It was a beautiful day to ride in the alpine; the winds were light and the sky was blue. With temps skyrocketing on the Front Range lately getting up high seemed like the way to go. The CDT offered a nice challenge on the up and the down. I love bikeneering; there was some of this. I know that’s not a word but it should be; this isn’t the same as hitting the local trails, you have to take into consideration so many factors throughout the day. We both have been a little under the weather lately so it was nice to get out and play. The up was tough and the down was just as tough, especially coming off Stanley. Not sure if we broke the wilderness rules as it looks like the CDT follows the border of the Vasquez Peak section. We didn’t see any no biking signs, in fact the sign at the Loop Trail trailhead on Jones Pass Road said bikes were permitted. With a giant mine present for much of the ride it didn’t feel like wilderness
With clouds building, phlem being coughed up and a leaky tire we decided to call it a day. Hmm the 3 negatives makes an appearance in the summer; perhaps it’s a credo.
Got up early for some fun after some clear nights. It was good to stretch the legs and get up high. The snow is melting fast with minimal freezing at night but there is compaction and stability to go have some fun; just be off the snow early, or else. The bigger, higher lines should be holding snow for a while.
Thanks for a great couple tours my lady, always a pleasure.
Just a video this time around. Be sure to watch it in HD.
It’s amazing how much snow can be lost in a week. With minimal freezing just that happened this past week, at least on west facing lines around Berthoud Pass. The Bear Claw on Parry is no longer in from the summit and the line we wanted in Flora Creek was no longer in, not that we could see it anyway. It felt line Scotland up there on the divide in the fog, so that was good as “If it’s not Scottish it’s crap!”; sounds better with a Scottish accent and a few whiskies. The skiing was really good and it was fun to be back in there again. The last time was with Doumall and a foot and a half of pow in January a few years ago. With the bottom section melted out the walk out was very steep and focused. It was tough getting a ride back to the pass.
With all the snow this spring has delivered to Colorado it seemed like a good time to talk about summer backcountry lines.
Arapahoe Basin is set to close the weekend of June 14 and may yet push that date out even further; they have been known to stay open till July 4. With more than 100 inches in some locations since mid-April, the snow pack is deep this year and should last till late in the summer.
However, with less than cold temperatures in the evenings, the snow pack at the moment needs some time to stabilize. When planning a day out in the summer remember that a nice freeze the night before is key to avoiding avalanche trouble. Risk can be mitigated by starting early and finishing early. We’re here for corn turns and fun. Wet slides are no fun.
This has been an interesting spring. There’s been so much weather. It’s hard to justify heading up to the hills to get work done on the next book when I’m not sure if I can get the shots I need. Plus I started back cooking, gotta pay the bills thru summer, unless sponsors wanna come thru with large amounts of cash But the weather gods aligned for a fun tour yesterday. We accessed via Ruby Gulch and had a fun trip up the West Gully. There was enough of a radiational “freeze” to allow for safe skiing even though the steepest slopes approached the mid 40s. We then headed over towards Winter Park to go for Parry’s Bear Claw. But we arose to rain and clouds and a forecast of 70% thunderstorms. Another time I guess.
Still it was nice to get back to center. Next week I’m hoping to accomplish more and I’m also hoping the weather will cooperate. Bring on the sun, just a few hours in the AM please.
Got up for a day finally, I’ve been spending some time with family lately and I started back with some kitchen work at Axios here in Denver. Still plenty of skiing to do thru the spring but one has to have their priorities in order. This tour was a little nerve wracking as the freeze was non existent and there has been substantial new load of late. I think I dug about 15 hand pits and one shovel pit along the way. When we neared the ridge at about 13,000′ the buried slush layer was frozen and created a perfect bed surface for clean and fast shears. The 1 foot slab sitting on top of this seemed pretty scary so we bailed at his point. No summit for us but we were able to traverse into the fun part of the Drainpipe and enjoyed some decent conditions. It was a soggy mess lower down and reminds me that I need to put some spring wax on the boards.
I recently took a long walk through the Front Range and used this great product along the way. When you’re planning a long trip and want to capture the places you go, electricity is a need you must factor into your gear needs. I first found out about Goal Zero and their solar products at a music festival in Snowmass, after skiing Castle Peak. I guess I remembered this so well due to my battery failure at the end of the day.
For the trip through the Front Range I brought a couple GoPros, my Nikon DSLR, my Garmin Fenix2 and my IPhone. All needed charging along the way. At 1 pound 8 ounces, with the appropriate charging connectors, bringing along the Guide 10 was easy. I used mini carabiners to secure the unit to my pack. This was great because I could switch locations on my pack to follow the sun. It also allowed me to collect energy while I was in motion instead of just at camp.
The solar collector unit is well designed and durable. One of the great features of the unit is that it has a zippered pocket for storage of the charge unit and the necessary cords and whatever you may be charging along the way. The solar unit is also closable with a magnet latching system, great for protecting the unit when you get into more technical terrain.
As far as charging goes the unit works great and offers a couple of options for delivering power. There is a direct USB port that delivers power right from the solar panels. I used this for charging spent GoPros while skinning. You can also charge up the battery pack for stronger charging amperage. This was great for the IPhone. The battery pack uses rechargeable batteries. I brought extra AA batteries just in case the rechargeables weren’t enough but I never used them. There is also a 9 volt car charger adapter so charging DSLR batteries isn’t a problem.
The only issue I had with the unit during my trip was that the connector from the solar panel to the battery pack would jostle loose. This was a simple fix involving a small piece of duct tape.
I’m looking forward to using this product more in the future. I love solar power and trying to have less of an impact on the environment. As I look towards another attempt at completing the traverse of the Front Range I see the Goal Zero Guide 10 as being an integral part of my kit.
Here’s a link to the GoalZero website http://www.goalzero.com/p/79/guide-10-plus-solar-kit
The mountains lure me with their beauty and their fury. I find myself dreaming of their slopes almost constantly. I look at pictures and maps and dream of ways to pass through them; skiing lines that bring fear and focus to me. Always looking for a challenge I dreamed up a trip to traverse the Front Range from Wild Basin to Interstate 70. With the help of my friends I would get resupplies along the way at key locations. Needless to say things didn’t go as planned. My first partner bailed due to a gear failure so I had to make it from Bluebird Lake to Blue Lake by myself. I went over Ouzel Peak and Ogalalla Peak into St Vrain Valley. From there I was hoping to get back to the Divide but the weather wasn’t having any of it. I ended up catching the low road to Coney Lake. This was brutal in that I had to skin all of it. From there I made it over the Paiute/Audubon Saddle where I was in a cloud and was very concerned about the potential for a lightning strike, but when you have to get to the next valley you must endure the risks. I had a very spicy ski down the steep couloir with a giant pack, in a raging snow storm. Out of food and fuel and exhausted from high winds each night and barely a wink of sleep for the last 4 nights I headed for a meet up with Allison and then on to Nederland for a well earned beer.
It was quite a trip, but no matter how much planning you put into an experience, nothing changes plans faster than weather. I’ve gleaned plenty of experience from this trip and look forward to trying again for the whole thing. Hopefully the weather gods will allow me to pass next time. I don’t really look at this trip as a defeat. I see it more as a learning experience that will help me find new and better ways of approaching the mountains. Pushing my body to and over the limit brings new insight into how I pass through my favorite place to be. Enjoy the pics and hopefully some will inspire you to go for a walk.