Iceland is "Amaze-Balls"!

Once again going to let the pics do the talking....after sorting through 1700 photos I have no energy for creative writing :)  To sum up the trip!  Liam is a traveling stud!  He made this trip so much fun:)  Cant wait for the next.  And Yes we would go back to Iceland, the place is so uniquely amaze-balls!

Playing in front of icebergs from 

Breiðamerkurjökull glacier (jokull: Icelandic for glacier) the glacier can be seen in the far background.  The body of water is a lagoon famous for its collection of icebergs.  

Here is a satellite image

of the Jokulsarlon lagoon, you can even see the icebergs and the small exit they will all eventually take as they melt to a small enough size. We also saw some seals in the lagoon playing around the floating icebergs.

  • Jokulsarlonliteral meaning - glacial river lagoon, is a large glacial lake in southeast Iceland. Situated at the head of the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier, it developed into a lake after the glacier started receding from the edge of the Atlantic Ocean back in the 30's. The lake has grown since then at varying rates because of melting of the glaciers.  It recently became the deepest lake in Iceland, at over 814 ft, as glacial retreat extended its boundaries. 
  • The huge blocks of ice that calve from the edge of Breiðamerkurjökull and fill the lagoon stocked with icebergs. Which then gather at the mouth of the lake's shallow exit, melt down into smaller icebergs and roll out into the sea.  These icebergs are seen in two shades: milky white and bright blue, which depends on the air trapped within the ice and is an interplay of light and ice crystal.  

click to see a live video webcam of the icebergs as they head out to sea

We kicked off the trip by celebrating my birthday in an awesome little cafe with a Viking! 

Hallgrímskirkja

, the tallest and largest church in Iceland, is Reykjavík's most photographed emblem by far, visible from everywhere in the capital. 

  • It was designed by state architect Guðjón Samúelsson (1887-1950), who never saw it completed: Work began in 1945 and continued 49 years.Guðjón was indeed inspired by the Icelandic landscape, and the frontal columns are meant to resemble the hexagonal basalt formed by cooling lava.
  • The church houses a large pipe organ by the German organ builder Johannes Klais of Bonn. It has mechanical action, and 5275 pipes. It is 15 meters tall and weighs 25 tons. Its construction was finished in December 1992. 

One of the 20+ large waterfalls seen on the hike along the Skoga River north of the small town of Skogar.  

Here is a satellite image

you can count the large waterfalls. 

  • Skogar:literal meaning - forests, is a small Icelandic village with a population of roughly 25 located at the south end of the Eyjafjallajökullglacier which covers a active volcano who last erupted on 3/21/2010, forcing 600 people to flee their homes. Additional eruptions on 4/14/2010  created a cloud of volcanic ash bringing major disruption to air travel across Europe.  We recall this as we were flying to Greece and our flight had to re-route.  A map of the volcanoe's location under the glacier

His favorite toy of the trip

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We first arrived at Jokulsarlon just after the sun set, however the reflections and glow from the lagoons still waters and the icebergs made for some great low light long exposures 

Our view of the F208 (all F roads are 4x4 required dirt roads)  on our way to Landmannalaugar

  • You can also attempt to reach Landmannalaugar by high clearance vehicle, although a 4x4 is strongly advised (check your rental car insurance - it may specifically exclude the "highlands" of the interior). There are three roads to Landmannalaugar. The most easily passable road is from the north (F208) and passes through desolate scenery typical of the deep interior. The road from the west (F225) has several fords which may be passable in an ordinary car depending upon the water level. The road from the east (F208) is the roughest and has the most fords. There is a deep ford immediately before the Landmannalaugar site which is not normally crossable in an ordinary car, but you can park before it and arrive on foot.

By far our favorite geothermal hotspring of the trip!  Not to mention my favorite spring of all time...I could go on about this one forever it was perfect.  Liam loved it sitting in it for an hour plus two different times.  The first evening we did see the aurora borealis!  The spring was perfect rather large with several different areas all connected by different deep streams and surrounded by grasses and grazing sheep. Typically the same depth as seen in the picture so easy to relax.  You couldn't sit in the same spot to long because your butt would burn:)     

Taking in the daunting force of Europe's most powerful waterfall - Dettifoss

  • Dettifoss is situated on the Jökulsá á Fjöllum river, which flows from the Vatnajökullglacier and collects water from a large area in Northeast Iceland. The falls are 330 ft wide and have a drop of 150 ft down to the Jökulsárgljúfur canyon. It is the largest waterfall in Iceland in terms of volume discharge, having an average water flow of 193 m3/s.

Exploring the 

Raufarholshellir lava tube cave is in the Leitahraun lava field. The cave was formed in a lava flow around 5000 years ago. The length of the tube is estimated to be 1360 meters.

Usually he's playing with climbing ropes, this time its a hemp rope hanging from the rafters inside a very old abandoned barn  

Wifi and connection with the inter-webs was very limited in Iceland (not a bad thing)...Once we got to Iceland's second largest city Akureyri, our trip was nearing its end and we needed the internet. This scene was a dead give away to us that wifi was available.  Not only was wifi available but the backpackers hostel was awesome...and has some great espresso!!

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Reykjavik is full of creative graffiti, the reflection in the puddle caught my eye for this one 

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Landakotskirkja

 ("Landakot's Church"),

 is the cathedral of the 

Catholic Church in Iceland

  • The first Catholic priests to arrive in Iceland after the Reformation were the Frenchmen Bernard Bernard and Jean-Baptiste Baudoin. They bought the Landakot farmstead in Reykjavík and settled there in the early 19th century. They built a small chapel in 1864. A few years later, a small wooden church was erected by Túngata, close to Landakot. After the First World War, Icelandic Catholics saw the need to build a bigger church for the growing number of Catholics. They decided to build a Neo-Gothic church and entrusted the task to the architect Guðjón Samúelsson, who also built the famous Hallgrímskirkja (seen a few pictures earlier). 

Route 1 aka the Ring Road 

  • Ring Road is a national road in Iceland that runs around the island and connects most of the inhabited parts of the country. The total length of the road is 828 miles. The maximum speed on most of the road is 56 mph.

Watch Russel Crowe's new movie NOAH and you will see the basalt sea stacks (

Reynisdrangar)

  in one of the movies final scenes.  Kristin and I were watching NOAH on our laptop one night at camp towards the end of the movie we did a double take and paused the movie to confirm

...hey we were just there!    

  • Reynisdrangar:arebasaltsea stackssituated under the mountainReynisfjallnear the villageVík, southernIceland.
  • Legend says that the stacks originated when two trolls dragged a three-masted ship to land unsuccessfully and when daylight broke they became needles of rock.

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The Glaumbaer turf farm was one of my favorites, the walls of the farm were made from dirt (imagine layers of sod stacked over and over again)  Like the wall in the picture

  • Icelandic turf house would have a large foundation made of flat stones; upon this was built a wooden frame which would hold the load of the turf. The turf would then be fitted around the frame in blocks often with a second layer, or in the more fashionable herringbone style. The only external wood would be the doorway 

Icelandic sheep:

 a breed of 

domestic sheep d

escended from the same stock as the Norwegian 

Spelsau

, brought to 

Iceland

 by the 

Vikings

.  These guys are all over the country, around October the sheep are all round up and returned to their owners via ear tags for the winter.

  • Icelandic fleece is dual-coated. In Icelandic the long outer coat is called tog and the fine inner coat pel. When separated, the outer and inner coats are used for different woolen products.
    • Tog is generally classified as a medium wool good for weaving and other durable products.
    • Pel, being the finer wool used for garments that touch the skin.
      • Tog and þel are processed together to produce lopi, a distinctive knitting wool that is only made from the fleece of Icelandic sheep.

Modeling a viking beanie made from the Icelandic sheep

We came across this antique wood lathe in an old abandoned turf roof farmhouse

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One of the lagoons downsized icebergs, after making its way through the lagoon's small outlet  into the Atlantic ocean.  As the tide goes out and leaves the lagoon it typically brings some of the smaller icebergs with it, most then getting stuck in the shallower waters on the black sand beaches.    Relative size is that of a large dairy cow

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Natures very own breast milk warmer.  During a long hike up the Brennisteinsalda Volcano we would warm Liam's milk by placing the bottles in one of the areas numerous geothermal vents.  Poor K actually burned her hand a bit shortly after I took this pic:(

  • The Brennisteinsalda is a volcano about 855m high near Landmannalaugar.  The name means sulphur wave. It comes from the sulphur spots which have colored its sides. But there are other colours, too: green from mosses, black and blue from lava and ashes, red from iron in the earth. It could very well be the most colorful mountain of Iceland and so its picture is often found in books and calendars.  The mountain is still visibly an active volcano with hot sulphur springs and geothermal vents at its sides. 

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Found this old geothermal turbine, which appeared to be collecting steam from a geothermal vent across the road.  It seems some farms will harness energy from the geothermal, some then use it to heat what are referred to as hot houses (greenhouses) to grow vegetables year around.

Kristin here with the ash blackened Blahnuker peak in the background.  Look closely and you can see hikers on Blahnuker.

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Route 1's attention grabbing 1 lane but two-way traffic bridges!  This particular bridge is Iceland's longest bridge crossing the Skeioara river.  If you look down the bridge you can see a vehicle coming in our direction the bridge has several pullouts which allow for the passing of oncoming traffic.

Hnausapollur volcanic crater lake.  The lichen growing on the volcanic rock in the highlands appeared to glow in the dark so i did a little research and found that a lot of the lichen species in the highlands contain squamatic acid which does in deed fluoresce in UV light.

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Two things that were everywhere in Iceland....1. being sheep, 2. being this bails of grass wrapped in waterproof material...so the waterproof makes sense with all the rain.  What we have not been able to figure out is the grass.  Our theory is the farmers store the bails for their own use or sell them to other sheep farmers to use in the winter once the sheep are collected by owners and kept in barns for the winter months.

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The Jokulsargljufur Canyon about a mile downstream from Selfoss and Dettifoss (the most powerful waterfall in Europe)

A glorious sunset hike in eastern Iceland lead to the discovery of an almost perfectly still pond for this reflection shot...good shot Kristin  :)

Skógafoss is one of the biggest waterfalls in the country with a width of 82 feet and a drop of 200 ft. 

  • According to legend, the first Viking settler in the area, prasi pórólfsson, buried a treasure in a cave behind the waterfall. The legend continues that locals found the chest years later, but were only able to grasp the ring on the side of the chest before it disappeared again. The ring was allegedly given to the local church. The old church door ring is now in a museum, though whether it gives any credence to the folklore is debatable.

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There were several of these "rock cairn gardens" at various spots around road 1.  I can just picture a large bus full of tourists getting  out and everyone starts building a cairn...boom a garden done in 10 minutes.

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Basalt Column Climbers

One of our favorite camp location on the trip.  We found this amazing black sand beach and parked the camper on a bluff overlooking the crashing waves.  We watched a full moon rise on a clear evening then woke up to a crystal clear warm day.  It was so warm we actually laid some damp cloths out on rocks while we cooked breakfast.

Happy Icelandic Explorers

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We came across this geothermal vent (fumarole) just outside of the northern town of Myvatn.  This thing sounded like a jet engine and provided some nice warm steam which we gladly welcomed on what ended up being a cold day.      

  • Fumarole: (Latinfumus, smoke) is an opening in a planet's crust, often in the neighborhood of volcanoes, which emits steam and gases such as carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen chloride, and hydrogen sulfide. The steam is created when superheated water turns to steam as its pressure drops when it emerges from the ground. 
  • In April 2006, a fumarole killed three Ski Patrol workers east of Chair 3 at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area in California. The workers were overpowered by toxic fumes  that had accumulated in a crevasse they had fallen into.

We found this nice farmers near Reykjavik on our last day we operated a "campground" for free in their frontyard, complete with water closets and cooking area.  As well as fresh duck eggs for 1 iclandic kroner.  Duck eggs are awesome....so rich!

Another view of Skogar's iconic waterfall.  This proved to be a difficult photograph to take, as I would compose the shot then hope that the mist from the very powerful waterfall wouldn't end up on my lens during the long exposure times...it took about 10 shots before i caught a breeze just right to direct the mist away from my location

As we descended from the summit of Brennisteinsalda Volcano, you can see the lava out flow from a past eruption

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Thats a happy hot-springer

Iceland!!!!  Book those Tix you wont regret it!

2 Uber Classics - Crested Butte Mtn Biking

 

The Dyke Trail  Loop (description from Mtn Bike Project)

The Dyke Trail should be high on everybody's list of rides to do when visiting Crested Butte.  This trail throws just about everything at you from smooth flowy singletrack, loose technical descents, a leg and lung burning climb in the middle, several small water crossings and fantastic views of the Ruby Range and the Anthracite mountains.  Use the New Wagon Trail singletrack to cut off several miles on asphalt. 

Teocalli Ridge Loop (description from Mtn Bike Project)

Teocalli Ridge is another classic ride in the Brush Creek area.  Along the way, take in some incredible views up-valley and remind yourself why you enjoy this sport so much.  When you get near the top of the ridge you'll come to a nice view point and stopping area, with great views of Teocalli Mountain, Castle Peak, Pearl Pass, and the Middle Brush Creek drainage on your left. This is a good place for lunch. Drop you seat and get ready for some of the best downhill in the area!

 

Nearing the end of the brutal climb up Teocalli Ridge before a 2000' screaming downhill descent.  To this point my favorite downhill in the CB area! Especially since the new descent was finished by the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association --- amazing job!

 The stunning view of Castle Pk (14er), with a fresh 6" from the night before.  As seen from Teocalli Ridge

K being engulfed by the massive aspen stand surrounding Kebler Pass on the Dyke Trail.  

The Dyke Trail takes you through one of the largest aspen stands in the US. Confirmed as a clonal colony (single root system)...therefore one of the largest single organisms on the planet.

Part of the approach climb up brush creek.  Teocalli is the peak seen right side of photo.  The trail climbs underneath the rock bands to the lookers right

 

View of the final descent off Teocalli Ridge

So dense

One of Teocalli's  two mandatory creek crossings

One of 14 new switchbacks established by the CBMBA - notice the cinder blocks they lugged up to help with solidifying the corners

 
 

The excitement ended shortly after, as the most challenging part of the climb was just ahead.

What a perfect time in CB...thanks Grammy D for hanging with Liam and making the biking possible:)

Tour de Colorado - Part 2 of Segment #8

Part 2 of Segment #8— Camp Hale to Tennessee Pass 10500'

Riders: Chuck, Kristin 

Date:

July 25, 2014

Ride Type: out and back

Mileage: 13.95 miles round trip

Elevation Gain: 1975'

Average Pace: 16 min/mile

Total time includes breaks: 3 hours 45 min

Trail description: Starts with a little adventure through the historic camp Hale passing a long line of old concrete bunkers highlighted with graffiti.  The trail start with a consistently steep climb through dense forest before mellowing off a bit before crossing Highway 24 and continuing on the west side of the highway.  The next section offers nice meadow riding with vast views. The last part of the ride ends with double track passing two partially collapsed coke ovens.  The segment ends in a parking lot across from the road leading to Cooper Ski area.  The return trip back to camp hale is a high quality very smooth downhill with only a few non strenuous climbs.     

 

Interactive GPS track recording:

Looking along some of the old bunkers of camp Hale

In 1943, Camp Hale had as many as 14,000 men in training.[2] Conditions in the camp were harsh: the altitude required acclimation; the shallow valley created polluted inversion layers; recreation was non-existent because of the camp's high mountain isolation, which prevented even the USO from visiting; and many of the non-skiing trainees hated skiing.[7] Trainees were taught to ski at Cooper Hill by ski instructors, brought from the ski-areas such as Sun Valley and Waterville Valley[2] Located three miles from the camp, Cooper Hill had on-site barracks for the instructors and a newly built T-bar ski lift for the trainees.[9] Military use of Camp Hale included the 10th Mountain Division, the 38th Regimental Combat Team, the Norwegian-American 99th Infantry Battalion (Separate), and soldiers from Fort Carson conducting mountain and winter warfare training exercises. Trainees were taught skiing, mountain climbing, snow survival skills (such as building snow caves), and winter combat. Camp Hale was active for three years. In 1945 it was deactivated and the 10th Mountain Division moved to Texas.

Kristin waking up the lungs with the climb out of camp Hale on the way to Tennessee Pass

The remains of an old car sits just off the trail as you near the pass

A partially collapsed coke oven near Tennessee Pass.

Coke is a fuel with few impurities and a high carbon content, usually made from coal. It is the solid carbonaceous material derived from destructive distillation of low-ash, low-sulfur coalWhile coke can be formed naturally, the commonly used form is man-made. In the 1900's beehive style ovens like this were used

Badass Mama's - Diamond Lake - Indian Peaks Wilderness, CO

Diamond Lake  — Via 4th of July Campground Trail head
Hikers: Chuck, Kristin, Liam, Kirsten, Magnolia  



Date: July 28, 2014
Hike Type: out and back
Mileage: 5.6 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 2200'
Total time includes breaks: 3.5 hours 
Trail description: Extremely scenic for the entire hike, starts with a great view of Diamond Lake's huge cascading waterfall dropping approx. 250' down to middle boulder creek.  The wildflowers and dense forest continues until finally reaching the lake.  About midway before climbing back south towards Diamond Lake you will reach a very scenic waterfall (pics below).  The final climb to the lake is short and slightly steeper then the rest of the hike.




Interactive GPS track recording:

View Diamond Lake Hike in a larger map



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 The hiking mamas! with kiddos in tow













 






This is not a photo editing effect.  All nature....the iris appears to be growing out of the daisy






 










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East Face Descent & Mountain Goat Herding - Mt Helen


Tenmile Range

Mt. Helen (13,164')

East Face


Kristin and I took advantage of a nice April refresh and headed to the Ten Mile Range, looking to head up Mt Helen's east face.  The snow coverage was impressive and allowed for a long 2700' descent from the summit proper.  We shared the summit with about two dozen mountain goats who followed us up the NE ridge.

Mt. Helen ( broad face left of center)  as seen from across Goose Pasture Tarn, after our tour.  We soaked up the sun all tour right until we arrived back to the truck to enjoy our snow cold beers, then the clouds started to roll in.

Curious fellas, these guys seemed to be the bravest of the bunch.  As far as I could find there had only been one attack/death from a mountain goat.  Once they got about 6 feet from me I got out of my crouch and started walking towards them and they slowly started backing away.

Ahh spring skiing:)  Dont forget your skin wax

Sunscreen!

The afro hair anemone in full effect!  Sadly it was all chopped off today, just in time:)  The wifey was about to leave me:)

Looking west from Mt. Helen at Father Dyer Pk. and Crystal Pk.

Notice the herd

Almost too close for comfort

 Some good looking lines

Our days work

San Juan Chuting and Ouray Hanging

Grandma McQuade "Grammy D" met us up in Ouray, CO to hang out with Liam while K, Drew, Todd and I got to play in the San Juan sun:)  We set up shop in an amazing house in Ouray cooked gourmet meals, drank cold beers and soaked in hot springs after riding our brains out in the SJ's.  Sorry no pics of the Orvis springs (clothing optional) :)  we kept on our swim suits for Grandma and Liam's sake:)

Thanks Grammy D for playing with us in Ouray!  































Todd carefully negotiating the 3' wide ridge on the approach to "Grandma Couloir"































Mining leftovers :)































K taking the quick way up a steep headwall guarding our 2nd days couloir



The Medela tour pump in full effect























The crew enjoying an apres tour beer on day 3































Old mining town near Red Mountain Pass, Yankee Girl Mine



A celebratory high five'r after braving the narrow ridge.  Pops insisted in carrying moms splitty across the crux ridge:)







A warmup run off the ridges shoulder before heading backup to the couloir in the photos background




IRISH!!































Todd and K readying for the descent of "Grandma Couloir"








































McQuad's in Ouray (Grammy D)








































Todd crushing one of the trips many great lines


Til the next trip spring trip :) We owe you one Grammy D thanks for the great trip!


Kick'n Off Spring - West Elks, CO

Grandma Debbie and Liam hold down the fort back home.  Thanks Guys!!  While Anson jumps on a plane from AK to come hang with K, Drew, SB and I.  We spend a few glorious days among the west elks, welcoming spring to CO with perfect conditions under endless sun.  After each day we would drive down to these perfect hotsprings and soak our skied out legs for hours!  Perfect.  

Cant wait for next weekend...Liam's first roadtrip, heading down to the San Juan's to ride some more. Meeting Grandma Diane this time......CHEERS to amazing family!

This about sums it up!  What a perfect few days in the West Elks with some of my favorite peeps and some amazing conditions!

"C-Bass" aka Colleen Bad Ass

What a gem these hotsprings were! Treating us all well for several apres tour soaks.

Anson, comes down from Alaska to get some in CO

A little private summit pump session for our little Liam back at home with grandma.  Thanks grandma for the amazing weekend get away it was perfect!!

Sara Beth sporting her malfunctioning helmet.

Kristin back touring and shredding only a few days after the doc's give her the go ahead!  She's amazing its like she never missed a beat

For our return trip to the hotsprings we thought it would be more fun to change into our swim wear at the trailhead.....COLD:)

The ladies cheers to Liam's full-term birthday (March 7)

Liam breaks 6 1/2 pounds during his two month checkup!!  "Hey mom i weigh as much as you when you were born"

Oh San Juan ' ness - How Good You Are

Wrapped up 2013 with good friends and several crystal clear days among the always spectacular San Juan mountains.  We experienced rather stable conditions for the San Juan's allowing for us to safely enjoy the alpine. 

It had been quite a while since the last major loading event and the snowpack was largely settled and generally nonreactive.  While the snow structure remains poor in most areas with our lovely CO persistent slabs. Slides appeared to of become more and more difficult to trigger.  All but southerly aspects below treeline seemed to mainly be made up of very weak faceted snow.  Which will likely cause a problem during the next major snow event. But for now the SJ's were Good to Us.

Here a view of the Sultan group which we we enjoyed on day 1 of the trip, riding three of the summits seen in the pic.

We started the amazing alpine tour at Molas pass with an ascent of the Grand Turk followed by a descent of a northern couloir to the basin in between the Grand Turk and Sultan Mountain. Next we climbed the SE face and ridge of the Sultan, then dropping into the basin via the Northstar Couloir. Followed by a final ascent north to pt. 12300', and a final run down the "Python" and back to HW 550.

Kendall Mountain seen from Mineral Creek after our decent of a northern couloir we called "The Bear Claw" off Bear Mountain 

An old ore Bucket Tram from Mayflower Mine upto Arrasta Gulch with the Sultan group lurking high in the background

Nia and Todd crossing the NW slopes of King Solomon Peak.  We spent a lot of the climb gawking at the impressive Turkey Chute seen just left of Nia. Coming back for this one in the spring for sure!  Sultan's summit is also seen on right edge of photo 

Our first decent off the Grand Turk seen from the SE ridge of the Sultan  (The widening chute in the middle of the ridge line in the background)

John on the SE ridge of the Sultan with Silverton barely visible down below

Unloading our gear from the sled after Jack and his boy graciously gave us a bump up Arrasta Gulch on their way to their beautiful alpine cabin.  Saved about an hour climb and 500 vertical feet:)    

Nia with the days final climb up pt. 12300'.  Seen in the background is our descent down Sultan's Northstar Couloir ( directly above Nia's head)

Todd making his way down the east ridge of Bear Mountain towards the "Bear Claw" chutes, with the Sultan and the Python in the background

Todd with first tracks down the "Bear Claw" with Red Mountain Pass in the background

My Venture happy to be back in its birthplace.

John catching some air halfway down the Sultan's Northstar Couloir

Turkey Chute in all its glory

Island Lake Basin seen in background just left of center.  Kristin and I got engaged here in the summer of 2012 after riding our mountain bikes to the lower basin.

Todd topping out the steep climb up Grand Turk's SW col

OZ Snowboards - A Behind the Scenes Look

A few days ago Adam, mastermind and owner of OZ Snowboards shared a behind the scenes look to what I personally am calling one of the industries truly unique snowboard companies. The build quality and structural components of OZ boards are one of kind.  A few build points to highlight are:

1)  A solid non-jointed wood core:  Most snowboard manufacturers utilize finger jointed wood cores to cut costs, these finger joints act as weak spots in the boards core.  The amount of finger joints in a single board often vary from board to board.  OZ uses a solid wood core with no finger joints.  Another place manufactures cut costs is in the boards tip and tail.  Plastic is often used at the boards tip and tail rather then the wood core extending through the boards tip and tail.

2) Aerospace grade carbon fiber:  Most snowboard manufacturers use some form of fiberglass above and below the boards wood core.   All OZ Snowboards are made with tri-axial aerospace grade carbon fiber. This is the material used to build jets.  Carbon fiber is 5 times as strong and 1/3rd the weight of fiberglass and provides improved stability and control in a snowboard.

For more detailed info about the unique makeup of OZ boards visit the "Why Buy an OZ?"section of OZ Snowboards website.  

Lets just say my next board will be an OZ.  I've never been so impressed with the build quality of a snowboard.  And the weight, so light thanks to the carbon fiber.


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Notice the finger joint on the left edge of the wood core.  This wood core is about to become one of thirty TommyKnocker Brewery Demo boards OZ made this year for some of the breweries events.  The demo boards that Oz makes are typically made using finger jointed wood cores and the tri-axial fiberglass vs the more expensive carbon fiber and solid non-jointed wood cores  


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CNC router milling out a future splitboard


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Bandsaw awaiting its replacement blade prior to trimming the freshly pressed TommyKnocker demo board seen in the background


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Highly modified snowboard press - responsible for the unique camber / rocker profiles of OZ snowboards


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Rob cleaning up the edges on a freshly made TommyKnocker demo board


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Adam placing the sidewall on a TommyKnocker demo board


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Adam aligning a raw wood core on the CNC router 


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Rob preparing to spread epoxy on the base of a TommyKnocker demo board seen in the background 


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Alex tuning a freshly CNC milled sidewall


Exposure:1/77, Aperturef/2.8, Focal Length35 mm, ISO Speed1250

Rob cutting excess material from a freshly pressed TommyKnocker demo board


Exposure:1/100, Aperturef/1.8, Focal Length45 mm, ISO Speed400

Rob oxidizing a sidewall prior to attachment 


Stay tuned for more production photos as well as finished product photos 





The Mistress - Pasquini Livietta

Meet the mistress aka "Lev's".  She was introduced to the wife as a gift a while back.  I must confess, I often sneak out of bed early in the morning, while trying not to disturb the wife, in attempt to have some alone time with ol Lev's.  I've been accused many times, for perhaps bringing Lev's into our home for my benefit :)

Exposure1/59, Aperture: f/2.8, ISO Speed: 1250



















Fun with Drugs

Exposure1/100, Aperture: f/2.8, ISO Speed: 800




This was taken through the glass of the sterile prep hood, giving a cool reflective feel.  Here a cisatracurium drip is being made to provide skeletal muscle relaxation during mechanical ventilation


Exposure8 sec, Aperture: f/2.8, ISO Speed: 250






This was taken in a pitch dark room, using a very long exposure and a handheld flash remotely triggered upon throwing the bio-hazard bottle across the room.  Same technique used to freeze fast moving objects, like a bullet from a gun.

Wide Open Baby Bump Bibs - 3rd Trimester Begins

Last off week we again chased to the POW with some friends ending up in Steamboat Springs, CO. Below a picture of my beautiful wife and growing Baby Mac suiting up in their wide open bibs for a day in the pow. Kristin just started her 3rd Trimester, and is still doing quite well.  Baby Mac is a kicker and a very active little sucker, according to the frequent ultrasounds that K and her colleagues capture during the slower times at work.  Seems we are gonna have our hands full in a few months:)    






Arctic Temps for the Front Range - A Chilled Coors

The first week of December was....record breaking and bone chilling to say the least.  With the mercury plummeting well below zero, Denver set a record low for the 4th.   Not long before midnight, the temperature had dropped to -13 degrees. This frigid reading shattered the record low temperature for December 4th. The previous mark was -5 degrees last set in 2008.
I got the bright idea to hike up the southern slopes of North Table Mountain behind our house and take several long exposure shots of Coors Factory, in order to capture the town lights of Golden along with the busy beer production going on within the factory.  The longer exposure times allowed for the capture of the moving steam coming from the factory on this bone chilling night.    
Exposure: 13 sec Aperture: f/10 ISO Speed: 250










Legal Addictions' Upgrades - Olympus OMD EM-1

Below are a collection of random shots since the new camera crawled its way into my hands.  The camera is just getting warmed up for the arrival of Baby Mac.  The EM-1 is simply amazing, hopefully the images below will speak for themselves, if you need a more in depth written info / reviews on the brand new EM-1, here are a few very well done reviews

ATMTX PHOTO BLOG
SteveHuff Photo.com

DPreview.com

**All images are reduced in size for Web sharing**
























Slickrock'n, Afterdark Arches, & the Enchilada À la carte - Moutain Biking, Moab, Utah

 Qualifier:  Slickrock

Qualifier: Slickrock

Yup, Im making it official!  If you mountain bike, then do yourself a favor and make a trip to Moab, UT.  Riding slickrock is crazy cool and super unique.  If you decide cranking up sticky rock just isn't for you then go check out the 100's of other great ride in the area.  This was Kristin's and my first trip to Moab.  Awesome! and will be going back.  The Massey's showed us the ropes and took us on several of the area's classics!  All repeaters for sure: Klondike Bluff Area Trails, Slickrock and "The Whole Enchilada"  as called by the locals.

The Whole Enchilada:  Often regarded as the ultimate Moab ride.  A link up involving Burro Pass, Hazard, Kokopelli, Porcupine Singletrack, and Porcupine Rim covering approx 30 miles starting from the La Sal Mountains, with 7000 vertical feet of downhill ended at the Colorado River.

Our version this trip Enchilada À la carte: Thanks to roughly 4" of snowfall on Thursday night up near Burro Pass in the La Sal mountains.  We opted to start the ride at the Kokopelli / Hazard County trail junction (~8500').  Still an amazing ride and hey we skipped out on 2000' climb:)  all downhill on the À la carte version.  And we still got to experience some snow during the ride:)

Mighty Colorado River Carves Below SlickRock

Slickrock Training Brigade - Anne, Thomas and Kristin on Baby Steps Loop trail

The White Dash and Rubber Marks Replace the Trail Cairn - Me on Slickrock trail

Slickrock Luge - Thomas on Slickrock trail

Refuel on the Porcupine Rim Overlooking Castle Valley - Kristin and Anne Porcupine Rim trail

The Klondike Bluffs at their Grandest - This overlook is only reached by a bonus hiking only trail off the Klondike Bluff 4x4 trail

The Endless Slickrock Romp - Kristin on Slickrock trail

Sunset viewing from high up in Window Arch - Anne South Window Arch

Mario Brothers take on Slickrock - Me (Luigi) and Thomas (Mario)

Slickrock Roller-coaster - Kristin and Anne

Tight Squeeze - Kristin on LPS trail

Mario's Personal Cheerleaders - Kristin, Thomas, Anne

The switchback method - Anne demonstrates with a successful burst up the steeps

The MnM Gang wrecks havoc on Sand Arch - a few days later the government shuts down and all National Parks close...hmmm curious - Sand Arch way past sunset, Arches National Park - Kristin, Thomas, Anne, and Me behind the camera

Playing with Ghost Towns, Campfires and Vail's Two Elks

After spending several days trying to stay afloat during record breaking rainfall along Colorado's front range, we packed up and headed west towards Vail hoping for clear skies and a good romp on the VAIL classic -Two Elks

We chose to ride it from the rec parking at Vail Pass to Bowman's Shortcut to Two Elks. Totaling roughly 19 miles.

For full description of the this glorious ride explore the interactive map and links to MTB Project below

 
 

Team M&M take on Two Elks

Doing some Campfire Magic to Ward the Rain Away Thomas

Riding Among Aspens - Kristin

Giving the Rain the Middle Finger - Thomas

This Rain isTurning CO into the PNW - Kristin

Town Watering Hole - Red Cliff, CO

Red Cliff is a former mining camp situated in the canyon of the upper Eagle River just off U.S. Highway 24 north of Tennessee Pass The population was 289 at the 2000 census. The town site is concealed below the highway (which passes over the Red Cliff Truss Bridge).  It was founded in 1879 during the Colorado Silver Boom by miners from Leadville who came over Tennessee Pass scouting for better prospects.

Passing in front of the mighty Gore Range - Kristin

Red Cliff Truss Bridge

Weaving Single track through Outer Mongolia Bowl of Vail Ski Resort - Thomas

Red Cliff Truss Bridge

The Wizard Working His Firebow - Thomas

Abandoned Mining Town - Gilman, CO

Gilman, founded in 1886 during the Colorado Silver Boom, the town later became a center of lead and zinc mining in Colorado, centered around the now-flooded Eagle Mine

It was abandoned in 1984 by order of the Environmental Protection Agency because of toxic pollutants.  It is currently a ghost town on private property and is strictly off limits to the public. On February 27, 2008 the Minturn Town Council unanimously approved annexation and development plans for 4,300 acres of Ginn Resorts’ 1,700-unit Battle Mountain residential ski and golf resort; Ginn's Battle Mountain development includes much of the old Gilman townsite.

The townsite is a victim of vandalism, and the town's main street is heavily tagged. There are only a few intact windows left in town, as twenty years of vandalism have left almost every glass object in the town destroyed.

However, many parts of the town are almost as they were when the mine shut down. The main shaft elevators still sit ready for ore cars, permanently locked at the top level. Several cars and trucks still sit in their garages, left behind by their owners.

 Gilman Ghost Playground Girls - Kristin and Anne

:)

Kalymnos, Greece

2nd Trip to Kalymnos October 2012

Meet the Kalymnian

Wall Wrastling

Heroes

(Di, K-love, Wonder Womb'n, Eric the Great, Me, WAG)

Our mission, to successfully conquer sector after sector of endless tufa laden walls, to recklessly scooter rally around the island with frequent stops at mythos watering holes, to bravely sight-see in Turkey and consume fried cheese in between the consumption of countless Gyro's.

During our 3-week stay on the Greek island of Kalymnos we choose to fuel our super hero rock wrastling skills by local Kalymnian favorites such as:

Kaly Thyme Honey

bevs.jpg

Staples - Breakfast, Lunch and/or Dinner

20121014-080-9.jpg

Dalmades

He (WAG) could of ate them every day

The Feta Stuffed Squid

shoe+tree+crop.jpg

Shoe Tree

A Fatolitis memorial to those attempting to conquer the TUFA

Over-head X-ray Vision

a superpower we first discovered in 2010 - A belayer's dream come true

WAG discovers his Kryptonite

falling tufa at the

Secret Garden

Di's Secret Weapon

The Celebratory Kung Fu Kick after Crushing

Lucky Strike

5.12b

K-Love Conquers the TUFA Pipes of

Carpe Diem

5.10c

Me Barely Smiling on the Popular Polished Pockets of

Atena

5.10d

Di Defying Gravity on

Dirlanda

5.12c

WAG Methodically Battles through the TUFA Forest of Priapos for 45 Minutes

Priapos

5.12d

Me Planning the Asault on the TUFA Curtains of

Steps Ahead

5.12a

After the departure of Wonder Womb'n and Eric the Great the rest of us were left with an secondary yet very important mission...The recovery of Wonder Womb n's hat.  It was believed that some of the locals had taken the hat and were seen around town posing for pictures with the infamous hat.

The Longtime Protector of the

Afternoon Sector: Billy Goat Gruff

Pulled the WW hat from a climbing pack

A local Sponge Exporter:  Sponge Bob Grey Pants

offered facial sponges to the ladies in an attempt to keep the WW hat

The Talkative Corner Shop Dude

K-love exchanges a hug and her ear for the return of the WW hat 

K-Love recovers Wonder Womb'ns Prized Position

Me on a Victory Lap After our Recovery of WW's hat

WAG's best Impression of the Kalymnian Crime Thugs who tried to take WW's hat

Till Next Time Kaly

Telendos Island from

Poets Wall

Me Storming the Kastelli Castle

yoga+castle+2.jpg

K-Love Peacefully Posing on Kastelli Castle

 1st Trip to Kalymnos May-June 2010

The Trip's Conception:

When I met Chuck in New Mexico he was finishing pharmacy school - about the third time I hung out with him we where talking about him graduating and I asked where he was going to go to celebrate. He looked at me kind of confused, then I realized maybe everyone doesn't go on a trip to celebrate...I had just finished a few month trip to South America to celebrate my 30th b-day. After his initial confusion he said Greece...are you going w/ me? I said maybe....6mths later we met up in the Athens airport (as I had come from AK and Chuck from NM)

Supposedly Chuck didn't know how amazing the climbing was in Greece when he suggested it initially.  Soon it was turning into a climbing trip - Chuck was an avid climber I could count on one hand the number of times I had been climbing. So thanks to Libby, Tanya and Todd I received a crash course in climbing a few months prior.

Kalymnos

was an amazing place to really start climbing. With huge tufa's in front of you and the blue/tourquoise sea behind you.  A bit stressful at first w/ so many routes, climbers and everything being new - towards the middle I was hooked. When I led my first 5.10b (

Monahiki Elia

) it was a euphoric experience - climbing on tufa's - using everything I had to clip the anchor - almost falling at the anchor. I've done a lot of physically and mentally challenging things but that route/lead combined both in a unique way. I think I was more upset when we left Kalymnos than Chuck about not being able to climb more - maybe because he was heading back to NM where he could climb and I was heading back to AK where the climbing is....limited.

The rest of the trip - Greece is an amazing country. Great people, food and scenery. Our first night we sat and had dinner under the illuminated acropolis.

We wandered around Athens stumbling upon ruins at every turn.

We took ferries around to a few of the islands.

Nisyros

an island that had been a double cratered volcano that blew was trapped in time. We wandered the small, winding streets watching the locals and jumping out of the way of scooters.

Santorini

was very touristy - but for good reason - it was amazing - houses and churches built on the cliffside - amazing sunsets - so much so that cruise ships would unload it's thousands of passengers just to see it. There where numerous people who got engaged during the sunset's including our friends Mike and Jen that we met up with in Kalymnos.

"I saw Kristin's ASS"  as said by my clever brother (Sean)

Back to Kalymnos - it wasn't just an amazing island full of climbing. But a beautiful, laid back, relaxing island. It is also full of great people - we found a little local mom and pop restaurant that had great local food the last night we where there the wife sent her husband down to the docks to pick up out fresh calamari and she specially prepared stuffed calamari for us that was amazing.

We will definitely be returning to Kalymnos soon and would highly recommend it for anyone who likes to climb or wants to get a crash course and dive in!

 

The Climbing:

Noteworthy Sends: 

Les Amazones

5.11a

OS

Kaly Nikhla

5.11a

OS

Joggel & Toggel

5.11b/c

OS

Dafni

5.11b/c

OS

Dionysos

5.11d

OS

Calipso

5.11d

OS

Monohiki Elia

5.10b

Kristin's first 5.10 RP

A perfect example of one of the abundant no-hands rests at Kaly  -  Les Amazones 5.11a

Joggel & Toggel 5.11b/c

A view of the Grande Grotta sector from the Panorama sector 

Grande Grotta containing the planets most photographed sport route Aegialis 5.12d among a dozen others

The Guidebook:

Kalymnos Rock Climbing Guidebook by Aris Theodoropoulos

(2010 Edition)

  • The all-new 2010 edition features:
    • - 64 climbing sectors
    • - Nearly 1,700 routes

Great informative websites:

Trip Planning Beta:

Some Kalymnos Pearls:

Kalymnos belongs to the Dodecanese Islands in the Aegean Sea.  Kalymnos is the fifth largest island in the Dodecanese with a population of approximately 17,000 residents.

The capital of Kalymnos is Pothia – a lively and picturesque town built around the port and combining island traditions with the hustle and bustle of a modern town. Other island villages include Panormos, Myrties, Masouri, Arginonta, Skalia, Emporios, Vothini, Vlichadia and Vathi

Although once known as “Isola Umbrosa”, the island of shade, today the island is virtually bare of trees. The impressive rocky landscape which gives the island its distinctive personality is, however, dotted with low vegetation. This barren land was what drove locals to the sea to earn a living; many men became sponge-divers, a traditional occupation for which the island was best known until.... the onset of rock climbing!

Enough Already - How Do I Get There:

The Kalymnos airport opened in 2006. Olympic Air flies Athens - Kalymnos once a day, and a return ticket costs approximately 150 euro. The problem with the Kalymnos airport is that it is small; its runway can only accommodate smaller prop aircraft, and if the weather is bad or windy flight is cancelled.  Best option is below and gives you a taste of "island hoping", plus a flight to Kos is only 70 euro.  

Kalymnos is best reached by boat from the island Kos. Take a plane to Kos (70 euro), usually from Athens.  Once in Kos catch the bus to the port in Mastichari.  Followed by the next boat to Kalymnos.

Regular ferries and smaller speed boats make the Mastichari - Pothia (Kalymnos) route regularly. The ferry ride takes approximately 45 minutes and costs 3.50 euro; the speedboat takes approximately 25 minutes and costs euro 6.00. There are several connections between Kos and Kalymnos every day, year-round. 

When you arrive at Pothia (the main port in Kalymnos) you will find a number of taxis waiting. A taxi ride to Massouri costs between 15-20 euro, depending on the number of passengers and luggage. Alternatively, you can rent a scooter or car, or inquire about the public bus schedule departing in front of the City Hall.  The bus is by far the cheapest option, 2.00 euro.  I would suggest against renting a scooter in Pothia, save the gas and rent one in Masouri, as it is closer to the climbing.

Where do I Stay:

Hotels and rental rooms in Kalymnos are widely available –the latter at very reasonable prices. There are places to stay and climb throughout the island, so no matter which part of Kalymnos you stay in you will never be too far from a good selection of climbing crags. On the other hand, there is no organised campsite on Kalymnos, and unregulated free camping is strictly prohibited.

Most hotel rooms in Kalymnos cost around 40-60 euro per day (depending on season) with breakfast. Studio apartments with private bathrooms cost approximately 20-30 euro per day, and they feature kitchenettes so you can prepare your own meals.

Which areas in Kalymnos are closest to the climbing crags?

The villages of Armeos, Massouri and Myrties are the preferred choice of climbers. These villages face the small island of Telendos, which also contains developed crags.  Besides hotels and rental rooms, these villages of Kalymnos feature a number of restaurants, coffee shops, small bars, mini markets, clubs, an internet café, shops to hire a scooter or a car, souvenir shops, a laundry and two climbing shops. There is an

ATM machine

at the centre of Massouri, which works primarily in the spring and summer months.  Tap water in Kalymnos is not drinkable, but there are two springs in Massouri where you can fill up your bottles with drinking / cooking water.

An Alaskan Hat-trick - PackRaft'n , Mountain Bike'n , Boretide Surf'n

Alas, my first summertime AK visit!  It was well worth the wait and kept us busy with endless breathtaking adventure. That's breathtaking both visually and physically...as we played with friends in the extraordinarily beautiful Alaskan backcountry  via 3 modes of FUN; the packraft, the mountain bike and the stand up paddle board.         


2300 Sunset - Looking across the mud flats of the Knik Arm



Packraft Transition - Kristin

  • K inflating her packraft with the ultralite airbag (glorified garbage bag) after a 4 mile approach- hike with paddles, packrafts, helmets and dry suits on our backs 
  • The ingenious idea was developed and fine tuned in both AK and CO, we are finding them to be, yet another awesome toy. The Alpacka Packraft , made in Colorado 

Interactive Map - Click on Icons and zoom in and out for more detail


View Glacier Creek PackRaft in a larger map




Kincaid Singletrack Park - Me On Fat-Tires!

  • Thanks Chip and Gina for lending the fatty's


My Denali Llama

  • During a walk and scout section of lower Glacier Creek (looking for the dangerous rumored sweepers)


Chameleon on Wheels - Anson

  • Several of us got together for a ride to Lost Lake, north of Seward, AK.  What breathtaking singletrack in a perfect setting!



Glacier Creek 2nd Round - Kristin
  • Kristin and I head back for a second day on Glacier Creek, before heading to the Turnagain Arm to surf the Bore tide with Anson.  Here K attaches her backpack and dry sac to the bow of the boat.


77 degrees in AK - Kristin after surfing the bore-tide

  • Quite the experience: Surfing the Turnagain Arm Bore tide: Thanks to Anson, Landon and Monica for showing us the ropes:)  
  • The bore tide is a huge wave or series of waves that advance down Turnagain Arm in a wall of water up to 10-feet high.  Its known as one of the biggest in the world.  One unique aspect of the Turnagain bore tide is that all other bore waves run up low-lying rivers in more southerly latitudes. The Turnagain wave is the only one that occurs in the far north and the only one bordered by mountains.  It’s also amazingly accessible: you can see it by road along its entire 40- to 50-mile length. And it’s a wildlife-spotting opportunity: harbor seals often ride the tide into Turnagain Arm. Beluga whales may come in a half hour or so later once the water gets deeper.



Breathtaking Vistas - Lost Lake Mountain Bike Ride



Spencer Glacier Packrafting Enduro DayDarcie, Stephanie, Anson, Hope

  • Train to Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop, paddled up to the Spencer Glacier, then floated for 3.5 hours down the Placer river back to the Turnagain Arm (see map below for details)

Interactive Map - Click on Icons and zoom in and out for more detail




Glacier Water Air Guitar - Anson  on his Standup Paddle Board (SUP)

  • About to take a bone chilling dunk, in the far background is Spencer Glacier.  From this point took about 1 hour to paddle upto.  And yes he floated the Placer river on his SUP, and yes packrafts are more stable in the rapids:)


All Smiles + a Bark - Anson, Darcie, Kina, Kristin

  • The crew takes a break during the fast downhill after enjoying the scenic climb upto Lost Lake.


Nearing the Toe of Spencer Glacier - Kristin in her Alpaca







Fireweed

  • Now only if our backyard grew weeds like this.  This stuff is everywhere.  And once the blooming stops the countdown to 6 more weeks of summer begins





Glacier Creek Crusaders - Darcie, Stephanie, Kristin, Anson, Me

  • About an hour into the run we pull off and exits the boats to check for sweepers and strainers near the Girdwood airport.  By this point the rapids start to mellow, leaving only sweepers and strainers and low water levels as the only hazards.



Loosing Lost Lake - Kristin



New Mexican Irony - My personalized paddle by Anson



Packrafts in Tow - Our approach hike into Glacier Creek

  • Yet again ol AK never disappoints!  What what a great group of friends we have, so lucky, everyone is always up for an adventure!  And Anson thanks again for the use of your toys!