Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Day Trip to Alabama Hills

With the sun setting later in the day, the start of day trips to local crags with good friends was inevitable.  So since I climbed trad the weekend before in Joshua Tree NP, I decided to try to talk some folks into a day trip to Alabama Hills to climb fun sport routes.  After some emails, I was able to get Garrett, Seth, Jen, and Justin to commit to a fun day trip.  So we piled into my lovely Accord and headed up north.

(Justin sending)

We all go on some fun climbs and Garrett, Seth, and I all got in our first leads of the 2009 year! 
(This face is for you Nicole)

After 8 climbs, my hands were thrashed, so I climbed half way up a route and took some pictures of Justin sending a 5.11a.


All in all, super fun day!  Was nice hanging out and getting some climbs in.  Felt like old times since Justin was in town!  

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mammoth and No Riding? No Problem!

A weekend in Mammoth and no snowboarding, could this be possible?  After multiple trips of heading up and spending over $900 on lift tickets, I decided that I need to put a hold on my ski season and enjoy the other activities Mammoth Lakes has to offer during the winter.  So the thought was to hike in the backcountry on Friday and cross country ski on Saturday.  Turned out to be a great time!  Heading up to Mammoth with me was the normal Mammoth crowd as well as Serene and Andy. 

(The Sherwins)

On Friday, when everyone was getting set up to head off to the mountain, Serene and I got ready to head into the backcountry and enjoy the perfect blue bird day.  Grabbing the snowshoes, some water, some treats, and the camera we drive out to head up to the Sherwin Lakes.  

(Serene Hanging out!)

The hike was awesome and weather was perfect!  Sunny and temperatures in the mid 40's, you couldn't ask for a better day.  Serene and I made it to a nice little clearing up in the mountains where we decided lunch was needed.  I also decided a snowman was also needed.  It turned out to be a jabba the hut snowman...  

(My snowman!)

On Saturday Justin, Andy, Serene, and I decided to make it out to the cross country tracks and screw around for an afternoon.  We found out I am not a pro at cross country skiing and that I cannot cross country ski backwards down a hill.  I tried.  Still super fun and we found out that the cute girls that work the rental shop are climbers.  So with that discovery, I'll be back.  Great Weekend!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Winter ascent of Baden Powell

So after many snowboarding trips up to Mammoth and two months of letting my knee heal, I finally got to get out in the backcountry with my camera. It's definitely been too long. The plan was to get in a winter ascent of Baden Powell in SoCal. Bob set it up and an amazing crowd showed up Saturday morning at the parking lot to take on BP. Hikers included Bob, Dave, Carlos, Anthony, Kat, Todd, Amie, Seth, Jen, Mike, and myself. Like I said, it was an impressive sized group.

(Seth making it through the snow)

We left the parking lot and headed up to Wrightwood and got ready for the exciting 10 mile hike.  The week before, it dumped a good three to four feet in the mountains.  Therefore snowshoes were going to be needed.  All of us except Dave wore snowshoes.  Dave was smart and brought his splitboard so that he could enjoy the untracked snow on the way down from the summit.  

(Dave on the splitboard)

The hike was a bit tricky right of the bat...  Steep slopes and fresh snow made challenging.  But the company made the hike seem less strenuous.  

(Going up!)

After two hours, the group split into a few groups.  Bob, Anthony, and Cat were in the back just enjoying the perfect weather.  Amie and Todd had to make a Valentines dinner, so they turn back.  Jen's feet where getting cold, so Seth and Jen turned around about a mile from the summit.  I was considering turning around, but Dave and Carlos tricked me into thinking we were right at the summit.  What can I say, I'm gullible.

(Dave and Carlos making their way up.)

After another half an hour or so, the summit was in our sights.  Dave, Carlos, and I summit at 3:00 pm. 

(View from the summit...)

After hanging out at the summit for thirty minutes, we decide to head back to down to meet the others in Wrightwood for pizza and beer.  Always a good ending to a stellar day!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Day Trip Up North

After a long weekend at Vegas and then a long work week, I definitely needed an escape.  At first I thought sitting around at my house and just relaxing would be a great way to decompress.  But after Saturday afternoon and watching Wisconsin fall to Michigan, I determined staying in Los Angeles was not going to do the trick.  

So at 7:30PM on Saturday, I decided that a drive to Bishop was in order.  Thankfully, I always keep my backpack packed with all my gear, so 7:45PM I was on the road up to the mountains.  The main idea was to take a good hike and take some pictures.  The weather was forecasting 60's with a 20% of thunderstorms after 11AM.  Perfect!  The drive up was pretty tame, other than the close call of hitting an elk on the 395.  

I arrived in Bishop around 11PM and discovered all the campsites were gated up due to winter.  This surprised me since it wasn't even October, but oh well, I improvise.  With it getting late, I just figured no one was coming around until the morning.  So I slept in the backpackers parking lot at North Lake.  I awoke to 30 degree weather!  If you're jealous, you should be... it was stellar.  I packed up and headed off to Lake Sabrina and started hiking before sunrise.

(Fall colors before sunrise)

The hike started off very well.  I packed my SLR, three lenses, a pop-tart for breakfast, some water and a pump, and a trail map seeing I had no idea where I wanted to go.  After hiking on the main trail around the lake, I decided to do a little bushwacking and see what I could stumble across.

(Aspens bordering Lake Sabrina)

The bushwacking paid off, I came across a stream that was needed.  One, waterfalls are fun.  Two, I needed to pump some water and didn't feel like hiking down to the lake.  So after messing around taking pictures, I figured it was time to get back to the trail and decided where I was headed.

(Stream headed down to the lake)

After looking at the map, I decided to head up and hike 2.5 miles to a lake at 10,500 feet.  Once I got above the tree line, I was glad I did.  The views of the lake were amazing.  Plus the sun felt pretty nice.  After getting into the sun and taking off some layers, I decided to sit near a cliff looking over the lake and eat my breakfast.  Nothing beats a poptart in the mountains, I promise.  After breakfast, I headed up 500 more feet to Blue Lake and looked around.  Nothing too exciting, pretty much a mountain lake above the tree line.  So I decided to head back before the clouds decided to roll in.

(View while eating breakfast)

The hike down, I ran into a few groups headed up the way I came.  Other than that, it was pretty much uneventful.  Took a few more pictures, talked to a couple folks at the trailhead, and just enjoyed the perfect weather.  
(Lake Sabrina)

All in all, very glad I drove up for the day.  Very well worth it.  You can't beat the weather right now and the fall colors are just bursting everywhere.  I really think all should head up there soon to enjoy it!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Gym is Open!!!

Looks who's back! Due to the fact the month of August turned out to be a slow one, I had nothing to report. But I do have one thing to report that has me pretty psyched! After 3 weeks of construction, my climbing gym is finally all up! Minus some holds and one panel, it is stellar! Jugs, crimps, pinchers, and slopers... OH MY!

(The framing)

I'd say the hardest part was putting up the framing.  I think that it would have gone a lot smoother if I would have asked for help, but I lived and learned why I don't make a great construction worker.  But man, my trig skills are solid!  I guess I did graduate as an aerospace engineer and if I was bad at math, we'd all have some problems.

(Final result!)

The gym has three sections.  A twenty degree wall, a forty-five degree wall, and a roof.  There is a traverse that starts at the roof and ends on the twenty degree wall that is definitely hard.  Still haven't able to put it all together in a single try.  

(Time to get in those 100 pull-ups)

I really have to thank Justin Mages for giving me a great deal on all the wood!  And most of the holds are from Contact holds and I've been pleasantly surprised.  Super nice and don't tear up the hands.  Which is good when I climb every night...  

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mammoth Backcountry

After multiple "climbing weekends" it was time for a nice leisurely backpacking trip.  First time in a while where my pack weighed less than 50 pounds and I could hike 3 miles in flip flops!  Right on.  This past weekend, my brother Jeff and I decided to head up to the Rock Creek Trailhead and go hike into the backcountry for some nice camping.  

After hiking three miles in, we decided to camp at Chickenfoot Lake.  We chose this spot because it allowed easy access to Morgan Pass, the Gem Lakes, and Treasure Lakes.  Super pretty lake and we found an old camp spot that had stone benches!  I mean, a place to sit in the backcountry that's not the dirt... STELLAR!  So after setting up base camp, we decided to cook some dinner and decided were to hike Friday morning.  After dinner, we chose to head up to the Gem Lakes and then make our way up to the Treasure Lakes.

(Looking over the map)

 Friday Morning, we got on the trail around 7:30.  We got the Gem Lakes pretty quick and sat around the lakes taking it all in.  To what we could determine, we were the only ones in the area.  After hanging around the lakes for an hour, we spot hikers scrambling up to the Treasure Lakes.  Hm...  "Looks like it could have some fun moves, right on!", I tell Jeff smiling.  He really didn't think he could take me totally away from climbing something.  :)

(Jeff after the 300 foot scramble)

I looked at the map and found a better and less step route for a more comfortable hike.  It was mainly a second class scramble with a section of third class in the middle and end.  Jeff cruised it and we arrived at Treasure Lakes just in time for lunch.  Goldfish and a Cliff Bar...  Yum.  After Lunch and pumping some water, we chose a different route down that followed a stream dumping into Long Lake.  

(Checking out Treasure Lakes)

The Hike down was mellow and the scenes of the lower lakes were nice.  After an hour or so, we arrive back to base camp and decide to chill at the lake for the rest of the day to fly fish and play in the cold water.  

(Hike back to base camp)

After dinner at camp, we decide to head back to the car Saturday morning and head up to Mammoth Lakes to hang around town and grab food.  Plus since we forgot sunscreen, we didn't want to risk getting burned any worse.  Which was a good call on Jeff's part.  

(It's a flower...)

Saturday morning, we got up at sunrise and packed up camp.  The hike back to the car didn't take more than 1.5 hours.  It was nice since we knew breakfast was less than 30 minutes away at the bagel shop in Mammoth.  But before doing the whole food thing, we stopped at a few shops.  I love that town, I think I will move there...  when I am rich that is.  

Overall, the weekend trip was awesome and was nice to get out in the mountains with my brother.  

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Changing the Pace

This last weekend was definitely a change of pace.  The last past weekends have all been pretty solidly booked weekends, not this past weekend.  Friday and Saturday to every ones surprise, I stayed around town.  Rare, very rare.

The main purpose for staying around was due to taking down Justin's climbing wall/going away party on Saturday.  Which all turned out pretty good.  Plus I scored a couple panels so that I can start my own climbing gym.  Psyched!  I have some pretty awesome ideas that will make every night a climbing night.  

At Justin's going away party, Dave started hassling us about climbing on Sunday.  The rest of us were on the edge since the forecast was predicting rain about everywhere Dave suggested.  They were in this order...  Tahquitz, Mammoth, Tahquitz, Big Bear, Mammoth, Tahquitz, etc.  Could you tell he was in a mood for some trad?  Anyway, by the end of the night we all decide to head to Pine Mountain to boulder.  Bouldering... trad... same difference.  :)

(Me cranking it)

Pine Mountain turned out to be a good time.  The climbers that came out were Dave, Nicole, Garrett, Jen, Tana, and I.  It was Tana's first time ever climbing outdoors, so that was pretty rad.  She really seemed to enjoy it and it sounds like we will be seeing her more often at the crags.  We also were told that we were "Ruining the wilderness experience" by some lady smoking a cigarette.  It's amazing how silly people can be.

(Crazy awesome dismount)

Nicole and I went from boulder to boulder hitting up all the V0's we could find.  FYI for ya all, Pine Mountain has a lot of these.  Dave, Garrett, Jen, and Tana wandered off for a bit climbing some other problems around the area.  After moving to another bouldering area, Tana left and we worked on a fun and painful crack problem for the rest of the after noon.  

(Nicole eyeing her line)

After all of us couldn't use our hands, we decided to leave and hit up an Italian country restaurant that Nicole talked highly of.  She didn't let us down, definitely a good place to eat.  After food, we headed back home teasing Nicole the whole way.  Hilarious!  

P.S.  All photos were shot by Dave Smith.