Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Lassen & Shasta... like Sheen, winner.

From this year on I plan to exploit the Shasta/Lassen combo trip to new higher benchmarks... that area is sooooooo fantastically awesome to not spend more time up there.

Shasta... what can I say about Shasta, my first "real" mountain... Shasta has been my main mentor in mountaineering, and has taught me to smile, stay cool, and always be ready to turn around.  The harsh reality of nonreciprocating love.  The location of my annual pilgrimage where I reflect back on the season while kicking meditative steps up it's gentle flank... the highs, the lows... and give thanx that all the close calls & near misses were what they were... at times I feel like I'm in Shavasana, rejuvinating my mind, body, and soul.

The scene at Bunny Flat the night before.  Talked and had a few beers with Kyle Miller... who got me pretty amped about the North Cascades for sure.  Also Jeremy Jones and his crew were all here too... partying at Horse Camp.  

Passing Helen Lake... quite a busy weekend.  I think I passed over 100 people on the way up...

about as crowded as I've ever seen up Avy Gulch.... folks made some great steps though so I could make great time up to the Red Banks.  

Looking up the Red Banks with a cool contrail behind her... 

Misery Hill.  I was hoping to meet up with the Servaites here... but I learned that they had made it only 1000 ft above their camp... so I trudged on, hoping I would catch them on the way down...  

Ran into Bruce... last time I saw him was on top of Tallac like 5 years ago I believe... 

Crazy looking clouds surrounding the summit... surprisingly not that windy.  

Lackluster summit shot...

Ran into another solo-ist on the summit, Bennett, who convinced me to ski down with him... which I gladly did.  

Then we ran into Scott, another solo-ist who was debating whether to ski down the Konwakiton solo or if we could recruit some partners.  He convinced Barrett and me to join him...

Here's why the Konwakiton is called the "muddy one"

The parking lot was quite entertaining... from some crazy lady telling Barrett to keep picking up his dog's poo... to the Lemurian believers with a gold headband with a crystal in the middle to "communicate" with them... to the numerous professional photographers awaiting the eclipse... to the dozens of hippies, ready to be one with nature at this spiritual hot spot. I had to jet unfortunately, and caught the eclipse from a rest area near Red Bluff, but I did leave a note and a snow-cooled Pliny the Elder for Toro at the car... which he didn't see and left at the parking lot.  Unbelievable...

Here's my route... might be useful to study if you want to hit up the Konwatikon Glacier route. 

Here's the vid

 Lassen, is just pure fun.  Compared to Shasta... it feels like nothing can go wrong here.  It's big enough to occupy your whole day, but small enough that you feel like you could really never get lost on it.  Following the sun around the mountain, you can harvest that Cascade Concrete all morning long... well into the afternoon before making that 30 min ski/hike back to your car where your snow-chilled IPA awaits with a grin... probably cuz it can see the phallic radio repeater marking the summit.  

Why is the parking lot called, "devastated area"?  Check out what it used to looked like a 100 years ago... from http://www.skiing-blog.com

Madatory summit shot... no comment

and another vid

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Panos from my 18th Shasta Summit (May 20, 2012)

Sunrise from just below Helen Lake...
10 min later?
and another 10... looking back at Helen lake & the crazy number of tents...
awesome clouds on Shasta... I thought it was going to be all time windy up here, but wasn't bad at all...
the clouds put you in a very serene, dream-like place...
summit pano
looking down the Konwakiton ("the muddy one" in the Wintun language) glacier
Looking down at B on the Konwakiton
B hiking back up to get a few more bonus turns.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Weekly Pano: N. Side of Lassen!

... equals 100% absolut fun.  Never scary, always straightforward, and butterlicious corn... almost as smooth as Kai's bum.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

TR: Shasta & Shastina - Happy with 15K.

Shasta & Shastina from TeleK on Vimeo.

The plan has been slowly gnawing away in my head for quite some time now... ever since I did two laps on Shasta back in 2006, I knew it would be possible to do 3 in a day.  Then after I did the math, I figured that'd be just shy of 20K ft.  So I figured if you did the extra 500 ft vert up to Shastina from the saddle, it'd get you to 20K ft day... looking something like this.

So that was the plan... and after going to the Bike to Work day Happy Hour in Old Oakland... I promptly took off.

Oh, after picking up a grilled panini from Ratto's!

So at 12:30 I arrived at Bunny Flat.

And started hiking at 1 am.... it was quite a bit colder than I expected... and my camel back kept freezing...  I stashed a few things a bit above Horse Camp, where the slope starts getting a bit steeper and the skiing becomes fun.  

The moon rose above the horizon around 3 am, and I turned my headlamp off.  Tried to zone out to "Bossypants" (in audiobook by Tina Fey)... and I was making pretty good time up until a 1000 ft or so above Helen Lake when the wind picked up.  Here the wind must've been gusting at about 50 mph or so.  I couldn't hear Tina anymore and I would frequently be taking one step back for every step forward when the gust would hit me.  

I finally made it above the Red Banks, but I had wasted plenty of time & energy doing so.  Unfreezing my camelback, fighting the headwind, and having to stop to layer up... all added up to enough time that I'd started rethinking my strategy. 

Finally I had made it above Misery Hill and was standing at the summit.  Ready to ski down 2000 ft of rimed, nasty snow. 

I knew the snow wouldn't have warmed up yet, so I decided to ski down to Shastina via Cascade Gulch to look for some wintery snow... which I found a few turns of... Here's what Shastina looks like from the notch between Shasta and Shastina.  

Looking down at Whitney Glacier... the largest glacier in CA.  

After skiing mixed snow from Shastina... then finding some softer corn for the last 2000 ft, I was back at the stashed water + food at Horse Camp.  By this time I knew my bid for 3 was over.  So I changed up the plan and just decided to maximize my turns and vert.  Looking back up what I would end up hiking 3 times today... 

On lap 2, I decided to stop at the top of the Red Banks and just ski down to Helen Lake.  Then do another lap from there back up to the Red Banks to ski the Trinity Chutes all the way down to the car... here are some fellow skiers I saw skiing down the Trinity Chutes on Lap 3...

Got down to the car around 4... took a quick little snooze at a pull out close to Bunny Flat, where it was still a bit cooler... and after taking a shot of 5 hr energy... I drove straight to Matt & Elena's where Kai bear was visiting Emerson.  E had cooked up a great pork stew and was just the meal I needed after sucking down countless Gu's, Cliff Shots, Perpetuem Solids... etc... 

All in all 15,000 ft vert... still a personal best for me.  And 10K of that was on great corn.  

Monday, May 14, 2012

Weekly Pano: Shastina Summit

Shasta from the summit of Shastina... from last Friday when I drove up and did 15K ft on my favorite mtn.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

TR: Sonora Pass (5.5.2012) - Leavitt Peak with Johnny

Sonora Pass is a special place.  The pass lying just north of Tioga, it's often overshadowed by it's southern neighbor and is quite neglected.  But there is a sweet spot every year when the pass opens, and there is still plenty of snow to go skiing right from the road.

Friday at noon, the gates to Sonora Pass opened... Sat at 3:30 am I woke up, packed the car and started driving.  By 7 am I met up with Johnny and we were ready to cruise... The mountains here don't get ridden much during the rest of the year.  (unless you have a snowmo, access is FAR).  Gotta say it's a refreshing feeling to get to the top of an 11,500 ft peak and not be able to recognize the surrounding peaks.  We parked at the pass (9624') and followed the PCT south to Leavitt Peak, the most popular target from Sonora Pass. 

This was my 12th day in the BC this year, 11 in the resort, so 23 day on skis total.  Not too bad considering the season didn't start until Jan 21st, and I have a 8 mo. old baby.  
That's Leavitt Peak to the left, and Deadman's on the right.  We booted right up the bowl.  

Summit shot

Check out some of these peaks to the South! Kennedy Peak

Hawksbeak Peak, I believe.  

Another beautiful thing about Sonora Pass it the shuttle option.  From the top of Leavitt peak you can ski down to as far as the snow will let you.  In this case it was around 8500 ft (at "the switchback") where we crossed Deadman Creek to get back to 108.

Thumb a quick ride back to your car, and you are all set!  Coincidentally, I was listening to Freakonomics podcast on the way up about hitchhiking... a fun listen, FYI.  

Night Cap Peak... from near where we descended and started hitching.  Plenty of burly descent options here... maybe not this year, but I'm sure some years there are some lines down that.  The left slope is another popular option for Sonora Pass enthusiasts.

Here's a link to Johnny great post from this trip. http://www.backwoodsbayarea.com/2012/05/cinco-de-my-oh-my-thats-big-peak.html

And his vid

Leavitt Peak | Cinco de Mayo from JonnyB on Vimeo.

And mine.

And from the folks that you can see booting up the Y-couloir while I was skiing down it.

Weekly Pano: Hawk Camp

On the way back to the car from camping with James, Courtney, Kalani, and Jill at Hawk Camp in the Marin Headlands... easy ride back to the car... a bit tougher on the way there...

Monday, May 7, 2012

Weekly Pano: Anderson Peak Sunset...

Metres enjoying the sunset from the top of Anderson Peak from Apr 21, 2012...