Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Diablo Exploration...

I got some new tires for my road bike.  Vittoria Randonneur Cross tires... I think they were on closeout as they don't make them anymore?  Anyway... I decided to go out an venture up Mt. Diablo on some dirt so that I could test them out.  I also wanted to check out the damage from the recent fires.

I definitely learned that there are a LOT of trails on Diablo.  Nothing amazing that I witnessed, but it's another place to go explore for sure.  And there are a lot of steep hills.

Starting off with some panos.
From the summit of N. Peak... Mitchel canyon is tough...
Looking back at Mt. Diablo from Mt. Olympia
Somewhere in Morgan Territory
Beautiful cumulous clouds.  
Giant pinecone somewhere on Mitchell Canyon.  Man this road is tough... very steep.  Had to walk quite a bit of it... and I still got the king of the mountain.  
Scorched area.
Fire damage
S. Peak looks ok.
Freshly burnt trees..
Yikes... didn't make it up this...
Back on flat ground
And looking back at Mt. Diablo from Morgan Territory...
I lost my other bottle on the first descent off of Diablo... and was seriously parched by this point... I was tempted...
Oyster Pt.  A fun section of single track
Here's the route... although with all of my missed turns, etc... it was more like 65.  

Monday, October 28, 2013

Weekly Pano: Hamilton!

Did a fun ride up Mt. Hamilton from my house the other day.  140 miles of pavement, 4 tarantulas, and I saw one cyclist the entire day.

Obligatory selfy at the Lick Observatory
1 of 4 tarantula sightings of the day...

And the cowboy hat rack at the Junction Bar... awesome.  
My phone went bezerko around mile 120... so I lost my strava track.  I'm going to use orux maps from now on to record these rides.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Weekly Pano: Squaw Ridge Mtn biking...

Chasing B... and waiting for Metres.  The theme of the day mountain biking on Squaw Ridge near Kirkwood.  

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Cal Dome w/Metres (Oct 5, 2013)

The awesome face of Cal Dome...
 Metres and I had been planning a climbing weekend FOREVER.  And finally, we made it happen.  We were originally planning to do something in the high sierra... like Temple Crag, or a 14er or something... but looking at the low temps in the mountains we decided to drive less, be more comfy and settle with type I fun... vs the type II fun we had in mind.  So we drove up to Cal Dome on Fri night... arriving with the herd of Camp 4 climber bums who all got kicked out of Yosemite due to the shutdown.

After sleeping road side, and having a leisurely morning, we rolled up to Cal Dome to find 8 cars (mostly subarus)... parked on the Cal Dome lot.  And... it was cold.  And... we knew that Cal Dome wouldn't get any sun all day.  So we decided to climb on Hammer Dome, across the way.... which was already in the sun.  Starting off with Gemini Cracks, then rapping down to Wings & Stings... we had to iron out our climbing techniques, and made a few ridiculous mistakes.  All in all, a great day of trad climbing... and we stopped when Dave's right hand wouldn't open up... as it was stuck in a GI JOE kung fu grip...

Metres on pitch 2 of Gemini Cracks
On the Gemini Crack!
Rapping off... and soon Dave would fall off the Wing's & Stings roof, burning his hand on the rope.  Amazing.  
After removing himself completely from the rope, Dave down climbed a bit to reach it and rapped back down to the start of Gemini Cracks... where we would soon devour our spare burrito from last night.
Metres on Wing & Stings
About here, Metres was grunting a lot... and barely made it up no-falls... we skipped the third pitch due to being completely exhausted.  
The canal from Salt Springs Reservoir...
Cal Dome... home to HUGE boulders.
California Mountain King Snake - totally harmless..
and the mandatory post climb dip into the frigid river... after setting up a nice fire, eating a nice meal, and drinking a few beers we bunked for the night as we had a long day of mtn biking lined up tomorrow.  

Monday, October 21, 2013

Weekly Pano: Kirby Cove!

From Sept 28 & 29th.  A glorious weekend at Kirby!
Getting ready to mach down the dirt road on my razr scooter after shutting a car... 

Monday, October 7, 2013

RAMROD part duex...with Bernard (Sept 20, 2013)

“All things excellent are as difficult as they are rare.”  — Ed Abbey, Desert Solitaire
And indeed, this trip was a quite excellent.  Didn't go quite according to plan, but excellent nevertheless... Another year, another trans-Sierra was scheduled... obviously.  And lo and behold, the best date turned out to be when I'm going to be at a wedding... bummer... I probably can't go.  But wait... the wedding is in the Sierras... maybe I could still squeeze it in somehow?  And so the logistical nightmare began.  1) I had to find someone who was going to the wedding who would do the run with me.  2) I had to find some folks to ride with Kim and Kai to to the wedding so that Kim wouldn't be driving to the east side by herself with Kai.  And 3) I had to figure out a route.

As soon as I found out Bernard was going to the wedding, I was set.  I've already had experience convincing him to do idiotic things with me, and we had even completed a trans-sierra together.  That one was over snow, taking over a week... going west.  This time we'd go east, in one day, in just our running attire.... to a wedding.  The plan slowly came together and we hatched a plan for us to run across on Fri, while the other team would hike across a few days later on Sunday.  We planned on starting at Lake Thomas Edison and ending up at the wedding at Convict Lake.  Bernard, coming from Chicago... would stay in the bay area until the very last second so that he wouldn't experience any acclimatization advantage.  We'd leave my house at 4 am... arrive at the trailhead around 9 am, and start hiking around 10 am.  It's 26 miles, and I figured it'd take us around 8 hours.  Turned out I was a bit off.  Coming into Convict Lake at 9 pm, we had mainly hiked for 11 hours due to the trail being mostly unrunnable due to the amount of scree and bigger rocks on the trail.

But it was excellently fun.
6 am gas stop... somewhere in the central valley... 
Lake Thomas Edison... not much water... 
Ran into this cowboy on our way to the trailhead.  Very helpful in giving us directions to the trailhead.
By the time you see this sign, you've probably spent the last 90 min driving 15 mph on average down a one lane curvy road...
After a quick breakfast, a bathroom break, and stashing food in the bear bins at the trailhead, we were off!

Our first creek crossing has a fully grown tree in the middle.... wha?
Soon we were up in the moonscape.  The trail started off quite runnable and we were making great time.

After 10 miles, we were due for some more water... Aqua Mira time!
Yeah... that lake was quite low. 
Another short break before we started slogging our way X-country up to Gemini Pass
Where did the trail go?
Gemini Pass is just left of the middle in this pic.  The middle peak is Red Slate Peak.
Not runnable...
But fun...
funky rock.
Getting closer to Gemini Pass
Looking back from Gemini Pass.  
At our high point... over 12k ft.  Before being humbled by our pace, I had thought about scrambling up 1000 ft up to the top of Red Slate from here.  A peak I haven't visited since 2006.
And coming down the scree... this took a LOT longer than we expected.
Yeah...  not really runnable
Looking back up at Gemini Pass
B-nard admiring Red Slate Couloir... and the brave men that skied it!
Our final water break... didn't really bother treating it at this point in the day.
Soon... we were engulfed in darkness and I had my emergency headlamp along with the flashlight on my phone.  There were several sections where the trail had been washed out, so this made the descent quite slow.  Once we got to within sight of Convict Lake, the full moon started rising, along with our spirits.  And we ran the last few miles right to a wedding reception.... which wasn't Josh & Liz's... then we found them, and started drinking.  That was also quite excellent.    

Here's the route I mapped out.  And some beta for x-country hiking, running, and cycling enthusiasts... Get OruxMaps app on your phone.  And after you mapped out your route on ridewithgps.com, export the gpx file to your phone, then you can follow your route on your phone as you mapped it.  Also, you can download the topo to your phone using OruxMaps while you still have service, then you can go into airplane mode and still see the map.  And when you go on longer hikes... use an USB battery extender pack.

If you want to read what crazy folks do... read this.

And I'll leave you with some pics from the other party... who woke up at 4 am with 2 inches of snow on their tent, hiked up to Mono Pass, and turned around.  Which left them with a 12 hour drive back to the bay via Thomas Edison lake...

Funk arriving at the wedding in proper attire.
At mono pass...