Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Sierra Challenge 2014 finish - Success?

The 2014 Sierra Challenge is over. It ended with a wimper for me in that I was wimpering. The last day proved especially painful with a bout of gut wrenching vomiting and weakness about 12 miles out from the trailhead. I sure was glad for the Leki treking poles that helped me keep moving and also make great support when puking. In some ways it was a success though as I did manage to summit the challenge peaks all 10 days as well as 6 bonus peaks (and a bonus 1/2 point for the "bat pinnacle"). Unfortunately some others were also felled or pained by stomach issues. I ended up tied for third in the polka dot "king of the mountain" race and was in a distant fourth for the yellow jersey (I was one of only 4 that did all 10 challenge peaks, but my time was much longer than the others). Eric dominated easily winning the yellow, white, and polka dot jerseys - impressive. I felt pretty lousy on days 1,2, and 10. The other days I was tired, but didn't feel so lousy too. As usual we visited some spectacular country and covered a lot of ground and a lot of vertical. I'll make a trip report at some point, but I wanted to get this up in a relatively timely manner. For more details see the links on the previous blog posts about this...

Thanks Bob for organizing this and I am sorry you were unable to make the last day.

also here is a link to an article in the San Jose Mercury News

Mason on the summit of Langille - day 4

Mason on the slabs next to the waterfall coming out of Dusy Basin day 4

Mason, Luke, and Nick on Piute Pass - day 5 

people heading down from Striped S. I followed Eric along the ridge to Striped (day 6)

Jonathan heading up towards Courte-Echelle (day 7)

zoomed in on previous pic - Bob tries to shoulder stand on Eric to get to the summit

here I am on the top - maybe 5.6 up the side, but a whole lot of exposure
Matt, Nick, Jonathan, Eric, and I on top of Anna Mills - day 10

I am not feeling so good - day 10

Sunday, August 17, 2014

2014 Sierra Challenge days 1-3

I certainly can't say that I am feeling particularly fit or strong so far. I have managed to get up the challenge peak and a bonus peak each day, but I just don't feel like I have any pep in my step and my times are pretty bad. Still, I haven't had to use the headlamp yet, although with a 14:25 time on day 1 I was pushing that pretty hard. Thanks to the ability to keep on plodding and my Leki trekking poles I can keep moving, I just can't always keep up with others that are going faster. This has always been the case for downhill trail running, but this year it feels like it for the uphills too. In fact the only time I can really keep up is if the terrain is really technical.

This is a brief trip report. I have more pictures and stories for later...

Day 1 Slide Mtn plus bonus Matterhorn Peak 14:25

there was lots of scenic scenery all over

attempting to revitalize my legs - Matterhorn in the middle left

there were some old m&ms in the register - thanks

Day 2 Mt Andrea Lawrence plus bonus Donohue 14:10

Donohue on the left, Andrea Lawrence on the right

Day 3 Patricia Peak (tribute to Pat Hadley) plus bonus Pointless Peak no times - but about 6 hrs

It took a while for most people to get together, then we had a nice tribute to Pat. Laura even hiked up earlier and left some beer and a poem for the group.

group on Patricia Peak in memory of Pat Hadley. 
ridge on the right to Pointless Peak

Tomorrow is going to be a big day. hopefully I am up for it.

There are some other pics and info on the links in the previous sierra challenge 2014 starts blog post

Thursday, August 14, 2014

2014 Sierra Challenge starts tomorrow... gulp

Somehow despite knowing the dates months in advance, the 2014 Sierra Challenge is suddenly here. While I wouldn't say I am completely unprepared, I don't think one can ever be really prepared for something like this, and I think I was better prepared in 2011 and 2012 when I did it before. I only did one day in 2013 because that was when the concrete was poured in my place and because the end was truncated with the tragic death of Pat Hadley.

This year's Challenge averages 16.4 miles a day with 5,820 feet of elevation gain. That assumes you don't get too lost or do additional peaks.

You can see the individual peaks and maps and so on here on Bob's Page:

It is likely that there will be some updates as the days progress here:

I'll try to have my spot tracker going - it can be seen here:

Thanks to Bob Burd for organizing this extravaganza of hiking and suffering. It is a lot of work and it is nice to not have to think too hard in trip planning sometimes. To anyone thinking about joining for a day or all the days - do it.

For all the challenge participants, in the words of the Roman gladiators:

morituri te salutamus

Sean and Pat plotting their course in 2013

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Columns of the Giants with friends

On the way to Wanderlust I stopped off at the Columns of the Giants for some sport climbing with friends. There was a heavy rain before I got to Sonora Pass and the road was actually closed for a while to clear debris. The streams were still running hard and brown when I went over. We need the water, but it would be nice to get it in a less concentrated manner.

It was a nice surprise to see Ed Mank there along with Dawn, John, Ted, and Zuska. I only got to climb a bit before I had to head off to Wanderlust, but it was fun to get in a bit of steep sport climbing and see friends.

there was a lot of muddy water



Ted goes up while Ed comes down
a row of climber vehicles

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Church of Grundy July 4th weekend revival and backpacking teaser

Over the July 4th weekend I hosted a Church of Grundy Revival. Basically a bunch of YogaSlacker people visited and we set up slacklines and did acro at the park and climbed and hung out. It was a lot of fun and will probably happen again. Some people stayed on through Tuesday morning for more fun and play and then Tuesday evening I went backpacking with Willow and Jana. Peaks were climbed at midnight, passes were passed, beautiful blue lakes were jumped into, moonrises watched, wildflowers smelled... I will have to write proper trip reports for both of these events, but for now here are some teaser pics.

high hand to hand with Leah 

There was a lot of water line failure 

Ariel bases Rob like a boss

Ariel and Rob cook while Kathryn, Paul, and Leah chat and eat at the COG

Kathryn climbing at Iris Slab (the old tilt the camera trick)

Kathryn flying Paul

walking the line

YogaSlacker TT 2013 mini - reunion. Kathryn, Tom, Willow, and Leah

Willow boulders

For our hike we went in over Piute Pass, Snowtongue Col, down to Evolution Valley, up Goddard Canyon, past Davis Lake, through Evolution Basin, Darwin Bench, Lamarck Col and out. I have many pics to process, but here are a few to start. 

There was a search underway for a missing hiker who went in to climb Goddard. We saw a few searchers and lots of helicopters. Evidently he summited Goddard and fell on the descent and crawled down to Davis Lake w/ a broken leg. In the evening a helicopter landed almost next to him to drop off searchers and he managed to signal them by throwing rocks and waving something. The next day we saw a helicopter landing by Davis Lake as we went by on the other side.

Willow flying high bird in the back country

there were lots of wildflowers

cold blue lakes were jumped into (Davis Lake)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A busy few days in the Sierra...

I had a busy few days. Friday I hiked out of S. Lake up past Green Lake and on up to some point overlooking Chocolate Peak among other things.
looking down over Chocolate Peak among other things

Saturday I went backcountry over Piute Pass to the Humphreys Basin and camped by Desolation Lake (still mostly ice covered) with Laura and Matt. Matt's altitudinal woes had us hiking back Sunday instead of an early morning trip out to Four Gables and hiking out. I got a little headlamp bouldering in at the Happys that night with Julie.

happy hour fun

Mt Humphreys as the sun sets
camp below Mt Humphreys

Milky Way over the Glacier Divide
bird nest that Laura spotted hiking across the alpine tundra

Yosemite Toad - Laura's friend

Laura drops in on a big snow wave

Monday I hiked the lakes loop out of Glacier Lodge up the N Fork of Big Pine Creek with Julie - spectacular views. Monday night I bouldered at bro-night.

Julie in front of Second Lake and Temple Crag

Tuesday I rested - except for a little more late evening bouldering.

I'll post more pics and a proper trip report eventually - unless the summer gets crazy busy in which case maybe not.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Last gasp skiing trip teaser

They say there is no snow in the Sierra this year, Laura has been posting pics almost every weekend proving that wrong. For the most part it is above 10,000 feet, which means some effort is required to get to it.

We headed in from Virginia Lakes on Sat May 24. It wasn't long before we had to walk across snow fields and our walking shoes got pretty wet before we switched to skis and started skinning up over the pass and with a little bit of steep snow and rock scrambling and a bit of fun skiing to Summit Lake.

Grey Butte reflected in the small melted part of Summit Lake

home sweet homes

We set up in a dryish spot and relaxed and ate delicious foods. Appetizers were flavored triscuits with brie and gouda and then bacon wrapped sirloin with bacon mashed potatos and pesto... (yes, this was a trip with Laura, so Moose Lodge hospitality was in full effect.

bacon wrapped steak with bacon mashed potatoes and pesto = YUM
The next day we skinned up a nice bowl and then higher on another slope and skied down. That was so much fun we did the bowl again. There were nice clouds making for interesting light. We took lots of pics.

Laura drops into the bowl

and continues to the creek

an epic fail attempt at a handstand w/ skis

That night dinner was my turn for dinner - I brought dehydrated curried lentils with sweet potato. Luckily we still had some crackers and brie and gouda too.

I tried to get some night pics when I woke up at midnight. I got a few, but I couldn't figure out the K3 cameras modes that I thought would help.

Memorial day we packed up and headed out. It was amazing how much less snow there was on the way out compared to hiking in. That meant hiking instead of skiing back from the pass, but it wasn't too bad. Then a stop at the Whoa Nellie Deli and on to the Tufa at Mono Lake to take pics. I got brought out the big lens and took a bunch of detail pics and pics of gulls and osprey.

osprey bringing a stick to the tufa top penthouse suite
same pic - cropped in even more

There will be more details and pics in a trip report eventually. I'll put the link here when it is done.

and here it is: