Mt Rainier 2014 
Thursday, May 29, 2014, 09:13 PM - Trips
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Mike and I attempted to climb Mt. Rainier for the 2nd time in early May. Like the last time, we had a major snowstorm load the upper slopes just before arriving, which led to avalanches (or at least avalanche concerns).

After a 4 hour delay, we got into Seattle on Thursday night (Fri morning) at 2am. We got the rental car and crashed at Laura's place. The next day was 50+ mph winds on the mountain and blizzard conditions, so we opted to stay in rainy Seattle. I walked Pearcy in the morning and we got some good breakfast and Rainier Beer for a post-climb celebration. To get firsthand beta of conditions, we went to Queen Anne to talk with Carrie (a mountain guide friend with Alpine Ascents International) who reported "nuclear winter" conditions on Thurs when she got off the mountain.

Saturday, we headed out at dawn and made it to the mountain in heavy snows at about 8am. The rangers told us there were very few people (just us) getting climbing permits and no one had summitted in a week. With the wind loading and fresh snow, we knew it wasn't shaping up to be good for us. We got our 60-65 lbs packs and harnesses on and began up the mountain. After about 500-1000 ft, we had broken through the cloud layer and could see the peak. It was glorious and intimidating - 8000' separated us from the top. The skinning was slow going but we shed layers and worked our way up the Muir Snowfield slowly. We reached Camp Muir with the usual blister stops around 4pm. Set up the tent. Cooked. Watched sunset. Temp dropped. Brushed teeth. Slept.

Alarm went off at 3am. The winds had been howling since we went to bed. Sounded like sustained 20 mph winds with 40+ mph gusts. It didn't seem like it was going to be our day with the wind loading. Mike said he didn't want to go and I said I was 50/50. Mike got out to move the backpacks to a more secure location and noticed 4 headlights crossing the cowlitz glacier. I changed my mind and said we should go for it, but Mike vetoed the idea. So in the end, we took the NWAC guide's advice and sat things out for a day. After breakfast and a relaxing morning. Mike and I roped up and crossed the cowlitz to check on the Ingraham's conditions. We ditched our skis at the base of Cathedral Gap climb and went up. Up top, we post-holed to our waist for 1/3 mile, cursed some guides on skis, and took a look at the route. Disappointment Cleaver looked scary--even a small slide would take out a climbing team and send them off cliff and into crevasses. The Ingraham Direct, while chewed up, looked like the safer route. We thought about hitting it at midnight and trying to make our 2pm flight on Monday, while we went back to Camp Muir. We skied across the cowlitz roped up, and thought about options. I wanted to see Laura, who was getting back to town that night, and I didn't want to pay $500 to change flights so I was in favor of bailing given that the conditions were probably still dangerous. Only one team of 2 summitted that day and it took them 14+ hours to make the journey. We had skis so it would have been quicker, but there was still no real hope of making the flight. Mike was less convinced, but once he saw the Sunday crowds at Camp Muir (dozens of people!), he wanted to get out of there too. We tore down camp and popped our skis on and headed down. Aside from sticky, wet snow at the bottom, it went well. I make the trip with a 50+ lb pack without a single crash. Mike had more trouble with the splitboard but we still made good time. We went back to Seattle a little dejected and sad, but in good health and ready to give it another shot in a year or two.

MOVIE!









More photos are here.
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Korean Visit and AMRC Training 
Thursday, May 29, 2014, 08:20 PM - Week activities
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I hosted my Korean colleagues from KERI for a few days. We took the tram up to High Finance and got Korean BBQ in Nob Hill. Overall, it was a very pleasant visit.



That weekend, I helped out with the AMRC OCC activities. I ran a horizontal lower and raise, and played patient while Mike did the vertical litter exercise. Allison is part of the class, so Mike and Allison came over to play in my tree... while I reclined in the hammock :) Mike did also manage to get my prayer flags stuck in his grigri; much like his mullet issues in Moab.










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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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Southern India for a Week 
Saturday, March 1, 2014, 09:29 PM - Trips
Posted by Administrator
I went to India for a week for a smart grid workshop and conference. Additional photos from the trip are here.

I arrived in Bangalore after 24 hours of travel and easily caught a cab to the hotel. It was 5am so there was not heckling or issues with crowds at the airport. I was expecting Kathmandu-like conditions, but found the roads better maintained and (surprise!) functioning traffic lights. I couldn't check in until noon, so I took a walk through the neighboring park. It was Sunday and there was a 5K/10K run/walk with thousands of people participating. Definitely a cool scene since they shut down the roads through the park for the run. I cruised by Vidhana Soudha, home to the Secretariat, but they were closed on Sundays so I only got to check it out from the outside.

I spent most of the day walking around getting oriented to the new country and appreciating the abject poverty that most people were living in here. Between my business obligations, I would take strolls around town or catch autorickshaws to different tourist spots around town.

The first time I caught a tuk-tuk, it was a wild experience: firstly the driver told me to not worry about starting the meter and he would make the drive for INR50. Then, despite my protest, he stops the tuk-tuk, says he's going to buy me a beer, and rushes into a store. He gives me a beer and explains its not a problem in India to drink when you're in the back of a tuk-tuk. I'm suspicious of the drink and the scam that I'm about to be subjected to, but I indulge on the way to the Bangalore Palace. The Palace was nothing particularly spectacular, but I could appreciate the Maharaja-era, all the photos of elephants and slain tigers, and the british influence throughout their occupation from 1858-1947. After touring the Palace, I noticed there was some loud music next door and ask my suspicious tuk-tuk driver to head over that way. He didn't do a very good job but I eventually got him in the general direction (thank goodness for the iPhone GPS), but the music had stopped. He then brought me to his buddy's shop with "very cheap prices and no tax." Ok, so that's the scam - fairly benign. I breathed easier and headed into to shop. It was very nice with all the usual tourist stuff: scarves, clothes, carvings, etc. I had read on the flight that it's highly appropriate to wear a tie at business meetings in India. I didn't bring one (unusual for me) because it seems to be going out of style in the US and I didn't feel it was necessary until reading that in my India Culture book. So I bartered for a tie, getting it for about half of their asking price. Who knows if I got completely ripped off, but it was only about $10, so I figured I couldn't go too wrong. Next the driver took me to his other friend's shop. They had cheaper prices so I picked up a few small carved elephants. Then the driver took me to another shop, and I told him that I was done shopping. He refused to leave until I went inside. So I walked in, told the owner I didn't have any money, and walked back out. I informed the driver I wanted to go to ISKCON, the Radha Krishna Temple (a Hare Krishna thing that I still know very little about). He refused to drive all the way out there, so I got out of the tuk-tuk and didn't give him a rupee for the effort. I'm sure he'll get his kickbacks from his shop friends.

ISKCON was an interesting experience. I had to take off my shoes, wash my feet, refrain for photographing anything, and then hike up through three levels of what seemed to be hindu shrines to a main room where people threw themselves to the ground in the presence of colorful deity carvings. I was clueless, but one thing did know was I shouldn't eat the food they gave out to all the visitors. I headed back to to the hotel with a legitimate tuk-tuk that ran the meter. I paid him the INR250 gladly for the hassle-free ride.

The smart grid meetings went well and we got a wonderful tour of the Central Power Research Institute. At the end of the formal meetings, all the members of the workshop went outside an planted a tree. It was a very sweet ceremony - and completely unexpected by everyone.

On one of my longer walks I ended up finding a washing area from the polluted runoff of Ulsoor Lake. There was at least an acre of laundry drying on clotheslines. I couldn't believe all the manual labor in India: streets are swept clean by women during the day while traffic whizzed past and lawns were trimmed by hand with snippers. And the smells were so potent! Some of those smells were terrible (open sewage running down the streets) and some of the smells were wonderful (all the yummy curries). The food was to die for. Naan, curries, tikka masalas, tandoori, and so much more were fed to us and I ate way too much on this trip.

The roads were a constant flow of cars, busses, autorickshaws, bikes and other interesting modes of wheeled transport. The horns would plast 24/7.

Some street-level action:




View from my hotel room:


Laundry drying in Bangalore:


CPRI high voltage lab:


The highlight of the trip was a train trip to Mysore on my free Saturday before returning to the US. It was a disaster to get the tickets and the train was about an hour late, but once I was on the train, it was so much fun! I got to hang out the door for 3 hours, snapping photos of the countryside. With the wind in my hair and the tingle of danger, I was completely stoked. When I got to Mysore, I found a driver to take me around for the day for INR500 ($8). First, we went up Chamundi Hill to Sri Chamundeswari Temple. I awkwardly gave a a few hundred rupees to a hindu monk who dotted my forehead with a Tilak third eye. Next we visited Nandi (Shiva’s bull), and headed back to town where I met my friend from the conference, Robby, who was another Georgia Tech alum. We took the long tour of the spectacular Mysore Palace. It had ornate carvings, monstrous rooms with stained glass ceilings, armory, and gallery looking out on the palace grounds. After that tour Robby and I got a few dosas, at a place where they were served on wet banana leaves. I was certain I would be getting on a plane in the morning sick, but I didn't end up with Delhi belly. Robby and I had a quick beer by the train station and I jumped on the train back to Bangalore while the sunset lit up the sky.

Train ride to Mysore:






Mysore:



Train ride back to Bangalore:

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Ski racing weekend 2-23-14 
Tuesday, February 25, 2014, 09:34 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
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
Posted by Administrator
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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San Diego Sail and Taos Ski 
Tuesday, February 11, 2014, 08:35 PM - Trips
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Weds, I headed out to San Diego for SunSpec meetings but was able to talk Jason into a quick sail before the meet-n-greet. We headed out to see for a little ways and cleared Pt. Loma. We could easily see Mexico and thought about making a run for it, but turned around after 1.5 hours. Wind was good and the swell was decent ~4 trough to crest.

After the meeting I stayed over at Jason's. We grabbed a pizza at the local Best Pizza restaurant and I met his SD friends.




Jason strapping his cane to his commuter bike.


Saturday, I headed up to Taos with Mike and Allison. We crashed at Tim's pad and threw a little party with the ski crew. In the morning, we were surprised by a huge AMRC contingent (Justin, Leigh, Lance, Andy, Zack, BobbyJo) in the parking lot and the usual suspects were up too (Chris, Briana, Josiah, Marc, Megan, etc.) Overall a great day: I skied What Chute 3-5 with J&L&A and found a few powder stashes; gave Allison a little lesson; got a beer at the Bav; and ended the day on Fabian with Briana and Dave. Fun times in the mountains.




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Playing on the Shield 
Sunday, February 2, 2014, 09:20 PM - Weekend Fun
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Tyler is leaving ABQ in a week, so I've been trying hang out with him before he takes a roundabout journey to Norway. Friday, I went with him to the Air Force/AFRL annual party at Sandia Casino. Ok food but a good talk from General Chilton who talked about his astronaut career.

Saturday, I had a couple going away parties for Mike from my soccer team and for Tyler. Tough times for Lovelace and AMRC.

Sunday, Mike, Tyler, and I climbed the Knife Edge of the Shield. It was a little slick with the snow, but otherwise a cloudless cool winter day. We took the traverse/down climb out and that was the hairiest part of the day! Rapping on worn, UV-affect ropes is never fun.




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Sailing St. Vincent and the Grenadines 
Thursday, January 23, 2014, 08:54 PM - Trips
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Photos of the trip are here. The video is here.




Photos of the trip are here. The video is here.

Saturday - I GS raced in Red River, drove back to ABQ, packed up the last equipment, and jumped on the 11:59pm flight to JFK. I had a couple hour layover in Bridgetown, Barbados on the way to St. Vincent, so I took a walk around the airport. Originally, I was trying to make it to the beach, but I abandoned those plans when it became a bushwhack. Instead, I walked around the ghetto streets, bought a coconut, found a bar, and make a few friends. After a couple drinks, a nice local woman gave me her number - and I walked back to the airport chuckling. Not a bad 2-hour layover!

I arrived in Kingstown around 8pm. A taxi took me over to barefoot charters, but they didn't know anything about our charter plans, so I settled up at the bar to wait for the rest of the crew. After the first sip of my carib, they figured out I was on La Dolce Vita and they brought a dinghy around to bring me out to the mooring. In the darkness I could see the outline of a beautiful 43 foot Jeanneau 43DS. I stepped aboard to be greeted by Joe, Stefan, Nate, and Alexis. Joe looks at me and says, “Did you just jump onboard with a beer in your hand?” I give him a smile and cheers him. Later that evening, Nicole, Billy, and Captain Dro showed up and we begin the party.

Sunday – After the lengthy provisioning process, giving Barefoot our passport information and cash deposit, and collecting snorkeling equipment, we finally made way. The seas were rough between St. Vincent and Bequia. A few people were starting to feel a little sick, but I managed to do OK. In fact, I would go the length of the trip without any Dramamine, whereas everyone else would pop a few each day. We were sailing with the swell, so we caught a few nice surfs on the way around the point and into the bay. After mooring, we dinghy’ed into town and eventually settled on a pizza place.

Sunday
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Red River GS Ski Race 2014 
Sunday, January 12, 2014, 09:50 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
My first day on the World Cup Racetigers were a little rough. They are a super stiff ski and it took me a long time to learn how to carve with them. Unfortunately, I really got the hang of things after the race.



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New years and birthdays in Taos 
Wednesday, January 8, 2014, 10:37 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
New Year's Eve I drove up to Taos to ski the torchlight parade with Jason, Jeff, and Victor. I finally had a completely clean run down the dark showdown bumps too! But after the ski shop party we turned in early at 10pm.





New years day we skied a full 9:00-5:00 day with a Kachina hike and a couple ridges. My friend Adrien came up from ABQ with her sister so we had a nice crew.




On Friday, Jason had his big 50th bday bash, complete with a xc ski and snowshoe to Williams Lake, and a full day of skiing. We hiked Kachina with Briana and another friend, Christy, we picked up on the lift. The sad part of the day was on the last run, Jason had a bad fall on Juarez and slid for ~200 ft and hurt his ankle. Being the person he is, he still skied down on one foot and went out to the birthday dinner with his Taos friends.






Saturday, after doing a backside mach run (61 mph!), I continued my mission to ski every named run in Taos. I focused on the west basin, but the snow conditions were terrible. I didn't really know the names of the chutes and there poorly labels. Meatball was nearly impossible to get into and I ended up sliding between rocks on my side to get into the main chute from the southern ridge. I didn't mean to, but the next run I got into the technically closed Sauza, where the choke was not skiable, and I had to sidestep, slip, and repel on a rope down to the lower stretch. I was shocked when the rope first came into view but I managed to keep it together and get down the run. Lastly, I skied Oster, but again it was rocky so I had to be extremely precise with my line. Overall, it was a tough morning, so I was happy to take the 2nd easy with Mike and Andreas. Saturday night was Josiah's birthday party at the St. Bernard. We ate well, had a little champaign, danced until the bar closed, and post-partied in the RV. Then I spent the 2 degree night in the van, but was plenty warm with my sleeping bag, puffy clothes, and a couple blankets.









Sunday morning, I warmed my boots and water bottle in my sleeping bag. I got geared up, grabbed a Tim's breakfast burrito, and caught the 9:00 chair. The conditions were super icy so I did Tresckow, Two Bucks, and Hidalgo before heading home early.
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Christmas in Washington, MO 
Thursday, December 26, 2013, 11:02 PM - Trips
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I spent a week in WashMO with the family for Christmas. We had festivities planned for every day: white elephant gift exchanges, pictionary, other board games, movies, volleyball, walks, and lots of food. Some of the highlights were:

Misty dressed up.


Bartering during the white elephant.


Giving my brother my old mountain bike.


Having a beer with dad.


Grandpa admiring the pies at the local coffee shop.

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Snowy Night Mountain Rescue Mission on the Thumb 
Friday, December 20, 2013, 09:56 PM - AMRC
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The page out happened at 6:00pm (early!) and by 6:40, Tyler, Mike, and I were cruising up to the crest parking area. It took a while for everyone else to get up there, but eventually 15 members and our mastermind (Justin) huddled up. We hatched a plan to string fixed lines up the Northwest Ridge of the Thumb so that people could move gear up and we could get the patients off. The climbers were uninjured but hypothermic. They had started to climb at 7am, bonked and slowly moved up to about 700-1000 feet off the deck. Then they wrapped up in a puffy and sleeping bag and called us in to pull themselves off. The coherent climber said he didn't want to rap the other guy off since he was barely moving.

I was in the middle of a cold and hacking occasionally, but Tyler had talked me into joining the excitement. I really wasn't in good condition for an all-night epic, but figured I could help out. Things were not looking good though: pulling two people off the mountain rappelling them ~1000 ft and then hauling them up or down the La Luz back to civilization. Mike paired up Supra and headed off the start the climb. I led the team to secure the lines up to the patients so that the medical team (Justin and Dane) could prusik up to them quickly and easily if the helo wouldn't drop them off.

My team of 10 people split apart into a hastier team (Paul, Leigh, Tyler, me) and the rest of the crew (Brad, Mark, Sam, Mason, Michele, Brendan) because not everyone had crampons. The speedier, crampon team worked down the shortcuts and made it to the base of the climb fairly quickly. I even added a couple handlines for the steep snowy section leading up to the base of Pitch 1. By that time Mike and Supra had finished off the first 70 meters of the traditional climb and I helped them set the first line.

The National Guard were running a training mission nearby so when the IC contacted them, they were happy to come by and check out the situation. After sorting out which group they were supposed to rescue (ha), they dropped someone on a jungle penetrator next to the patients and hauled them off to Johnson Field. All that work for nothing! I waited for Mike and Supra to get down and we hiked out (extremely slowly) back to the crest with ice axes and crampons. With the frozen 300' rope in my backpack and cold (cough, runny nose, headache), it felt like I barely made it out. The rest of the final group (Supra, Paul, Mike) were also struggling. We got back to the trailhead/IB at 2:00am for the debrief. Home, showered, and in bed by about 3:30am, so I didn't feel guilty it was 10:00am before I show up at work the next morning.
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Taos BC Ski Trip 
Monday, December 16, 2013, 03:11 PM - Weekend Fun
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Mike and I used my grandparent's timeshare points to get a place in Taos for the weekend. Saturday morning we met up with Tyler and Andreas for a backcountry tour up toward Wheeler. We made it up to Williams Lake easy enough, but up higher the snow had mostly blown away from the strong winds the weekend before. We still boot packed it to the top of the ridge around 13,000' and pieced our way back down the snow/rock and ended up doing a great run through the trees at "penguin rock" south of the fingers. Above treeline there was about 4" of windblown slab on 2 feet of facets. in the trees there were more layers and the Column and Extended Column failed at 7 with a propagation at ~20 cm. We decided, "safe enough." It was a full day, so we hit up the Bavarian for a beer and then went back to town to have dinner with Josiah, Briana, Dave, Jen, and Kirk.

Sunday, I worked with Mike on some ski drills. By the end of the day we did Lorelei and took a highline ridge hike (Juarez). Pretty solid for his 3rd day on skis! I left for a couple more hikes. West Blitz Trees was nice and Elevator was brutal - punchy and nearly untouched except for one person who slipped the entire line: definitely a little survival skiing in there. We headed home early, and I, feeling a little sick, passed out by 10pm.







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Red River Race Camp and Taos Powder Day 
Monday, December 16, 2013, 02:54 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
Jason, Jeff, and I went up to Red River for the Corporate Cup race camp. It wasn't as busy as last year, which meant we got a little more attention from the UNM ski team members. I trained with Joonas Rasanen, the 2013 NCAA Men's Slalom National Champion. The camp really is a great way to get your feet back under you for the ski season and fun to run gates for a day too.



Sunday, the three of us skied 9" of power on the front side of Taos. Unfortunately, there were 35+ mph sustained winds so chair 2 never started running. It was still fun to do bumps... and I got to play with my new Volkl Katanas! They were great on the powdery bumps early on, and still fun on the hard pack at the end of the day. They don't carve well, but they are powder ski after all. 112 under foot.

12 sets of skis for 3 people skiing 2 days:

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Thanksgiving in Alto Pass 
Thursday, December 5, 2013, 09:21 PM - Trips
Posted by Administrator
I spent a week back at my parents' place for Thanksgiving. Everyone from my father's side was there except for Anne Elise who was still in Chile with her study abroad program. I took a 30 degree bike ride with my mom and the family hiked to bald knob cross. It was me and my Dad's 25th year to make the journey (ever since I was 5 years old!) I also got to watch the pottery process in full: clay to store.


Cold bike ride


Grandpa hiking the trail


Thanksgiving dinner


Hike to the cross


Artsy hiking picture


Pottery making and shop


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Cabezon and San Ysidro Slot Canyon 
Sunday, November 24, 2013, 04:42 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
For some bizarre reason, ten people decided to take a very cold, snowy, windy, climb of Cabezon on Saturday. Jeff brought together a strong crew but we didn't realize how difficult the conditions were before showing up. There was rime ice on everything and the holds weren't very good. I actually would have probably turned around if it wasn't for Mike having the good sense to bring a rope and harness. I figured we could always setup some rappels for folks when we didn't want to downclimb what we came up. I didn't really want to downclimb much of the route either since my La Sportiva approach shoes get very slick in the snow. Mike set up a handline for people on the crux move and then we lassoed a boulder on top to make the first downclimb move, but I think I might have been the only person to use it. Everyone else butt scooted down the entire climb! Very impressive. I think everyone had a little trouble downclimbing the crux, but we all made it down safely. Then on the way home we checked out the San Ysidro slot canyon. It was too wet to do a lot of it, but it was still fun to explore from the top of the canyon.














Saturday, I drove to Holbrook, AZ to buy a Tallboy mountain bike. The drive was snowy/whiteout and ice-packed for the trip out and I nearly was run off the road a couple times by semis, but I did get the bike and back to town in one piece.
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