Tuesday, May 5, 2015

TR: A day on Shasta - Part 1: Shastina

I first encountered Barrett near the top of Shasta on a solo mission up the standard Avy Gulch, 3 years ago.  We started talking about descending together, and soon roped in Scott to the conversation, another solo climber with skis on his back.  We figured we were all going at a good pace, reached the summit together, and we should share the stoke on the way down.  Scott convinced Barrett and I to do Konwakiton with him, as he was a bit tentative on doing it solo.

We had a great time on our descent, enjoyed beers at the bottom, exchanged e-mail addresses and have been on many adventures since.  With Barrett; I've climbed Hotlum-Wintun, skied out to Pear Lake Hut, rode an insane mtn bike race.  With Scott, I've climbed Big Willie and Tyndall, had the best pow day last year at Sugar Bowl.  They were up at Shasta a few weekends back, but I couldn't join them, and I don't think all three of us have managed to get together since.

Anyway, Scott got us amped on Shastina, so I came up with an ambitious plan to do Shastina, then Shasta, and check out some of the mountain bike trails down to town.  I think Barrett was a bit hesitant of the plan, as he was going to be there 3 days, but I said we'll play it by ear and make decisions throughout the day depending on how we are feeling.

Turns out if you start the day dropping Angel Wings, you feel great.

signing in with our ambitious plan... Shastina, Whitney Glacier, Kowakiton, Bunny Flat... 
sharing my pooping quarters with this guy...
I left Oakland at 8 pm, and got to BF around 1 am.  Woke up at 4 am to start organizing my food/gear for the day.  Ended up not eating as much food or water...  I can definitely go even lighter next time... 
Booting up Hidden Valley after skiing down off of the ridge between Cascade Gulch.
Barrett with Shastina behind him.  I think the actual summit is on the far left.  
Sisson Lake... not much of a lake..
Google Awesome!
Looking up our eventual climbing route on the Whitney Glacier
One entrance to Angel Wings.  One of the furthest right entrances... and it's steep.  The further right, the steeper...
For our first time earning our wings on Shasta, we opted for the furthest skier's left entrance.  Which seemed mellow enough for us even with bad snow conditions.  We didn't really know what the conditions were going to be like on this N. Facing aspect, so we wanted to play her safe.  
B ready to drop after I told him that the snow was firm, chalky, but fun!
First of many turns of the day.  
Getting to explore this side of Shasta was another real treat for me.  I've climbed up from 4 different trailheads, this was my 23rd summit, and I've circumnavigated this mountain with a buddy in 3 days.  but being this high up in this area was a whole new experience.  The glacier, the color of the rock, and the summit above created an alien landscape that we really enjoyed . 
Further down on Angel Wings.  the snow got really fun around here.  Softened up just enough to really let her loose.  
Slarvy fun.
Our line from below.  Much less intimidating from this angle.  

Once the slope mellowed out, we traversed over towards the glacier, ate a wasabi ham sandwich and half a giant rice ball
and started our hike.  Our day was just beginning, and we were already stoked out of our gourds.

part 2... coming soon...

Sunday, May 3, 2015

A week in Tahoe!

D at the top of Hawk's Peak.  
Like last year, we decided to spend an extended period of time in Tahoe.  This time it was Kai's school's spring break.  And like last year there wasn't much snow, so I did more biking than skiing.  But it turns out it's all really fun...  this time we got to spend the week with the Metres' who had their spring break too (Danielle's).  The Marins joined us for a few days, as well as Sigman.  Then the Dufours came up on Fri, and the Balesteris on Sat.  So many friends, impossible not to have a blast.

Plus I got in 5 runs, 6 mtn bike rides, 2 hikes, 2 skiing days all in 6 days... my ideal vacation.  
Sierra loves  PIZZA!!!
At Squaw with Kai... where's the snow????

Nikko on the Tram!
nature hike with the Metres girls.  
Kai on the Tony Hawk out by Prosser Dam
Nikko with his Tahoe swagga'
Typical living room scene...
Kai teaching Kimbo how to ski...
on the Truckee River bike path by Squaw
Came across this thing on our ride.  
Hey look!  Snow!  

All packed up and ready to go...
To the Sacramento Train Museum! 
Nikko!  Get down!
We saw some amazing things on our brief stop:  First a dad carrying out two kids both asleep.  
A triple stroller!
And this dad GoPro-ing every action that his daughter did at the train museum. Not sure if anyone is going to want to watch the 3 hour footage of that... but hey... who knows.  

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Donner Pass Tunnels Hike

The abandoned tunnels (Summit Tunnel) at Donner pass is a really fun area for an easy hike.  Kids could spend days here exploring.  Kai was quite enamored with this place as there are old train tracks with tunnels, creeks to cross, rocks to hop over, and beautiful view for everyone.

The first part is uphill over some rocks, but once you hit the fire road it's a easy, flat walk.  It had to be, as it's an old railroad track.  The tunnels are covered in graffiti... and I don't really condone this type of behavior, but some of it is really well done.  And at some point it becomes art right?  And it's inside a tunnel... it's not really "natural" anymore...

The lighting inside the tunnels requires a nice DSLR to capture.  Then every once in a while the tunnels open up to a beautiful view.

The tracks were first used in June 18, 1868 until 1993 when Southern Pacific pulled up the 6.7 mile section of Track #1 over the summit.  This line was replaced by the longer, "Mt. Judah Tunnel" in 1925.

Oh, and I think it's officially off limits.  So don't go there.  Or at least plead ignorance.

Lots of info online... here are some of the more useful links:

  • http://www.arounddonnersummit.com/places/railroad.html
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donner_Pass
  • good suggestion for a short loop hike... http://onthesummit.net/wordpress/activities/trails/donner-pass-history/
  • http://www.cprr.org/Museum/Tunnels.html#Summit_Tunnel_Map
  • http://www.sierranevadageotourism.org/content/donner-summit/sie27ACE11D587F32CB9

LOTs of graffiti in the tunnels... some folks spent a long time back here...  
Kai heading towards the beam of light
Kai turned into an angel!
There are some openings in the tunnel so you can get a view of Donner Lake below
The first opening...
tunnel pano... tough lighting for panos
mo' 'fiti
we turned around at the second opening... perhaps .5 miles into the tunnel, but folks ride their bike through here all the way to Donner Lake.  Pretty flat, and probably a bit boring, but would be a novel ride.
Looking back at our Schmienna...
Some petryglyphs at the Trailhead

Kai showing off his bouldering skills as he wanted to read the Petroglyph sign "by HIMSELF!"

after the hiking we drove down for 5 min to Donner Lake... the beach itself was waay too windy, so we went to the beach by the creek....

Where it was naked playtime for the boys, and down beach time for Kimbo.

Check out this cool map of the railroads in CA.