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.
Got up for a quick tour yesterday. We had to take the kiddos to school in the morning so we weren’t expecting much in the way of getting lines done. If the weather held we were thinking the North Couloir. But with the clouds building at the summit it didn’t seem like a good idea to go into another drainage and have to climb back out. I think we made a decent call. The snow was a little crusty and didn’t fully corn up. I weigh enough to deal with minor crusts like that Allison had a tougher time with the conditions. Still it was nice to get this one done, it was the last peak I had left to ski to finally have skied from all the points visible from Loveland Pass.
Been having some fun shooting video lately. It’s not that great when the snow isn’t the best but it’s really fun editing and thinking of shots to take. Looking forward to putting something together out of the Front Range traverse I’m doing. As always be sure to hit HD. It would have been cooler if the weather had held and we could have skied the North Couloir
Got up early for a quickie in the neighborhood. Me and Allison met up with Kevin and we headed up to the Ruby Gulch trailhead. The trailhead is recently reopened following the construction at the mine. There is a new parking area just below the trail. Use this and park all the way off the road. We headed up the trail with the intention of checking out a line on Parnassus and then heading up the east slopes of Woods. That’s exactly what we did and were treated to sweet skinning and moderate booting. Once at the top we headed across the ridge to our line. The skiers left side of the bowl gets more snow from cross loading. It was loaded nicely and skied very well. There’s a hard layer under the new but the bonding was alright. The skier’s right of the ski line had a little bit of a wind slab that we avoided. As long as you weren’t turning too hard the slope skied great. Back at the ride by noon. Plenty of time before picking up the kids at school.
We headed down the night before and camped near the Browns Creek trailhead. There’s a ton of sweet camping spots nearby. You know you’re in for a long day when you’re camping in the juniper. The alarm went off at 4am and we were on the trail at 6:15. We were treated to a very fine sunrise. This route is one of the longer options for 14er skiing. Unfortunately it really is the best way to get Tabeguache done. Jones Peak provides the splendor though with it’s spires and Mount White, to the north of the trail also inspires with it’s beautiful rock formations. Once you make it to the Browns Creek Falls intersection plan of skinning intermittently to Browns Lake. Past this you can stay on dirt and hike if you like. From the lake you will go to a willowed clearing. This is marked as a lake on the topo. Cross this semi-clearing and head from the North Face of Tab. The snow was rock hard yesterday so I just hiked one of the ridges up. With ski crampons you could easily skin most of it. The North Gully would make the most sense but even that has steeper sections that approach 45 degrees. Like all Sawatch peaks this one is a grunt to get up.
The skiing yesterday wasn’t very good. The winds, which were gusting to 60 mph were tough to deal with. They kept the snow cold so it was very firm. But it’s still nice to ski right from the summit and get in 3000′ of vertical. About halfway down I had to take the skis off and downclimb about 40′ of vertical. Once back at the trail I skied as much as I could but was thwarted by the need to shoulder them on too many occasions. 15.1 miles and 5500′ of vertical or so.
Allison thanks for a great day in the hills and kudos to you for turning around when you thought it was too much for you. It takes a lot to walk so far and realize it’s not doable. I also appreciate that you let me go for the rest solo.
I did a big loop around the state selling my new greeting cards and took a ton of pictures of lines. Hope you see some stuff that makes you want to go ski some routes. Info is in the captions. Have an awesome and safe spring. Use your head it’s the best piece of equipment that you have. Start early and watch those temps.
It’s always good to go for it. After heading around the state doing some sales it was time for some skiing. I’ve been itching to get on some big peaks for a while now and I’m finally feeling better after getting struck down by the flu for almost 3 weeks. Met up with YC and we headed down in his Taco. Blanca Road is a tough beast and with not so great shocks we didn’t make it very far up the road. We had an hour and a half walk on dirt before we hit the snow in the gulch. The original plan was to go for Little Bear and Ellingwood but with so much vertical added in and YC coming off the couch and getting better from the flu too we opted for just the one peak. It turned out to be a wise choice.
We made it to Lake Como before one of the groups up there was awake. We then caught up with a lone climber heading for Blanca right as we got to the site of me and Joe’s snow cave site. It was a trip seeing that. It brought back a flood of memories, mostly being colder than I care to ever be again. Lessons learned and survived are the best lessons.
I dropped the rope, gear and harness at the base of Ellingwood’s South Face and up we went. It was a little later than I would have preferred but by stay on the more southwesterly snow we made good safe progress upwards. There had been about a foot of new accumulation up there that had compacted down to 6″. This wasn’t bonding very well with the older spring type surface. We needed to deal with this but by staying on the southwesterly aspects we could deal with it while skiing instead of while ascending.
The summit ski was very boney. I made a turn right off the summit and hit like 5 rocks. Then I side stepped a bunch and made another turn. I hit like 8 rocks on that one. More side stepping brought me back to the line and good snow. I put in a quick cut and got all the new snow to slide off. The bed surface skied very well. We then yo-yo’d down the line from safe zone to safe zone. There was still potential for snow from above to start moving on it’s own.
The exit out of that drainage is always painful. It’s especially painful when you go past you shoes that you stashed and have to go back up the road to find them. The long walk back to the desert was a challenge. 13 miles roundtrip and 6300′ of vertical for the day. I’d say that I’m ready for the spring. I’m looking forward to many more big lines this year.
Thanks for a great tour YC. Lets get out again soon.