Knife Edge of the Shield 
Monday, August 12, 2013, 09:01 PM - Weekend Fun
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Josiah and I have been talking about doing this climb for a while, so it was good to finally knock it out. We climbed the Knife Edge of the Shield, a low 5th class climb, with a few trad pitches for those choosing to make it safe.

Briana, Josiah, and I left early on a partly cloudy Saturday morning and worked our way up Piedra Lisa and Rincon Spur Trails to the base of the climb. We freed our way up to the 'W' and then roped up. I found making the jump from the 'W' wasn't too bad and placed 4 pieces on the first pitch. Briana and Josiah went back and forth with the jump decision and in the end Josiah made the jump, but Briana went the more challenging route around to the left.

I did another pitch up the steeper section and then up a small chimney back to the easier class 4 stuff. Maybe not necessary to have the rope, but I was glad to have it, especially since I found a few loose rocks. Placed a couple cams and a couple nuts on the 2nd pitch, but avoided rope drag as best I could. From there it was up to North Sandia Peak for a lunchtime beer and all the way back down the La Luz Trail.







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San Diego Weekend 
Monday, August 12, 2013, 08:09 PM - Weekend Fun
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In an effort to try and cheer up Jason after his motorcycle accident, I flew out to San Diego for the weekend. He was tore up pretty bad after hitting the firetruck that crossed the middle line on a blind turn. Fortunately, he had recently gotten out of the wheelchair; but 14 broken bones, severe nerve damage in his left arm, and fasciotomy on his left calf would certainly get anyone down. It was the 6-7 pain level from the nerve damage for the last 3 months that had him at new lows. And I'm sure Jason can take pain as well as anyone since he's an ex-bike racer--perhaps the most brutally painful sport ever.




At any rate, I did my best to cheer him up. We got some beers at Trader Joes and talked about options for bike rides in NM and the ski season. Saturday, we sailed to Coronado Island and had lunch. All the boats were checked out when we got to the marina so we killed time snacking and drinking in the sun.






Sunday, we visited my old high school bud, Chris (who's nearly done with the UCSD PhD and now engaged(!) to a charming British woman he met in Geneva while working at CERN). Then we headed out to Palomar Mountain for a quick 30 mile bike ride. Even in his broken state, Jason got to the top a good minute before me... vampire breathing past me on the final 1/3rd of the ~3000 ft climb.



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Bush Shark Spire and Guideline Training 
Monday, July 29, 2013, 08:03 PM - Weekend Fun
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Mike and I headed out to do some climbing Saturday. The weather held and we knocked off Bush Shark Spire, which it probably a little harder than I want to be climbing right now. I had a foot come off a smear about 25' up and took a gentle fall on a #1 camalot. It held fine and I think it shook Mike up more than me. I did make slow progress though... my forearms were on fire! By the half way point, I was moving very slowly and placing a lot. On the final move I backed off to place a #3 and retry it. Overall, P1 was very well protected and I managed to get up. Mike worked some kind of magic over the crux, because when I tried to do it, I found absolutely no hands. In the end, I figured I was fatigued enough to not be embarrassed aiding through it and I popped in a C3 to make the move. It blew and I went airborne--but hitting nothing but air. The next time I placed it much more carefully and was up in no time. The rest of P2 got progressively easier to the chains. We ran a line to the summit and then rapped back into Echo Canyon for the climb out.

Sunday AMRC held a guideline training at the Hideout. This was a very nice spot that some of the rescue leaders have bolted routes in the past. We set up a low angle and compared this to the guideline system. I was supposed to be in charge of the low angle scenario but instead split off to help run the main with Courtney and Marc. It took a long time to set up, but the system ran fairly smoothly. We did have to double knot pass when the 200' main ran out. The 2nd guideline anchor also had rope length problems and claimed everything would have run smoother if the 600' line was about 50' longer. We also got some load cell data for the two ropes at different points during the scenario to compare to theoretical values. Looking forward to seeing those results.






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Climbing by Telluride 19-21 July, 2013 
Monday, July 29, 2013, 06:52 PM - Weekend Fun
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For Kevin's 31st birthday, Bill, Kevin, and I headed to Telluride to find some mountains. We climbed in Cracked Canyon on Friday. Kevin led Chewbacca, and we top roped Crack of Mind, and I led Pirouette before we were scared off by the lightning. We found an amazing camp spot toward Hope Lake after the Trout Lake turnoff around [+37° 48' 42.61", -107° 52' 1.32"].




The next day we headed off to Pipeline Wall to do a couple sport routes. Bill combined the 1st two pitches of Ame's Way and I finished it off. Then Kevin combined the 1st two pitches of Skylight Arete and I got to finish it off again. Double topout! Kevin found another 5.8 and I belayed him from the shade. Then we had a beer while overlooking the town, got two large pizzas at Brown Dog, and rode the gondola up to the top of the mountain to watch the sunset and stare at the Wilsons.



The next morning we were up early to hike Golden Horn and Vermillion Peak. Hope Lake was spectacular, but the 2000 ft of talus was not. It was misery to get up to the saddle, but from there the climbing was great. It was good to be above treeline in CO again!



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Weekend in Town 
Friday, July 19, 2013, 07:27 PM - Weekend Fun
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Friday I met up with Jeff and a couple folks from my intermural summer soccer team (Ron, Enrique, and Katy Jo) to watch the Border Classico soccer game between, the Colorado Rapids and Santos Laguna in the UNM football stadium. The game was good but ended with the Mexican's up 2-1.



The following day, I met up with Kirk, Jennifer, Chris, Melody, Josiah, Kelley, Mike, and Julia for a beer at Il Vicino Canteen before heading over to a house party. In a moment of brilliance, we through a party in the treehouse during a lightning storm.



Sunday, before the heat was too unbearable, I did a lap around town and watched World War Z with Tom. It could have been so much more...


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4th of July and Lizard Head 
Monday, July 8, 2013, 08:02 PM - Weekend Fun
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For the 4th of July, I had a few people over (Rusty, Mike, Tom, John, Jack, Jeanne & friends) to BBQ and, after carbo-loading, we jumped on bikes and headed to Balloon Fiesta Park for a Fireworks. Rusty was cruising strong on his cyclocross bike (occationally in the arroyo), so I hoped on the back wheel and blazed down there with him (not in the arroyo). The fireworks were nice, but the lightning was even more impressive. Coming back, the arroyo was flowing strong--great to see in this drought.




Mike, Tom, and I, ventured up to the Wilson's area by Telluride for the long weekend. We climbed Lizard Head (5.8ish) via the Southwest Chimney route. Up at 4:30, we were roped up at 6am. I led the first pitch and was very happy it wasn't too cold on my hands above 12,000'. My 2nd hold exploded when I gave it a pull. Albert Ellingwood spoke warmly of this effect after his 1921 FA, noting "a rottener mass of rock is inconceivable" and "most of the enticing small holds crumbled at a touch, and large masses of the loosely compacted pebbles would topple dangerously at a slight pull.”

After that, I was having some serious mental issues with my holds, and without my confidence, my climbing was particularly weak. I managed to get up to a slight roof but awkwardly moved around in the crack for about 20 minutes, came down to rest and look at the moves again, and went up to finally work up the gumption to step out, clip a piton, and crawl over the bulge. The final move of the pitch was also tricky, but well protected; I pulled a nice layback to make it up to the spire. I belayed Mike up and then belayed him out while bringing Tom up at the same time. Easier said than done, but it was safe and I didn't tangle the doubles somehow. Weather looked a little more threatening at this point, but it would hold for us.

Mike led the crux pitch relatively well. A few questionable placements, but he got to the top and brought Tom and I up quickly. I had the backpack dangling off my harness for the crux (slight roof) and it kept getting caught and pissing me off to no end. The summit of this massive pile of choss was... chossy! We went up to the top, signed the log AMRC Alpha Team, and then rapped back to the top of the 1st pitch.

Here's where things went wrong. I got to the anchor but the ropes refused to pull. We all tugged hard. Nothing. I climbed back up on the loose debris to get to a place where I could prussic onto the pull rope and weighed it down. With everything I could give it, there was a little movement. I backed my way to the 1st anchor with my 1:1 system. Then up I went again to give it another pull. Again, putting my whole weight into the rope it moved slowly through the chains on the summit. I repeated this 10 ft/pull maneuver until we had the ropes. It was particularly scary to be jumping down the debris field toward a 200 ft cliff prussiced to a loose end of a rope... though Mike did have a belay on the other end.










To celebrate the climb, we headed into Telluride for pizza and a beer. On the free gondola ride over to Mountain Village, a middle-aged Florida woman openned conversation by saying, "You're dirty." We explained that we were camping and she told us her sons wanted to try that, but there were too many things that could eat you out there and that she'd need to hire a guide. We just looked at each other in disbelief. Really, is there such a thing as guided camping?


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Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre, Red River, and South Boundary Trail 
Monday, July 8, 2013, 07:47 PM - Weekend Fun
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Mike and I went north of Questa to find the Questa Dome area. We eventually found ourselves on a rough 4WD road--enough so that we decided to hike the rest of the distance to the trailhead. Just as we were thinking we had been going for a lot longer than 0.2 mi that the directions called for we heard a couple 4 wheelers. A nice old man with a giant axe and a middle-aged woman with a pistol on her hip came up the road. We explained that we were lost and looking for the Questa Dome trail. They said that it was back where we came from, so I asked to bum a ride. I hopped on the back of the old guy's ATV and Mike saddled up with the woman. Great decision! We made it back to the car in no time, and to our shock, the trail was about 100' from the parked vehicle. Somehow we missed the dirt turn.

The Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre was a fantastic climb--or at least the 2nd pitch was fantastic. Mike lead off the deck and made it to a nice big tree. I lead the crux pitch as the thunderstorm started flaring up. I stepped out onto the super airy corner and worked my way up some very nicely positioned chickenheads. I only used 2 cams for the whole pitch because I was slinging so many chickens out there. It was a very fun pitch - perhaps my favorite lead of all time! I got Mike up as the rain started.

On the rap, the ropes got tangled into a total mess and it took me forever to get down. They kept catching on those now-less-than-wonderful chickenheads! Then I got the red rope stuck in a crack and had to spend some time releasing it. Fortunately the rain stopped and we could take our time leaving. 2 raps and we were back on the trail.




We got a margarita at a Mexican place in Red River with Tyler, Allison, Tom, and Brad. Back at the car camp, we decided to make the most of the long daylight hours and head up to a sport area in town. Mike led a surprisingly challenging 5.7 sport route, Alision gave it a shot, Tom climbed it, and I top roped it by headlight. Someone in town must have noticed my up there, because there were a few yells of encouragement from the Texas-infested city.



S'mores by the camp fire. I gave Mike my best chair.


Josiah, Dave, and Kelley joined us for camping that night. In the morning, after a slow start and some confusion, the mountain biking crowd (Josiah, Dave, Tyler, Mike, and myself) were dropped off at Garcia Park on the South Bounday Trail. I led the group east to the top of the standard route. The storm was already gathering on the ridge, so it was a real shame that Dave flatted just as we began descending. As the lightning blasted all around, we swapped tubes... but it leaked. So we changed it to another one... and it worked. We took off just as the rain started. We outpaced the storm and pretty soon we were back out ahead of it. This would continue for the remainder of the trip. We outrun the storm and then break, only to find the sky growing darker again.



Everything was going great--easily some of the best singletrack in the state, if not the nation--but then I had a minor endo. No biggy, I thought, but I broke a spoke. So I tucked it up around the others and kept riding, but I heard a few more 'tings' of a spoke and then slam! The rear wheel locked up completely! I have concluded that the other broken spoke must have pulled the rear derailleur into the rear wheel. Everything was broken. I took off the derailleur and with Josiah's help turned my bike into a single speed for the final 5 miles or so. Luckily it was mostly downhill. The chain wondered around on the rear rings until it finally ratched up to where it shouldn't have been and put the chain under extreme tension: like 100s of lbs of tension! I could barely crank, but kept at it. Eventually the tension bent and broke my middle front chainring in half! At this point I was walking with a backpack full of bike parts. I rolled where I could, but it was a long gravity-fed ride out. Finally, after dozens of rollers, I hit the road. With a push from my friends and a tail wind I hit 38 mph back into town where Tom, Kelley and the cars waited. That'll certainly be a ride to remember.




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TTT at Chris and Harmony's Place 
Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 09:19 PM - Week activities
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About 24 hours back in the country, I did the 25-mile round trip bike ride to Chris and Harmony's place on the westside for the monthly wine tasting. They have a stunning place with a pool and a great view of the Sandias. The Spanish reds went very well with the aged cheeses that I brought from France.




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Grenoble, Chamonix, Paris! 
Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 08:16 PM - Trips
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I attended IEEE PES Powertech and my first SIRFN meeting in Grenoble last week. I visited Grenoble a couple years before in conjunction with the EU PVSEC conference, so it was good to see the city again. My old roommate from GT, Sebastien, still lives in the area so we spent a couple evenings enjoying the local beers and cheese (it's a French thing). He and his wife, Estelle, are prod parents to 20 month old Camille, who was kind enough to play rugby with me when I went over to their place for dinner.


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Cultural exchange: Marble Red from ABQ and Leffe from Belgium.

One morning before the conference, I took a nice 6-mile job up to the Bastille, through the caves, and back down a rough 30% grade hill into town. Of course my calves would hurt for a couple days because of the effort, but it was worth it for the sunrise views from the empty fortress!


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I toured the Chartreuse distillery and museum. This green liquor is created from 140 local herbs collected by Monks in the mountains. Supposedly only 2 of the monks know the complete recipe.

The Friday after the SIRFN meeting was La Fête de la Musique to celebrate the summer solstice. I remember my first encounter with the Fete in Paris in 2007 very well, because the streets were packed with rock, indie, techno, classical, and every other musical genre in between. Grenoble didn't quite have the same auditory density, but a few of the guys from the workshop joined me on a grand exploration of the different venues. We eventually picked up a couple beers and stopped off at the "Rock" zone. Seb eventually put Estelle and Camille to bed and joined us at around 10pm. We then headed off to the techno area to bring the night to a close. Our line-up was pretty good with DJ one Finger, Jeebey, and Itchy et Scratchy. At 2am, I gave up on there being a tram and jogged the couple miles back to the hotel, only to get up at 6am to catch my train to Geneva.



Estelle and Martin, both ex-UNM ski racers and ex-French/Austrian national ski team members, greeted me in Genève. We got supplies for a wonderful breakfast at their place in Annemasse, and then piled into the car to head toward Chamonix.

I didn't realize it before, but Estelle's parents had a spetacular house in the valley where we could stay, and her parents were out of town for the week too! From there we launched a couple day hikes. The first was a 6.5 mile hike/climb to Lac de Pormenaz. It was a very steep climb up but we somehow picked the only spot in the whole region where the sun was shining, so it great. We reached the ice-covered with a little snow hiking and had yummy baguette sandwiches.

We hiked back via the ski hill to Plaine Joux and then jumped into Lac de Passy for some refreshment. The clouds covered Mont Blanc for the most part, but every now and again they would seperate so I could make out the summit and it's impressive glaciers.





For dinner, I treated Estelle and Martin to dinner in Chamonix. Syrah and Fondue in front of Europe's biggest peak is certainly a great way to bring the evening to a close.





Sunday, we climbing in poor weather to Aiguillette des Houches. We could only spot the lower portions of the glaciers, but it was still a nice 3 hour hike with some respectable elevation gain (2,800 ft). We chomped down some sandwiches and then trucked it back into Chamonix for ice cream cones!




We grabbed a beer and I headed back to Paris. I navigated from Gare de Lyon to my hotel in a drizzle late on Sunday night, but managed to get a nice 2 hour walk around the city; I wanded up to the Pantheon, through the Luxembourg gardens, and down past Notre Dame before heading back stateside.

Photos are here.
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El Rito 6-9-13 
Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 07:35 PM - Weekend Fun
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I blazed up to El Rito for a little fun with Josiah, Briana, Marc, and gang on Saturday night. Despite a respectful party night, we were up climbing in the morning. And thanks to a big group ahead of us, we could top rope all day. I struggled up a 5.7 before slowly working up (with many breaks) Balls to the Wall (5.10b) and Blackballed (5.10c). Then I took a stab at Look Ma, No Cavities (5.10c) and gave up after a half dozen attempts at a move mid-face. I managed to make it much harder than it really was, but my arms were toast. Josiah and Briana made it up no problem! Then Briana led Crest Chewel (5.9) on the arete and took a nasty leader fall from the top of the cave. Easily a 15 footer into the rock ledge at the bottom! Shaken up, but otherwise ok, everyone breathed a sigh of relief!




One day this same week there was a howling easterly wind, so I took the bike out to see if I could win any of the strava courses around the house. I picked up 3 KOMs and a 2nd by crushing along with the wind. My proudest: the decent from Carlisle on Lead at 34 MPH.



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Saturday Sufferfest! Biking to the Crest 
Sunday, June 2, 2013, 03:26 PM - Weekend Fun
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I’ve wanted to do this ride for years but didn’t have the time, strength, or cojones. It was every bit as miserable as I expected: 66 miles and 6500 feet of climbing! My garage to Sandia Crest and back again.

Kelley and Eric started out on the ride but they turned around in Tijeras. I was left to struggle hours up north 14 with a head wind to the triangle. From there the winds died a bit, but the heat and gradient picked up considerably. I swapped places with another rider a couple times and we eventually got to the top in about 2 hours from the triangle (5 mph average at the top portion - slightly reduced with a refuelling stop). I celebrated the summit by calling Mom for her birthday.

On the ride down I averaged 35 mph to the ski area, which means that on a good day I have a shot at taking the KOM on strava. I'll have to give it a try sometime soon. It was closing in on 2pm, so the winds had shifted and I got the westerlies through the canyon and down central/zuni back home. Overall I was completely burned out, but proud of myself. I even biked to Il Vicino Canteen for a beer with Justin and Leigh and then headed over to Tyler's for the afterparty.


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Mom and Dad in NM 
Tuesday, May 28, 2013, 08:43 PM - Weekend Fun
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My parents visited NM for a week to help around the house and do a little exporing. During the week they walked around Nob Hill and the University, biked out to the Petroglyphs, rode the train to Santa Fe (while I was at the AMRC training), watched Mud with me, and then road tripped up to the Pecos for the Memorial Day weekend.

Friday - We stopped off at Tent Rocks for the slot canyon hike. On the road Dad played with GoPro road trip time lapse capabilities and Mom napped in the back. That night we made camp at Panchuela Trailhead in the Pecos. It was packed for the long weekend, but we managed to find a nice spot. I gave my parents the two sleeping bags and I had to curl up in a blanket for the night. It was so cold up there at 8000' at night!





Saturday - Based on a tip from Justin, we took off on a shot hike up Cave Creek to the caves. They turned out to be short little mazes but interesting with the running water pouring through the rock. The river disappeared into the side of the mountain for 1/10th of a mile while it made the subterranean traverse. We brought headlamps and helmets up there (climbing for me, cycling for Dad, and skiing for Mom); the few people on the trail must have thought we were an odd group. The big discovery was a bat taking a snooze on one of the rocks.

Back in camp, we had a beer in the hot sun and gathered up firewood for the night. We wrote letters to grandpa, cooked carne adovada on the open flame, and turned in early.





Sunday - We embarked on a bigger adventure up to Stewart Lake along a nice 14 mile loop. The trail migrated through spectacular aspen forests and worked up a couple thousand feet to the gorgeous alpine lake with a half dozen fishermen. We had sandwiches on a sunny rock and then headed back downhill to the car. The return trail didn't get spit out at the car so I jogged the last 2.4 miles to the car and swung back around to get Mom and Dad as they finished their trek. We had Tim Tam slams to celebrate a great day in the wilderness!





Monday - We packed up camp and made our way south. By chance we ended up at Pecos National Historical Park, so we took the mile loop around to look at the kivas, old spanish church, and imagine settlers working there way along the Santa Fe Trail. NM's got some fairly impressive history! We took the long way back along North 14 and had a great lunch at Greenside Cafe. Then it was back into town to relax and play Sorry and Golf. I dropped my parents off in the morning for the flight back to my brother in Chicago.






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Santa Fe Half Century 
Sunday, May 19, 2013, 06:01 PM - Weekend Fun
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Following a hard few days last week where Jeff broke his fibula playing soccer on Thursday and Jason crashed his motorcycling into a firetruck to avoid a large rock on a mountain road (hand, tib/fib, femur fractures), it was good to have some time to relax. I hosted the monthly wine gathering and selected a Mediterranean style wine and food for the theme. It was a smaller tasting than in the past (~dozen people), but I liked it because we could all sit around the patio table. (The ouzo was a little tough on Friday's bike to work day.)



Saturday I worked on reading my backlog of Wired and Outside magazines, house chores, and attempted to build a climbing area in the garage. I couldn't get the holds straight when drilling the rafters so the 3/8" bolts wouldn't thread right into the end caps and the botched attempt only led to a couple holds being tightened properly. Hey, it's a start!

Saturday night I went to see Briana sing with the On Q chorus and followed that up with a drink at La Cumbre with Harmony and Chris and then the On Q after party at O'Neils.

Sunday I was up at 4:45am, snatched a bunch of breakfast burritos for me and the gang (Frontier order #9 for the day), and drove up to Santa Fe with Tom and Mike. We met up with Josiah and Briana, Tyler, Kelley, and Katy for the ride. Mike, Tom, and Tyler did the full 100, but I elected to do the half century; it was the right decision with my knee tendon issues. Josiah and Briana were able to crush the first 20 miles of the downhill on the tandem because of the power of the configuration. I hugged their back wheel and we cruised past dozens of people at 20+ mph! At the first turn, the uphill portions of the rollers were enough to slow down J&B, and I found myself on the TT bars ripping it with a tail wind. I've started using Stava and I was proud to have placed 5 out of 96 on this segment with an average speed of 23.4 mph (even with a Gu break!). B&J and I stopped off for food and then finished the last uphill 20 miles back into town in force. The cross wind was rough, but I kept my cadence high and even tagged along with the lead peloton of the century for about 1/2 mile before being dropped promptly. I finished at 11:17am (2:48 moving time, ~3 hours total) and B&J came in two minutes after me. We killed it and passed a good 250 riders. Aside from the 6 BA centenarians, no one was riding as hard as I was - what a great feeling!




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Cave Route on the Pulpit 
Sunday, May 12, 2013, 06:44 PM - Weekend Fun
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Mike and I hiked up the LONG approach to The Cave Route on the old La Luz Trail to knock off our first trad climb of the year. We finished the 2 hour hike + small bushwhack at 11:30am and the clouds were already rolling in. I managed to forget my sunglasses and rain jacket back at home, so I was blind and freezing/damp when the snow/sleet rolled in on the 3rd pitch. Mike led the first pitch but didn't quite make it to cave before getting lost/confused. I had a horrible time with the huge backpack getting up the chimneys, but managed and then lead a short 2nd pitch up to the cave and around to the bolts. The rope drag was heinous, but Mike made it up in short order. The 3rd pitch was the best, but I couldn't get the handjam on the crux move. By the time I figured out the move sequence after 5 or so attempts my forearms were toast. Mike couldn't pull up the slack because of the rope drag and I would fall right back to the base of the crux. So annoying! Embarrassed, I eventually threw a 0.75 cam in the crack and aided up the move with my daisy chain and a couple slings. I could barely hold anything for the remainder of the pitch, but by the time I got to Mike my confidence had returned and I finished out the climb to the summit of The Pulpit. The rappel off the summit was exciting because my toes barely touched the ground with the rope stretch. Light Mike had to take the safety knots out of the ends to get his feet on the ground. The clouds came and went during the day, but it stayed warm and dry for the most part. We got back to the cars in a drizzle at around 5:30pm after a gratifying 4 pitches and a little simul-climbing.

Afterwards, Jack came over to Mike's place with some homebrew and we kicked back to look at pictures of Whitney and watch some of my old youtube flicks. I went over to Chris and Missy's place for Missy's Birthday. We had the house bouncing with some seriously dirty dubstep into the AM. I managed to leave my backpack at the party though, so it was extra tough to bike back up the hill after I got home and realized I didn't have keys.









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Epic'ing on the Chama + Lake Fork & Kachina BC Ski 
Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 07:40 PM - Weekend Fun
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I landed in ABQ at 6:30 on Weds and drove straight to the AMRC meeting. I had missed the last couple, so it was good to make an appearance. It's was good to see everyone. Afterward, I swung by the grocery store and then set to work on packing up for the Chama float. In 2 hours I had things mostly in order, had a drink with Jason, and went to bed with the understanding that Jason would get the rest of the things in order while I was at work. I bailed right away from the Solar ABCs webinar at 1:15, rushed back to my place, and Jason and I blasted up to the Chama put-in at El Vado damn in the 99. The lake was disgustingly low--at least 30' below it's high water mark. We weaseled our way onto someone else's permit, arranged the shuttle, and aired up the boats as the sun was setting. BUT there was a problem, the floor on my boat didn't hold air! It had a leak where the tubes attached, so I had to rig up my dry bags as a seat so I wouldn't sit in the 4-5" of water at the bottom of the soggy craft. I made do as best I could, but a couple miles down the river and my seat separated and I was sitting in 45-50ºF water. By sundown I was in mild hypothermia and getting worse. We pulled off and luckily found a perfect little camp spot just above Sleeper Rapid. I picked up my dry bag and noticed it had gotten a lot heavier. Oh no! I opened it up to assess the damage. I only loosely rolled both dry bags a couple times and now things were soaked. The med kit, tent, thermarest, and cooking stuff were drenched. As I picked up the tent bag water comically squirted out of the holes like a fountain. I had double bagged my sleeping bag so it was dry (thank goodness!). In the other bag with my clothes, about half my stuff was wet. Fortunately the big puffy survived and I threw that on to start thawing. The main problem was that my socks and shoes were drenched so I had to walk around barefoot on the cold ground. We got our fire going and Jason worked on cooking up the brots while I hung clothes and worked on drying socks and shoes by the fire. In our rush, there was some miscommunication and I didn't get yogurt or salad from the fridge, so we had to rough it with extra junk food.

We did 8 miles that first evening, so we only had a short 9 miles for Friday and could take our time in the morning. We took a long hike up to the rim of the canyon, patched the boat as best we could, and finally got on the water at 2pm. A couple miles downstream, we stopped off for a late lunch and a hike up Aragon Springs Trail. We camped at mile 17 in a beautiful spot. I brought grass-fed NM beef steaks for dinner and we eat them with Louisiana Hot Sauce and Santa Fe IPAs. I was very content on the river bank with warm food. The stairs came out in force and we kicked back to take in the cosmos.

In the morning, we did a little hike and then got to paddling at the crack of noon. There was not a whole lot of motive to get going early since it was so cold. Both nights dipped below freezing and there would be ice on the kayaks at daybreak. We kayaked passed the Christ in the Desert Monastery and made friends with the horses along the bank before getting serious, draining our last beers, and paddling the Class 3 Gaging Station and Screaming Left rapids to end the 31-mile trip.






Jason and I dipped the car south to Espanola and then right back up north to Taos for a backcountry ski on Sunday. Things had been cold enough to freeze all the corn snow solid, which made Jason move fast with the yaktrax, but I struggled with the skins on Mainstreet because I would slip back regularly. When I got to the summit of Kachina, there was no sign of Jason so I waited around with the few other folks up there, but he never showed up. Since we took different routes up, I thought there was a chance that he had a mechanical problem or was injured, but when I saw someone on the top of Lake Fork Peak and I knew that he had left me. Jerk! I managed to take the more exciting ridgeline up to Lake Fork and summitted with a few other folks. Jason and I then dropped the main chute, climbed the middle ridge, skied the back of the ridge, and hiked back up to Kachina again. Then it was a cruisy ride straight back to the car - the only problem was the sun cupped snow at the bottom. Otherwise it was fine, a whole month after it had closed for the season!




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Bay Area Visit 4-28-13 
Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 07:34 PM - Trips
Posted by Administrator
I headed out a couple days early for the SNL O&M and Inverter Reliability Workshops to catch up with friends. Dro picked me up at SJC and just about the first words out of his mouth were, "There's a small craft warning on the bay, we're going sailing!"

Nicole, Dro, myself, and couple instructors headed out on a 27 footer from Berkeley Marina into a Beaufort Fresh Breeze-and what a breeze it was! It was freezing and the waves and wind teamed up to blast surf across the cockpit. With the headwind and tides in the bay, we weren't able to make it to Alcatraz, which is where I was suggesting we go, but instead we cruised along Angel Island and then turned it around. It was a fun day out on the bay, but I gotta say it's got nothing on BVI.




Saturday night we got pizza with Chris, an old mutual friend from my NREL days. Good to see him and gossip about everyone from the Stallions of the Dawn. We headed out to get a few drinks with Dro's other friends at a Oakland dive bar. Fun times with good people.

On Sunday morning, Mohsin picked me up and we drove into the city. He had worked out a tour de SF that rivaled all my old tours of the city. Even with tennis shoes on clipless pedals in hilly San Francisco, we busted out 28 miles from the Mission to City Hall, Embarcadero, up and across the Golden Gate Bridge, Presidio, Ocean Beach, Golden Gate Park, and ended up in Dolores Park for sandwiches and Lagunitas Beer. The best part was that they closed down the roads to cars around the Academy of Sciences and we could cruise down the middle of the road with all the other people walking, biking, and roller blading.






I met Cara at Southern Pacific Brewing for dinner and a drink with Mohsin. She seems pretty happy and still works hard in Oakland for the troubled teenage youth. Then in a typical furry, Mohsin and I rushed to get me to the Caltrain. We managed to burn rubber over to the 22nd Street Station, unload my gear and sprint down the stairs, get a ticket, and rest a whole two minutes before the final south-bound train showed up.

Tues night Cora, Owen, Mohsin, Nicole, Dro and I got a tasty dinner at Rangoon Ruby a few blocks from my old pad in Palo Alto. University Ave looks just the way I left it. I suppose some things don't change.
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Sydney 
Saturday, April 13, 2013, 08:38 PM - Trips
Posted by Administrator
I flew to Sydney for a week of business travel to work on codes and standards with Technical Committee 82 of the International Electrotechnical Commission.

The photos show stunning Sydney.

I arrived very jetlagged on Saturday and checked into the Marriott a couple blocks from the Opera House! What a killer spot for an IEC meeting! I did an exploratory journey around Sydney Harbour, the Harbour Bridge, Opera House, Botanical Gardens, and then out into the city in search of a pub with the Aussie Rule Football game on. It was fun to be back in the antipodean world and even funner to relive a very defining moment in my life. It was the trip to Australia to study abroad that opened my life to bigger ideas of world travel, vagabonding, beer drinking, partying, and chasing women. To celebrate I recreated a self-captured photo bouldering along the harbour across from the opera house.


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Sunday I was up before 5am with severe jetlag, but at least it meant I could do an easy sunrise jog up the Harbour Bridge and around the Opera House. I stopped a couple times for photos, but it was the perfect temperature and no one was up at 6am downtown.




I decided to go out to North Head to take a hike and visit Manly Beach. It turned out to be about a 10 mile hike out to North Head, which was packed with WWII history and gorgeous view of the city centre.

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Eventually I did find my way to Manly beach where I did a little body surfing (water was a little chilly) and eventually kicked back with a big bottle of Coopers to take in the evening.


On Wednesday, the IEC group took a cruise around Darling and Sydney Harbours and had a find dinner of steaks and wine. I was pleased to be rubbing shoulders with all the big shots in the biz, like Howard (below) the retiring secretariat of TC82.




Friday after the meetings, I went out to the Sydney Swans game. I bought a Swans scarf and thought that was enough to support the home team, but the temperatures dropped a good 10ºC after dark so I had to get a fleece blanket at the stadium. Overall AFL is truly the funnest, dumbest sport ever and I love it.



Saturday I woke up to a rainstorm, so I visited the Aquarium before heading off to my hostel at Bondi Beach. The crew there was lively, a little too much so for me (am I getting old?); but seriously don't come storming in at 4am and tell me how great the King's Cross club you were at was. I checked out one of the longboards at the hostel and headed out for a surf on Sunday. As I was walking out the door someone looked at me and said, "It's 6 plus feet out there. No one's going out." It was 11am on Sunday, and even though there was a chilly breeze I couldn't believe there were only 3 surfers at Bondi. So I marched in and gave it a hearty go. I didn't do so well since I had only done a little foam board goofing around in New Zealand, the smaller board was much harder to get on and control. I took a couple big hits, but also managed to ride a couple waves either on my chest, knees, or-for about 0.5 seconds-on my feet. All the life guards who normally walk up and down the beach, watched me from the shore the entire time, so I must have looked like I was drowning. As I got out, badly beaten, I told the life guards, "Rough day to learn." One of the younger girls replied, "You've got a lot of heart." It probably didn't surprise her then, that I tossed the board down on the beach and then went back out for a couple rounds of body surfing.



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Closing weekend in Taos 
Tuesday, April 9, 2013, 09:57 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
Jason and I headed up to Taos for the end of the ski season. We participated in a self-made game of GNAR with Chris and, to a lesser extent, Tyler and Mike. Fri and Sat started out with 1.5 hours of GS turns on icy velvet. Then we turned our attention to the ridge. Hiked 3 Kachinas on Sat and 1 more on Sunday (with summit beers both days!); plus we did a Bavarian Chute, a highline and a west basin hike, and other radness. I was the best skier on the mountain. Hung out Sarah, Ruke, Brian, Louie and Mason, Kerr, Kerry, and Rusty at the post party and watched Josiah and Briana pondskim. And the best part of the weekend was that saucerboy made an appearance for the final run down Jean's!

The story behind G.N.A.R. is explained in this great movie.



(With Ex-Governor and 2012 Libertarian Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson.)



(With Jody from Breck)


Saucerboy!
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RIP Carlos 
Sunday, March 31, 2013, 06:30 PM - General
Posted by Administrator
The Vail ski trip included the sad news that on Friday my friend Carlos died in a climbing accident in the Sandias. The team was sent out to recover one of their own - surely a heavy task for everyone involved. I will remember Carlos as a true free-spirit and joyous person. He always had a beaming smile and I cry every time I think of him doing handstands and playing with Arthur back at the Wyoming cache. Rest in peace my friend.


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Vail Spring Break 
Sunday, March 31, 2013, 05:57 PM - Trips
Posted by Administrator
Although most of the group has graduated with PhDs or MSs, there's still a gathering of aerospace CU folks for the annual skiing and partying shenanigans. This year included a game of GNAR that was great, except that I got there a day late and about 40 GNAR points behind. I launched a comeback with on piste intensity and apres ski debauchery, but it wasn't enough to beak Jack. This year 18 people were in the house and it was great to see so many old friends: Scott, Casey, Laura, Nick, Jack, Maciej, Ben, Chad, Tiff, and Kate.





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