Christmas in Washington, MO 
Thursday, December 26, 2013, 11:02 PM - Trips
Posted by Administrator
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
Posted by Administrator
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
Posted by Administrator
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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AMRC Annual Party 
Sunday, November 17, 2013, 09:11 PM - Weekend Fun, AMRC
Posted by Administrator
The team had a fun climbing/training day at Major Wall in the Socorro Box Saturday. I climbed an easier 5.7 next to She Can Bolt. I went over with Andy to setup some fixed lines to practice line transfers and taught a few new prospective members about the basics of anchor building. Andy volunteered to be my patient. I built a great system - two connections to Andy (60 cm runner and my personal anchor) and then made a counter weight system out of my 8 mm with a figure eight on Andy and a munter mule on my end. With my backpack on I was able to easily pull him up and get his grigri out of the system, then I lowered him with the munter onto the runners attached to me. It took some work to retrieve the upper prusik, and then I realized that both of us were on my grigri alone - so I decided to back it up with a prusik above the grigri (big mistake!). At the bottom of the rappel there was a cactus so Rusty pulled the rope over to help Andy out, but it crushed my balls and I let the prusik bind. I tried to make some systems to raise both of us (didn't work), and then I tried to just get Andy off me with another 3:1 above me on another prusik (no progress capture, so it didn't really work) and then I used the bolt on the wall to build the 3:1 and I tied it off so Andy was off me. Then I leg looped on the main line, and got up to break the prusik. We rapped to the ground after about 45 minutes of sitting there in front of everyone. Justin was nice enough to come over and poke me with a stick. I later learned that the Grigri 2 is only rated to 1800 lbs so we only had a 4.5 safety factor on the rappel (but with a backup) so in the future I should use an ATC.

After lunch Mike, Rusty, and Adrian went to Red Wall to climb. Mike did Red Wall while I lead (poorly) the start of Spiderman, which was over my head. I used the hook Rusty loaned me to sit a few places and I was shot through the 5.9+ bolted first section. I really am in terrible climbing shape. I made it up the next section with good pro to a bolt (the 5th bolt), but there wasn't good pro above that so I decided I was going to bail. I rapped on a locking 'biner on the bolt (little scary) but was happy to be back on the ground.





We drove back to burque and up to the AMRC party at the cache (after a shower). Lance became the team president and Leigh breathed a sigh of relief. We ate and drank and before you know it, it was passed 3am and I left to bivvy in the forest for the night.
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Ice Luge Construction 
Friday, November 8, 2013, 09:12 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
Our 'make it snow party' included a special treat this year: an ice luge. It was a bit of work to make it happen, but in the end it was a roaring success. I bought a 300 lb block of ice from Reddy Ice and then put it on a sloped cornhole board on a table outside. For the carving we tried a few things: propane torch, dribbling boiling water onto the surface and in the channels, heating conduit with the torch and pressing it into the face, ice screws (bad idea - it cracked the ice), but ultimately the best method was to pour boiling water with a tea pot down the shaped pipe and applying pressure. This worked really well, and I would recommend it to anyone else building a luge.






(Checked off #25 on my list of things to do before 30!)

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Halloween and Tridents 
Sunday, November 3, 2013, 06:35 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
Saturday, Mike and I tried to ride Kind of the Mountain, but the mud was insane. We bailed after 1/3 of the ride because the mud was so terrible.



Last Thursday I made a quick trip out to San Diego to the EESAT review where I presented some microgrid research. Then on this Tuesday I presented the smart grid pre-certifications work in Portland. Hopefully someone found it interesting. As a plus, I met up with Dro and played some skeeball and drank a couple beers!

For Halloween, Mike and I went out to a party with a few friends. I went as a 80's Yosemite climber (Lance Johnson) and Mike was a dirtbad white trash guy with his mullet wig. Decent time but nothing crazy. Saturday, Mike, Tom, and I climbed a potential First Ascent of the Tridents which we're calling "Trimming Bush: the Tale of the Rumphassler." I lead the first miserable pitch through the bushes. It was the one of the roughest 5.8 leads I've had... and it included a nasty traverse where I aided a tiny nut while straddling a shrub. Somehow things worked out and I got to the top. Pitches 2 and 3 were cruiser and we made quick work of the rap.




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October Goings-on - Balloons and Birthdays 
Sunday, October 27, 2013, 10:33 AM - General
Posted by Administrator
October is a good time in Albuquerque because the weather is good and it's a good rest break between climbing/bikig season and skiing season. On Oct 4th, I biked out the the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta with some nob hill friends, including Kelley, Mike, Mike, Allison, Ben, Luke, Louie. The chilly ride was worth it to kick off the week long balloon fiesta in style.









That evening was the AMRC brewfest. I volunteered to man the silent auction and pack up gear - but still had plenty of time to socialize and try the Trident's Spirit Ale.

The following weekend Paul and Pearl visited. We headed out to the balloon fiesta for the mass ascension and the night glow. Leigh stopped over for some BBQing Saturday night, and we hiked around on the Sandia Crest Trail past the Kawanis Cabin. It was good to see my old Boulder friends again! The last time I saw them was at their wedding in VT a year ago.





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Moab - Oct 2013 
Monday, October 21, 2013, 07:27 AM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
Mike, Tom, and I drove up to Moab to meet Leigh, Justin, Mark, Sam, John, and Sam's sister Leana (Lele) for some canyoneering last weekend. We arrived Friday evening and met up with the crew. In the spirit of our friend Lance, Mike, Tom, and I wore wigs for the first canyon: Big Horn in Arches National Park.

The following day we went up to do the Granary - a longer and funner canyon with some large rappels. It was a great time out with a lot of great people. Back in camp, we cooked up some burgers and had a few beers, and Kenny, my old friend from IL (turned Moab kayak guide), came over to camp and we caught up.

Sunday, we ran though Not Tierdrop Canyon. The 2nd rap required building our own anchor out of rocks we found in the area. I think it would have held 1000 lbs, but it was still exciting rappelling off loose rocks.










More photos are here.
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Birthday and 'The List' 
Saturday, October 19, 2013, 08:04 AM - General
Posted by Administrator
I celebrated by birthday by biking up to the Four Hills rocks with Josiah and Leigh for the sunset and then heading down to Tractor for a couple beers. I also released a list of things that I would like to accomplish before I turn 30. It's ambitious - perhaps impossible - but why not set sights high. Here we go!

1. Ski Mt. Rainier.
2. Scuba dive a tropical reef.
3. Eat an amazing steak in Argentina.
4. Buy fat skis, shred pow, and huck a 10+ footer.
5. Bike 3,000 miles with 50,000 ft of elevation gain.
6. Climb South Maroon Peak via the Bell Cord. (Bonus points for Pyramid Peak.)
7. Mountain bike 20 miles at night.
8. Climb a high alpine route to a major summit (e.g., Ellingwood Ledges, Grand Teton).
9. Take a train from Oslo to the Norwegian fjords.
10. Become a technician on Albuquerque Mountain Rescue. (Bonus points for relearning WFR skills with a ride-along with Albuquerque Fire Department.)
11. Spend a week at burning man.
12. Go hot air ballooning.
13. Ski every named run at Taos.
14. Mountaineer in the southern hemisphere (e.g., Aconcagua, Cotopaxi, …)
15. Watch a U.S. soccer game at the world cup in Brazil.
16. Eat curry in India without getting sick.
17. Gamble in Vegas.
18. Heli-ski in South America.
19. Raft the Taos Box.
20. Attend an epic music festival (Tomorrowland?).
21. Ski Vallee Blanche from Aiguille du Midi in Chamonix. (Super bonus: do full Haute Route!)
22. Brew a tasty ale while drinking a tasty beer.
23. Canyoneer in Utah with a 100+ ft rappel.
24. Create a video of time lapse photography.
25. Party with a shot luge.
26. Climb a multi-pitch ice or mixed route.
27. Get a ski race suit and take home NASTAR gold.
28. Chase animals around the African savanna.
29. Backpack in the Canadian Rockies, e.g., Banff.
30. Get a couple more house plants.

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Mountains to the Desert Century: Telluride to Gateway 
Sunday, September 22, 2013, 07:27 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
Allison found Mike, Tom, Jeff, Boulder Mike, Kelley, Luke, and myself a killer pad in Mountain Village for the weekend. Jeff, Allison, Luke and I drove up on Friday night and kicked the party off with some grilling, loud music, and hot tub time.

The following morning we were up early for the Mountains to the Desert Century ride. I made a quick breakfast of oatmeal and lots of fruit, but with the big crew we couldn't get going in time and ended up getting to Telluride about the time of the mass start. We spent another 10 minutes looking for a parking place and then 20 more minutes getting people and bikes in the proper shape.

Out of town, Mike, Tom and I joined forces and ripped down the mountain. I pulled the big hill out of Telluride at ~45 mph for a mile and a half and then we cycled through our little peloton/echelon for another 25 miles to the first stop. We averaged a killer 28 mph for this stretch! After the rest of the group got in, we climbed the 700' to Norwood and stripped down to warm riding gear. From there the burque crew started pulling as a team with Allison and Jeff jumping in the mix. Boulder Mike stayed with Kelley for a lot of the ride and then would bolt up to us (incredibly!). After the next stop we tried to ride as a group, but even at a slow pace Kelley and others would break the pelaton in half... so it was a casual, downhill, down-wind ride with plenty of beautiful canyon scenery. Boulder Mike and I took a couple serious pulls at the beginning of the last 30 miles and broke away from the rest of the group. Tom rejoined and then I got dropped from the lead peloton at a ~25-28 mph pace in the canyon. It was sooo brutal and I was starting to feel the distance. We all stopped off at a natural spring to rehydrate and eat. I did the final 20 miles with Mike and Jeff. We rotated through the group and despite my calves staring to cramp I was pulling strong and helping drag the group to the beer tent! Perhaps the funniest part of the ride was that Boulder Mike and Tom went out to do the extra hillclimb to make it a 133 mile ride... so they came in late. Very late. In fact Tom crossed the finish line a couple feet behind Mike, but this won him the Caboose Award as the final person to come in for the day. As an ex-Ironman and all around fit BA, it was funny to have him getting his photo with the caboose trophy!

Strava Stats:
Distance 104.5mi
Moving Time 04:56:29
Elapsed Time 06:34:13
Max Speed 49.9mi/h
Avg Speed 21.1mi/h
Total Climb 2,377ft

There was an (exhausted) afterparty but we turned in quick Saturday night. Sunday we took Ophir Pass over to Silverton to get back to ABQ. The weather had turned, but it wasn't a problem with Jeff's new 4WD Tacoma.







Big

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Rainy Weekend in Albuquerque - AMRC RL Training 
Sunday, September 15, 2013, 04:45 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
Friday night Mike and I got together to talk about the AMRC training we were running Saturday morning. Allison was also in town because, after her cycling accident, she wanted to stay with Mike so there would be someone for concussion watch and because it's good to have people look after you after a car hits you. We grabbed food at Flying Star and then hit the hot tub with Luke. At the end of the night, we had our plans settled for the morning.

Saturday morning Mike, Allison, and I drove up to the crest parking lot at 7am ahead of the AMRC team. We headed down to the Tombstone in driving, cold rain decked in the best goretex and waterproof clothing we could find! It had been raining hard (for Albuquerque) for the last 3 days and everything was muddy and soaked so the approach was atrocious and I butt skiied down the mountain at least once. Mike set up a static line to the top of pitch one and, after a little coaching, belayed Allison down to Mike. They set up the scenario, while I packed up may anchor and hiked up to the approaching team. As acting rescue leader, I guided Kerry, Zak, Mark, Sam, Tom, and Brendan down to the top of tombstone. Once there, we built the main and belay systems and sent Sam down to access the patients. (Note to self: have the first person over the edge bring hypotherma gear.) Then Zak took the litter over the edge to pick up the critical lead climber (Allison). There was some edge pro work to be done, but overall everything ran smoothly. We had some trouble getting a good throw on the 3:1, but with enough resets, the crew on top got Zak and Allison back up to the top. At the edge it was a terrible transition so we built a 5:1 to get people off the main, and then created a bridle on the head as a progress capture with my grigri. Worked great. At the top of the Tombstone we called the training complete and Mike and and Sam asended back to the top. Then it was a muddy slog back to the parking lot. We ran into Kevin at the top with his new son, Felix. That was a real treat! I haven't seen there new kid.










Sunday, I spent a long time diagnosing the leak in the garage and then went off to soccer practice. We were supposed to have a game, but the fields were too wet. In the warmups, we were shooting on Mike, and he dove for a ball and dislocated his pinky finger. David calmly reset it before I could even ofter my assistance. After that we ran some drills and then played a scrimage. It was exhausting playing 2v2 with David, Amrit, and Mike with Steve in goal. I really like the level of play of this team - some really amazing players but I can usually keep up. Go Lovelace!
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Arcs, Sparks, and Alcohol: Chicago Trip 
Thursday, September 12, 2013, 07:59 PM - Trips
Posted by Administrator
I headed to Chicago for the UL standards development meeting on PV arc-faults this week. But before that excitement, I spent the weekend with my brother in Chicagoland:

Friday night we went out for a beer at Chicago’s American Outlaws bar to watch the US get killed 3-1 to the Ticos. Not the USMNT’s best moment.

Saturday was much more cheerful. We took the train in from Joliet to Chicago, rented bikes to cruise around Millennium Park, and then rented kayaks. We got a couple stable-feeling singles and had warm, sunny weather to take a lap around Goose Island and then down to the locks on Lake Michigan. There were a LOT of other kayakers out on the water, but I was proud of my bro and I for easily sailing past them with some Southern Illinois power strokes. There were also a lot of other tour boats and motorboats out for the good weather so Josh and I dodged the behemoths and surfed the wake after they passed. Overall, it was a cool experience on the water in a big city—slipping under the bridges and through the towering skyscrapers. Afterward we got a late lunch at Goose Island Brewery. Yum. And then we grilled up some brots for dinner. Double yum.








Sunday, I forced Josh to do a little work on his decrepit car. We found a U-Pull-And-Pay style parts place and we got a hubcap, two door handles, a gas door, and a passenger seatbelt (all for less than $50!) It wasn’t too bad to get everything installed and still get a nice 5 mile hike around Swallow Cliff Woods. As an older brother, I felt it was my responsibility to introduce Josh to some tasty Belgian beers, so we tasted a Chimay and Duvel while watching the new Star Trek. Then to cap off the night we had a Tim Tam slam and some traditional Korean candy. Triple yum.




Overall the meeting went well, and on Tuesday night the US qualified for the World Cup in Brazil with a 2-0 victory over Mexico!!


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Korea! 
Thursday, September 12, 2013, 07:58 PM - Trips
Posted by Administrator
One benefit of running international renewable energy programs is you get to travel internationally. I was invited to give at talk at the 2013 Energy Tech Insight meeting in Seoul, Korea by the Korean Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning (KETEP) group to highlight my collaborative research project with the Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute (KERI).

Korea photos are here.

Amanda, a new business development person, and—for a couple days—Bob, joined me on this trip. Amanda and I got into Seoul a day early to explore the city and walk off any jetlag. Our first adventure was getting dinner on Monday night. We headed off from the hotel at around 7:00 and eventually found a place that offered Korean BBQ. Normally, you cook your own dinner on a fine metal mesh over the hot coals that they bring out, but since we didn’t know a single word of Korean, they took pity on us and helped cook our meal of Ox and Pork. The food was delicious with side dishes of Gimchi, small sardine-like fish, lettuce and sauces! You dip the cooked meat in the sauce and roll it up in the lettuce after remastering chopsticks.

Afterward I headed out alone to the Banpo-daero bridge over the Hangang River. The park along the river had a nice bike path and I was surprise to find at 10pm many young people biking and picnicking down by the water. The bikes were nice and fast, and the meals were heavy on the beer/soju. I instantly liked this place.



Tuesday, Amanda suffered jetlag much worse than I did and was up at 3am. With all the free time she did some research on places to visit, so we compared notes and then headed north into the city. We had mastered the subway at this point (absurdly easy) and went to get some food at the open-air market, Namdaemun. After that we went to Sungnyemun Gate, which was first built in 1398 to keep Seoul safe from foreign attacks. I got a little mixed up with directions at this point but eventually we located north and headed up to Deoksugung (one of the five palaces in Seoul). It was a nice grounds with great structures. The curved ceramic roofs of Korea are truly spectacular. We tried to go to Gyeongbokgung but it was closed on Tuesdays, so we wondered through Bukchon Hanok Village for a while and got some big dumplings and a bottle of sojo for lunch. Recharged, we walked to Changdeokgung and took the Secret Garden tour. It was beautiful! Small ponds and dwellings hidden in the forest. You could imagine this area looking nearly the same back in the 15th century when royalty was strolling the grounds. Jongmyo was closed (tues) so we went south to the Cheonggyecheon creek and then back north into Insadong for some shopping and ice cream treats. There was a place with amazing snorkle-shaped cones that they would inject with soft serve. They were so good!







Wednesday, we listened to Steve Chu’s keynote, were wined and dined for lunch, and I gave my smart grid presentation. We meet my Korean partners for an amazing 14 course dinner! It’s Korean culture to leave food on the table at the end of the meal to indicate that one is satisfied; and we certainly left a lot of food on the table but I would describe my condition as closer to immobilization/food coma. It was culinary madness! More food just keep coming and coming! Afterward, our hosts treated the US contingent to a boat cruise on the river. We quietly sailed through the city’s lights and pointed out the Olympic Park, Gangnam (“River South,” a rich neighborhood), and the Namsan tower.



Thursday, we spent some time at the conference, but flew down to Busan and then drove to Changwon. I was suffering from a cold that hit me on Tuesday morning, so I didn’t do much this evening.

Friday, we toured KERI’s labs and explored some of the city: the Seongjusa temple, Seongsan Shell Mound (archaeological site where seafood scraps were found), and House of Changwon (창원의집). After dinner, Amanda and I took a walk around the hotel and got some ice cream. From what I could tell, Korea’s a smoothly operating industrial engine: well-organized, clean, very safe, and I felt completely comfortable walking around at night. I liked this place.




Saturday, my colleague from KERI, Ahn, drove Amanda and I to Gyeongju for some sightseeing. We got to town, and after a little confusion over where to park, rented bikes and struck out to learn about the Silla Kingdom that controlled this region. There actually were 3 kingdoms in what’s now modern Korea: Silla, Goguryeo, and Baekje. Gyeongju was the center of this region from 57 BC to 935 AD with the 8th, 9th, and 10th centuries holding the most growth and historical artifacts. We first visted the tombs of the Silla (e.g., General Kim Yu-sin) in King Tomb Park and then biked to Anapji Pond to take in King Minmu's reconstructed dreams. We walked through the Gyeongju National Museum but then turned our attention to food. I guided the team on a slightly extended return route along the river and then we found a nice, completely empty restaurant for lunch. Ironically, the restaurant owners were eating McDonald’s and watching MLB.





The highlight of our day was traveling up into the mountains to a couple UNESCO world heritage sites. The first was Bulguksa, the stunning Buddhist Temple. The 2nd was the 8th century Seokguram Grotto, home to one of the best preserved Buddhist statues in Asia.




Ahn drove us down to the ocean to dip our feet into the freezing sea as the sun was setting. We cruised up the coast a short way along the fishing villages and then we decided it was time to find the hotel and dinner. We had stirfried Gimchi and a few bombs (sojo and beer).



The final day of the trip we popped into the Gyeongju Tower and toured the Millinium Park grounds. Ahn, Amanda, and I had a nice brunch in the sun and took the car, to a bullet train, to a train, to a plane, to a subway, to Dolores Park, to another subway, to another plane, to a shuttle, to a car, to my house. Actually, the San Francisco layover (7 hours!) was enough to spend the Sunday afternoon lounging in Mission Dolores Park in the sun and that was wonderful. Way better than sitting in the terminal.


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Sandia Super Weekend - Aug 2013 
Thursday, August 22, 2013, 10:10 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
I got up at 7:30am Saturday morning to do the round the mountain ride. The few few miles weren't too bad but there was a head wind heading up to Bernallilo. Then the climbing started. I was going fine until the gravel road, where I ran out of water and catastrophically bonked. I was only on the last 3 miles of gravel before intersecting the crest road but without water it was hopeless. I meant to grab a couple cliff bars on the way out of the house too, but I somehow forgot. Plus, the slow riding while dodging rocks and patches of washboard road was really hard on the skinny tires. Eventually, I couldn't keep it up and I had to start walking. I ran into a east mountains man missing some teeth who offered me water in an antifreeze jug. After he took a swig, I gave it a smell and filled up my bottle. After that I could ride a 1/2 mile before needing to rest some more. After 3 looong miles of this, I finally ended up on the paved crest road. Finally I got up there and rolled down to the ski area, climbed the final hill at about 3 mph, and then sailed down to the Lizard Grill on North 14. I was too exhausted to bother braking so the turns were a little exciting. At the restaurant, I stuffed myself on a veggie burrito and easily drank 5 monster cups of water and lemonade to try to get some strength back in my muscles. It worked! I made the final 20 miles home without too much agony. In the end it was a 70 mile ride with 4500 feet of gain. Burly!


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At this point, I figured I'm in for a nice evening of rest. WRONG! I got the mountain rescue page out for a mission for a hiker lost somewhere off the trail on La Luz around 7:00. So I loaded up my pack and went out to try and find this guy. Fortunately, I got up to incident base quick enough that I was on the 3-person strike team. The Metro One helicopter spotted the guy using a cell phone GPS waypoint before it got dark, so it was relatively straight forward to hike up to Chimney Canyon and bushwack through the cacti, shrubs, and trees to the GPS coordinates. We had the helicopter use the spotlight to help guide us the last few hundred feet to the guy. The patient was about 20 years old and in the air force, but while trying to hike down from the crest he went exploring and got lost. It seemed strange, but at least he knew to call for help when he ran out of water and it was getting dark. (People sometimes don't do this since they think it'll cost them, but it's completely free!) So we assessed him, gave him some water, and hiked out on the old Chimney Canyon climber trail. The news media was there when we got out to get a shot of the action, but I left pretty quick to go get a few hours of sleep.

Sunday, I was up at 6am to go climbing with Andy, a friend from the mountain rescue team. We planned to do Warpy Moople even though it was at the limits of my skill and comfort zone. Plus there have been some major injuries and deaths on the route, so that makes you think about what you're doing a little more seriously. Turns out it was every bit as challenging as I expected.

P1 - I led slowly, but it wasn't too challenging. Had a hard time placing gear for some reason.

P2 - Andy smoked the 5.9 move off the deck with a handful of cams. I decided halfway up I'd save my strength and aided through the roof, pulling the last couple cams as I moved past them.

P3 - I got hopelessly lost by taking the dihedral up to the roof. The move got very hard, so I planned to down-climb, but then decided to try a hairy traverse. It was tense (!) but I made it through slowly. The opening move was fingertips and smearing--something that I hate with my worn shoes.

P4 - I lead the 5.8 pitch to give Andy the crux. We could have made it to the bolts but the rope drag was too much and I had to make an anchor. There was a small roof that I did get up to, but then found myself wearing out, so I stuck my foot in my cam loop and stood on it. Cheating? Maybe, but I didn't have the least bit of remorse. I clipped the bolts and brought Andy up.

P5 - The scary traverse to 5.9 R face climbing! I don't know how Andy pulled it off, but he got up that thing. I was stressing about that pitch all day, so it was good to finally knock it out. The traverse wasn't so bad except the 25 lb backpack was trying to pull me off the edge. I got though with some small holds and then worked up the face. It was tough climbing, but anywhere that seemed too much, there seemed to be a piece of gear handy that I could give a pull on. I only did this 2-3 times, but it made things much easier for my next pitch. At this point we had drained all our water though, so it was starting to get a little desperate.

P6 - I led the 5.8 face into an offwidth. The face was tough, but I found pro regularly, so I was feeling ok. I chose to traverse right and it was a good decision, this led to easier stuff and the crack to the final belay stance.

P7 - Andy led us up to the top of Muralla Grande. The sun set and I got to climb the final pitch by head lamp. And then it started to rain. And then the lightning started. We found the stashed water and hiked back to the van.

It was 16 hours door-to-door and 11 hrs 45 min roped up. That's a big day! Needless to say, it was a tough bike commute to work Monday.











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Knife Edge of the Shield 
Monday, August 12, 2013, 09:01 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
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
Posted by Administrator
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
Posted by Administrator
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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