Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mt. Brewer

On August 21 and 22, I hiked from "Road's End" in Kings Canyon to Mt. Brewer. This was my first solo backpacking trip and also my first backpacking trip with a bivy sack. I very much like hiking with friends, but enjoyed the experience of perfect solitude as well.

2 days, roughly 30 miles total, start and finish at 5100 ft, camp at 11850 ft (that's 6750 ft of climbing on a single day with full backpack including bear can, bivy, sleeping bag), summit in the morning of the second day at 13570 ft, off-trail section that included bush whacking, up to class 3 rock scrambling, swamp, and some route finding challenges due to inaccurate USGS maps. A piece of cake of course - B. Burd did it as a day hike. His trip description and map were very useful in planning this hike, as was Arturo's advice. Thanks!

I like flipping through the Picasa album in the
map, since all photos are accurately geo-tagged.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Natural Bridges Swim

From last Saturday. Not been to the Pacific for a while, and it's baking in the SF bay. Venture out to Santa Cruz for a refreshing swim at Natural Bridges State Park.

I'm on my last lap just ouside the surf, and the park's natural bridge is straight ahead of me, with the Big Sur Mountains on the other side of Monterey Bay in the background, and the sunset in my neck. How to do this scenery justice? Swimming through the bridge, of course. It was fun!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Snowboarding at Mt. Tallac and Angora Peak

Last weekend Fernando and I ventured to Mt. Tallac and Angora Peak.

Climbing up via the ridge on the right side.

The NE bowl at the top will be our reward.

View from the summit of Tallac.

I check out the entrance into the cross, the chute that's visible from South Lake. On my list, but not this time.

Instead, we find powder in the NE bowl.

Our tracks.

View Mt Tallac in a larger map

Next day, we climb Angora Peak from Fallen Leaf Lake.

And higher up ...

Great weather, great views from the top of Angora.

We sail down a south facing couloir.

Fernando harvesting corn.

The lake below Echo Summit (left) and Angora Peak (right).

Leaving South Lake Tahoe we stop at the golf course at US 50 for a view of Angora Peak.

Zooming in ... that's Angora Peak.

And there's our line. Not sure which one, but hey.

Our tracks.

View Angora Peak in a larger map

Fernando's pictures. My pictures.

Awesome trip for sure - legit powder and legit corn in one weekend.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Mission Peak Summit Loop

Cell picture and track from a swift Mission Peak evening hike.

View Mission Peak Summit Loop in a larger map

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Evening Walk at Shoreline

Mellow pace. Spring evening, blue sky, warm light. Out into the bay on a dirt trail, along the shore, back to the Plex via the lake, the golf course, and the garbage hill. Steady wind. Birds around the water. Sunset over the Santa Cruz Mountains. I've been trying to figure out what's so cool about running but this made it a no-brainer.

View An Evening Walk At Shoreline in a larger map

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Fusion Food

Good things coming together from different continents and cultures: Fusion. Concerned about your health? Maintain a balanced diet. Or if you are a musician, make a composition.

Whatever works for you - enjoy your food!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Footage from Saturday

Some Saturday footage thanks to my newly-acquired helmet cam. First run of the day, "Cruising down the Y" - the inaugural run for the cam:

For what followed, snow ended up on the lens, sorry about that! But here is this mellow one that I liked. Some pow, some trees, nobody around, light snow, some wind, chilly, nothing in particular, just aimlessly wandering down the hill...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Snowboarding the Sisters and Jakes Peak

Last weekend, Fernando and I went backcountry touring. He has loads of experience and thus picked the terrain. On Sunday, we went up towards Round Top in Mokelumne Wilderness and then ended up shredding the bowl west of it. Here's a pic from our lunch break - Round Top in the center:

Two runs - one from the ridge to the upper right of the tree, and another one from the left - both down into the bowl.

Monday, we hit the jackpot on Jake's peak: nice and sunny, only one other car, awesome views of Lake Tahoe, and to top it off, some powder on steeper sections in the shade. Yay!

Crystal Range - Pyramid Peak is sticking out behind it.


Southern summit of Jake's.

Fernando is looking forward to ski ...

... and off we go ...

... fresh ...

... and views.

Fernando has a post with more pictures. Sweet times!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Snowboarding in Zermatt

I'm driving this little French car South, towards the Alps. Cruising down the Autobahn just East of the Rhine, I hear in the radio about a traffic jam a few kilometers ahead and decide to take a bridge into speed-limited France. From there, towards Basel, Switzerland. And South, South, South. Finally, mountains. I read off the points from a Google Maps printout, roughly following what it says. Drive to Bern - check. Drive to Thun - check. Drive to Kandersteg - check. Board the train - are you serious? Actually, yes, just park your car on the train and chill as the train disappears into a leeeeeeeengthy tunnel. The Swiss love tunnels.

After dragging my luggage from the car into a shuttle and from the shuttle to the hotel I collapse into my bed. The next morning, a quick glance out of the window to verify that I'm in Zermatt: the Matterhorn, of course.

Of course it's impossible to take a decent picture without having the Matterhorn in it. If you look closely you can also see the train tracks of the Gornergrat-Bahn.

Off the trail. -20 degrees Celsius, fluffy powder, mediocre coverage.

Recipe for pretending to be a mountaineer: (1) take the elevator to the summit of the small Matterhorn; (2) climb over a little fence; (3) take a few careful steps and put up your arms.

The big glacier. A skier's last resort in the summer - a snowboarder's icy flat groomer nightmare in the winter.

Cruising into Italy.

In Italy, coverage is even thinner. For every turn off-trail you pay with p-tex, so I decide to head back pretty soon.

Still in Italy.

Taking a gondola to escape from Italy.

Looking towards Switzerland from the top of the gondola. From their trail map, I think the top is actually the border between the two countries - but no passport control. When you cross from California into Nevada at Heavenly that's actually more noticeable...

Looking towards Italy.

A sweet line to shortcut a cat track and round off a day.

Looking towards Zermatt.

Oops! This line ended gnarlier than I had planned - I dislike unstrapping for downhill travel.

Another day, another morning view of the Matterhorn.

The Matterhorn, again. I think this might be from Blauherd or Rothorn.

The Matterhorn from Rothorn.

Just the Matterhorn.

Now the Matterhorn goes into hiding, almost.

The sign for the cat-track said "closed" - but the off-piste wasn't closed, right? So, I had a few really good runs back there behind Rothorn, drawing mellow lines into the snow - in complete solitude.

Sailing down another groomer in search of powder.

I think this is the top of the Hohtälli gondola. I took a cool run off the cat track below. There was a section in it that had a little more adrenaline than expected and hoped for, but other than that plenty of thin powder.

So, somewhere on the cat track I notice wow, this is a sweet slope right below here. Untouched, somewhat deep powder. And check this out - another cat track below it. I go for it, sweet run. Upon arriving at the cat track I notice that oops, this goes uphill on both sides - what's the way down? Turns out it's a snowshoing trail.

Another off-trail run near the Gornergrat Bahn. Low angle but sweet views of the Matterhorn, and pretty decent snow. This ended with a lengthy hike back via a snowshoe trail, too.

A police car in Zermatt. Love the tires.

My lessons learned: (1) Europeans really stick to the cat tracks when riding, for the most part. It's almost unbelievable but true - almost always I was the only dude off-trail. Often there were other tracks but not always. (2) It's very easy to get into dangerous situations off-trail. Nothing is marked, the snow can be sketchy, and if you can't see your line all the way it probably includes cliffs, ice falls, etc. and isn't necessarily rideable. (3) This resort is heavily biased towards skiers. As a snowboarder you want poles (that's what I do - I hate to unstrap) and practice at traveling on icy cat tracks that sometimes flatten out or go uphill. I was the only boarder in a gondola ride from Blauherd to Rothorn - perhaps 40-50 skiers shared the ride. (4) The Alps look beautiful and way, way, big. There's big glaciers, deep valleys, and the terrain is super interesting (and dangerous). (5) It can be very cold. -20 Celsius at the top of the hill, and now go hunting for powder on a shady north side.

Overall, these two days were a ton of fun. Sure, the snow could have been more plentiful but it was early season (before Xmas) and the weather was fantastic. No regrets!