OCC Final 
Sunday, August 26, 2012, 09:14 PM - AMRC
Posted by Administrator
The Operational Core Curriculum class final was this weekend for AMRC. Last year, I was the new guy, hardly knew what a cam was, and certainly wasn't comfortable running missions.

This year I was the rescue leader for the first scenario along with Tim. We dispatched the team at 7pm for Diablo Canyon and caravaned to the IB. I took Team 2 out, worked down the southside of the canyon using active attraction, and meet up with Team 1 at the patient about 250 m up a talusfield. The patient had sprained her ankle so Brian and Carrie took good care of her (hot ginger tea) while the remaining teams setup two low-angle lowers. Lot of hard work to get out with a smooth but tricky hand-over-hand pass to the wheel. After that it was back to the IB. Total mission time from arrival: 2:45. Little slow but not bad for new folks.

Squirrels



After the training (around 1am), Mike asked me if I wanted to go caving with him. I asked if it was a "cave of wonders," and with the affirmative reply, it was right back out into the wilderness. We eventually located an entrance that was so small our helmets couldn't fit without being removed. It did open up for a little bit and we chased a string around for a while before coming to a 50 ft drop. We rapped off a chockstone and found another (huge) entrance. You didn't even have to duck for this one! Caving in the middle of the night is interesting because you can't tell where the entrances/exits are until you're standing outside.

Back inside we ascended the rope and worked our way to another rappel. A couple nuts and a cam were tossed in a crack and off I went. When I got to the lip I was shocked that the vertical drop nearly used all the 100' rope! This really was the cave of wonders! We continued to explore for another 1/2 hr, got cliffed out again at the edge of a huge room, and then found another neat, very tight passage that eventually led to entrance 2. A long and painful prusik ride up the 100' of 8 mm back to the squeeze - and we were out. We hiked back down the mountain and into a quiet campsite at 5am. Brushed and threw out my sleeping pad and bag and got a nice sub-2 hr night's rest.



The next day, the operation members tested out the new folks on knots and knowledge. We set up a few fixed static lines on Styx for ascends/rappels and I was happy to on-sight Minion. There was one huge block that I nearly pulled out of the wall though, so that gave me a nice scare.



After a siesta and a mechanical advantage test. (Can you build a 7:1 system using 3 pulleys?) it was back into the heat. In the high angle scenario, I went over the edge and clipped the main and belay to the heat stoke patient. Overall, the lower went very well. Leigh helped administer food and water before the patient could be loaded into the litter and IVed. The low angle work was super slow, but we eventually got out cruising with the wheel and under Justin's direction.



"Patient complaining of cramping in calves, nausea, and headache. Better pull up WebMD."


Partied it up with the new members and BBQed some brats and burgers. Not quite as fun the first time through the class, but it was still a great weekend.

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San Juan Float 
Monday, August 20, 2012, 07:31 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
Floated with San Juan River from Bluff to Mexican Hat, UT over the course of 3 days with Lisa, Jen, Jeanne, and 6 new friends.

I borrowed Jason's IK and cruised down the class 1-2 river with a full cooler. According to my GPS data, Day 1 was 8.4 mi, Day 2 was 14.7 mi, and Day 3 was 4.7 mi. What a relaxing weekend!

Lots of photos are here















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Jason's Weekend Boot Camp in San Diego 
Monday, August 13, 2012, 07:22 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
I landed in San Diego on Thursday night with a small pack of bike and swimming gear. I was prepared (as best as I could be) for Jason's "recovery" weekend.

First order of business: chill out on Shelter Island drinking a beer and eating sushi by the yacht club. We moved over to the 24' boat that Jason's sailing club owned and watched the marina activities. What a very different world from NM.

Friday: We hopped on mountain bikes and road down the single track through Penasquitos Canyon to General Atomics. It was a hot 10 mile, 10am ride down to the campus, a tour of the labs, and then back up the canyon in the noontime sun. Luckily there were a couple spot where heat exhaustion was slowed, when the trail worked into the trees and through the creek.



We headed out to Silver Strand and Coronado Cays to visit a friend of Jason's from High School. Victor's wife's side of the family had a house and a wonderful 38' sailboat. We took it for a spin under the San Diego-Coronado Bridge with the extended family. It was a little bit of a party cruise with Jason and I and our cooler. So much fun! Then we weaseled our way into a great dinner with the family afterwards.




Saturday: The next day we headed out for a long 21 mile bike ride back down to Shelter Island. Jason's bike racing skills are still as strong as ever but I did my best to draft my way down to the ocean. We took out the 18' boat and had a great time in the bay. It's cool to be out there under sail cruising past the city skyline, military ships, and tons of other sailboats. I especially liked the seals sunbathing on the buoys. We sailed over to Coronado and got some pizza and beer for lunch. I did my best at the tiller, but my skills and vocabulary were weak after 3 years of landlubbery since I last took the Georgia Tech sailing class. We jump back in the boat after the meal and headed into the wind back to the marina.






After a full day of sun, derigging, and lots of BBQ pizza, I really didn't feel like a 21 mile ride, but Jason did most of the work and I suffered along at 19-22 mph. Jason managed to take his eyes off the road for a second while I was passing for a pull and he found his weight and his tire on opposite sides of my rear wheel. It was enough to catch his front wheel and he went down at 20-25 mph into the 4-lane road. Road-rashed and ego-bruised Jason and I were glad to get back home.

Sunday: Jason was up at 4:30am to go run a 15K race. My legs were in no shape for that, so I slept in and took Chama (the dog) for a walk. We headed off for the awards ceremony and breakfast around 10:30 and then took a long loop in the SAAB up into the mountains through Alpine, Pine Valley, and Julian. We tasted a few mediocre local wines at the Country Cellar. We ripped passed Lake Henshaw and over Palomar Mountain to San Diego. After a delicious barbecue steak with green chile, it was time to get on a plane again. Fun weekend!


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AMRC Search 
Monday, August 13, 2012, 06:34 PM - AMRC
Posted by Administrator
Mission on Weds night for a missing hiker from Maryland. He headed out on N. Crest Trail at 10am, and somehow got lost in the Osha area before heading off the trail and downhill. I took a couple new members of the team (Doug and Mason) out on N. Crest, yelling every 0.1 mi for Kevin. The helicopters eventually spotted him way down near Osha Spring Tr and he was airlifted out to the crest helipad. By this time we had gotten ourselves about 5 miles into the wilderness and had to hike back in the dark down Penasco Blanca, Osha Loop Tr to 10K. By the end, my IT bands were good and aggravated and Mason was blistered and had "strained" his ankle. Last team back to the parking lot!


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Chill Weekend 8-5-12 
Tuesday, August 7, 2012, 07:45 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
After canceling the Chicago Basin trip, I had a whole weekend to relax and repair my IT bands.

Friday - Meet up with boys for a night of partying downtown.
Saturday - Helped Jeanne move, pizza and beer, and then watched the Dark Knight Rises.
Sunday - Created a cool photo montage. Called out to Cuba for AMRC mission, but couple were found before Brad and I got out there. Mojitos and Descent 2 at J&L's.



Monday Went over to Mike's for backyard minigolf, drinks, and highlander. On my way home, ran into a bit of trouble when my bulging tire kept expanding. The thumping got louder and louder until KABLOOM! Insto-flat! ...long walk.


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Cochiti Lake Tri 
Thursday, August 2, 2012, 07:45 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
I went into the Tri knowing that I wouldn't be able to run with my IT band issues. This said, I wasn't prepared for the results I saw on Monday. I was leading the age group by 10 minutes after the bike!!! What a freaking rip off. This was probably my one chance to win my age group and I was injured for it! There were three 25-29 year olds signed up who would normally beat me. One didn't show, one moved up to the overall top 3, and one must have flatted judging by the times.



Swim: Got battered right away in the water and it continued for nearly a mile. I finally got some space on the 3rd leg of the triangle, but then the next heats started in, and I was back in the fray. I didn't help that I was having trouble swimming straight for the buoys and could only see about a foot in the murky waters.

Bike: Good for the most part. The roubaix was great on the bumpy dam road and there wasn't too much wind. I definitely do well on the climbs. After watching people pass me on the flats and the big guys crush the downhills, I took a lot of joy in repassing them. Watched in dismay as a chick in a pink aero helmet road right past me. When I saw the 27 age written on her leg, I did my best to catch back up to try and get a date out of the race, but she was too strong. (Melissa Welker went on to win the overall women's.) I ripped the last downhill into the transition area with particular style because I jumped off the lip onto the boat ramp with everyone watching - probably a few inches of air on a road bike!

Run: Came off the bike, GUed, and was fresh to run the 6.2 miles. Almost instantly, knee was killing me. I climbed the hill, back down, watched Tom running his usual, killer 6 min/mile pace, and promptly gave up. Walked the 5 miles into the finish. The old 60+ folks were nice enough to say things like, "you can do it, don't give up" and "I hope you're on your cool-down." I think that sealed it. I will be back to exact my revenge on the olympic distance tri community.

Inches from the finish line, one more person passes me...


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The Ramp with 5.8 variation 
Sunday, July 29, 2012, 04:46 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
I climbed The Ramp with Mike on Saturday. We ripped it up to the crest in the SAAB 99 (Sorry Mike), and then headed down Echo Canyon. Mike and I did the 4 pitch climb in 2 pitches (rope drag X a million), but I was proud to have managed the face climb and even did the 5.8 variation up to the set of bolts. Mike lead pitches 3&4 and did a nice job sewing up the roof. We spent the rest of the morning climbing up and around something we hoped was called "the fin" in search of a set of bolts to rappel on. They were never found.

Leading pitches 1 and 2.



Mountain booty collected: 0.5 BD Cam! Time taken: ~20 minutes.
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AMRC Mission with Helo Evac 
Sunday, July 29, 2012, 01:40 PM - AMRC
Posted by Administrator
AMRC was paged out as soon as I got back home after climbing with Mike. I had just unloaded my climbing gear when I got the page, so I repacked everything and headed to the mountains at the top of Montgomery.

Briefing: APD and Albuquerque Ambulance folks were on scene taking care of an injured hiker. He hit his head climbing on the rocks and blacked out for an hour, so we headed up there to run comms for the helo evac, or if the helicopter didn't work out, we'd be on scene to run the low-angle.

Some video of the mission

KASA story




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The Prow (5.8R) on Kit Carson 
Wednesday, July 25, 2012, 07:26 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
Kevin and I took a 3 day weekend to play around in the Sangres in celebration of Kevin's 30th birthday. We got a cookie in Crestone, CO before hiking up from the Buddhist Zen Center thruogh Spanish Creek. The blowdown (317 tree crossings supposedly) plus strong rain/sleet did not make the hike in pleasant. The storm blew off though, and we dried/melted our socks and boots with a fire while cooking up some Mountain House and sipping wine.

4:15am - Awake
5:05am - Out of camp after oatmeal breakfast
6:05am - First pitch of climbing - we did it free up to the crux move.
7:05am - Finally roped up and practiced for the overhanging 5.8 crux. Kevin led into the chilly vertical world. I second with freezing fingers and am suprised by the 30 meters of runout on the top of the pitch.
8:05am - I lead pitch 2 and choose to go right and end up off-route and stressed with hundreds of feet of exposure and only a tricam keeping me from a factor 2 fall. I eventually get back on route and fight rope drag to the top of the climb.
9:35am - Kevin joins me at the belay, and he begins simul-climbing the 5.5-5.6 lower angle upper pitches.
11:05am - Summit the prow.
11:35am - Summit Challenger Point
12:30pm - Summit Kit Carson after knocking off the last pitch of the climb.
1:35pm - Summit Columbia Point
2:05pm - Summit Kitty Kat Carson
2:35pm - Summit Obstruction Peak
3:00pm - By now, I've become crippled from my hamstring/knee issue from the 7 mi run a week ago. I hang out in The Bear's Playground while Kevin fastpacks it toward Humboldt Peak. The thunder turns him around and we slowly work our way back to camp down Spanish creek. We enjoy watching all the deer jumping around through the bushes and, with what little strength was left, do a little bouldering.
5:30pm Back in camp for food and bourbon.

We hiked out in the morning and checked out Tres Piedras for climbing options on the way back to ABQ.

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BBQ Saturday Night 
Monday, July 16, 2012, 08:30 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
AMRC folks joined me on Saturday to BBQ the new batch of grass-fed beef. It was nice to welcome Leigh and Justin back from Denali safe and sound. Very relaxed evening.
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Training (T-minus 2 weeks to Cochiti Lake) 
Monday, July 9, 2012, 08:23 PM - Week activities
Posted by Administrator
Monday: 5+5 bike. 7.4 mi run in the rain and lightning. Good pace though: 8.5 min/mile.
Tues: 5+5 bike.
Weds: 5+18 bike.
Thurs: 5+10 bike.
Fri: 2000 yd swim.
Sat: 48 mi bike. Brutal reaper at good pace. Switched to S 14 and managed OK for a while, but then lost the edge and peddled slow up to the top of the climb. Some combination of breaky, sun, heat, exertion was enough to make me sick - biked home hard with older guy trading off the draft. Going to suck it up at Cochiti!
Sun: 2000 yrd swim. 7.0 mi run - 9 min/mile pace. IT band is pretty tight/torn. Not looking good for the next few days. Vitamin I, here I come.


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Weekend Training 
Saturday, July 7, 2012, 01:34 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
Got a sluggish and painful 5.3 mile run in after work on Friday. Ted was sold out, so Ben, Tobi and I hit up a kickball party and then Anodyne.

Saturday morning, I managed to get motivated and bike around the city (40.2 mi). Munched on some fruit and then ran the Ridgecrest lap (3 mi) to the pool and did a continuous 2500 yds (1.4 mi). Brutal workout before the heat kicked in! Relax time!


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Sunday - Climbed Crackula (5.8) with Kevin. Easy approach - right at the junction of the La Luz and Spur trails. I knocked out the first pitch with a few deep breaths, but my placements were good so that made me happy. Kevin easily finished the route. We got off the crest around noon as the monsoon started rolling in. Then I helped Kevin finish building his new chicken coop for the 5 noisey birds.
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AMRC Mission in Navajo, NM 
Thursday, July 5, 2012, 06:10 PM - AMRC
Posted by Administrator
2:40am the phone rings. New text: MISSION 1 or 2 hikers stranded 120' up on a rock in Navajo, NM.

I talked with police and got the status update and GPS coordinates from the field coordinator. 3 hours later, Lance, Paul, Zack and I are standing in front of an impressive block of volcanic rock ("Frog Rock") right in the middle of town. Original reports were for 1-2 patients on the rock, with a stranded firefighter, who tried to get them. 50 degrees, raining, and extremely slick rock. At incident base, the fireman and one patient were down. From the backseat of the cop car the first person said that he didn't know the 2nd guy's name, but called him Palo. I grabbed my trad rack and headed up with Paul, as Lance and Zack circled the monolith searching for the other person. Eventually we roped up a few 5th class moves from the top (with a bomber anchor around a natural arch!). I couldn't in good conscience go for it knowing how poor the rock (dirt?) quality was. Every hold literally exploded in my hand! There was no hope for pro holding, and I didn't know if there was an anchor at the top to get down. Paul and I switched places and he went for the move to the ledge... and made it! Bravo! He reached the top and yelled. No answer. 2 hours of climbing and all we found was an unopened beer and a pipe. Paul managed to get down OK, thanks to Zack's route finding help. We radioed back to IB that there was no sign of him. They radioed back, that he just walked into base. Apparently, he lived a half a block away, just woke up (~10am at this point), and wondered what was all the commotion. The first guy in the cop car was not pleased with the 2nd guy - since he had left him up there all night in the pouring rain in jeans and a t-shirt. It'll be interesting to see how that relationship develops.


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Mission Report by Paul: Youtube
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4th of July near Cedro Peak  
Thursday, July 5, 2012, 05:06 PM - Week activities
Posted by Administrator
Ben and Tobi joined me for a mountain bike ride in the Cedro Peak area. I originally expected to do some combination of Coyote Trail and Chimisoso, but after being lost for the better part of the trip, ended up on the rough Powerline trail. I managed to hit a tree with some help from the babyheads, and now my shoulder's all torn up.

Here's the scoop:
The hard Powerline/Chimosa Trail, unmarked, leaves FR452 west of the tower at the powerline. It starts steeply descending the rocky powerline. After a couple of switchbacks, a narrow, less-used trail takes off to the right (east) through dense juniper, pinon,scrub oak along the north side of the Cedro Ridge. The trail is definite but not used much until you get closer to the intersection with the Chimosa / Mighty Mule (marked). There are some really nice stretches but rocky. The trail climbs up and down several rocky drainages as it generally descends to the intersection. Take the Chimosa or Mighty Mule Trail at the intersection.


We were the yellow line, well off any of the trails that I knew about.

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Cochiti Lake Tri Training 
Tuesday, July 3, 2012, 08:22 PM - Week activities
Posted by Administrator
Signed up for the olympic distance cochiti lake tri. 28 days to train. Time to get busy!

Monday - 5+5 mile bike. 3.3 mi run.
Tuesday - 5+11 mi bike. 1.1 mi swim.
100 free
100 breast
400 free
800 free
300 free
200 free
100 breast
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Sandia Peak Climb 
Saturday, June 30, 2012, 05:32 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
~1:30 on the climb and about 40 min on the decent. New record speed on a bicycle for me: 45.3 MPH. Pretty fast, but I'm sure I could find a steeper hill around here somewhere.


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Iceland June 10-21 
Friday, June 29, 2012, 08:49 PM - Trips
Posted by Administrator
My parents and I rented a car and circled Iceland over the course of 10 days. My mom's version of the trip.


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Photos from the trip are located here.

Some neat spots:

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Chama Float with Jason 
Friday, June 29, 2012, 08:35 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
Floated the Chama for the first time this last weekend. We used inflatable kayaks (IKs) and took the Saab 99 up to the put in. After the bridge the water was excellent. 2+/3- waves to play around in. Only sad part was that I lost my coozie.

Pictures


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Mt. Rainier - Liberty Ridge Attempt - May 2012 
Saturday, June 2, 2012, 02:50 PM - Trips
Posted by Administrator
Pictures!

Left ABQ at 8pm on Wednesday and landed at 10pm in the Seattle airport. By the time everyone rounded up gear and loaded into the rental van it was easily 11:30. Lance drove us to the closed road at White River so we shuttled gear up to the TH before dropping the van off. Lance and I were elected/volunteered to complete the extra 4 mi bonus hike. Once we got back to the trailhead everyone was gone - later found hiding from the snow in the women's bathroom asleep. Stashed some beer, and then began our hike around 5am. The sky was already lightening.

Worked our way up the trail. I wore snowshoes but no one else did. It was 50/50 snow/dry. Weighed in at the car my pack was 60 lbs so I wasn't moving too fast. Eventually I worked my way into the front of the group and decided to chance it across a 4ft snow formation on a bridge. I made the first step and broke through and promptly dropped like a rock past the bridge into the river. With the mountaineering boots and snowshoes, I managed to keep my feet dry. As I crawled out of the river and onto the edge of the bridge, I saw the rest of the group huddling around my hole. I smiled at them so they would know that I was alright, and crawled onto the other side of the bridge.



We made our way into glacier basin, only to find tons of avalanche slides. The week before dropped more than a foot of fresh snow. This along with the warm weather meant a lot of wet slide activity. Tom lead as we worked our way toward St. Elmo pass. The deep snow made travel painfully slow. We rotated leaders, but each person in front still tired out quickly. The weather came and went and we were bathed in clouds and then back out of them. The snow came and went.

At St. Elmo pass we took a break, eat some food, and plotted our course through the Winthrop Glacier. After glissading down, Lance took the lead with the probe. He managed to make it though a mile of crevassed ice before handing leadership over to Justin. We were moving painfully slow through the fresh foot of snow and traversed too low -- making the route a painful mixed snow/rock trek. Eventually we gave up on making it to Curtis Ridge for the night and camped in a basin. When I got the tent up, dinner cooked, and gear stowed I had been up for 36 hours. Bed was about 7pm.

In the morning (2am), we were up and getting ready for another full day. The snow had returned and winds were howling. Had some oatmeal and roped up for more traversing. I lead the way with the probe. Stabbing the snowpack a foot in front of my steps I did my best to avoid taking another plunge. The overnight winds and cold had helped consolidate the snowpack a little. I did my best to stay out of the wind loaded areas and move toward Curtis. Eventually the two rope teams made it to the cliff-band and camped out while Justin listened to the weather report in 25 knot winds. I took the opportunity to look for ways down the cliff. Eventually we found a way through, but it was a little tricky. We had to belay people on steep snow past a crevasse to a snow bridge. In the process of moving everyone through this obstacle course, I heard a loud noise of moving snow. The Willis Wall was sliding. I knew this would run once in a while, but this explosion of snow kept coming, and coming, and coming. From the belay stance with Tom, Justin, and Leigh, we watched as our path to Liberty Ridge was swept with the snowy plume. It was scary and impressive at the same time. This effectively ended the Liberty Ridge attempt. We realized it was too dangerous to continue.



We set up camp on Curtis Ridge for the day and watched the Liberty Ridge route slide. Definitely the correct decision to not go up. With the rest came higher spirits though and everyone was enjoying the sun and the time to relax. Plans were made to attempt the Camp Schurman route in the morning.



Up at 2am, it seemed that the group was moving slowly to Mike and I. Eventually we sorted out the route and traversed high back to St Elmo's. I lead the entire route, and managed to fall waist deep into a crevasse twice before asking for the probe. It wasn't given to me, so I used the ice axe to hollow out an opening in the top to jump. As I cut the final chunk of snow free of the opposing wall, it fell for a couple seconds before I heard ice crystals shattering a dozens of feet below me. That really got me freaked out, but I still managed to make it across with my breath held.

St. Elmo proved to be a snowy 45 degree slog. We were all happy to get on top and break for a little bit. Justin scouted the route across the Inter Glacier and confirmed that it would be safe if, and only if, we could make a dash across the high side of the snow field. Mike lead, but as I came over the snowy knoll, I could tell that he had gone too low. He was in the glacier proper and we were in trouble. Justin, came over and called things off. Avy danger was too high and our trip was over.

We glissaded back down a ways, grabbed our stashed poles and snowshoes, and had a few beers back at the trail head. Hard having come so far to not climb higher, but I was happy we made the smart (i.e. safe) decision.

*cue car camping party!


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Playing Tourist in Santa Fe with the Family 
Monday, May 28, 2012, 08:33 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
Caught the rail runner up to Santa Fe on Saturday. Everyone was very into the shopping. I managed to run off with an old friend, Lesley, for a few hours while the rest of the gang hit the museums.







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