Thursday, September 25, 2008

Family Hike in Blue Canyon

In early August, we gathered our families for a Sunday hike up Blue Canyon.  The hike leaves from Sonora Pass Highway and goes a couple miles up to a sweet lake.  The flowers were in full bloom and the weather, as usual, was perfect.  This place is only an hour from our families' front door.  From our house in Texas, we'd have to drive 10 hours to Colorado for terrain and views this good.

Randy, Kerry, Chance, and Amanda

Romel contemplates the crux of the's way steeper than it looks.

We ended our hike at Blue Lake, where we ate lunch and chilled out on the shore.

Pete helps Randy scope the area for trophy bucks.

Chance finds an absolutely stunning place to pee.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Annie and Kenny's Wedding

In August, Cassy's best friend from the beginning of time got married.  Check out some of the photos from Annie and Kenny's wedding.

People do the craziest things the night before their wedding.

Jack (the ring bearer) gets psyched up for the ceremony.  Surprisingly, he didn't bear the rings after all.

Jerry (the wedding officiant), gets psyched up for the ceremony too.  Thankfully, he was at the  ceremony.

Jerry Sr. gives Annie away forever.

Party animals (led by Randy).

The real reason people go to weddings (and why my buddies are looking at this blog): chicas bonitas

I was trying to shoot the beautiful flowers, but I...missed.

And the flowers...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Montana Trip

With a 5-day break from survival training in Washington, I drove to Missoula, Montana to meet up with Nolan Lamb and do some climbing.  We spent 3 days climbing and camping in Blodgett Canyon in the Bitterroot Mountains.

Day 1: SW Face of Flathead Buttress (IV 5.10)

The formation on the left is Flathead.  The one on the right is Shoshone Spire, which we did the following day.

A couple of miles from the car, the 3 quarts of water we're carrying seems like a good idea.  Light is right.

The brutal scree fields lead to the base.  In the above photo, the car is parked down canyon where the shade meets the sunlight.

Nolan battles the physical first few pitches.  This is where we realize that 3 liters of water is NOT enough for a Grade IV route.

Summit photos rock.

We have to rappel that?  Five low-angle, 200-foot rappels put us on steep scree and into thorn bushes.  Resisting a drink from the giardia-infested clear stream, we slog the 3 miles back to the car, drink mucho agua, and make a trip to town for the best Gatorade I've ever had.

Day 2: Shoshone Spire (III 5.8+)

Nolan leads the introductory pitches.  The climbing got really fantastic on the face above the big ledge.

Route finding in Blodgett Canyon is challenging and the guidebook gives only tidbits of beta.

Nolan smiles as he follows the best pitches of the route, but he really wishes he could have led that block of the route.  As any good local would, he let me lead the most superb pitches.

Summit photos.  Flathead Buttress, our Day 1 objective, can be seen in the background.

Day 3: Parking Lot Wall

The idea was to sport climb, but these routes were spicy and the approach was brutal.  We did an incredible 140-ft 5.10c that reminds me of Labor of Love at Lover's Leap, CA.

No cell phones at the crag!  Well, unless the house is flooding in Texas.

Notice the smoke in the background.  A huge wildfire filled the canyon with smoke.  We bailed for some cragging in Kottenai Canyon followed by a shower and a salmon dinner.

Other Montana photos