Dec. 28, Kendall Revisited

Avalanche danger rated considerable below 7,000 feet. Looks like a good reason to stay with a safer destination. Kendall again! It was a Saturday and we had a helluva group; Greg, Frank, Mike O, Kari, Seth, Holly, and Eric. Toured up Kendall knob then cruised the ridgeline and dropped the North side of the ridge back into Kendall Peaks basin. The same area as the last post. This time after Eric dug a pit and deemed the snowpack safe, we opted for the open slopes and had some great turns. Excellent group of skiers and a great day to be out in the mountains.

Dec. 26, Kendall Peak Region

The snow has been falling! Today was probably the best powder I have ever had touring! 20-30" of fluffy powder over a small rain crust, that saved us from sinking even deeper. Started from Sahalie with Seth, and found that the river crossings up in the commonwealth have not formed the best snowbridges yet. Managed to cross the creeks without getting wet and started skinning up the lower flanks of Kendall basin. Luckily two skiers had busted in a great skin track leading up to the main slidepath. We caught them just before the slidepath, Tony and Shier. They were only too happy to let us bust the trail out to the South ridge leading up to the Kendall summits. We turned back as the trees thinned out, not wanting to venture out into the main slide paths. Lap 1 - game on! Ripped all the way back down to the creeks in the commonwealth valley. With big grins on our faces, we all agreed another lap was necessary! When we toured back up to the flat area before the slide path, Seth was eyeing the timbered slope that headed up the Left side of the slide path. Maybe 500 feet of vertical, the powder was great, and we did three laps on this upper section before one more great run down to the commonwealth valley floor. A great day of skinning, 4,500' vertical, with a great group of skiers!

Dec. 11 - Mt. Rainier, Paradise

Day 4 - No Snow - Well, we are on snow in the picture, but there does not seem to be much around the Pacific Northwest. After the big rain event last week, the coverage is definitely thin. Looking for snow, we headed to the old reliable, Mt. Rainier. We found snow, but we also found ice, crust, and rocks. Pulled out the ski crampons to get up to Panorama point. Continued up to just past 7,500 feet. Snow was turning into more ice then snow at this point and we decided to call it a day and ski. The views were incredible, and made up for the lack of good snow conditions. Lets hope for more snow this weekend.

Dec 2, 2007 Snoqualmie Summit - West ski area

Day 2 - The adventure today was not in the skiing, but trying to hook up with Greg and Frank. Greg was the first to make it to Alpental. Unfortunately he high centered as soon as he pulled his Audi quatro wagon into the parking lot. On my cell phone I was in contact with Frank, still on I-5 between Olympia and Tacoma, who said it was snowing hard. I was stuck in my neighborhood. The county had not plowed the roads yet, and the snow was about 2 feet deep. I decided to take Francine to work and went around the block, hoping a few people had pushed a path out of the neighborhood. No luck, second time in ten years that I high centered the Ford Explorer driving in the neighborhood. Just as we got the car unstuck, a 4wd, lifted pick-up from the Summit Learning Center came cruising by to pick up Francine's boss. They promptly got stuck, threw on some chains, and plowed up the road. Following in their bulldozed track I actually made it out of the neighborhood and went to rescue Greg. Greg failed to mention the road to Alpental had not been plowed and it was 2 feet deep if your car veered out of the ruts. By the time I got to Greg, he had dug out and was free. We slowly worked our way back to Summit West, and hooked up with Frank. The snow at West was extremely deep and we had a hard time breaking trail, until we crossed the path of a group ahead of us. Snow was too deep and heavy to make good turns, but we did two laps and got some exercise.

Here is picture of the house when I got home, note I already snowblew last night at 11, and this morning at 8. The snow is still coming down!

Nov 24, Crystal Mt. - Campbell Basin

First day of the new Season! Day 1 and counting. Looking to get back on the skis, I hooked up with Greg Louie who needed a November ski day for his ski streak of skiing every month of the year. It wasn't the best forecast, and Greg suggested going to Crystal. He thought the drive would be easier than the standby Paradise. We parked in the parking lot which was covered in a thin layer of ice and snow. Greg suggested we could start right at the car. Since I was feeling protective of my freshly reglued skins I opted to walk up the base chair lift to put on my skis. Coverage was thin, but there was enough to start at the base and head up towards Campbell Basin where we were able to find at least a foot of snow covering the smooth slopes. Thanks to a temperature inversion I was skiing at 7,000 feet in my T-shirt while at Snoqualmie Pass it was in the 20's all day. Turned out to be a pretty decent first day. Hopefully we will get a good dump soon and get the ski areas running.

September 13, Park City

Well the day after the accident, the rest of the crew did Park City resort's chairlift. The trails were excellent, but the chair was awfully slow. Day 5 they did the Mid-Mt. trail riding from Deer Valley out to past The Canyons. Day 6, I made a morning trip to the hospital then made it out for a ride with Mike. Chris shuttled us halfway up Deer Valley and we caught the downhill trail NCS back down. Then we rode Outlook to Spin Cycle, Valley trail and then some. A great ride and I even think Mike was starting to get tired. Today was our last day of riding. Tomorrow we spring Francine from the hospital, put her on a plane, then Mike and I make the 12 hour drive home.

Mike rides the "Barney Rubble" section of the NCS downhill trail at Deer Valley.

September 11, Salt Lake University Hospital

Unfortunately at the very finish of our Wasatch Crest ride, while the boys were waiting at the car, Francine decided to get stung by a bee. Then during a panic stop she put her foot down too early and drove her femur into her tibia, cracking the top of her tibia. The first person to help was an ER doctor, and he was kind enough to drive us to the closest emergency room. That afternoon they cut off Francine's favorite bike shorts, then wheeled her into the operating room to straighten out her leg. The first night they installed an external fixation device. They drilled holes into her femur and shin bone then screwed in long posts that protruded from her leg. These post were connected by square carbon fiber rods that immobilized her leg. The next morning Dr. Kubiak removed the external fixation device and proceeded to install 7 screws and two metal plates to hold the top of her tibia back together.

September 10, Park City

I went to Park City last year, and unfortunately got rained out. The small taste we had last September, convinced us that we should try again for this year. We got a cheap condo in the center of Park City and invited Chris, Corinne, and Mike U. on our adventure. Day one, we tried a new area, Glenwild. Although we enjoyed the area it did not have the trees or great soil like most of the rest of the Park City rides. Day 2 was Deer Valley chair lift assited Mt. biking. Had a great variety of excellent trails! Day 3 was the big ride, we shuttled a car down to Salt Lake City, then started our ride from Park City, over the Wasatch crest and then a 5,000 foot descent to Salt Lake. 31 miles, almost entirely on singletrack.

The crew on top of Wasatch crest.
Chris and Corinne enjoy the views, Solitude and Brighton ski areas behind them.
Rattlesnake on the trail

Getting the garage floor ready for Cement.

We were headed to Park City, and Lester the cement guy was ready to pour our basement floor, so we quickly prepped the garage with gravel, plastic, foam, and wire reinforcement.

August 23, Crystal Mt. Loop

Heather and Mike were back from world traveling and were psyched to do a good ride, so we went for the Crystal Mt. loop with Francine, Justin, Mike, Kevin, and Heather. It was a perfect day, and I got a good view of my June ski line on Mt. Rainier. Everybody enjoyed the ride, although Mike's head was a little sore from doing a head plant on the way down.

Garage foundation

Francine and I got busy and banged out the foundation in about 2 weeks. Lots of rebar. Lot of work building the forms to only tear them off. Thanks to dad, Larry, for helping on the pour day along with neigbors Matt, Chris, and then Joel who helped pull the forms off.

Summer Project

Some people, like my ski partner manage to ski every month of the year. Personally I enjoy a respite from skiing over the summer. It gets me even more excited when I do get to start the season back up in October or November. This summer, as usual, I have a house project. This year it is a little bigger than normal and involves a new garage to keep our cars snow free over the winter! Hopefully I will get it finished before ski season. Here is a picture I drew using Google SketchUp, a free 3D program.

June 20, Mt. Rainier via Emmons/Winthrop Glacier

I had never had a real desire to climb Mt. Rainier. Growing up in Seattle, it was one of those goals everybody had at one time or another. It wasn't until skiing off the summits of Mt. Adams and Mt. Baker that I thought, hey, it would be kinda cool to ski off Mt Rainier. Well, last summer due to scheduling conflicts I missed out on skiing the Fuhr Finger with Greg. I did do a spring trip to the interglacier and steamboat prow. The top of Steamboat Prow looks down on Camp Shurman and the climbing route was easily visible to the summit. I thought, hey, that route looks pretty easy. So this year when I had a weather window that meshed up with Greg's schedule, I jumped at the chance to go for the summit.

June 5, Beast Adventure Race

This was our second year for the Seattle Beast Adventure Race . We returned with the same great team; brother-Kelly, niece- Maddie, and nephew-Jack. Overall we finished 12th out of 35 teams, but we were second in the coed 4 person category. The race started with a canoe section on Lake Washington then restarted by order for the biking/orienteering/running sections.

May 29 - June 2, Panorama, Lake Louise, Banff

The Canadian Rockies is a place I need to ski! My parents were ready to see Lake Louise and invited Francine and I to accompany them on their trip. Thinking of all the Mt. Biking possibilities we loaded up the bikes and headed to Panorama to begin the loop. Then it was up to Lake Louise to watch as the ice receded from the lake surface in amazing warm weather. The scenery is incredible and even though I have skied the ski area I am dying to come back and ski some of the beautiful backcountry ski lines! Truly an inspiring area.

May 22, Anvil Rock - Muir Snowfield

I hadn't made it to Paradise since the floods last fall shut down the park, and with the weatherman predicting only one clear day this week, I decided to convince Greg that he needed to get out of the house and drive me to Paradise 5,400'. We discussed destination options, decided the Nisqually chutes were getting too much sun, didn't really need to visit camp Muir again, how about Anvil Rock 9,500' with a little foray onto the Paradise glacier to jump a crevasse?

May 19, Teanaway Area with Bob

It was Bob's annual camp-out on the Teanaway river. Francine has made it the past few years, but it has been awhile since I have been able to attend. We were scheduled for Friday-Saturday, but Friday was gorgeous and I had some new motorcycle tires for Francine's bike. So at least we made it for one of Bob's rides. We left our house in the rain and drove down to perfect riding in the Teanaway. Our group started out at about 25 people from BBTC, then splintered in half for a longer/shorter ride. All in all, nice to see old friends and meet a few new ones.