Watermelon on Mt. Baldwin via Laurel Lakes

June 27, 2022
Photo by Ethan Fichtner

Ahhhhh permitting in the Eastern Sierra. When I moved to Mammoth Lakes, I was stoked for walk up permits because I could finally get them easily from the Mammoth Welcome Center the day before. However, after COVID, ‘walk up’ turned into two weeks before the entry date and all online. Great for non-residents like I used to be, but a bummer as a resident because it meant using an online system that can be hyper competitive. Thus we got a permit for Laurel Lakes just out of Mammoth Lakes and then went over the Laurel Col. to the Convict Lake Basin to climb Mt. Baldwin.

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Mount Huntington and the Hopkins Pass Surprise

The 3rd Class blocky section traversing to Huntington

I had this grand idea of doing a traverse of the Pioneer Basin peaks, 8mi and 4k elevation gain of ridgeline. Followed by going over Hopkins Pass, making our way out to Duck Lake in Mammoth Lakes with peak bagging along the way. Then the plan hit reality and things were more difficult than I had hoped… (the proposed route)

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Return to Temple Crag: Sun Ribbon Arete

May 24, 2022
Airy Traverse on the last tower of Sun Ribbon Arete

Temple Crag is a huge formation out of Big Pine, CA. It hosts several amazingly long climbs from the 13 pitch Venusian Blind (5.7) to the 16 pitch Dark Star (5.10c) in the 1,500-2,000 ft long range. I made a failed attempt on Moon Goddess Arete (18 pitch, 5.8) back in 2018, but only found bad rock instead of the traverse to second tower. This time I teamed up with my friend Kevin to climb Sun Ribbon Arete (2000 ft, 22 pitches, 5.10a) car-car. I’ve never done a single day push before (most people camp at the upper lakes the night before) and was pretty intimidated but it went really well in a 17 hours continuous movement day.

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Spring Summit of Mt. Morrison

May 19, 2022
Mono Jim (left), Morrison (center), moon (right)

I have looked at Mt. Morrison’s grand 12,240 ft summit for many years. We had a Spring summit attempt in 2017, when we said “who cares, let’s ski” at the Morrison Couloir. In 2020 Sadie and I climbed Laurel and the view of Morrison again called to me. Now on fun-employment I took the day to bag it (basically this route) through brush, across post holing snow and up some 4th class rock that I got myself into (the route goes Class 3 if you aren’t messing around like me).

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The Long Road to Iva Bell

May 16, 2022

Iva Bell Hot Springs are a backcountry hotspot for warm pools of water. The journey would bring us through thorny bushes, over many large logs, across bridged rivers and finally battling algae in these backcountry host springs. In all the trip would take us 35 miles, 6,800 ft over two long days.

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Adventure Marriage in Moab

April 26, 2022
Photo by Desert Paintbrush

I recently was married to my life partner Sadie Skiles in adventure-style with a few close friends at an Elopement in Moab / Canyonlands. I normally don’t write about such things but I thought it might be useful to others looking for an active-elopement ideas and a great way to share some stunning photos.

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Indian Creek Blues

As part of my adventure elopement, the group of us went climbing in Indian Creek. This was my first time and I was so excited about it. I love crack climbing, it’s kinda my thing, my style. Its why I’ve identified so much with Yosemite climbing where I first really got into trad and Indian Creek is a crack climbing paradise.

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Rappelling Alongside Pool Arch

April 25, 2022
Going down the first rappel with Pool Arch in the foreground

To commemorate Sadie’s and my recent marriage we decided to go canyoneering. To avoid any trouble with Timed Entry permits to Arches we decided to descend alongside Pool Arch in Pritchett Canyon, outside the park. So six people and two dogs started out on the 4×4 road called Pritchett Canyon Trail.

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Descending the River Styx (North Fork)

March 14, 2022
Descending one of the last rappels

For a friend’s big 3-0 birthday party in Death Valley we decided to do two big canyons, the first being Styx Canyon (North Fork) (3A IV 22r). Styx was another canyon starting from the high point in the park (Dante’s View  5400 ft) to the park low point (Badwater -200 ft). This is one of the more traffic’d canyons in Death Valley with no need to replace any webbing or fix any anchors. Therefore, it felt a lot more chill than Typhon Canyon, but still an adventure with many 100 ft rappels.

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Five Days on Foot in the Grand Canyon

February 26, 2022
View of Colorado River from the Beamer Trail

Over “ski week” I drove off to the Grand Canyon for a multi-day backpacking trip on unmaintained backcountry trails. I am kinda a snob about the difficulty of backcountry travel outside the steep and stark Eastern Sierra, expecting the backpacking to be easy, on a beach and along a river after the way down. What I got was rugged trails, 3rd class, exposure and a tourist destination all to ourselves.

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