WELCOME TO DUSKPATROL!

This site was created as a journal about adventure in the mountains, on the bike, in the ocean and enjoying the great outdoors. From time to time I will post these experiences so others may learn more about them and hopefully enjoy them as well.

Thanks for reading, and feel free to drop me a line to make suggestions!

2009-05-17

Mission accomplished!

Well, we started out later than planned but still early. The alarm woke us up at 1:40 a.m. and after about an hour of stumbling around in the dark we headed for the summit at 2:50.

There where a couple of other groups that headed out before us. One was a guided group of 9 people, split up into two, and the other was a solo person. Buck and I caught everyone at the first steep wall where the slope kicked up to around to 55-60 degrees. We passed everyone, then played tag with the leading guided group all the way to the West Face ridge.

One thing I noted, that was a lesson learned, was that the guides stopped their group every hour on the dot for a 5 minute rest. During this time they strongly encouraged everyone to eat and drink to keep the body going. Buck and I did not do this, as we stopped every 2 hours, but probably should have, as we found out later.

As we climbed to around 11,000 feet the snow hardened up a lot and the crampons made the going easier. Still, the last 700 feet to the top of the west face appeared to take forever. But the sun was coming up, and the we witnessed an amazing show on the horizon, as Shasat cast its shadow on the SKY, leaving a dark triangle at the edge of the earth, where everything else was deep blue, and red.

None-the less, we made it to the top of the west face at 8:30, which put the summit in reach by our turn around time of 10:30 due to avalanche danger with the coming warm day. Buck and I quickly walked over to the base of "Misery Hill" which is aptly named and hit the top by 9:40. At this point each of us did not feel good at all. I felt like I had a nagging hangover, cotton mouth, easily exhausted, and energy dropping fast. every time I tried to put liquids or food into my system, my stomach almost sent them back up.

Th real depressing thing about Misery Hill, is when you get to the top, you think you are there, only to realize you need to go DOWN, then up another 200 feet to the true summit. Buck decided he was done, and wanted to rest, while I went for the summit, getting there at around 10:20. Taking about 10 minutes to enjoy the first part of the victory before heading down at 10:30 sharp.

We quickly back tracked to the top of the ridge, waited a little for the sun to soften the slopes below, then put our skis on a went down 4,000 vertical feet of consistent black diamond run. Another lesson learned, is plan to summit and ski down on a Saturday, as the tracks from the day before had rutted up the slope a bit. It was still a great ski, and spring corn. This is truly an epic descent.

Once back at our camp, we packed up for the final ski out to 6,900, which means the total descent for the day was around 7,500 feet!

What a trip, would do it again!

2009-05-16

Shasta day 1

All ready to head up the mountain....

Today, we actually got up on time and hit the trail by 9:30! This was great timing as it put us on the snow early enough to miss the mashed potatoes that was coming later in the day. On the way up, we came across a ranger, who was suggesting summit turn around times of 10:00 - 10:30 instead of the normal 11:00 - 12:00. This was due to expected high temperature, that might cause avalanche dangers at the higher elevations above 11,000 feet.

The hike in was fun, beautiful, and actually went fast. We hit hidden valley at around 12:30, found a camp site, and pulled out our bivy sakes, sleeping pads, had some lunch and took a nap. We basically lounged around all day, and went to bed early in order to wake up at 1:30 am for an early start.....

2009-05-15

Tomorrow Shasta!

Here in shasta city with buck. Gonna hit the trail early tomorrow and
hit the west face for a classic ski descent!

2009-05-07

Bent chain!

Well 10 miles into my ride home, I down shifted re front gears an
jammed the chain in the process. The result was a chain that twisted
45 degrees, making it impossible to ride.

Unless you put your McGiver hat on and use the ring from your key ring
in one link, your road tool in the other, and twist.... I was able to
bend it back, but was only willing to ride another couple miles to a
parking lot where my wife picked me up.......

2009-04-12

60 Mile Day over Alpine Road


Today, for Easter, I did a 58 mile ride that took me to Half Moon Bay, San Gregorio, and over Alpine Road, into Palo Alto and Los Altos. This was my first time on Alpine road, and I was skeptical about it being a more difficult climb than Tunitas Creek. And even though half way through the ride, I was convinced that the climb is not steeper than the steepest parts of Tunitas Creek, I will now give the climb its credit and say it is a harder climb!




I am not sure if my training is not up to pair yet, or poor nitrition while on the bike, but at the end of the ride I suffered sever cramps, in all muscles in my legs.

Still, I would do it again! Alpine Road is a beautiful climb with great views, much better than Tunitas Creek, which covered with trees the whole way.

2009-03-30

Ostrander V7: Day #4 - Binding Failure

Today was our 4th day here at the hut. After a lazy day yesterday of
hitting "The Nose" once, we headed out early to catch some good spring
corn on the south slopes of horse ridge.

The early morning snow was crusty and difficult climbing, constantly
twisting the ski downhill. This is the 7TM Power Tours started to
fail. The first failure was the riser notches holding the riser in
place going bad, which resulted in them suddenly slipping out of place
to no rise while steeply climbing. I would hazard this is likely
something that a true back country binding should not do after the
second major back country trip. And really annoying when it occurs 10
miles from the nearest road.

Regardless we caught 2 runs descending 750 feet or so I. It was Great
spring corn through the widely spaced trees. Worth every inch of
ascent!

On the final run we headed back to the Nose, when the second failure
happened. This time the critical screw for the pivot point while
touring came unscrewed, lost I'm the snow, and resulting in a binding
that almost fell apart right in front of me on the mountain. Again,
not a good thing to happen to your binding 10 miles from the trail head!

What this means is that I will need to head home with the turning mode
on, spending more energy than required. A real bummer an maybe a
reason. To consider changing bindings.

Tomorrow we head out. 10 miles, 5 hours to the car. It has been
another great trip and the food was the best we had yet! Looking
forward already to next year........

2009-03-29

Ostrander V7 - Day 2 & 3: Why is all the rum gone?

Yesterday we took a tour of horse ridge and skied down the north slope into the trees searching for corn. There was a brief moment where the snow was perfect spring conditions.

Back at the cabin we launched into an evening of great food, cards and entertainment. Drinking margaritas, huricanes we feasted on bacon wrapped asperagus, shrimp and sausage gumbo, with Mexican smores for desert.

All told today is a slow lazy day lou hung around, reading and napping.....

2009-03-28

Ostrander V7 - Day 1: Classic Backcountry Mistake

Today was our first day of our annual trip into Ostrander Ski Hut. For me the trip of 9 miles, on skis, took 5 hours and 15 minutes. The weather was great and we had a nice lunch overlooking the yosemite valley, while perched on Horizon Ridge. The Horizon Ridge route is not easy. With about 1,200 feet of climbing over the three miles to Heart Attack Hill. Usually this route wipes out one of us.

This year there was this one guy, let's call him Ponce, who was convinced he was not in good shape and was insistant that he would take the Bridalviel Creek Trail. A trail he had never been on but one that supposedly is much less hilly even though it is 1.5 miles longer.

We all tried real hard to convince Ponce not to do it alone and to follow us, even if he was slow. He would not listen and went off on his own. So our group eaded out on Horizon Ridge to the hut, while Ponce went on his way by himself. 4 hours later, when I was about 1/2 mile from the hut, we established radio contact with Ponce, who told us he took a wrong turn, accidently made a loop, and was now 4 miles from the base of Heart Attack Hill. In other words, after 4 hours of trudging around with a 45 pound+ pack Ponce was FARTHER from Heart Attack Hill than when he split from us at the Horizon Ridge trail.

All told it took him 10 hours to get in. We sent somebody from the cabin to grab his pack when we knew he was 1.5 miles away. Actually a good citizen as all our group was too tired.

The mistake? Never let somebody split from your group by themselves. It was almost bad, but luckily Ponce is here. He is hobbling and really sore.

2009-02-27

Good Snow...

Today was a great day at Kirkwood. It seams the higher elevation has resulted in a colder temperature, and the result.... Wel almost as close as you can get to great fress POW.

OK so it is not the deep stuff, as the wind and time has consolidated the base, but the snow is this greaqt chalky soft stuff.

And there is evidence that the lifties at Kirkwood have gotten some benefit from the economic stimulus package, and this may mean their pot budget is increasing. Today a friend of mine had to rent skies. When she got to the top of the mountain, she was puzzled, why one sky was significantly ahead of the other no matter what. Turns out the rental department gave her two different length skis! Makes you wonder if somewhere on the mountain had the same problem, just with a different ski!?!

Looking forward to tomorrow.

2009-02-23

Storms Coming To A Kirkwood Theater Near You!

DAY# 033:

Well this past set of storms dropped another load, bringing the season total to around 250-300". This still leaves us with a way to go to hit the average, but perhaps it is in sight.

This past weekend was another good weekend, with Saturday still having good pockets of fresh snow to be found around the resort. Sunday brought warmer weather to the hill, which in turn brought HEAVY snow to the mountain.

And it is looking good for the coming weekend, and even afterwards!

2009-02-18

When Kirkwood is on wind hold, what should you do?

Go Bowling!

Lake tahoe bowl is a great standby when the lifts at Kirkwood are on
wind hold. The place is fun, well priced, and the food and beer are
great.

We took the whole gang down to Tahoe Bowl after it was obvious they
would not be starting the lifts at Kirkwood. It was hard as there was
probably 1-2 feet of new snow on top of the epic deep powder we has
just skied the day before. But Kirkwood was telling people not to
come down, and it was starting to feel like last year, when wind hold
was a regular thing. So off to the bowling alley we went. It was a
great time watching Mr. A roll a 213!

2009-02-14

GREAT SNOW AT KIRKWOOD

DAY# 030

Well this storm has dropped between 75-100" of snow at Kirkwood, and the day was truly an epic day. This was a needed storm and there are still a bunch of rocks around the mountain, but not as many as a few weeks ago.

To date Kirkwood has gotten 220-250" or about half the season total. So far it looks like a thin year, but better than last year, which is good.

The storms have all been cold, so the powder is light and deep. The backside, once it was open was consistently three feet of light powder on top of older stuff. A great place to hang out. Lets hope the storms keep coming in.

2009-02-11

A DATE with the Mountaineer's Route!

Well, I found out recently that I won a lottery bid for a permit to go up the mountaineer's route on mount Whitney! This is very exciting, as I may, once and for all, be able to tick of one of my life lists of out door achievements.

So to start preparing for the task, I have been hitting the gym. Whitney will crush you. I have made one other attempt, and was in good shape, but the rest of the crowd I went with did not train and they prevented a summit. This week I hit a new milestone burning 857 calories in one hour of my stationary bike time trial, so hopefully I am on my way.

I have also started a page about this trip on my website. Go check it out!

2009-02-06

2009 Resolutions...

So it is probably a little to late to put the resolutions in writing but, I figured that before I get to far into the year, I might as well. I have already stated my first resolution, so here are the others.....

2. Finally knock off one of my life list outdoors goals (Mt. Shasta, Mt. Whitney, etc... more later)

3. Ride more miles than last year, hopefully by a couple hundred (only done 25 miles so far!).

4. Ride a century....

So lets see how we do.....

2009-01-30

Back To Bristol....

On a recent trip home, I visited the ski resort I grew up on, Bristol
Mointain, in New York State. A ok has changed over the years and it
made me wish I had skis to test out the old lady in her new shoes.

The old lifts have been reconfigured and there is a whole new side to
the mountain. It even looks like it would have been perfect east
coast conditions while I was there with the 10" of fresh snow.

2009-01-26

Good Snow At Kirkwood!

DAY# 029

The snow conditions at Kirkwood were great. This past storm just kept
getin colder and colder an the result was the type of light powder
that fights getting tracked out. Coupled with some wind that was
filling I'm the tracks the runs on the upper part of re mountain were
great.

2009-01-21

How To Telemark On Ice....

Ok so the snow at Kirkwood was rather bad this weekend for west coast conditions. But this was a great opportunity to work on basic technique and skills in getting the tele turn to carve, and snap from one turn to the next.

Riding the chair lift, one of the things I notice more than anything is the difference between a smooth flowing skier, and one who is forcing their turns down the mountain. The tell tail sign is often in the amount of snow that is kicked up at the end of the turn.

Most skiers sit on the outside ski almost all the way through the turn, then make a sudden motion to the up-hill ski, causing the turn to slip out, the speed to break, and snow to fly. If however you watch a racer, you will note even balance between both outside and inside ski, and very smooth transitions from the down hill to uphill ski that cause the skis to accelerate down the hill, and no washing out.

The difference? I think the clue is in an old drill I used to do as a ski instructor which was to practice projecting DOWNHILL from the uphill ski at the start of a turn. This forces the body to project down the fall line, and lead the skis through the turn, it allows the skis to carve through the turn in an even arc. These exercises start with triing to work on skiing in reverse, say by always putting preasure on the inside ski, or skiing through several turns on one ski. They force the body to transition from one edge to the next and down the fall line.

So how does this tranfer into telemark turns? Well the principal is almost the same. I stumbled across an instructional video on telemarktips.com that reminded me of the importance of practicing and drills. This tutorial works with the idea on "monomarking" or tunring both left and right in the same tele pose knees bent, then switching. Then moving to a reverse telemark ski, or always having the outside knee bent. What these excersises do is force you to learn how to preasure and carve both the outside and inside edge of your bent leg.

So I spent the weekend, on the crappy ice at Kirkwood practicing these techniques, and I feel like there is a slight improvement in my turns.

Lets see if they hold up for the rest of the season.....

Oh, and check out telemarktips!

2009-01-18

Bub's Pub At Kirkwood

DAY# 28

So the last few days at Kirkwood have been really hard. The snow is
rather icy, but not quite to the point of what I would call East Coast
Boiler Plate. No, no this is what we call a packed powder surface!

What this really means is ice under about 1/2 of chopped up ice from
the groomer. Not so much fun if your edges are not fresh. Real fun
if you had them sharpened and have racing technique.

For lunch we decided to give Bub's Pub a shot, and the $23 bill got us
a great plate of nachos and fries for three people, along with a
soda. I can't say the service was great, it sucked, but it was better
than fighting it out at Monte Wolf's with the table campers and
getting your own food.

I am willing to chalk up the service as an anomoly due to the
playoff's and will definately be giving them another shot. In fact we
may have found our new lunch spot!!!

2009-01-13

829 Calories Per Hour Burned

So I am trying to be a little better and more organized about a work out and training scheme. Mostly due to one of my resolutions about to be posted soon. As part of this, I have realized I need to start tracking metrics a little better to map progress.

So most weeks, I sit on a bike and see how much energy I can output in a 1-hour push. Typically I do this by a process of constantly increasing the resistance/slope threshold every 3 minutes until I can no longer make the next increase, then decrease resistance back to a base level, rest then do it again. As I improve, my max resistance should go up, max sustained wattage, and of course total calories per hour.

This weeks benchmark was 829 calories in one hour. I think I used to be able to hit close to 950 or so, lets see what happens.....

2009-01-11

Avalanche Kills Skier In-Bounds At Squaw

On Christmas morning at the Lake Tahoe resorts, it was a dream day. A strong and cold winter storm had dropped several feet of light powder. The type people from Utah brag about. The type that falls in these parts on occasion but not regularly. Over the past week the storm had dropped around 10 feet of snow, 2 overnight.

However, at around 11:00 a.m. two skiers skiing together in the Red Dogs were separated, and after one of them was not able to locate his friend, he contacted local ski patrol who used their dog teams and skills to find the skier, identified as Randal C. Davis, age 21 of Tahoe City. When they found him, he was buried under several feet of snow, and already dead. According to local patrolers, there was evidence of trauma, possibly caused by trees and debris.

This is very tragic, that a young person would be killed in an avalanche, in bounds at a resort. But it is a sign of the subtle dangers of what we do and we should not take it for granted. In a recent New York Times article, it was pointed out that there have been three deaths this year in bounds at resorts. The other two were at Snowbird and Jackson Hole.

Basically, avalanche forecasters point to early season warm storms, followed by rain, which has made a layer of ice, easy for later snow to slide off of, and the recent storms have deposited a tremendous amount of snow on top of this layer. Some even think this will create dangerous slides very far into the season. In fact there have been over 22 people killed in the US and Canada this season already, pointing to a high death count.

What can be done? Well sometimes, not much, but anybody can take basic precautions, and use their sense of the snow and surroundings. It would be advisable to take a course available to anybody interested in tackling this type of terrain. One idea for in-bounds skiers, although it likely would not have helped here, would be to wear RECCO reflectors, that make it easier for patrolers to find you in a slide. Or visit one of the following sites:

www.fsavalanche.org
www.avalanche.org

2009-01-10

G3 - Announces new AT Binding!

OK, so G3 just came out with a new binding, called the Onyx. It looks like a variation on the dynafit model for AT binding, which results in a binding that much lighter than a modified alpine binding like the Friischi system.

G3 touts several interesting improvements with this new system, but one thing noted here is the DIN system only goes to 10. I can certainly understand that the need for DIN up to 16 is more than you will need unless you are a pro, with ave spotters, helicopters standing by etc... you do want the bindings to release, but a 10 is just to little for my taste.

Make it go to 12, and you will win me over!

Genuine Gear Guide (G3) web site

2009-01-07

New Year's Resolution #01

Ok, so it is acceptable to have mroe than one resolution right? So this year I plan on having multiple, just like I did last year. So here goes with the first one.

If you know me, you know I can fallinto a trap of being either a dreamer or a doer... that is I can sometimes fall into either dreaming big, or focusing on delivering big commitment... But the one thing I love about this, is personally the dream never ends, as it is just a matter of time before my plate clears enough so I can focu on making the dream a reality.

LESSON: Never lose the dream, and always be willing to commit 100% to the dream.

So this leads me to this years FIRST resolution. It is a simple one, and the first because it is one I actually dreamed of doing last year. Therefore I feel it is approporiate to actually put it in writing for this year, so the lovely person I am lucky enough to share my life with can either rib me about it next January, or sit there stunned and speachless if ever I manage to accomplish this simple resolution.....

RESOLUTION #01: There are a few things stored in the garage, or rather they where stored in the garage, and I have often claimed I woudl cllear them out. One of them actually came from a prior garage, and has not moved an inch for the past 18 months. The other moved several feet a month ago, from the garage into to the dining room. One item is a 1984 Hinda CX500 Transverse V-Twin motorcycle (yep a classic), the other a mid 80's Leo Fender G & L SB-1 Bass in pretty good condition. The resolution is to either get both of these items out of the house, or get both of them into active usefull condition again by the year end.........

Let's see how I do on this first resoltution...

Although I have actually stated that my Project #01 is to develop a solar powered i-pod charger, I think this offically makes my second project, AKA Project #02, as being selling one of these items through the internet, something I have NEVER done before despite buying plenty of things though it over the years.....

2009-01-06

Paul Parker Leaves G3!

WOW! It looks like Paul Parker, famed telemark ski designer has left G3! This is a shame, he was behind my last 2 pair of tele skis, the G3 Rapid Transit and the Tua 110 Cross Rides. Both skis were like a dream and had that snappy response I had lost in the switch from alpine to telemark.

This sounds like a shame, as Parker totally built the G3 line and was the name behind the sales and wards, but perhaps G3 is up to something else? It looks like Parker did not want to take the production to China, and may return to Tua?

For more check out the NEWS on Telemark Tips!

2009-01-02

Experts Only - The Wall @ Kirkwood

DAY# 026

There is fresh powder at Kirkwood, probably more than people thought would fall. The runs off The Wall are holding the snow very well today, and luckily the wind is not enough to shut down the lifts which is a common problem at Kirkwood.

2009-01-01

END OF YEAR ACCOUNTING - How I Did On Last Years Resolutions...

DAY# 026
MILE # 1,607

OK, so before setting the goals for next year, I think it would be good to look back and see how I did last on last years resolutions. Here we go.....

Resolution #1: Get back to last years skiing shape (185 pounds)
Results: SUCCESS. I actually weighed myself last night and after the eating season is over, somehow I managed to weigh in at 184, with a body fat of 19.5%. this means I lost about 3-4 pounds over the year, with a body fat drop of about 3%. pretty happy about this.

Resolution #2: Climb Mount Shasta and ski down it
Results: NOT SO GOOD. Never made it, as when I went to plan the trip the local ranger told me that an unusual amount of snow had been blown off the mountain, so there was no snow to ski on! It needs to be moved to this years resolutions...

Resolution #3: Climb Mount Whitney
Results: NOT SO GOOD. This was a result of bad planning on my part. I just got too lazy to plan the trip. It needs to be moved to this years resolutions...

Resolution #4: Ride a Century on my bike
Results: NOT SO GOOD. Just couldn't find the right ride...

Resolution #5: Ride a 20 mph average bike ride home from work
Results: NOT SO GOOD. The fastest time I clocked myself was around 19.5 MPH. So close but yet so far...

Resolution #6: Ride 1,000 miles this year
Results: SUCCESS. Actually, I needed a little bit of year end accounting for this one to finally pass. I rode 957 miles on my road bike. But I road my mountain bike on average 2.5 - 3 days a week to work on the train, and each day's commute is about 5 miles round trip, or 12.5 miles a week, or 650 miles, for a grand total of 1,607 miles! Not bad...

Resolution #7: To take the car to work 50% less often then last year
Results: SUCCESS. Actually I have no good way of determining if I did this or not. I would estimate that I did. So you will have to take my word for it.

Resolution #8: To stop drinking diet coke at work.
Results: NOT SO GOOD. This drink is too much of a stress drink for me, and as the year got stressful, the diet coke went down the throat. But as luck would have it, the new financial situation at work has resulted in no diet coke being in the fridge, so I had very little in the last month of the year.

Well time to mull over the resolutions for next year, maybe time to put some of these things on a life list of goals.....