn't find the trail some of the time and I took one wrong turn to send us out toward the mine. However, we knocked the 20 miles out in style and got a cool lightning show during a break on the home stretch.





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L&B Wedding, AMRC MTBing, and Climbing the Thumb 
Friday, July 11, 2014, 07:22 PM - Weekend Fun
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July 3rd spelled the end of the US run in the World Cup. I watched the game at work with a few colleagues in the lab. Timmy Howard held things together against the Belgians until the extra time and then it was downhill. 2-0 quickly. A clever Bradley pass to Green put things back to 2-1, but Dempsey couldn't convert the set piece in the end. Good run boys.

4th of July was at Mario's place. I biked up there and a few of us BBQed and threw a little party with Jeff and I dressed up as Uncle Sam - for old times' sake.

Lance and BobbiJo got hitched on July 5th at the Tijeras cache. A lot of the AMRC family was there. Lance was his affable self and the group was wonderful. After some wigs, old stories, and a few beers with the lads, I meandered out to bivvy in the woods.



Tuesday's I've been doing a AMRC group mountain bike ride in the North Foothills. It's a good little loop (or longer if Mike's around), but nice to have a social ride.



The following Friday Andreas and I set out to climb the Thumb - a classic line that Kevin and I had done a couple years ago. Andreas was coming off a fall so he was jittery on the first pitch as a lead. He was struggling so I told him to clip his bag to some pro and I would pick it up on 2nd. Once I got up there, I tried to toss his pack on, but it was about 40 lbs! I couldn't believe it. I barely made it up the 1st pitch because the thing was trying to pull me off the mountain. As soon as I saw him at the 1st belay, I yell, "We're going to have to have a talk about proper backpack weight when doing multi-pitch lines!" He dumped a little water, but I left it to him to figure out how to get up the rest of the mountain with all that dead weight. I lead the next 3 pitches and we simul-climbed to the top. Overall it was a good day out and aside from the pack weight and rope drag, a clean climb. We topped out around 1pm, but weren't quick enough to avoid the rain and hail on the hike out. 40 minutes of being drenched on the La Luz Spur and I was very happy to be at the car.








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Ironhorse in Durango and Rafting the Taos Box 
Sunday, June 1, 2014, 05:04 PM - Weekend Fun
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Jeff and I took the 'dubstepper' up to Durango for the Ironhorse weekend. We stayed with Mike and Allison in Mike's parents' condo. We knew ahead of time that the race officials had shortened the race to Purgatory (snowstorm buried the pass), so everyone was a little somber; I was there for the people so I wasn't as heartbroken to miss out on the 2nd half of the ride. Although, I was seriously unhappy that we didn't get to take the narrow-gage railroad back down into town. That would have been tons of fun with this crew!

Anyway, I started a little toward the back so I had to fight my way back up into the lead pack. The road had orange plastic construction posts sparsely on the left-side of the lane, so these things would come out of nowhere. I witnessed two terrible crashes. With the first someone clipped the base of the cone and it swung over sideways and took the person to my left out. In the 2nd crash, the road narrowed and a guy got pinched off, and slammed directly into the post and pitched his bike sideways. I was just far enough into the lane that I could squeeze around the dominoing carnage. After that the climb began and things started thinning out (thankfully). I wasn't feeling particularly strong, but suffered up the hill as best I could. My orange raincoat was way to hot but I pushed through to the end - especially when a dad and his ~12 year old son came up alongside me on the final stretch. I had to work hard to punch it past them to the finishing line. That little kid was tough!

Results: 83 out of 1557. (Questionable Chasing3 chipped times.)

After the fun descent back to town with the whole crew, we headed into town for dinner and a drink. At the bar, we found Boulder Mike who posted a 1:26 (stava verified) time to win the Citizen's Tour... and it happened to be his birthday. So we partied a little on his behalf.

The following day was more rainy. We watched some of the crits, BBQed, took a walk along the railroad tracks, and I make a great craigslist purchase of whitewater gear because Sunday the water levels were the highest they've been on the Rio in the Taos Box in 3 years.

We left at 6am to head over there and meet Mike for the shuttle. It's a long shuttle so we finally put on at noonish, but the 17 mile ride was great. We had sandwiches and drinks and passed 1000 ft under the Taos Gorge Bridge. Whitewater was fun, but nothing crazy in the 12 footer. The drytop and wetsuit came in very handy though, as it was freezing snowmelt water and the clouds were rolling in and out. We reran the shuttle and headed home to collapse in exhaustion.

Ironhorse back to Durango.


Celebration.


Citizen's Crit.



Walking the tracks.


BBQ by the Durango-Silverton Railroad Tracks.


Taos Box









More photos are here.

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Los Alamos MTB, AMRC OCC Final, and SF Century  
Sunday, June 1, 2014, 04:34 PM - Weekend Fun
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I rendezvoused with Jeff, Kaela, Mario, and Maria at the cliffs on the opposite side of San Antonio hot springs for a car camping evening. I got there first and rounded up a bunch of firewood for the evening which we definitely needed - because the music came on and it was a good old fashioned NM camp fire dance party.

In the morning, Jeff, Kaela, and I rode a burly 20 mile mountain biking loop up in Los Alamos by Pajarito Mountain. It started off with about 2,500 ft of climbing and then turned into gnarly loose sand and dirt singletrack. The riding was fun on the Tallboy and I was impressed with the fitness of my companions, but after a while I had enough crashing and opted to change the ride. We tried to short cut it back to the cars, but I lead us in a circuitous path through the ravines of Los Alamos and over some great bridges too. Spirits were high and the trip was great, except that Jeff managed to bend his derailleur hanger in the final stretches.





At the car, I split off and headed out to the Operational Core Curriculum (OCC) final at Diablo Canyon. Arriving about 24 hours late for the events, I caught a little flack, but jumped in to run the lower side of the highline. We definitely were putting the new terradaptor and 1200 ft rope to good use. The BBQ and party at the end was good as always - Feels like my 2nd family in many ways.



Rubbing the party out of my eyes, I linked up with Mike, Allison, Briana, Josiah, Sam, and Tony to ride the Santa Fe Century. I jumped on the back of the Briana/Josiah tandem and cruised for the first few miles. It was great until we hit the rollers and then the slinkying action began. Mike was too quick on the hills for me, but the group stayed together fairly well, and we all grabbed a Marg a Maria's.





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Taos Closing Weekend 
Thursday, April 10, 2014, 02:21 PM - Weekend Fun
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Jeff, Angelina, and I drove up to Taos on Friday, crashed with Jen and Kirk at the Alpine Suites above Tim's. Jason joined us in the morning for a breakfast burrito and then we mocked one of the backside and started the hiking. Angelina had a stress fracture in her foot, so--after skiing a corner shoot--decided to sit a couple runs out while Jeff and I explored the West Basin. We tried to get into Wonder Bowl, but ended up in the Meatball trib to the north. The rest of the day was solid skiing with fun people. That night we met up with Dom, Mario, Melissa, et al at a BnB house in Taos. Kelley drove us and her friend from TX up to dinner at KTAOS. There was a beautiful sunset that evening!



The festivities got the better of the crowd, so we only got on the chairs about 11:30(!) on the closing sunday. I dressed in my Sunday best to ski out the season in style. Jeff went full 80's and we hit is hard with 8" of fresh powder. The crew disappeared and reappeared, but Jason, Mugzy, Victor, and I ended the season on highline with a drink and a serious party with ~25 folks soaking in the final run of the day. Got one last beer at the Bav and met up with Ang and Bill in their camper for a farewell toast.






Sadly, I ended the season without completing all the runs in Taos again. I'm still missing: Cabin Chute, Cabin Trees, No Name, Patrol Shack, Heavy Timber, Cuervo, High Somewhere, Wonder Bowl, Black Rock Traverse, Godie Chutes, Game Birds, Muse Bowl, and What 1&2.
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Bull of the Woods Yurt - Mar 28-30, 2014 
Sunday, March 30, 2014, 02:42 PM - Weekend Fun
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It's somewhat of a tradition at this point. Towards the end of the ski season Briana and Josiah get the Bull of the Woods yurt and we get some people to go live in the woods for a couple nights. This time we had B&J, Jeff, Mike, Daave, Chris, and Harmony. This year, I lead a backcountry adventure up to Gold Hill. It was quite an adventure, but with some fresh snow things worked out well. We worked our way up to the ridge and then skinned to the summit with the snow balling up under our skis - The worst I've ever seen it!! The views of Kachina, Wheeler, and the ski valley were fantastic, but the backside of the gold hill ridge also held some burly terrain. A slab cut loose on me on the ridge, so I decided not to push our luck and we headed back to the yurt after summiting. Poor Chris snowshoed with his snowboard, so he was hurting pretty well by the end of the day. Before the final descent, I dug a pit, and then we all dropped in to some amazing tree skiing. We retraced our tracks so we popped out of the forest right at the front door of the yurt. Perfect!













I also got a killer night shot from about 1am-4am of the yurt.

Bigger

In other news, Mike and I have been training for Rainier. Here's our ridiculous crevasse rescue training in my backyard.

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Taos Weekend with Jason 
Monday, March 24, 2014, 08:57 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
Got Jason at the airport on Thursday and immediately biked over to the Carménère wine tasting party at Julio and Evan's. We blasted up to Taos in the morning and skied the standard 9:00-5:00 with a breakfast burrito on the first chair and a beer on the last chair. Did a couple Kachinas and even though Jason's coming off his broken leg surgery, he was skiing strong (on the groomers). I finally jumped the cliff under Chair 4 with a hip check. Kept the skis on though and skied away without much knee damage so I'm counting it as a success. After 4:00, we grabbed a beer with Asia and Jeff, and had dinner at the Bav.

Saturday, we played with race skis in the morning. Jason got a Platinum in the Nastar course and I inched closer to gold: only 0.13 seconds out of gold!! Racing is so annoying, but Jason helped me with a few minor corrections, so hopefully I can clean those up in the near future. We climbed Kachina at 2pm with the ridge-a-thoners and threw a mini party up top - plenty of food and drink to go around the freezing, wind-blown summit.

Sunday, Jason and I skinned up to Williams Lake from the base: 1,800 ft of climbing with my Kahrus. I had killer blistering on my heals, so I'm going to have to fix that before going back to Rainier.





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Trifecta 
Saturday, March 15, 2014, 09:13 PM - Weekend Fun
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Jeff hatched a brilliant plan to ski, bike, and golf in a single day. Apparently one of his friends started this thing in CA, and he's importing it to NM. We got lucky and 3" fresh inches of snow appeared before the big Saturday so the skin/ski up Sandia was great. Mason and Mike joined and we a fun in the snow for the last ski day on Sandia Peak for the year. From there we jumped on the bikes down the icy road back around the mountain to my house. The skinny tires were terrible on the snowpacked road, but no one laid over their bike. The wind in the canyon was more than 30 mph, so Jeff and I drafted down the mountain into town. Poor Mason took the brunt of it though, since he didn't jump in the group and was on a hybrid. After the shuttle, everyone rallied for disc golf (a last minute change) in Roosevelt Park. It was chilly and cloudy, but we trifecta-ed!!









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Ski racing weekend 2-23-14 
Tuesday, February 25, 2014, 09:34 PM - Weekend Fun
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Saturday, I pulled out the race tigers for the 2nd day, but this time around I was railing turns on them much better. Less like riding a bull and more like riding a wild horse. I wasn't seeded so I got to ride down on a sheet of ice - skittering a good chunk of the way. However, I held it together enough to post my best results ever: 13th out of 72.



That evening I visited with Scott in the TSV and spent the night in the car. Sunday morning I was on the first chair with the race tigers. Did the backside rip and they felt solid so I headed to the NASTAR course. I ran gates 3 times and kept improving my time slowly. I was pretty sure I was going push through to gold, but I misremembered the course on run 4, and straightened too early and plowed right through a gate at 25-30 mph, lost a ski, rode the other down a bit until losing it and whip-lashing/knee bashed down the hill. I got up and fixed the gate for course-setter Steve (who I met earlier at Tim's place). I took run 5 but things slowed a bit. Gold will have to wait until next time!



I spent the rest of the day skiing with Allison, Mike, and Tom. We caught a little of the junior freestyle comps - those kids are amazing. Some car problems getting it started, but I eventually got it running and make it back to the ABQ.
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Ice climbing and BC skiing in Ouray/Silverton 
Sunday, February 16, 2014, 07:33 PM - Weekend Fun
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I have been enjoying the warmer weather on my bike rides to/from work. I caught this great sunset this last week.


Thursday, I had a few friends over for a ski tuning party, but my 1-car garage was a little cramped.


Friday, I headed up to Ouray with Leigh and Justin for ice climbing Saturday and a backcountry skiing Sunday. Justin was showing off ice climbing with a couple students from Puerto Rico, so we scored a killer condo with the group. Andreas and Julie also joined us so we had a good group for the climb. Mark and Sandra were also up in Ouray for the climbing season, so we hung out with them both nights. Some friends of theirs were holding a broomball party at the Ouray Ice Rink, but with the above freezing temperatures, the party stayed off the ice and made hot cider, BBQed, and huddled around the fire.





Sunday, Justin came down with a cold so Andreas and I decided to do the backcountry skiing alone. We skinned up from Coal Creek Pass and dropped into Coal Creek. Then went up and over to Deer Creek. It was icey on the south aspects so skinning was little challenging, but the warm weather consolidated everything very nicely. It was snowing lightly and the mountains were beautiful up there! We had a little powder in places, but it was mostly 2" crust on dense snow. Not the best conditions but we made the best of two descents. I proudly continued my lucky streak with hitchhiking when we were picked up by the first car to come by!
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