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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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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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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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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Scrambl-eering on the Island in the Sky Traverse

March 10, 2020

Inside one of the best hidden gems in Utah is a sandstone behemoth called Island in the Sky. Most climbs go part way up its face, but there is a traverse which gains its summit and traverses a labyrinth of short canyons with scrambling ascents between them. RoadTripRyan has the best beta, but doesn’t utilize or follow all the rappels I found and published on ropewiki. Regardless of tools (map, gpx or physical markings), good route finding intuition is a must. However, none of this took away from the five hours of fun which ends in four rappels!

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Weird Adventures at Whipple Cave

March 6, 2020

The drive east across Nevada is desolate and mostly sand. Fortunately, Sadie and I the interesting and rare Whipple Cave on our route from Mammoth Lakes to SLC. A vertical drop into an unregulated cave which hosts loads of stalagmites, stalactites, popcorn, bats and other unique cave oddities.

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Frozen Legs in Yankee Doodle Hollow

March 1, 2020

I typically don’t do wet canyons which is why I shoot for B rated canyons at maximum. However, Yankee Doodle Hollow had a rep: beautiful photos, RoadTripRyan listed it as A/B and a wonderful slot canyon style not typically seen outside Canyonlands or Moab. Unfortunately, we really underestimated what winter + a rain event four days prior would mean. The canyon was great, but an adventure that sent me plunging into thigh-waist high water which was coated with surface ice.

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A Lamb, Oz & the Hobbit Walk into a Bar

September 17, 2019
Leo cleaning a cam from On the Lamb

Tuolumne Meadows is the alpine granite wonderland sibling of Yosemite Valley’s long aesthetic crack climbs. Tuolumne is known for its easy moderate alpine climbs like Cathedral Peak as well its runout dome slab climbing where ‘R’ protection ratings (i.e. a fall could cause serious injury) are more common than bolts. I think the place is pretty but I’m in the minority of not being a fan. In my opinion, the cracks are often irregular with marble-golf ball sized rock crystals, the bolted climbs are scary and the moderate classics attract shitshows like gravity. However, I couldn’t turn down a climbing weekend with my super strong friend Leo to give the harder classics a go.

Leo and I planned a link of up of On the Lamb (5.9, 4 pitches) as an approach to Oz (5.10d, 5 pitches), as an approach to Hobbit Book (5.7 R, 4 pitches). Each a classic in its own way.

OZ to Hobbit Book linkup. (Photo Borrowed from Mountain Project
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Mountain Project Admin Meetup at The City of Rocks

September 3, 2019

Every year the good people at Mountain Projects (now the Adventure Projects branch of REI) put on an informal meetup for all their Admins. We pick a place, our hosts grab a campsite and bring a cooler of beer and grilling supplies. It is a great opportunity to meet the unpaid volunteers who give their time to moderate, cultivate, develop and further the climbing community inside and outside the digital hub that is Mountain Project in North America. This year’s destination was The City of Rocks, ID which features all the ease of the road side crags of Joshua Tree, the rock-plated jugs of Red Rocks, the solid granite of Yosemite and a bit of the muted popularity and orange-black coloration of Shuteye Ridge.

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Climbing Bear Creek Spire – North Arete to 13,700 feet

August 18, 2019
NE Arete as viewed from high up on North Arete on Bear Creek Spire

Bear Creek Spire is found in the Eastern Sierra past several alpine lakes and a mile of talus where the North Arete (5.8, 10 pitch) starts above 12,000 ft. It was also my first date with Sadie Skiles on a failed attempt back in 2016 and we’ve been thinking about it ever since. Now with Little Lakes trailhead 45 minutes away from our new home in Mammoth Lakes we were excited to take another crack at it in non-wind advisory conditions.

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