Early season backpacking to Baker Lake

May 3, 2021
Baker Lake all to ourselves

The upside of a low winter is that the backcountry is accessible in early May 2021. Looking at the snow in Mammoth Lakes, I decided to give a backpacking trip up to 10,700 ft a try and hope for limited snow on our 13.7 mi, 3,800 ft adventure. At 8:30am, Sadie, pup and I all started up the little traveled Logging Flat Trail outside of Big Pine.

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Getting Ecological in Costa Rica

April 26, 2021
Walking towards our hotel room in the jungle of Arenal

As I said in my first piece on Costa Rica, my trip here was much more of the jungle-beach-tour type of event. One of the benefits of working with guides is the wealth of knowledge you can be communicated vs. going solo. I learned more about the environment than ever before in this nation containing 5% of the worlds ecological diversity.

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Caves and Canyons in the Volcanic Jungle of Costa Rica

April 19, 2021
View of Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica

I recently took a trip down to Costa Rica, a country with nearly zero COVID restrictions and abundant English. The highlights were definitely rappelling alongside waterfalls and some very moderate cave exploration in the Arenal volcanic region.

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The Beveridge Lesson in Humility

April 4, 2021
The cabin we were hoping to reach at Beverage Mine [Source]

An old stone cabin, collapsed tramways and mining artifacts. These are things that get my partner Sadie and myself to say yes to a 9,000 ft and 20 mile long backpacking trip to the Beveridge Ghost Town. On a weekend with complex options of High Sierra snow (early April 2021) and Death Valley heat (90+ degrees), we thought we found our oasis in the Inyo Mountains Wilderness.

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Art: A New Aspect for Climbing

January 27, 2021
A drawing of sunset in the Minarets, Eastern Sierra, CA

One of the things I remember most from Meru is not about climbing at all. It is Renan Ozturk painting a large vibrant canvas outside his tent of the surrounding mountainscape. Outdoor art has always inspired me. I felt creating art alongside outdoor experience made the whole thing greater than the sum of two parts. In the hard year of 2020 isolationist COVID, this was the silver lining of my year.

Renan painting his vibrant canvas of the mountains. More prints on his website.
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Exploring Unmarked Mines in Death Valley

December 2, 2020

Sadly, Thanksgiving 2020 (like everything in 2020) didn’t go as expected. I canceled our amazing Turkey-Holiday in the San Rafael Swell desert wilderness and instead I slept 12 hours a day with the flu (luckily not COVID-19). However, Sadie “Alpine Babe” Skiles and I did get out to explore around Death Valley in some unmarked mines…

Another beautiful vein in Monarch Canyon
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Oh Shit, The Anchor Blew on the Rope I was Ascending

November 18, 2020
After the accident avoidance, I was greeted by my blown anchor

I had a near accident in the Spring of 2020 while I was out developing my crag. I already had a fixed my static line in the Welcome to Nightvale area. However, I wanted to start working on a 30m crack I had found that looked pretty great in a new Desert Bluffs area next door.

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[4] Drilling, Bolting and Learning

October 30, 2020

This story is part of a series on route development. Click this tag to see all

I was excited, it was my first time… hauling a dense and heavy pack containing a 36V hammer drill, two charge packs and hunks of metal. My first day out bolting was not quite a success but at least I accomplished bringing the heaviest pack yet up the loose dusty hill to the cliff. Luckily, I learned the hard way so you don’t have to.

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The 3500ft Birthday Scramble in my Backyard: Laurel Peak

October 24, 2020
A Red River halfway up Laurel Peak

Laurel Peak and Mt. Morrison are some of the most dramatic peaks one can see from the Eastern Sierra Highway-395 while driving past Convict Lake. The area in the backcountry is enchanting and leads towards an iconic Lake Basin. For my birthday (June 25th, 2020), my adventure partner Sadie “Alpine Babe” Skiles and I decided finally check out this beautiful and unstable 3500 ft adventure climb up the Northeast Gully (5.2).

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[3] Work Smart, Not Hard. Route Development Techniques and Tips.

July 21, 2020

This story is part of a series on route development. Click this tag to see all.

One of the things I realized from my first development project is how much repetitive work you have to do if you go back to the top and re-clean. I have to go all the way down the moderate routes again and brush all the holds. I’m sure y’all can remember topping out using sandy holds or trying to pull on even the best jug with dirt on it.

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