Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Skylight Area Ice Climbing

Here is a short video from guiding ice last weekend at the Skylight area just outside of Ouray, CO.   Winter is here and so is the ice!

Thursday, December 5, 2013


Back in May Amanda, myself and some friends went to Telluride for the weekend.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Talisman

Today Thad and I made it out to climb 'The Talisman' which is just outside of Ouray.  It's in fat right now and we had a great day for it!  The only issue we encountered was the gate getting closed and locked while we were climbing, so at the end of the day so we couldn't get back to Ouray.  Luckily the Sheriff came up to let us out!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Winter Mountaineering on Mount Sneffels

Ivan and I were able to make it up into Yankee Boy Basin this week to do some winter mountaineering.  We enjoyed great Colorado weather the whole trip and were able to summit Mount Sneffels (14,150')!

Ridgeway Biking

Amanda and I were able to get away last Saturday to visit Thadd, Marie and Mazzy in Ouray.  We got a nap, a bike ride, a soak at Orvis, and some great time visiting good friends!

Sunday, November 10, 2013


Matt and I climbed Infared on Big Bend Butte in Moab a few years ago and eyeballed the two routes to our left as we rappelled off the butte.  I wanted to get out and check out Clearlight and gave Matt a call last week.  Unfortunately he couldn't make it.  Fortunately Bill was available and we made plans.  Clearlight was a great route and on the descent I was able to climb Dolomite Wall's amazing off-width pitches.  Great day in the desert!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Winter in the San Juans

Saturday Tim and I were able to get out and climb Snowdon.  Although it's still fall in Durango, it most definitely is winter above 10,000'.  I'm pretty sure I can speak for both of us when I say, that we were thankful for every layer we brought.
Enjoying the crisp morning!

Snowdon still a ways off.

Last few steps to the top!

Heading back down.

Finally really starting to warm up.

It's hard to beat a cloudless Colorado day.
Climbing with Tim is always a blast.  He is super positive and always raving about the amazing views.  As much as I try not to take the San Juan Mountains for granted, Tim always helps me to appreciate my surroundings.  It was great climbing with you Tim!  See you soon.

Saturday, October 26, 2013


Just got done with a 6 day trip to Moab/Indian Creek. Jonas came over from Sweden for some time in the sun before the winter darkness comes to Stockholm.

Day 1:
We started out at Wallstreet climbing a combination of cracks and slab. On our way down to Indian Creek to set up camp we stopped off and climbed 'King Arthur's Seat'.
The Bridger Jacks 

Day 2:
Climbed at Donnelly Canyon.
Jonas on 'Generic Crack' at Donnelly Canyon, Indian Creek.

Day 3:
Climbed at Battle of the Bulge, and then checked out some Native American ruins in the evening.

Day 4:
Climbed at Supercrack Buttress in the morning then headed back up to Moab in the afternoon.

Day 5:
We climbed the 'North Chimney' on Castleton in the morning and then headed over to the Fishers to climb 'Ancient Art' in the afternoon.
Jonas following pitch 2 on Castleton.

Jonas on top of Ancient Art.

'The Cobra'

Day 6:
We finished off the trip at Wallstreet. Then parted ways.

Great trip Jonas!  I hope to see you this winter on the ice.

Monday, October 14, 2013

East Animas Trail Day

Yesterday we had a trail day at Durango's great local climbing area East Animas.  The trail was in lousy shape when we started planning the trail day in the beginning of September; and then we got the rain which caused all the flooding.  It needed some work to say the least.  Trails 2000 helped us with organization and leadership. Bread Bakery donated some fuel for the volunteers in the form of coffee, cookies, and muffins. Backcountry Experience offered some coupons for discounts as an incentive to show up at 9am on a Sunday morning.  We worked mostly on improving the trails drainage, but also were able to create two small reroutes to bad sections of trail.  We wrapped up around 1pm and grilled hot dogs in the parking lot.  Not a bad way to spend a Sunday morning!  Hopefully this will be the first of many climbing area trail days.  All photos are from the highly talented Bill Grasse!

Coffee's out, banner's up, now we sit back and wait for folks to show up.

Grady from Trails 2000 giving a tool talk.

Getting it done.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Climbing Therapy

I was at my wits end.  Maybe I'm just spoiled or weak but once in a while I need a break from all the little shit associated with everyday life.  It wasn't really the best timing and was very spur of the moment but a short climbing trip was about the only thing that could keep me from exploding.  Luckily I think Matt was feeling something similar and we were able to get out.  The first couple hours in the car didn't have the the usual banter I associate with long car trips with the boys.  However as we got further from Durango all the shit and stress started to fall away and the plans, schemes, and smack talking started to flow.
First stop was a climb that has been on the list for over a decade.  'Wind, Sand and Stars' is as one guidebook put it, "legendary".  It doesn't get as much traffic as some multi-pitch free routes in Zion but in terms of quality of climbing, location, and history, it is inferior to few.  Pitch after pitch was more fun, cleaner, more solid, less scary, better protected, and all around higher quality than I expected.  Top free climb of my year without a doubt.  The only downer on the day was having a locker unlock and a #4 camalot unclip on the descent.

The day after 'Wind, Sand and Stars' we woke in Red Rock to start a sport climbing "rest day".  After only a handful of pitches my skin was done and we headed to the movie theater.  We entered at 2:30pm and exited 2.5 movies later at 8:30pm.  We might not have started the rest day very well but we sure ended it well! 
'Sergeant Slaughter' was a little bit of an unknown.  There was a little blurb in a guide book and it had a great name so we decided to give it a go. Unfortunately it called for a #6 camalot, a #5, and two #4's. We had forgotten the #6 in Durango and our other #4 was somewhere on the descent of W.S.S.  How bad could it be? Luckily we didn't miss either cam and the route turned out to be a gem.  The guidebook said the upper pitches were loose and runout we found neither to be true. To descend we rappelled the Original Route On the Rainbow Wall which we had climbed a few years before.  It was great to get another look at at those incredible pitches.  So much good climbing all on one piece of rock!
We climbed 'Sergeant Slaughter' of course on October 1st which was the first day of the government shut down.  Meaning that we had to hike an additional half our in and out since the road was closed into Red Rock.  While on the route I watched a helicopter fly over the park with a loud speaker saying over and over, "THE PARK IS CLOSED!"
The next morning we woke up in the Chuckwalla parking lot outside of St. George.  After climbing a bunch of pitches with 'vacation grades' we decided to head home.  But instead of leaving at noon we spent 5 hours in St. George waiting for my water pump, timing belt, thermostat, and a fan belt to get replaced before finishing the drive home.  
It's hard to beat climbing on sandstone in the fall!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Via Ferrata

Bill and I recently took a crew out on the Via Ferrata near Telluride. Fun group and the weather held out for us. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday.

Vestal and Noname Basins

I just got out of the Weminuche on one of the last backcountry guiding trips of the summer season.  I was leading a 5 day Intro to Alpine Climbing course. We climbed three big peaks and traversed three basins making for a great trip.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Chicago Basin, Wilson Peak, and Noname Basin

The last couple weeks have flown by!  Here are some of the highlights...
Shawn, Nick and I climbed Sunlight(14,059') and Windom(14,082') in Chicago Basin.
I met Ken, Daniel and Aaron in Telluride to climb Wilson Peak(14,017').  While waiting in the gas staion parking lot at 4:30am I got to see who was making a mess by knocking over all the trash cans, and going through the contents.  We were surprised to find a 1/2" of fresh snow on Wilson Peak.  It quickly melted as the sun came up and started heating up the rock.
Lastly Bob and I hiked up Noname Basin to climb Jagged Peak.  We ended up climbing the rarely attempted Peak 6(13,705') instead.
It was great climbing with all of you!  Its hard not to have fun in the San Juans this time of year.  Hell any time of year is great!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Ice Lakes

Amanda has lived in Durango area for 10 years and had never been up to the ice lakes basin. Last week we decided to fix that. We hiked up and jumped in Ice Lake then checked out Island Lake as the afternoon thunderstorms were building.  Luckily we made it back to the car a few minutes before the rain started.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Colorado 14ers!

Although Ken lives in Texas he is on a mission to climb Colorodo's 54 14,000 foot peaks!  Last week we went into Chicago Basin with his son and climbed the areas three semi technical 14ers; Windom, Sunlight and Eolus.  I believe after our trip Ken has climbed 38 14ers!  I will be seeing Ken again in a couple weeks to climb Mt. Wilson and El Diente near Telluride.  Stay tuned!
Summit of Windom!
Taking a quick dip in Twin Lakes.  

Our camp in Chicago Basin

Midwestern Motivation

Its not super common that we hike into Vestal Basin from Molas Pass.  We usually take the train which cuts off about 6 miles round trip and a 2,000 foot climb from the river back to the car on the way out.  Aaron, Jacob and I left Molas on Wednesday morning and made great time getting into Vestal Basin in 5 hours.  We set up camp and talked about the strategy for Thursday.  Vestal Peak would be first via the incredible and classic Wham Ridge.  From the Vestal summit we would descend the South Face back to the base of Arrow and then climb Arrow's Northeast Face and descend to camp.  Although we woke up to clouds on Thursday the skies cleared and everything went as planned.  Except that when we got back to camp Aaron and Jacob decided that they didn't want to spend another night out as planned but would prefer to hike back out to Molas Pass.  It's amazing what three soccer players from the midwest can do when they have been at altitude for a few days!  Or a few years in my case. All total we hiked about 20 miles and gained 8,000' of elevation.
Aaron and Jacob on top of Arrow Peak after climbing Vestal Peak earlier that morning.
The beautiful Wham Ridge on Vestal Peak.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Black In Action

Matt, Bill and I managed to find a couple days that we all had off to go to the Black  Canyon.  The plan was to do a smaller route day one, then on day two do a slightly larger route. Bill and Matt had made a deal that if Bill led the A3 pitch on day 2 than Bill could bic Matt's head. Unfortunately for Bill and luckily for Matt we ended up not doing the route we had planned on day 2.
We woke up early in Durango on day one and drove up to the black.  The gulley was one of the nastiest we had seen. We made it down to the route and enjoyed a few pitches of great climbing. Then hours of getting back to the rim along a complicated ridge.  We had considered doing another route down the same gulley that same day but after the nasty gulley and complicated ridge we decided a better option was to get some Corona and chill out at the river in Montrose. 
The route we had planned on for day two ended up being in the sun for most of the day, so that was nixed.  We had noticed a cool looking pillar/tower with continuous crack systems bottom to top so we decided to give it a go on day two. We couldn't find a trace of the route in the Black Canyon guidebook or online so it was likely a first ascent but you never know with the Black Canyon.  Some Gunnison local probably free soloed it years ago.  For not having anything other than a standard climbing rack things went well. We were back at the car at about 2pm. We stopped in Ridgeway on our way home for another dip in the river.
I have to say it doesn't sound like a bad way for Bill to spend his birthday! 
"We have everything?"
Nasty gullies!
Matt doing some trail work. 
Bill starting pitch 3. Note the mono.
Matt on a tyrolean traverse on the complicated ridge back to the rim.
Matt and Bill at the base of pitch 4 of 'Black In Action'.