May 29, The Tooth

Last time I climbed the Tooth with Frank, the approach hike was the worst part. I vowed the next time I would do it with a snow covered approach. Unfortunately, by the time the snow melted off the Tooth's upper slopes, the ski area chair had already stopped spinning. Oh well, that's why we have randonee gear. Met Frank at Alpental at 0700 hours. We skinnned up through lower international, then traversed out to Pineapple Basin. The snow was soft and creamy and it was already getting warm. Quickly climbed up the slopes below the tooth and scrambled up to the notch between Pineapple and Melakawa basin. This is where we transitioned from our ski boots to climbing shoes, harnesses, and using a rope. This is, also, where we encountered a climber's worst nightmare! As we approached the start of the technical climb we encountered fellow climbers. Not just any kind of climbers, but a pack of six Mountaineers. They were on their very first alpine climb! They were also on our route. Three teams of two, moving at the speed of racing slugs. We settled in at the base of the climb for what was to become a two hour wait just to get started on the first pitch. Luckily after summiting, we decided to rappel off a different anchor on the summit, and mangaed to pass them on the descent. Thanks to one of the leaders, finally allowing us to pass through. The ski down was pretty poor due to the warm snow, and further down the large amount of pine needles and other sticky debri. Reached the bottom at 1900 hours, a twelve hour day, thanks to the Mounties. Oh well, a beautiful day in the backyard with incredible views, good rock, and a friend that had beer back at the car!

Frank passes under International on our way out to Pineapple basin and the tooth.

Frank reaches the top of the third pitch

Rappelling back down to the snow
Not sure what is fuzzier, my face or the bottom of my skis?

Alpental, May 12, 2009

Time to return to winter. Hooked up with Greg Louie to sample a little of the fresh snow. Not bad to get new snow on May 12. Plan was to try a new line above the Powder Bowl area. Need to find the proper name. Anyhow Greg laid in this sweet skin track and we made it all the way to the ridge top without having to boot (approx. 5'400 ft.). We were considering a Southerly descent, but after Greg made the first ski cut and the top layer all slid, exposing more mush below, we reconsidered and dropped back down into Edelweiss basin, then cruised over to International. Poked out to Trash Can area via Boarder Poach for some enjoyable turns.

Fruita, CO. April 26-27

Day 1 was the awesome Mary's and Horsethief loop but we forgot the camera. Here on Day 2 our favorite ride of the week, the Western Rim Trail, 21 miles of great trail and scenery. The recent rains made the beginning section on Trail #2/Western Rim less sandy.

Francine after finding the real trail. We spent some time on a real cliff-hanger bit. Earlier, we missed a turn up some rocks and ended on a trail that must have washed/fell away. While on that sketch section, Kevin mentioned that he really liked how Francine picked some amazingly technical rides to keep Kevin happy.

Here I am kicking it back in the state park campground.
With our last trip to Fruita, which is about an hour northeast of Moab, consisting of only one day (due to rain also), we were excited to get back and spend some quality time checking out the area. Saturday, we tried to ride in Vernal, Utah, but rain kept us off those trails, left town early, and headed to Fruita on Sunday night. We spent 5 days at the Fruita state campground in perfect weather - 60's & 70's. I could get use to shorts and a t-shirt as my only wardrobe. The riding was really incredible, and we will definitely be back. This place appears to be the perfect spring riding area. Miles and miles of singletrack, no major climbing, just rolling over ridges and back down, and lots of sunshine.

Fruita, Co April 28, 29

Francine pushes up the last climb, to the top of Chutes and Ladders at the Rd. 18 area.

Cruising down Kessel Run

Francine insisted we needed a day off on Wednesday after 3 days of riding, so we drove through the Colorado Monument, and got the requisite tourist photo.

Grand Junction, CO. March 30

Francine had this area on her radar. The Lunch Loops, so named because they were maybe 5 minutes from the center of town in Grand Junction. We had driven by the area on our scenic drive thru the Colorado National Monument the day before. I noticed that the temperatures looked unbearable. Joggers were turning bright red from the heat, and the visitor center ,just up canyon, had an overlook called Hell's kitchen. Well , Francine insisted that this was where we should ride, so we got an early morning start, and had a rocking ride. Rode up Pete-E-Kees trail, Up Widowmaker hill to the road. Took the new connector down the Gunny Trail, cheated back up the road and took Pre-Nup to Holy Cross. This area has some sweet user built trail. The amount of effort to carve out these trails is incredible. Holy Cross had some great technical sections that had both Francine and I walking. We didn't even think of riding the double diamond trails.

Headed up on Pete-e-kes trail with Hell's Kitchen one ridge over

Kevin rolls a rock on Gunny Trail

Francine cruising on Holy Cross trail

Fruita/Vernal/Boise May 1-4

What can I say, this place rock's. Here is another typical ride with views of the Colorado river. This was our last day in Fruita, so did a quick ten mile loop and headed for Vernal, Utah again. Rolled out of bed, cooked up some pancakes, hopped on I-70 and drove 8 miles to Exit 11 - started the ride. Today's selection was a loop using the frontage road to do Lion's and Troy Built trails which are just West of our first day ride at Exit 15. Trails were great and will most likely be back in Fruita/Vernal next spring!

Sweet views of the Colorado River on Lion's trail

Coal train rolls by as we near the end of Troy Built trail
So the title for today has Vernal, Utah. in it. If you get Bike magazine, this month's issue covers the sweet riding in a small town in the N.E. corner of Colorado. The locals have taken the cow paths and made some sweet narrow trail. Unfortunately, we stopped in Vernal on our way to Fuita and spent the night in a KOA cabin, listening to it rain all night long. The rain stopped but it was too wet too ride. On our way home we repeated this same scenario, except when we woke up it was still raining, and as we called friends on our cell phone, we got the same info -- RAIN-- everywhere in the Northwest! Well we packed up and headed for Boise, halfway point to home. We managed to make a long drive longer by detouring through City of Rocks, Idaho, some weird rock formations in the middle of nowhere. Then we stopped in Twinfalls to see the Shoshone Falls of course. Finally, we made it to Boise and our first hotel room in 8 nights. Wow, kinda nice to have a toilet next to where you sleep! Woke up to rain, but squeeked out a pavement ride. Spent another night - the hotel was way too comfortable and tried to ride the foothills around Boise. They have some great singletrack on the edge of town, but it was wet, and we sneaked a short ride, but soon decided it was time to head home and catch the last day of skiing at Alpental on Cinco de Mayo.Francine says Hi to the ducks
Nice trail (#16) right above Boise at Penetentiary/Table Rock

Fun downhill on #14 at Table Rock as we escape the soggy trails