Finally Some Snow!

Last week it finally snowed in the Front Range. We’ve been looking at bare mountains for most of the winter, sourly remembering last year’s terrible snow cover. We keep doing the snow dance and praying to the snow gods, but mostly to know avail. We hear about Utah, Washington, and even Southern Colorado getting pounded by beautifully large storms, but nothing seems to come our way. But Wednesday and Thursday brought a decent amount of snow.

My buddy Leigh is out visiting to snowboard, so thursday I decided to snowboard with him and Thomas Moore. I usually ski, and I didn’t really pay attention to the snow report, so I was very unprepared for the amount of powder at Keystone. I actually hadn’t been on a snowboard in over 5 years, but it came back quite easily, though I had never been in powder before. Leigh, Tom and I stuck mainly to the woods, trying to make the most of the fresh.

Thomas Moore 

I really want to do more skiing and snowboarding photography, but I always dread bringing my full camera set up with me, mostly because of the weight. I shot all of these with my point and shoot, Canon Powershot G10. I really want to find a nice mirrorless camera to fill in the gap, something that is super light weight and can easily sit inside my jacket, but has high enough quality that people want to buy the photos. AND usability. The G10 shoots painfully slow. On burst mode it takes 1 photo every 1.5 seconds. The new Sony Alpha NEX-7 I’m looking at shoots 10 frames per second and has a shutter lag of only .02 seconds (not even mentioning the list of other great features it has). Sorry, I got distracted.

Late in the day the weather toyed with being Bluebird, but it continued to snow all morning long. Over the previous 24 hours there was maybe 8″ of fresh snow which was awesome in the trees. Tom and I decide to hike over to the South Bowl, where apparently a ton of snow from elsewhere on the mountain was getting blown. I got stuck.

Tom sitting waist deep in fresh powder. 

I got really stuck. So stuck on my snowboard that I could not move without removing the snowboard and crawling inch by inch through the powder till I got to a slope that was steep enough that gravity could overcome the resistance of the snow. I was kicking myself for not bringing my skis. Maneuvering into place to get a shot was more difficult. Enjoying the abundance of snow was more difficult. I was exhausted at the end of the day.  

But we got to enjoy the new snow.


View from my usual position….on my back. 

The Grim Reaper 5.13rx Trad in Eldorado Canyon

Happy new year! I have a really great feeling about 2013! Enjoy a post I should have posted a LONG time ago. And congratulations to my friend Matt Lloyd who just got accepted to the Evolv National Climbing Team!

Back in October, Matt Lloyd told me about a project in Eldorado Canyon that he wanted to work on. “It’s short, hard, and dangerous” he said. “The only other guy to do it took a pretty bad ground fall while working on it. It’s 5.13RX trad…” For some reason he likes climbs that have the potential of a bad ground fall.

It was cold. And a hell of a hike to get to the top of Redgarden wall. We warm up on a “Eldo” stout 5.11 crack. 
Matt works through the crux and after a couple of attempts, goes for the send. 5.13 is hard. 5.13 rx Trad is harder. and Eldo 5.13 rx Trad is even harder.  

Matt trying hard.

The route is short, and it’s over quickly. Once over the ledge, it’s a jug haul to the top.

The end of the year was crazy and I’ve had a lot of awesome adventures. A lot more are to come for 2013! 

Patagonia Men’s Advocate Lace Plaid Shoe Review

I love this shoe. And that’s saying a lot; I have a lot of shoes. 
Patagonia Men’s Advocate Lace Plaid Shoe
Photo from Patagonia’s website

I have many shoes for many different purposes, but when I need to grab just one for most things this is it. The Patagonia Men’s Advocate Lace Plaid Shoe is meant to be a an aprés climb (or pretty much an aprés anything) shoe. It’s super super lightweight, foldable, packable and very surprisingly durable.

I’ve worn the hell out of this shoes since January, and I love it. I use it for everything from my everyday around the town shoe and some light running. But as an approach shoe is where this shoe excels. The sole is incredibly thin and I even took out the minimal footbed, so my foot is protected just by the flexible rubber sole. In the trend of minimalist shoes, this is about as minimal as you can get without going barefoot. I love how my feet feels the trail, and the rubber sole grips to rock impressively well. And being so light weight and flexible you can easily clip the shoe to your harness for multipitch climbs or stuff them in your pack and never notice they are there.

I’ve bouldered V4 in them, and in them I’ve dragged myself through waist deep snow at the top of Redgarden Wall in Eldorado Canyon in February (Not the best idea). I have been incredibly impressed by their durability: when I first bought them I didn’t know how well it would hold up, but after 8 months of extremely heavy use they are still kicking it strong. The Patagonia Men’s Advocate Lace Plaid Shoe gets a strong recommendation.