Sunday, June 30, 2013


As of June 16th Amanda and I have been married 5 years!  Our schedules kept us from celebrating for a few weeks but we finally made it out to Telluride for a couple of days.  We ended up spending a lot of time at the pool and hot tub but managed to go for a couple of rides, and check out some boulders.  I look forward to the next 5, 10, 50 years!

Pool time!

You've got to love the gondola!

Resting the legs between laps at the bike park.

Vestal Basin

As I was riding the coal powered steam train up to Elk Park I was checking the weather and it didn't look good.  NOAA was predicting 70% chance of precipitation and a chance of snow.  Luckily NOAA doesn't always get it right!  We ended up summiting Vestal Peak and Arrow Peak with great weather the whole time.  Beautiful weather, fun people, and great surroundings made for an amazing 3 days in the Weminuche Wilderness.  
Smoky conditions riding the train to Elk Park. The smoke was blowing in from some wildfires far to the East.
Summit of Vestal Peak!
Sky Pilot at 13,000'.
Vestal Peak from Arrow Peak.
Camp in Vestal Basin with Vestal Peak above.
Catching the train back to Durango from Elk Park.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Southwest Ridge on Sneffels

Tim had climbed Mount Sneffels(14,150') before via the standard route and was looking for a little more of a challenge.  The SW ridge is an amazing route on an iconic Colorado 14er.  Climbing up the SW Ridge and down the standard route gave us a great tour of the mountain.  
Tim with his game face on. The SW ridge is behind him.
Tim on the SW Ridge.
Descending some snow.
TIm making it look easy.
Final stretch to the summit.
As always, it was great climbing with you Tim!

Solitude east of the Vallecito

David and I left the Los Pinos trail head with food for ten days, not 100% sure where we were going.  We knew we wanted to try to climb Mt. Oso but besides that we were going to play it by ear.  We ended seeing people on day 1,2,9 and 10; but on days 3-8 we saw no one.  We hiked up the Los Pinos River drainage then up Lake Creek past Emerald Lake, Moon Lake, and Half Moon Lake.  Then over 'Moon Rock Pass' to Rock Lake.  Then to Flint Lake and down Flint Creek past the 'Popes Nose' to Los Pinos River and back to the trail head.  We saw an elk, moose, and a bear print.
David enjoying the afternoon.
A little to chilly to get out of the sleeping bags to cook breakfast.
Heading up Lake Creek drainage toward Moon Lake.
Camp at Moon Lake.
Great reflections on Moon Lake.
Headed to Mt. Oso. Just before seeing an elk.
David chillin' on top of Mt. Oso.
Headed down from Mt. Oso.
Moose by Flint Lake at about 11,650'.
Bear print below Flint Lake.
David found a snack along the trail.
David enjoying a fire below the mighty 'Popes Nose'.
Headed back down the Lose Pinos River drainage.
Thanks for the great trip David!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Portland Creek Canyon

Took a great couple from Tennessee down Portland Creek Canyon today.  Starts just south of Ouray and you finish right in town.  A big wet rappel in the middle keeps the excitement up!

Friday, June 14, 2013

A different kind of Alaska

I've been to Alaska a few times over the years but hadn't done much other then get flown into glaciers to climb a peak.  I had been wanting to go with my Dad and check out some other parts of Alaska for quite some time.  Finally we made it up there in early June.

Day 1: We met in Denver and flew up to Anchorage.  Got the rental car, found the hotel, ate some food and went to bed.

Day 2: We started out the day by driving to the Matanuska Glacier and hiking around on the toe of it.  I had done this on my first trip with John in 2004 and had a great time.

We then drove up to Talkeetna and took a scenic flight around Denali (aka Mt. McKinley aka North Americas tallest peak at 20,320'), which required oxygen masks since we were not in a pressurized plane.

Day 3: We woke up in Talkeetna and drove back to Anchorage to take a hike at Flattop Peak, before continuing South to Homer.

Day 4: Woke up in Homer and headed out on a fishing boat to look for Halibut.  We caught quite a few unfortunately we were only able to keep two each.  Once back on dry land I was able to catch up with Jesse Kirby who is a friend from Durango that has moved to Homer.

Day 5: Woke early and drove to Seward to take a scenic boat trip.  On which we saw, a breaching Humpback Whale, a pod of Orca, two Mountain Goats, two Black Bears, Horned and Tufted Puffins, Bald Eagles, Sea Lions, Sea Otters, Dall's Porpoise, and Harbor Seals in addition to some glaciers.  After that we drove up to Whittier and spent the night.  Whittier is a tiny port town that is separated from the rest of Alaska by a tunnel 2.5 miles long that "is the second longest highway tunnel, and longest combined rail and highway tunnel, in North America".   It's pretty cool.

Day 6: Woke in Whittier and decided to to drive back North because the weather down South was getting bad and the weather on the North side of Denali was clear.  We got to Denali National Park with stiff legs and needing to walk around.  We chose a hike on the flanks of Mt. Healy because it was the only trail that said "strenuous" on the sign.  It turned out to be walking up a steep creek for most of the way.  But it was good to get out of the car.

Day 7: Woke and drove back toward Anchorage seeing two Caribu along the way and stopping at Hatcher Pass.  Unfortunately we discovered it was not open for the season yet.  We finished the drive to Anchorage and watched "After Earth" at a theater, which was a little weak.  Then headed for the airport to catch our flights back home.  All total we drove about 1,600 miles and saw 4 Caribu and 15 Moose.

Hatcher Pass

Great trip!  Super fun time hanging out with my dad!