AMRC mission, training, and the Super Monster 
Monday, April 13, 2015, 07:07 PM - Weekend Fun, AMRC, Training
Posted by Administrator
On Friday I left work early because I finally completed and submitted my big DOE proposal (102 pages, 4 partners, $5.7M, 3 years). Just as I got home, there was a page out for a mission on La Luz. I got the rig, joined Team 2, and met the police about 4 miles up the trail. The unpleasant business of performing body extractions is part of what AMRC does. As always the crew stepped up and got the gentleman out of the wilds with a lengthy wheel out.




Because I was teaching the Operational Core Curriculum (OCC) class for the new AMRC members the next morning, I left the rig at my house overnight. I wonder what the neighbors thought?



In the morning, I was in charge of teaching the OCC raises and lowers. We covered the main and belay, litter rigging, and communications. Overall everyone was very attentive and excited to be out at white wash for the day. We did 3 1/2 lowers/raise transitions and then a low angle exit with a knot pass. Fun times with the newbies!





Sunday, I woke up with the crazy idea of riding the Manzano Monster Loop from my house. Powered by a couple cold slices of pizza, I suffered the thing out over ~6 hours. It wasn't so bad except I managed to endo right away on the descent to Otero and badly bruise the palm of my right hand. That made the remaining 25 miles of dirt pretty painful. Then I stopped in the AMRC cache to get more water. The winds weren't insane, but it still hurt coming home through the canyon. 57.5 miles and 4,676 ft on knobby tires!


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Rio Grand Racecourse Rafting and Closing Day at Taos 
Thursday, April 9, 2015, 09:16 PM - Weekend Fun
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I was out in San Francisco for the SunSpec Alliance meeting last week. I managed to get a couple hours free the morning after the conference and rented a CitiBike to cruise around the Embarcadero. Nice to be in my old haunts on a nice warm day.



Jason was out on Friday and we hiked the rocks. Gorgeous sunset as always.



On Saturday Jeff and I met up with Mike and the outdoor rec river crew to do some laps on the racecourse. If I wasn't busy with mountain rescue the next few weeks, I would consider becoming a guide with that outfit. I layered up in my wetsuit and dry top so the cold wasn't too bad - Jason even ran it in the IK and was comfortable. We had 4 boats of 3 paddlers and ran it at 1000-1100 cfs, which gave it a nice pace, a few more options for lines, and lots of excitement when we high-sided on Big Rock (twice!). Some of us grabbed dinner at Taos Mesa Brewing and then camped out by the Taos Junction Bridge.








In the morning, Jeff and I headed up to Taos for the (original) closing day. We met up with Jason, Mugzy, and Victor and did a few runs and a lap on Kachina. I wore a onesie for fun (the tradition continues). In the afternoon, Jeff jumped in the Lego Man costume for the pond skimming competition. Only a few people made it across, and when he lost sight of the first jump's landing, there wasn't hope for him in the pond. Great time and Jeff managed to get 2nd place (primarily for the awesome costume)!






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Taos Yurt Weekend 
Sunday, March 29, 2015, 04:20 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
11 inches of snow had fallen in the last two days, so I snuck off with Jason at 5am on Friday to rip the heavy late-season powder. It was definitely one of the best days of the year - complete with 6 ridge hikes (Fifth Chute, Tresckow, Cuervo, High Somewhere, Two Bucks, and Juarez). I discovered the Martini Tree and we got dinner at the Bav.









Jason tried to drive me up closer to the Yurt but the Northside crew turned us back. Instead I got to skin the full 2 miles with a well-loaded pack. After 1.5 hours, I got to the yurt as the dark got too thick to see anymore. Exhausted, I got the cabin fire going, turned on the gas lights, and cooked up some tea. Eventually, I made my way into my sleeping bag, but Josiah, Briana, and Mike arrived right as I was falling asleep about 10:30. At 1:30, they finally turned in after giving up on Bonnie and Dave. But, lo and behold, D&B did make it in after 2am, after postholing for much of the upper stretch of the hike. I finally got shut eye sometime after 2:30, gah!

The next day, Mike and I risked the considerable to high avalanche danger to make a low-angle adventure towards Wheeler. We climbed up close to Fraser Mountain, had a summit beer, summitted Bull-of-the-Woods mountain and then skied tight trees back to the yurt. It was a fun little tour and great to ski in the Taos backcountry again. After the inbounds crew returned, the party kicked up and I cooked up a monster pot of rice, beans, mushrooms, and onions for everyone. As we were about to turn in, and to everyone's surprise, Kaela and Kelley showed up around midnight! We rallied and busted out the twister and charades.







Sunday, we worked our way down the icy death luge back to Twining. By the time we were skiing, the sun had baked the snow and it was hero spring conditions. I finally got to take a couple laps on Kachina with lift service!! I appreciate the ease of skiing mainstreet and the K Chutes, but it's moguled up, top to bottom, so it's not nearly as fun as it used to be. And the summit experience isn't the same as when you had to hike 45 minutes to the top. Oh well, I'll be happy when they open up Lake Fork Peak as a sidecountry run.




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Spring Cycling 
Sunday, March 29, 2015, 03:40 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
I've been going to a Weds night mountain bike ride organized by an inspirational couple, Karl and Rose, who as retirees still race mountain bikes at the CAT1 level. Their house is filled with cycling trophies and they bike everywhere around town. The night rides have been by headlight until recently, and the 10-12 mile ride is great at breaking up the week. Plus, they've been nice enough to invite the rest of the crew in for soup or chips/salsa after each ride. We linked up to take a cruise around town with Bri and Josiah to a couple local breweries on a free Sunday and it was a blast.




I took a Friday ride with Mike, Allison, Briana, and Josiah in the north foothills a couple weeks ago. The wind was howling so when I caught the downhill, down-wind stretch toward the Rock Garden, I let it fly! Everything was great until it wasn't. I caught a compression, and as I exited, I couldn't hold the turn and high-sided. The road rash got me on both knees and my chin. Dang! I decided the order of operations was to procure beer before scrubbing the wounds. Everyone headed back to Mike and Allison's house for a BBQ and I was lucky enough that Nurse Allison let me use the shower and then bandaged me up.





Later, Mike and I made a Saturday of riding White Mesa and Red Mesa. White Mesa was as fun as always, but Red Mesa was new, super techy loose shale, and involved a lot of walking and cursing. Worth trying out once, but I don't know if I'm going to do that again anytime soon. (There are a couple fun slickrock areas out there though; so if these could be linked properly, it would be killer riding.)





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Opus Hut!! 
Tuesday, March 17, 2015, 05:59 PM - Weekend Fun
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Andy, Kendrick and I met up with the majority of the AMRC hut trip crew at the trailhead for the 4 mile and ~2000 ft skin to the Opus Hut. The snow was super warm so it caked onto our skins and gave my hip flexors more than their fair share of agony. We arrived exhausted but happy to be in the mountains. Surprisingly there was no staff to take care of us, so we made ourselves comfy. A couple beers later, night had descended but there was still no staff to cook dinner so we decided to cook up a big pot of spaghetti. (The following day we learned that there was some miscommunication with the staff and a last ditch effort was abandoned because of avy concerns.) All was well though - we fired up the sauna, built a ping pong table, and partied the night away.

The following day we did low angle laps on the pass and got some nice turns in. The snowpack danger was high (4/5) so we knew we wouldn't be skiing anything super exciting. My hip flexor was angry so I didn't stay out too long, but I did take a sunset lap with Andy and Bill.







The next day Justin and I tried to trigger an avalanche (while he was on belay), but no dice. The snowpack had solidified with the freeze thaw cycles. We skied some nice powder and then suffered back down the icy road to a Zia Taqueria lunch. Fun times with the mountain rescue family.


"A group of friends from Albuquerque Mountain Rescue spent the weekend ski touring at the OPUS hut in Colorado's San Juans in March 2015. The full moon and strangely warm weather was perfect for slipping away from the extended apres party to snag a picture of the cozy building."

Some more pictures are here.
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Todd and Kat's Wedding  
Saturday, March 14, 2015, 03:16 PM - Weekend Fun
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I was asked by a my friends Todd and Kat to photograph their wedding over the weekend. I was a little worried and then the venue didn't make for easy photography - multiple light sources (natural and artificial) - but I did my best and the final product wasn't half-bad. I also tried out my new Altura Photo I-TTL Auto-Focus Flash for the reception. I was very impressed - the TTL technology is great for selecting the flash strength!










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SF Race and Taos Pow 
Monday, March 2, 2015, 09:00 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
Thursday, I took a mellow mountain bike ride with Kaela in the foothills. Friday was Jack's birthday in Nob Hill and I 'caked' Maria in Nob Hill Bar and Grill :)

On Saturday I managed to redeem myself (at least partially) in the Santa Fe race with a 17/49 finish. Still no gold, but I felt I raced reasonably well. I skied the rest of the day with Chad and Nelson (a killer ex-CU racer from Steamboat).



That night I crashed out by the fire at Steve's place and the skied the next Taos powder day with Jason, Briana, Josiah, and a few other regulars. We caught the rope drop on Longhorn and I pointed them for one of my finest skiing lines ever. There was 17" on the weekend and 12" fresh from the night before. Then we caught the backside rope drop and got in the backseat and rode it like we stole it. Yehaww! Jen and Kirk joined us for the end and I discovered a stellar line I'm calling "Longhorn Trees" which nearly got our passes pulled - but we didn't cut any ropes that I saw ;)



The next weekend was the Taos race, but 44" of snow (epic!) over the last week shut it down for the weekend. I drove up with Mario on his 36th bday. There was 8" of snow in my driveway(!) and the while drive was terrible. Luckily the Outback recently was upgraded with Nokian Hakkapeliitta WRG3s - the best freaking snow tires ever. I ripped passed semis at 60 mph in 6 inches of snow on the interstate without any issue. Taos was limited again with all the bombing, plus the lines were crazy long (even worse on Sunday), but I got some good skiing on the frontside, Pollux, Pipeline, Lorelei. The back did eventually open, I hiked one, and then ran into Nelson, MR, Kate, and
Anniken for a quick run in Hunzis - it was neeple-deep (bottomless) and I couldn't feel any bumps below me at all! I linked up with Jeff and Mario after that and jumped off the 7 footer by the base of the Kachina lift. In the process I managed to injure my hip; I don't know what it was about the landing (in a lot of powder) that caused it but I strained my quad somehow. Jeff jumped off next and tweaked his knee so there's something about that spot that isn't right. I did a couple more runs, but decided that I needed to recover.





We went out to Taos Mesa Brewing and The Alley Cantina for Mario's birthday. Mike and Melissa also joined us for dinner at the brewery. The blues band was deafening though, so we had to head out early. I went 3/3 on shuffleboard at the Alley Cantina and then went back to Steve's to have a final beer with Mark and Sam. The next day, I decided at the last minute to ski, popped some ibuprofen, and sat in line all the way to the TSV. The crowd was the worst I've ever seen it - but I met up with Justin, Leigh, and RJ so we snuck around in the frontside trees. The powder was waist-deep! The best Taos conditions that I've ever seen. Justin and I kept running North American and then we caught Werner to Longhorn right after the rope drop. It was spectacular and I did the little rock drop without hurting myself! When people headed home, I fortunately ran into instructor Scott and skied until the last chair. Not bad for a cripple, but it was so fun all day, it was hard to resist.






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Hearti Gras and Saab Sell 
Monday, March 2, 2015, 07:44 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
For Valentine's Day, Kaela and I went to the house party of house parties. First, the Mardi Gras crew biked through the barrio to old town plaza in full regalia tossing beads and blaring Gypsyphonic Mardi Gras Mixtape. A couple pubs later, we cruised back to the house to have gumbo and explore the party scene: love room, kissing booth, room filled with balloons, body painting, DJ zone, etc. What a celebration!












I also paid the 1975 Saab 99 forward to Abe. The history of that ripping award-winning ('93 Saab autocross winner) car continues and now I'm down to a single vehicle!


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Taos Powder 
Monday, February 2, 2015, 08:49 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
Mike and I drove up to Taos early on Saturday in the tail end of a Southwest blizzard. We found Leigh and Justin, Mark and Sam, Angela and Nick, Briana, Steve, and lots of friends out enjoying the 9" of powder. I had just replaced my Fritschi assembly on the Katanas after the toe piece break, but managed to forget to adjust them to the sole length or set the DINs. It was a little junkshow in the lift line while I hobbled around on one ski and tried to make adjustments with Mike's tiny pozidriver. In the end, I had to stop off at the patrol building and get things setup right. Then on the 2nd turn in Billy Sol I clipped a submerged tree, lost my ski, and had to spend a full 25-30 minutes looking for it in the powder until someone spotted it below me. What a powder day cluster! After meeting back up with folks, things improved and it was smooth sailing for the rest of the day. We got some good skiing in Werner's Right (tough), Juarez, and Lorelei Trees.




When I got finished with my last run of the day, I saw Steve hanging around the base. He agreed to let us crash at his house in exchange for dinner supplies. We cooked up a great fajita dinner with a salad + spiralized cucumber and carrots. (I'm embarassed by how much I love that spiralizer.) The great thing about Steve's place is that it also comes with a hot tub and home brew!

The following day, Mike and I skied with Briana all day. Taos opened the West Basin for the first time so we hit St. B's, Zdarsky, Stauffy Trib, and Waterfowl, which was chock full of rocks. Where the snow was good, it was great, but there was still plenty of dodging to do in the Basin, Pierre's, Reforma, Longhorn, Lorelei, Al's, etc. After 5 hikes, we celebrated the sunny day with a beer at the Bav and then pointed the Outback south again.




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AMRC Winter Training - Pagosa Spings 
Wednesday, January 21, 2015, 10:00 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
Kevin and I drove up to Bill's cabin on Friday night. The winter training this year consisted of one day of ice/snow anchors and a full avalanche scenario.

Day 1 we skinned up a forest road below the pass, and then the technicians-to-be, skied down to a ice fall. We rapped in and practiced our Abalakov (horizontal V) threads and Anderson (vertical 'A') threads. Details. I will say the one takeaway I had was that a bent coat hanger is way better than manufactured v-thread pullers. We ascended the ropes, skinned up to the rest of the group, and found a nice snow fort. Kevin wanted to know what it would be like to be buried in an avalanche so we gave him a radio and avalung and I buried him in about 3 ft of snow. He said it was cold, dark, he couldn't move, and he only panicked for a little bit before breathing normally through the avalung. He recommended the trial experience, but not the real thing.

Day 2 we ran an avalanche scenario. I was the lead beacon search member and cleared the field of 3 in a respectable 10 minutes. Then I started to work on our patient with a femur fracture before Zak came to my rescue. Overall I did an alright assessment, initial treatment, and vitals check. I didn't get a pedal pulse because of the ski boot, but should have because that's an indication to NOT to pull traction. Good to know. I built the T-slot anchor with skis and pulled the patient up with a 1:1. But this doubles the load on the anchor so a 3:1 or "drop C" is better. As a treat for the training we got to ski powerline. I was paired up with Kevin and Paul and we found some amazing first tracks in a wonderful glade. We managed to get a little lost on the way down, but found a road and got out eventually.











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Ski Kayaking at Sipapu 
Wednesday, January 14, 2015, 09:52 PM - Weekend Fun
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I went up to Sipapu (first time there!) to ski kayak with Kelley, Mike, Amanda, and my wonderful girlfriend, Kaela. Kaela was volunteering for Kayak New Mexico's Adaptive Paddling Programs so she showed us the ropes: grab a kayak, head up the magic carpet, and toboggan to the bottom. Basically glorified sledding with walls, but still worth trying once in your life.







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Ouray Ice and Silverton Snow 
Tuesday, January 6, 2015, 10:14 PM - Weekend Fun
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For New Years, Kaela, Kelley, Cam, James, Brit, and Ryan got a place in Ouray. It was a nice enough place a mile north of town, where we could cook and party. 4 of the crew were flying in from Belize/Mexico the day before, so they were mostly cooked on travel, for Kaela, Kelley, and I did our best to make up for it.

New Years Day, Kaela and I went to the ice park and did an easier line in New Funtier. Kelley joined us in the afternoon for another quick climb nearby. She did fairly well for her first time with tools. Kaela also was getting the hang of things by the end of the day - and certainly looking good at it!




The next couple days, I skied Silverton. Josiah, Bri, Kaela, Justin, Leigh, Angela, Bill, Chris, Harmony, Jen, Kirk, James, Cam, and perhaps a few others were on the mountain - their record turnout (400+ people) which made the lines tough in the -10 F morning! K, Cam, and I did a hike to the Ramp for our first run, and then met up with others to explore more of the mountain. We found a nice power stash on the backside near riff raff but I caught something and junkshowed my skis everywhere. It was this, or the rough transition to the road that broke my toepiece on the Katanas. So sad!! But at least they had beer at the base and we went to Corvis Hot Springs that evening to recover. Warm water in the frozen, moonlit mountains can't be beat.

The following day I borrowed Justin's spare skis. It was my first time on Dinafits, but they did the trick and stayed on my feet. Cam did a couple runs with me - he's a phenomenal skier, so I hope he can teach me a thing or two in Taosland sometime. We did Colorado with the Josiah/Bri crowd and then more backside exploration of Mandatory Air and a Riff chute. Back at the house, after a harrowing blizzard drive, I cooked up venison stir-fry and baked pretzels for the crew. before we all went to Ouray Hot Springs for a soak.






Our final day in Ouray, Kaela and I walked around town and got treats at Mouse's. The town is so beautiful. Hopefully they're ready for the ice fest the next weekend!


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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
Posted by Administrator
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
Posted by Administrator
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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