Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Crystal Wonderland

"Hey, Hopkins whats that"
"Oh, its your wiffy making the turns"
"Yea, thats nice!

......but I wasn't looking at that, I was looking at this.....
.....My other mother. The the one who makes the wonders"

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Another Beauty Sight

shot before we tracked it all up.

Across from cabin

early morning sun rize was delicous.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Big Shoe Tempy

Booger likes the big shoes ...sort of.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

are we there yet?


The common answer to any question of a 2 year old.

Now I find myself full of the same excitement and anticipation. For soon, I will be with my family down under in NZ. I cant wait, I want it yesterday! waaah!

Been two weeks. Enough time to make one good and lonely for the family. Christy finally was able to touch base a few days ago and internet chat. Didn't last long as my battery crashed while we were chasing the pugs around the house. (huh?)

Let me explain. We were doing a video chat and Alexi wanted to see the pugs. I took the laptop off its power supply. Then I directed the laptop camera at the pugs. Alexi squealed with delight. Louie started his high pitch bark thinking that Momma and Alexi were home and ran to the front door. So we chased them to the door with the lap top. Once the pugs realized the sound was from the computer, the "does not compute" entered their eyes. A sniff at the screen, then a run to the couch for safety and practiced ambivalence. As I returned to talking to Christy, the battery conked out. The laptop being over 3 years old obviously needs a new battery. By the time I got things running again, christy and alexi were offline.

But it was great to hear their voice. It was the first contact from Christy in 9 days since I dropped her off at the airport. Kind of a long time to be in the dark, don't ya think?

Well it was not that dark. After about 4 days I was wondering why she had not contacted me. I called down to NZ with slim information about some cottage in Kaliliua bay. After about 5 calls to various places, I obtained a reliable witness. An owner reported a white mother with a little black boy traveling with the grandparents. They had just left his cottage two hours ago.

This was sufficient information to alleviate my fears of her having run into some serious problems. Poor me, evidently things were going so well, there was not enough spare time to miss me! But hey, thats much better than having my fearsome worries be her reality. And it was even better to hear her voice yesterday. Apparently the trout fishing is quite good down there. wooohooo!

So, it is time to bush the teeth, but on some anti-stink pit-sauce. Maybe even take a shower? (that my be going too far.) Then, get on a plane and get down there.
Speaking of planes, get this: I leave on the 24th. It is a 12+ hr flight. Yet I arrive on the 26th. ....where did Christmas go?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Turnless Tour Takes Epic Proportions Turn

Decided to try an "easy" mourning tour Thursday. Wanting to get some turns without a heavy Alexi package on my back. We decided to go for a trek we have been longing to do:

The Pinecreast to Avenues tour ....via Black Mountain.This is a 10 miler treck. Behind Christy on the right, is the pass we came thru about 2hrs before this pic was taken. Getting to that pass was a bit of a slog. And at the time this photo was taken, our noon "finishing" time was now a few hours ago. We estimated we were a little more than half way through the trek and would be making the car late in the afternoon.
One of the objectives of this trip was to get beta sightings of the Google Earth Drool Line. This was a line sussed out by my buddy J. It is a 2000 ft shot that looks like a beauty on the computer screen. Glimpses of it through the trees did not seem to lie.

Finally the Drool revealed herself in full glory. Quite a southern corn beauty.

Many other beauties surrounded us.
..Here the beloved Main Wasatch, her numerous tasty lines hiding in a skirt of clouds.

And below........we have two beauties here. My wife! And the western bowl off of Grandview peak.

But it was getting long in the day. And it was time to head home.

Then the crux move hit us. A ridge of spiny rock. Impassible over the top, I started to switch the route to go right, but then set off a massive 3+ slide.

It started off as small rolllerballs. These are clumps of snow that role like a snowman snowball. Remember as kids we would roll a snow ball around the yard and it would get bigger and bigger as the snow compressed into in as layer upon layer. the same thing happens here when the snow surface goes just above freezing. Gravity provides the "push" to get the layers building. Then momentum splinters the role into many more starter roles and they spinter and start more, etc.

From the small stuff at the point of release at my skis, then 100 ft down slope, the whole face started to mobilize. This then grew wider and wider further below. Then got mean and nasty. Big branches cracklinging, rock-rolling thunder. Big pines were shaking in terror as the malevolence shook their foundation.

Well I try to be a wise man, I want to keep myself alive. So, I abandoned trying to find a passage around the rocks on that dangerous north side. South side was then our only option. Strapping ski to the backpack, we down climb the south face. The coverage was so thin that sliding it on skis was asking for trouble both to equipment and personage. Down 300 yards the rockiness smoothed and we were able find a thin slimy ribbon of snow to slide a half-mile traverse. Then it was more backpacking the skis up through the remainder of the rockband. Finally reaching a smooth slope with sufficient snow for sliding a traverse back to the top of the ridge.

Adventurous it was, but boy did this ever eat up precious time. Time was a worry, not only for our sake, as it would be easier to get off the forbidding mountain in the light, but we also had Alexi to worry about. He was in daycare and the place closed at 6 PM. A look at the clock on the cell showed it a half our to sunset at 5:30. Assuming no more adventure detours we still were at least an hour away from the car (~2000 feet down over 3-4 miles on wet, sticky snow). A phone call was place to some sympathetic friends who we were very grateful to to mobilize a rescue pick-up of Alexi (thanks Chris and Em!).

As dusk started to set in we were given an errie view of City on Fire.
This is one of the least pleasurable things about winter in SLC. The muck. The gunk. ....A thick, acrid smog fog.

The Brown above the city is primarily the fault of all us valley denizens. Its mostly due to the exhaust from our automobiles. The pollution gets trapped in the inversion of cold air pooling down from the mountains into the valley bottoms.

Now we cuddle our Alexi and wait for a storm to come blow the toxic muck away.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Grand View Tour Revisited

My buddies on the tour took some great pics that just had to be blogged.

The one below is the first lunch spot shot by Chistian, showing a frazzled me, and J and Weener in background. Oh yea, and Lewie too.

Alexi is not in the pic as we kind of need a break from each other. The first half of this climb I was contemplating turning around as he was very unhappy and crying. Then we discovered he was dressed too warm and was just too hot. Stripping off hats and layers did the trick and he started enjoying the remainder of the climb. In fact, he enjoyed it so much, he started to scream. Remember, that is his latest passion. Screaming for no reason. So loud. So piercing. And, on my back, right in my ear, it was completely grating on my nerves. Were trying not to engage with it, but at the same time we try for redirect, which sometimes works, but at the same time reinforces a reward for screaming. That of getting Pappa or Momma's attention. Cant wait for this phase to pass.After a good set of drops on predictable, carvable north-face zipper crusts, we found our selves starting an attempt on the ridge going up to Grand view peak.
I was completely amazed with Christians ability to get the hang of kickturns and keeping it steady on icy ridges. He's a natural for the backcountry, now we just have to get him educated on how to avoid taking a ride in an avalanche.
The ridge to Grandview was along one. Up and up and up. Pugs humping it after Pops (pic thx to CFJ).

And there were long traverses.....
....across steep, icy faces (last two photos courtesy JH).

To a near summit view resplendent (CFJ).

We made perfect time, grabbing the home run shot as the shadow grew long.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Christians first skin rip

Dropped a big day as Chrsitian's first backcountry tour. Beautiful and safe day, but not so beautiful snow conditions (variable rime zipper crust). Nearly made it from Pinecreast to Grandview peak but ran out of time.

Also in the good sport was Alexi. Fun when babbling and giggling on my back, but not so fun when testing his lungs with screams. Thats his latest rage, screaming at top of his lungs for no reason. From now on, tours with him will be with earpugs in. And maybe a new back, as he is getting big and lugging him around just plain wore me out.

Pugs did good until home run where rime crust on south truned to almost impenetrable ice sheet. Almost is the word because occasionally a paw would break through. Lewie got so frustrated we had to take turns carrying him down.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Gone dady gone

"Hey yo, Pops! Me and Kuma got to tell you something. We gots bad news for you...."
"Hey, don't bother me right now. I am driving. And cant u see theo is sleeping?"
"What is it?... poopy diaper? You dropped your toy? The dog ate your homework?"

"No Pops, we got really bad news! you got to listen to me.""What I have got to tell you is serious stuff dad...just give me a moment to make a few calculations........"

"Ah, yes, there it is. You see Papa, implementing the latest Chaos Theory Algorythms, as illustrated in this chart below.
"I derive calculations showing an extremely high probability that the global economic recession manifested by ponzified derivitive fragmenation, then amplified by oversight neglectification, is causing, with an almost certainty of calculus, the daycare facility will brancruptify."

"Huh? kid, your making no sense. You leaving us out in the cold here, what-u-talking-bout?"

"Now Dad, what I am trying to my daycare will close in two weeks."

Well, my little mathematical genius is right. last Monday, we were given two weeks to find alternative daycare because the owner had just decided over the weekend to quit the business.

Quite the shocker this news was to us and the teachers at his daycare. The scramble and uncertainty over the last few days spun us in a worried frenzy as we found out that every daycare we were calling had 6 months waiting lists. UGH!

Just yesterday, our frenetic efforts were rewarded, as I found us a facility that has an open spot for Alexi. It is a nice place, but suboptimal for us as it requires driving a few miles out of the way to Sugarhouse every time we want to drop him off. But hey, at least we have got something.

Our name is on the waiting list at all the near by places, so hopefully it will not be too long before we find a more convenient place.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

climbing high above the valley

"Look ma, no hands.....well, at least, none of Papa's hands!"

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Top of georges near cardif pass

Switch hitting today. Wiffy got alexi, I go play.

Friday, January 2, 2009

His excelencys other snowslave

Walk to ensign peak before storm arives. Very windy on ridge.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Supreme Commanders Throne

Up at the living room, chillin it with Alexi on new years day.