12 Hours of Mesa Verde 
Thursday, May 7, 2015, 05:03 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
On Weds, the ARMC crew got to work with the BCFD/BCSO Rotary Team to figure out how to package for hoist operations. We also checked out the chopper.




Thursday, Folks got together for a chill south foothills MTB ride and pizza dinner at Bonnie's.




Friday, we drove up to Cortez and camped out. The weather was cold and wet. In the morning it was 35 degrees and snowing lightly. I was on the starting line scraping mud out of my bike cleats minutes before the starting blast went off. It was an honor to be the lead-off rider for Josiah and my duo team, VaJayJoe. The start of the race involved a sprint to our bikes, so I did my best to get to the front of the group before clicking in; I did fairly well and was in the top 50 people or so of ~400 teams leaving the staging area. I hit the gas to hit the trails in good position but entered the singletrack breathing hard. At mile 5 the fat snow started dumping hard, but the course was tons of fun - great flowy singletrack with small rocky obstacles and some spots of exposure. By mile 8, the race was spacing out and I was riding at a normal pace and my sunglasses were fogged up so I put them in the collar of my shirt. Not much longer I caught my backpack on a low tree branch, ripping my mesh pocket with my garage clicker (stupid) and flinging my glasses somewhere. I was in tight trees with people behind me, so I just kept riding. The mud was really getting insane by mile 10 and I could barely ride large sections without fishtailing everywhere. Some people were taking the decents really slow--which was driving me crazy--but ultimately kept me on the trail, which is probably a good thing. In the rib cage I was stranded behind someone riding the brakes but for the last 5 miles I was mostly clear and just struggling to keep the bike moving in the right direction. A one point, I couldn't make a climb and as soon as I put my foot down it slid in the mud and I fell on my bike. The final drop back to the starting line went well and I was happy to be turning to torch over to my teammate, but when I got there they said there was a 2 hour delay. I got in at 1:40ish and in those conditions, I thought that was a solid effort. I hosed my bike off for a long while and went to warm back up in the tent while the other two teams came in.






At noon, they cancelled the race. We had spaghetti and beer, and most racers headed home. We decided to camp another night, so we could ride the course in the morning. The storm broke and we had slow races (trackstand practice), an RV party with Mike and Tammy, and a great camp fire. In the morning everyone went out for a ride, but my bike was in no shape to make another full lap with chain rust and dirt so I bailed after 6 miles.





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AMRC OCC Final Weekend with additional Ski/Climb/Cave/Bike 
Monday, May 4, 2015, 07:30 PM - Trips, Weekend Fun, AMRC
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I've been in a little funk of late, but this last weekend's really jolted me back to life. Friday, Kendrick and I headed to Santa Fe Ski Area to take a few laps on the Nambe Chutes with his dog Sarah. The bottom was melting fast and we ended up walking over a number of mud patches. By the halfway mark, we were in much better shape and we finished the skin just as the sun was hitting a few nice couloir lines. I dropped into an easy chute on Styx below Deception Peak and carved up the spring corn. Kendrick and Sarah were close behind. Luckily another group had put in a bootpack to the top via Rubicon so we didn't suffer too much on the return. Our 2nd line was far more interesting with a 55 degree entrance on Armageddon. A snowshoer was even kind enough to send us a few pictures of us dropping in. After lap two, Jeremiah and his friend showed up, but we decided call it and made our way back to the ski area base.









Kendrick and I grabbed pizzas at Il Vicino in Santa Fe and then worked our way out to Diablo Canyon. He convinced me to climb Post Moderate (though we ended up on Hellboy at the top) to level the score from the skiing. Kendrick made it look easy on lead - I, on the other hand, managed to unconfidently work my way up grunting and cursing. The crux of the 2nd pitch gave Kendrick pause and he had to downclimb and rework the problem a couple times. On top rope it wasn't as daunting and I pulled though. We rapped off the mid-pitch anchors as AMRC members started showing up.







The OCC crew, fresh from their NM SAR Field Certification testing, arrived at Diablo around 8:30. They were given a mock scenario to find a fallen climber, Shaniqua La Fonda, based on a few cell phone GPS coordinates. My team ended up wandering around east of the canyon for a while until the patient was located. We brought up ropes and rigging kits for the low angle rescue and set up 4 sequential anchors down to a trail to IB. I finally got my Baofeng radio programmed and it came with this very nice feature where you can listen to the radio until a communication comes in - we selected the mariachi music on 94.7. After a long, slow lower we made it back to the camp at 1am, debriefed, and then pitched camp.

In the morning, we started with the test-out stations. I manned the rigging station with Hans and Angela. Once everyone was finished, I went to the Styx wall and did a couple 5.7 top-rope climbs (one by belaying myself with a grigri - that was new). After lunch we went down to the Rio and cooled off. Kevin, Sarah, and I piled into Kendrick's Jeep and off-roaded a little on the way back to camp.






A storm was moving in, so we used the afternoon to watch Cliffhanger in Justin's van and go spelunking at Buckman Cave. The OCC crew went up there without a rope - so it was only Kendrick, Gio, and I that got any quality cave time. We covered much of the same areas that Mike and I explored a couple years ago. But this time we went a little deeper to a place labelled "Hell" with an arrow down a ~60 ft pit. It was a dead-end, but that was the farthest I've gotten so far. There is another big rappel from the big room with a triangular hole in the ceiling - guess we'll get to that one next time. I did also manage to avoid ascending the 1st rap with a tight squeeze and 20 ft of aid climbing. The first drop can be avoided in the future to save the rope for the lower sections.







As we got back to camp, the BBQ party was in full swing. The OCCers passed their tests so they officially joined the team. They were given their 8 mm cordelettes and Verena was awarded a grigri for her outstanding work in the class. A fire was built up and then we got the idea to have radium release hitch tying races. A week before, I claimed I could tie one in 30 seconds, but only got it down to 35 seconds before sharing the video with the class. Supra soon after sent me a video on FB that showed a 30 sec radium. So now it seems this has become a thing. I was paired up with Nick, the new guy, and I lost terribly... Supra beat him, and Lance won it all in the end. How funny to be tying knots at midnight. I also partook in some champagne and a couple beers at the fire, breaking my 26-day alcohol-less stretch. I had been trying to get a little more fit for mountain biking racing, but this party seemed worth breaking the drought.







Sunday, I was originally slated to ride the high road to Taos with Briana and company, but she got sick and cancelled. I chose to use my sunday to ride to the Santa Fe Ski Area. It was a tough climb and my knee started bothering me midway up. I dialed back the speed and eventually made it to the top - 30 miles and 4400 ft of climbing.
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OCC Training at Big Block 
Sunday, April 26, 2015, 06:56 PM - Weekend Fun, AMRC
Posted by Administrator
Saturday was the OCCers last training before their final testout weekend. Paul ran a good scenario in which his daughter had an open tibia fracture (complete with animal bone and tomato sauce blood) on the Big Block shelf. I came in with the support team and built an anchor with Andrea's trad rack for the patient, Verena, and I. The rock was terrible (crumbly), so when we started putting the litter attendant, patient, and 2 support folks on it, I got nervous and added a couple more pieces for a total of 5 cams. Verena did a great job of taking care of the medical components and paul worked the litter well. I haven't seen something like this done before, but we had 2 lines for the toe and head of the little tied into the anchor to stabilize it for patient loading. Paul was still too far out to help, so I built a tiny 3:1 off the master point on the litter system and pulled everyone in. To transfer the patient to the Stokes, we clipped her into the main and I lowered her on a munter. After she was fully packaged, the upper team raised the litter off the rock shelf; Verena and I let out the head and toe lines; and then I let out the 3:1 system and the litter slowly swung back out into the free air. They transitioned back to a lower and everyone reached the ground safely. The OCC then ran a quick low angle back to the road to reiterate wheeled litter transport. Overall it went well, but at 2 hours the whole thing took much too long.

The afternoon was devoted to a few specific skills: rap/ascension transitions and knot passes.







Afterwards everyone went over to Paulie's place to BBQ. The best part for me is feeling like I'm finally starting to get to know some of the new crew :)




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Mid-April AMRC Activities 
Saturday, April 18, 2015, 03:45 PM - Weekend Fun, AMRC
Posted by Administrator
Seems like there's been tons of mountain rescue activity lately! On Thursday, the team held a high angle rescue training to practice vectoring during edge transitions. I also worked on my system for transitioning from horizontal to vertical stokes and back: a block and tackle system tied to the master point and base of the litter is simple for building MA and getting it done - though I need more than a 30' 8 mm rope for getting it to 5:1.



Friday, I spent the day planting 10 Cypress and Austrian Pines at my house. I also got a big load of mulch to redo the backyard landscaping after years of 40-50 mph winds stealing my woodchips. By the end of the day the driveway was clear and my back was aching.




On Saturday, I was ready to work with the OCC class at the AFD fire tower, but at 6:30am a mission text came in. Andy, suggested I joined a few other AMRC folks to go out and look for a 51 year old female who was lost in Manzano Mountain State Park. We spent the day running a grid search in the Park, but with no sight of the woman. The following day, the sad news came in that the woman was found dead.



Saturday night was Briana's birthday party. I've been taking a month off alcohol so I DD'ed for the Effex revelers. Quite the scene with ~10 friends in the rooftop moshpit. I got everyone home sometime around 2am and passed out from sheer exhaustion.



Sunday, I joined Mike, Allison, Jordan, and Tom on a mountain bike ride in the south Manzanos. We did the Southern Crossing to Ponderosa, Gamble Oak, and Deadman for 16 relaxed miles in the warm afternoon. When I got home an AMRC pageout stated someone was involved in a 20' fall and had head and leg injuries. I rushed to the crest parking lot, and jogged 3 miles with Frank and Supra to the base of Chaos Crag (by Yataghan). When we got down there, we found that a UNM Reach and Treat and APD were already on scene and they said there was no head trauma, and no major swelling of the feet or legs. The helo was called off and we walked the patient to the La Luz Trail and littered him the 5 miles back down to the TH over 4 hours of agony. Fortunately, there was a lot of help and we moved fairly fast. AFD was nice enough to give us all a lift back to our vehicles and we signed out at 1:30am. I was in bed at 2:30 and made no attempt to make it to work on time Monday.





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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
Posted by Administrator
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
Posted by Administrator
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
Posted by Administrator
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
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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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The 22 Hour Saturday 
Sunday, January 25, 2015, 04:25 PM - AMRC
Posted by Administrator
Up at 4:45am, I loaded up the ski racing equipment, picked up Kaela, and headed to Angel Fire for my first race of the season. I ran a very conservative line for my first and ended up missing the 2nd run by a minute or two because Kaela and I took a long run down the ridge and they closed the course just before I got there. Bummer. I ran the gates without timing for fun and pushed much harder - felt like I shaved a good 0.5-1.0 seconds on my first run's time. Now I'm going to have to smoke Santa Fe to make up for my poor performance.

Kaela and I played on the backside in the afternoon. We hiked up and did a nice run on Detonator which still had powder on the fringes.

(Angel Fire's world class mountain biking trails with a few feet of snow.)


On our way back we stopped off at Kevin and Mary Kay's place to have dinner. Max and Felix were entertaining the crowd and we were having a wonderful time catching up, when an AMRC text came in. I didn't have any gear, but Kevin said he could wrestle up a headlamp and some crampons for me. We sped up the crest and were fielded as Team 2 by BCFD. We rushed down La Luz and plowed through waist deep shortcut powder to catch Andreas and Jeff in Team 1. BCFD sent in 4 of their people ahead of us; they found the patients just below on the trail near the Fin. The male and female, around 20, tried to get up La Luz but started postholing and soaked their shoes--then night came. The female had taken off her sopping socks and discarded them.

Kevin boiled up some miso soup and tea while I tended to foot treatment: I dried her feet and ankles, put on some dry socks, and then created a vapor barrier with trash bags before putting her feet back in the frosty tennis shoes. While there was some debate whether she could get to the top with painful arthritis in her right hip, she did eventually make it out under her own power (after 3 hours). Ironically, the firefighters took the longest. We gave them a spare set of snowshoes for the crampon gripper, but it was still a slow process. I tried to help by kicking a lot of the ice off the stairs and packed the snowy path down to the top.

Kaela had taken the car back to my house, so I got a ride with Andreas. All the doors were locked, so we banged on the bedroom window and eventually Kaela obliged to shelter me for the night. After a celebratory beer with Andreas, I crashed hard sometime after 2:30am.
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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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Christmas in WashMo, STL, and So IL 
Tuesday, January 6, 2015, 10:09 PM - Trips
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I spent a week in the midwest with the family at Christmas time. I bought dad a road bike in ABQ for xmas, so it was a little bit of a give away when he came to pick me up, but Mom and I jokingly played it off like I had brought a bunch of dirty laundry back home to be washed. The other challenge was getting the bike box in the Prius, which required my mom to cram in the back seat half on top of the bike.

We sent to Washington, MO first and re convened the family for a nice lunch and dinner. The following day we went back to St. Louis for Christmas on my Mom's side. I managed to fix my uncle's beloved bubbles game by replacing some fuses (first time it's worked in 6 years). I think that was the best gift he's ever received for christmas in two decades :) In the morning, we did gifts with Jack, Rachel, and Jeremy Skyping on my iPad from New Orleans. Worked remarkably well.

After that we headed back to Washington to do Christmas on my Dad's side. Party of the festivities were to build Grandma (and Jolie the dog) a fenced in yard. The following day Rebecca drove down from STL to visit with me. WE reminisced about the good old days in Boulder with the NREL crew. After that came the photo day - Anne Elise and I managed to win the scavenger hunt by hitting the local thrift shop. The theme for this year was 'selfie', which I proudly won with the shot of me with ice frozen to my beard and hair. Anne Elise won 'best of year' with a shot of a lake in Guatemala.




For the last couple days of the trip, I went to my childhood home in southern Illinois. The family made the 26th annual hike (bushwhack) to Bald Knob Cross. I've done the hike every winter since I was 5 years old - so it was good to keep the tradition alive. Dad and Mom's HS friend and family from Manhattan stayed the next night and it was fun to see them catching up on the last 25 years. On my way out of town, the Johnsons, Pepples, and other Johnsons gathered in STL for a final brunch. It was nice to see Cara again - she seems to be happy and busy with work in Oakland. I'm sure I'll be out that way to see her again soon.






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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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