Sawyer’s Halloween & Uneva Circuit

Sawyer had her 1st real Halloween this year. She was only 2-3 weeks old last Halloween. We didn’t trick-or-treat, but we did everything else: carved pumpkins, costumes, and a great Halloween party. Next year we will trick-or-treat.

Carving pumpkins

Carving pumpkins

These big orange things are fun

These big orange things are fun

Sawyer in her dog costume that Dianne & Ken gave her

Sawyer in her dog costume that Dianne & Ken gave her

Vets and our dog

Vets and our dog

Hiking with Ken & Dianne

Hiking with Ken & Dianne

Family pic

Family pic

Learning to stand on her own two feet

Learning to stand on her own two feet

Lounging around

Lounging around

She likes this "standing up" thing

She likes this “standing up” thing

Loving her dogs

Loving her dogs

Sawyer loves burying her face in Rainie's fur

Sawyer loves burying her face in Rainie’s fur

And, of course, Kona tries to give Sawyer kisses

And, of course, Kona tries to give Sawyer kisses

Recovering from a fairly serious right elbow infection called Olecranon Bursitis brought on by dirt getting into a cut on the elbow joint’s bursa sac (as a result of off-width crack climbing), I was anxious to get out a bit longer than an hour hike or run. I couldn’t really climb, so Kona and I just went for a snowshoe up at Vail Pass. In retrospect, I should have brought the skis, but it was a good recon mission to the peaks north of Vail Pass, the highest of which is Uneva Peak (12,522′), which we frequent quite a bit in the snowy months. There was even another subtle 12er I had never visited dubbed “Sneva” that I thought I would pay a visit. Getting an alpine start of 11:30am, Kona and I followed a decent track up into the small bowl below Uneva Peak that provides very mellow and low-consequence backcountry skiing even during high avalanche periods.

Uneva Peak (at far right) with its false summit in the center of the picture as seen en route to Point 12,363'

Uneva Peak (at far right) with its false summit in the center of the picture as seen en route to Point 12,363′

We had never been up on the summit of Point 12,363'

We had never been up on the summit of Point 12,363′

Looking over at Sneva from Point 12,363'

Looking over at Sneva from Point 12,363′

30 minutes later we were on Sneva (12,242') having descended maybe 400' to Uneva Pass and up another 400'

30 minutes later we were on Sneva (12,242′) having descended maybe 400′ to Uneva Pass and up another 400′

Looking east to Frisco and Lake Dillon from Sneva's summit

Looking east to Frisco and Lake Dillon from Sneva’s summit

Red Diamond Ridge as seen from Sneva's summit

Red Diamond Ridge as seen from Sneva’s summit

Looking at Uneva Peak from Sneva's summit. I asked Kona if she wanted to go summit Uneva again for the nth time. She said she wanted to as it was such a nice day :)

Looking at Uneva Peak from Sneva’s summit. I asked Kona if she wanted to go summit Uneva again for the nth time. She said she wanted to as it was such a nice day :)

Back on Point 12,363'

Back on Point 12,363′

Kona and Uneva's final pitch to its summit

Kona and Uneva’s final pitch to its summit

Uneva Peak summit (12,522'). Always good to be on this little summit. One of the very few times I can remember essentially no wind

Uneva Peak summit (12,522′). Always good to be on this little summit. One of the very few times I can remember essentially no wind

And, Sneva from the summit of Uneva with the Tenmile Range behind

And, Sneva from the summit of Uneva with the Tenmile Range behind

With that little 5 hour outing up high in the snow, I am a little more excited for the winter months. However, I still want to do more climbing in the desert and get this elbow all better.

A map of our snowshoe jaunt. About 5 hours roundtrip, maybe 8-9 mile and roughly 3,000' vertical gain

A map of our snowshoe jaunt. About 5 hours and 8-9 miles roundtrip with roughly 3,000′ vertical gain

Sawyer at 10 months

Kristine & I both cannot believe how big Sawyer is getting and how grown up she is becoming!

Playing at the river with the dogs

Playing at the river with the dogs (maybe 9 months old)

When we were back in Maine over July 4, Dianne Oelberger had a local photographer come and do family portraits and several of these came out really nice. A few of those pics are as follows (Sawyer was about 8 months at this time):

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Diane Family_070915_9435

Mallary & John_070915_0009

Mallary & John_070915_0033

Diane Family_070915_9446

Photos from our weeknight camp up on Red & White Mountain a few weeks ago:

All decked out in her jean overalls

All decked out in her jean overalls

Fun

Fun

Hanging in her camp chair with Rainie

Hanging in her camp chair with Rainie

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Her hair is getting long enough we need to put it up a bit

Hanging out by the fire

Hanging out by the fire

In the big peoples' chairs

In the big peoples’ chairs

Our new big tent

Our new big tent

Getting comfy and biting her lower lip, which she seems to enjoy

Getting comfy and biting her lower lip, which she seems to enjoy

Reading in the tent

Reading in the tent

Dinner

Dinner

Always gorgeous views of the northern Sawatch rising above Arrowhead

Always gorgeous views of the northern Sawatch rising above Arrowhead

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Kona wanted in a picture

Kona wanted in a picture

Back by the fire

Back by the fire

Actually, a good family pic we thought at sunset

Actually, a good family pic we thought at sunset

I like this one a lot

I like this one a lot

And, some more pics of what Sawyer has been doing as of late:

Watching the dogs eat

Watching the dogs eat

She loves to eat and loves to make a mess

She loves to eat and loves to make a mess

Hiking the East Lake Creek trail

Hiking the East Lake Creek trail

Bouldering at the Confluence Boulder at Dowd Junction

Bouldering at the Confluence Boulder at Dowd Junction

Hiking to Beaver Lake

Hiking to Beaver Lake

A good one of mother & daughter

A good one of mother & daughter

She always loves playing tennis ball with Rainie...

She always loves playing tennis ball with Rainie…

...and receiving kisses from Kona

…and receiving kisses from Kona

Sawyer’s 1st 14er Summit

Well, you definitely never know how things will turn out with a 9 month old on just about any outdoor adventure much less taking her to over 14,000′. You just got to be very flexible as parents and go with the flow. Sometimes we do have to turn around on a hike or leave the climbing crag because she is over tired or because of any one of a number of other reasons. Sometimes she is very happy and can stretch her awake time without getting too fussy. One thing we do know is that there is no predictability :) Nevertheless, we wanted to give a 14er a go with Sawyer. Make it a nice family outing on a shorter 14er so even Rainie could go. We thought of the easy and very accessible 14ers above Kite Lake in the Mosquito Range south of Breckenridge & Quandary Peak and figured Mt. Democrat would fit the bill nicely. In addition to only being 4 miles roundtrip and 2,250′ of elevation gain, there was Kite Lake at the trailhead so Rainie could go swimming before/after to stay cool. I had never seen so many cars (even a tour bus!) at a trailhead (well, except for Longs Peak, I guess) and we had to park 1/4 mile down the Kite Lake road at about 11,800′.

Kristine carrying Sawyer in the Ergo carrier on her front side with Kite Lake behind. Fortuantely, Sawyer was asleep at this moment

Kristine carrying Sawyer in the Ergo carrier on her front side with Kite Lake behind. Fortuantely, Sawyer was asleep at this moment

Sawyer didn’t nap much on the way to the Kite Lake trailhead, so she was a little unhappy at the beginning of the hike. But, she fell asleep on the gradual hike maybe 20-30 minutes from the trailhead. This was a BIG relief to Kristine & myself.

Making our way up to the Democrat/Cameron saddle at 13,400'

Making our way up to the Democrat/Cameron saddle at 13,400′

Sawyer's K9 protectors

Sawyer’s K9 protectors

Sawyer slept for 45 minutes or so and woke up right as we crested the 13,400′ saddle between Democrat and Cameron. Hikers kept commenting to us upon seeing Sawyer in Kristine’s Ergo carrier, “Wow, there is a baby in there?” Funny stuff. We all took a break and snacked for 15-20 minutes at the saddle.

At the 13,400' Democrat/Cameron saddle

At the 13,400′ Democrat/Cameron saddle

Rainie standing guard as Sawyer gets a snack

Rainie standing guard as Sawyer gets a snack

Having had a good nap, we transitioned Sawyer to the backpack and loaded it up on my back. We love this Kelty backpack – it fits Sawyer very well. One observation that we had were the number of folks on these 14ers. Even on a Friday, the masses were astounding. I mean I know these 14ers are some of the easiest and most accessible and thus most popular 14ers in the state, but all I could think was just “wow”. I honestly haven’t been on of these popular 14ers in the summer in over a decade and the crowds these days are sure different than they were in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Sawyer and I making our way up Democrat's class 2 east ridge with Mt. Cameron behind us

Sawyer and I making our way up Democrat’s class 2 east ridge with Mt. Cameron behind us

The weather (cloud building) was a little intimidating and obviously we didn’t want to be caught out in a storm with a baby, but the weather held off just fine as we made our way to the summit. We sort of got off the trail and climbed the east ridge direct in order to avoid the crowds coming down the main trail consisting of loose scree/boulders. Rainie did wonderful on the off-trail boulder hopping and I believe people were equally impressed with 12-1/2 year old Rainie making her way up another 14er as they were with us having a 9 month old in the backpack.

Almost to the summit

Almost to the summit

We crested the summit maybe an hour and 45 minutes after leaving the trailhead. Not bad at all. The weather was holding and we got a few pics. Sawyer was really a trooper and not very much did I even hear a fuss from her – mainly just her squeals and laughs. She seems the happiest in the outdoors just like the rest of her family.

Sawyer on top of her 1st 14er!

Sawyer on top of her 1st 14er!

Mt. Democrat summit (14,148')...Sawyer did so extremely well.

Mt. Democrat summit (14,148′)…Sawyer did so extremely well.

Me, Rainie, & Sawyer on top of Democrat

Me, Rainie, & Sawyer on top of Democrat

Being on the summit reminded me of the last time I was on Democrat with Rainier and Kristine in the winter of 2004.

A younger Kristine, Rainier, & myself on top of Democrat 11 years ago

A younger Kristine, Rainier, & myself on top of Democrat 11 years ago

We then motored down the summit ridge and back onto the standard east ridge trail and back down to the saddle.

Happy that it all worked out this day

Happy that it all worked out this day

Sawyer again had a snack as I gave the dogs some food once we got well below the saddle and then she really did well in the backpack all the way back down to Kite Lake. She was a happy camper back down in the meadows on the shores of Kite lake while Rainie swam again.

A girl and her dog

A girl and her dog

Happy Sawyer

Happy Sawyer

I think I did something funny here

I think I did something funny here

It was a very memorable day for Kristine and myself and we were/are so proud of Sawyer for being a trooper up a 14er. Not that we’d want to attempt a 14er every weekend with her, but maybe another one is in the cards before the snows come. Not that Sawyer will remember anything about this day, but we are hopeful she’ll look back at these pictures and say “wow, my parents carried me up a 14er when I was 9 months old”.

The three of us with Mt. Democrat behind

The three of us with Mt. Democrat behind

Back on the Maine Coast

We always look forward to our week back in Maine. The Oelberger Residence is located on the St. George River about 20 minutes from the city of Rockland. Its so relaxing and we always enjoy our time with Ken & Dianne in their element on the coast of Maine. They are officially true “Mainers” now. Its always a full travel day (14 hours or so) from our house to the Oelberger’s house, but I feel its always fun taking the hour long flight from Boston to Owl’s Head on the 8-seater Cape Air Cessna.

About to board the Cessna in Boston

About to board the Cessna in Boston

Kristine’s sister, Carrie, was also there with her family (Thomas, Teo, & Kai) visiting  from Minneapolis. It was essentially one big Oelberger reunion. Our good friends Kate & Chris Danforth (with kids Harper & Afton in tow) from Burlington, VT (who vacation on the coast of Maine at Squirrel Island all summer) even came and stayed with us for 24 hours overnight. It was a houseful, but so fun. My sister, Logan, and her husband Ransome came up to visit for a few hours from Booth Bay Harbor as they were in-state for a wedding in Portland. It was a treat to have them visit us at the Oelberger Residence. Lots of activities were abundant each day including getting out on the boat(s), a few good trail runs (one great one with Chris Danforth on the local hiking trails), setting up a rope in a tree in the front yard (to show Thomas how to ascend a rope to trim/take down a large Mulberry Tree in Minneapolis yard), an afternoon of rock climbing for Kristine & myself at Barrett’s Cove Cliff, and numerous other fun events.

Left to Right: Kate, Harper, Kristine, Afton, me, Chris, & Thomas

Left to right: Kate, Harper, Kristine, Afton, me, Chris, & Thomas

Teo & Carrie helping Thomas with the ropework in the Oelberger's front yard

Teo & Carrie helping Thomas with the ropework in the Oelberger’s front yard

My sister, Logan, brother-in-law, Ransome, and us

My sister, Logan, brother-in-law, Ransome, and us

Logan & Sawyer

Logan & Sawyer

Thomas practicing his jumaring

Thomas practicing his jumaring

The view from the Oelberger's front deck of Thomas dangling from the oak tree above the St. George River

The view from the Oelberger’s front deck of Thomas dangling from the oak tree above the St. George River

Who needs baby toys when you have climbing gear?

Who needs baby toys when you have climbing gear?

S

S

Sawyer did not like the life vest

Sawyer did not like the life vest

Down by the water

Down by the water

Chris & Sawyer

Chris & Sawyer

There was a lot of stimulation for Sawyer all week with all of the kiddos

There was a lot of stimulation for Sawyer all week with all of the kiddos

Kristine & I had coordinated borrowing a full rack of climbing gear and rope(s) from the nicest gentleman, Bruce Gerard, who lives in Appleton (40 minutes away from Ken & Dianne) and had done landscape work for the Oelbergers in the past. Bruce had done a lot of climbing around the US and in New England. He is a veteran of the local climbing scene especially around Rockland, Camden, & Rockport and is essentially a “guidebook” himself. He was so generous to lend us his gear and we so enjoyed visiting he and his wife at his home on 20 acres for a good hour or so. I hope we can climb with Bruce on a future visit. All Kristine & I had to bring from Colorado were our harnesses, shoes, a helmet, and a few slings/biners/quickdraws. Bruce indeed saved us a lot of hastle with transporting a lot of gear across the county. So, the Oelbergers with Carrie & Thomas were so nice to watch Sawyer for 5+ hours while Kristine & I went and had some time to ourselves scoping out a new climbing area (to us) at Barrett’s Cove Cliff about 40 minutes away. It was a great afternoon just the two of us. We climbed a 260′ two-pitch route called Charlotte’s Crack (5.7 R), which was apparently one of the classic climbs of the area. It was a lot of fun. I couldn’t have led it without Bruce’s “Camden Rack” – lots of small TCUs, micro-nuts, and “east coast” gear. Very different from our splitter cracks out here where you maybe need 8-10 cams of the same size.

Me leading away on the 1st pitch of Charlotte's Crack

Me leading away on the 1st pitch of Charlotte’s Crack

Fun face climbing with decent protection

Fun face climbing with decent protection

I tagged a 2nd (blue) rope for our rappels

I tagged a 2nd (blue) rope for our rappels

Me on the 2nd portion of the 1st pitch

Me on the 2nd portion of the 1st pitch

140' up you reach  a large ledge called "Broadway" and a 2-bolt anchor

140′ up you reach a large ledge called “Broadway” and a 2-bolt anchor

me on Broadway with Barrett's Cove behind

me on Broadway with Barrett’s Cove behind

At Broadway ledge

At Broadway ledge

We then transitioned to another 2-bolt anchor 15′ to our left on Broadway and I saddled up and began climbing up the enjoyable 2nd pitch of Charlotte’s Crack. The 2nd pitch was 120′ of 5.7 climbing up to two large trees which provided a suitable anchor from which I belayed Kristine up.

Me beginning the lead of the upper pitch of Charlotte's Crack

Me beginning the lead of the upper pitch of Charlotte’s Crack

There was a nice little off-width section, which was fun

There was a nice little off-width section, which was fun

Upper pitch of Charlotte's Crack

Upper pitch of Charlotte’s Crack

Kristine topping out

Kristine topping out

Really pretty views from the top of the cliff

Really pretty views from the top of the cliff

We then moved 15′ back to the left to find the rappel anchors and set up the double rope rap.

Setting up the 1st double rope rappel

Setting up the 1st double rope rappel

Happy to be out just the two of us

Happy to be out just the two of us

Rapping down to Broadway

Rapping down to Broadway

Upon reaching the ground after two double rope raps, we decided to hike around and find this other climbing area called The Verticals where several fun 5.9-5.10 sport routes existed. After scrambling up a gully and a stream bed we found two climbs on our right and just decided to climb these. I have no idea what they are, but the challenging climb was all good fun and gave me a bit of a pump. We felt like we needed to get back to Sawyer and while Kristine packed up the gear and coiled the ropes, I ran up the stream bed and found the top anchors for the climbs on The Verticals. They looked very cool. Next time for sure.

Kristine hiking out. A climber (in a pink shirt) can be seen way up on the 2nd pitch of Charlotte's Crack

Kristine hiking out. A climber (in a pink shirt) can be seen way up on the 2nd pitch of Charlotte’s Crack

Route outline of Charlotte's Crack as seen from Barrett's Cove: red is 1st pitch, blue is Broadway, & green is 2nd pitch

Route outline of Charlotte’s Crack as seen from Barrett’s Cove: red is 1st pitch, blue is Broadway, & green is 2nd pitch

Barrett's Cove Cliff from Barrett's Cove parking area

Barrett’s Cove Cliff from Barrett’s Cove parking area

We met a nice climbing guide and owner of Northern Vertical named Ryan Howes at the base of Charlotte’s Crack with a client and he recommended we check our the Ocean Lookout crag with its variety of crack climbs. Looking forward to that hopefully on our next visit! A few more of our favorite pics throughout the week are as follows:

Me and S down by the water in front of the Oelbergers home

Me and S down by the water in front of the Oelberger’s home

The Chalks

The Chalks

Sawyer, Teo, me, & Carrie

Sawyer, Teo, me, & Carrie

Kristine took these gorgeous sunset pics looking over Ken & Dianne's motorboat and the St. George River

Kristine took these gorgeous sunset pics looking over Ken & Dianne’s motorboat and the St. George River

Very peaceful

Very peaceful

Cousins (Left to right: Teo, Kai, Sawyer)

Cousins (Left to right: Teo, Kai, Sawyer)

Laughing babies

Laughing babies

Sawyer's 4th of July attire

Sawyer’s 4th of July attire

Taking the Oelberger motorboat out for a spin

Taking the Oelberger motorboat out for a spin

Seals sunbathing on the rocks

Seals sunbathing on the rocks

And, Sawyer tried her 1st Maine lobster! The first of many...

And, Sawyer tried her 1st Maine lobster! The first of many…

Until next time, Maine!

2015 Spring Ski Finale & My 1st Father’s Day

There is still a lot of snow up high (above 12,000′), but it is melting extremely fast given these 90 degree days in our mountain towns. It just makes me glad we were able to do what we did as far as spring skis this spring even though it didn’t compare to the frequency and quantity of spring ski descents from previous years. A few days ago, Kristine & I dropped off Sawyer at daycare at 8am (since we are paying for it anyway) and boogied on down to the Mosquito Creek drainage one basin west of the Kite Lake trailhead where J and I skied Mt. Buckskin 6 days prior. I remember seeing these peaks from the summit of Mt. Buckskin and put them to memory in case we could get out again since the driving access gets you high to almost snow line (around 11,500′) thus minimizing the time of hiking with skis and boots on your back. Now, I would never recommend starting a spring ski climb/descent at 9:30am, but we could only do what we could do with regards to dropping Sawyer off. We would just have to see how warm and sloppy the snow would get and plan our ascent and descent routes accordingly. We parked right at about 11,600′ and left the car with skis/boots on our packs walking in our trail runners around 9:30am. We casually hiked up the rough road towards the abandoned London Mine and left the road heading due west over tundra avoiding the snow where we could.

Kristine tundra hiking with the west face of Mt. Buckskin behind

Kristine tundra hiking with the west face of Mt. Buckskin behind

We reached a point where we felt the snow was continuous and donned our ski boots and skis. We contemplated heading up the ridge to Kuss Peak (13,548′) and then over to Mosquito Peak, but there looked to be a skinnable route up the east ridge of Mosquito and fully snow covered. It looked to be a good ski descent as well. So, well on our way to Kuss, we changed directions and headed due north to this east ridge.

Kristine heading to the base of the east ridge of Mosquito Peak

Kristine heading to the base of the east ridge of Mosquito Peak

It was late – maybe 11am – as well as very hot. We were very conscious of snow conditions and any potential wet slab activity. We picked a good line and up and up we went topping out on the 13,781′ summit around 11:45am.

Kristine skinning up the east ridge

Kristine skinning up the east ridge

The steeper portion of the east ridge - maybe 30-35 degrees

The steeper portion of the east ridge – maybe 30-35 degrees

Mellower ground to the summit ridge

Mellower ground to the summit ridge

Summit ridge

Summit ridge

Mosquito Peak summit (13,781')

Mosquito Peak summit (13,781′)

Looking south to Kuss Peak and beyond to the 14er Mt. Sherman

Looking south to Kuss Peak and beyond to the 14er Mt. Sherman

We didn’t stay long on top and after a few pics and packing our skins away we were off down the creamed corn summit ridge to the east ridge. Despite dropping down the line at noon, the snow held up fairly well. Let me tell you I expected worse, that’s for sure. It was special to get a ski descent in with Kristine. I think she had a great time and she looked good carving those turns.

Kristine carving turns on the upper summit ridge

Kristine carving turns on the upper summit ridge

Having fun

Having fun

Kristine on the steeper portion of the east ridge

Kristine on the steeper portion of the east ridge

Decent snow conditions for mid-day skiing

Decent snow conditions for mid-day skiing

Kristine way down on the bench of the east ridge

Kristine way down on the bench of the east ridge

We reached the base of the east ridge and found a little chute down to the lower basin in order to avoid the long way around from which we came.

Kristine skiing the exit chute to the lower basin

Kristine skiing the exit chute to the lower basin

We skied down until we couldn’t ski anymore and hoisted our skis/boots once again on our backs and hiked the rest of the way back down to the truck arriving around 1:15pm or so.

Kristine & Mosquito Peak on the hike out

Kristine & Mosquito Peak on the hike out

Eating our PB&Js on the 6 mile Mosquito Creek dirt road back out to Alma, we made it just in time to go home and get the dogs and go pick up Sawyer at 4pm from daycare. It was a great day to be out just the two of us.

The next day a bunch of my buds (Ben Conners, Brian Miller, Marc Barella, etc) were planning their annual 14er Torreys Peak climb/ski and I was wanting to join them, especially since it was on the way down to Denver for our good buddy Jesse Hill’s 14th annual Summer Solstice extravaganza as well. All of these ski mountaineering rockstars typically climb and ski the northwest face of Torreys, aka the Tuning Fork Couloir, and hearing its a great spring ski on one of the longest snow climbs in Colorado (3,000′ couloir) I wanted to try my best to join these guys. I had climbed Torreys a few times previously via the standard route and Kelso Ridge, but never on the Northwest Face.

The Tuning Fork Couloir on the northwest face of Torreys Peak as viewed from the summit of Mt. Sniktau exactly one year ago when Kristine, the dogs, and I hiked Sniktau en route to Jesse's Summer Solstice party in Denver

The Tuning Fork Couloir on the northwest face of Torreys Peak as viewed from the summit of Mt. Sniktau exactly one year ago when Kristine, the dogs, and I hiked Sniktau en route to Jesse’s Summer Solstice party in Denver. This day we ascended and skied the right branch of the Tuning Fork

Kona and I left the house around 5:15am and met the other 9 fellas at the Bakerville Exit at around 6:45am. We jumped in with Carl leaving my truck right off I-70 at the base of Forest Service Road 189. I usually drive my truck everywhere, especially on dirt 4WD roads, but I figured why not give it a rest for once. We took the right onto the Grizzly Gulch 4WD road a mile and a half up, crossed a few streams, and parked in the meadow before the road really gets bad maybe at about 10,800′. Packing the skis on our packs, we made our way up the 4WD road and then crossed (jumped!) Grizzly Gulch Creek, which made for some entertainment.

Me jumping the creek. Photo by Rick

Me jumping the creek. Photo by Rick

Shortly after the creek, we hit snow line and it was 3,000′ of nature’s stairmaster to the summit ridge. Fortunately, there was already a “booter”, i.e. previous boot steps in the snow, so it was simply one foot after another. The snow was pretty firm and made for good progress. Kona stayed in the booter most of the time because out on the face was fairly slick.  It was a fun climb and despite carrying both my skins and crampons, I used neither.

The boys beginning the booter

The boys beginning the booter

Marc, Rick, & Ben in the Tuning Fork Couloir

Marc, Rick, & Ben in the Tuning Fork Couloir

The booter

The booter

Ben making progress

Ben making progress with Marc & Rick below him

Carl

Carl

A few of us topped out around 10am for about 2 hours and 15 minutes to the summit. We all probably lounged on the summit for 30 to 45 minutes and enjoyed the views. It was a great time to be on a summit again with all these guys. Folks were impressed with Kona’s climbing and I gave her the 1/2 pound of food I had carried up the mountain as she definitely earned her breakfast this morning.

Lounging on the summit of Torreys

Lounging on the summit of Torreys

Looking down Kelso Ridge

Looking down Kelso Ridge, the northeast ridge of Torreys

Kona & myself on top of Torreys Peak (14,267') with Grays Peak behind

Kona & myself on top of Torreys Peak (14,267′) with Grays Peak behind

Another of us

Another of us

The crew on top

The crew on top

We then all clicked into our skis maybe 10′ below the summit and skied down the west ridge to the top of the Tuning Fork. The snow had warmed up nicely by 11am and we skied nice corn all the way down the couloir for 3,000′.

Some of the boys at the entrance to the Tuning Fork

Some of the boys at the entrance to the Tuning Fork

Ben

Ben

Ben slashing the corn

Ben slashing the corn

Carl spraying corn

Carl spraying corn

Carl

Carl

Telemark master Josh

Telemark master Josh

Josh

Josh

Rick

Rick

Rick again

Rick again

Josh & the Tuning Fork

Josh & the Tuning Fork

Kona was having some difficulty with how soft the snow was in the lower half of the couloir, so obviously I stayed with her and we took our time. She did great, though pretty exhausted. She was excited to get back to Grizzly Gulch Creek and get some water and cool off. We jumped our way over the creek once again. Only this time their was a casualty – my ski pole. Fortunately, it wasn’t my much more expensive whippet. I think I was so focused on not falling because of my camera, I completely lost focus on my poles. This is the second time a creek has eaten my ski pole and both creeks had the word “Grizzly” in their name. Maybe I should not try to jump any Grizzly Creeks anymore :)

Brian making the creek jump look easy

Brian making the creek jump look easy

We got back to the trucks at around noon and I realized all the boys were going to cook out and drink some beer in the gorgeous meadow by the trucks. However, Kona and I needed to get back to I-70 and my truck so we could meet up with Kristine, Sawyer, & Rainie in Silverthorne. No matter. We just hiked the 2.5 miles down the 4WD road to my truck. It was fine, as it was mostly downhill, just hot. The few creek crossings felt great on my feet and legs. I should have just driven my truck up to the 4WD parking, but c’est la vie. Kona & I met up with the rest of the Chalk gals, left my truck in Silverthorne, and we all headed to Jesse’s 14th annual Summer Solstice party in Denver arriving around 2:30pm. Jesse outdoes himself every time with this party. Its simply amazing. He is such a good guy to put this on year after year for all of us. He has adapted this party over the years from our single days with no responsibility to all of us now having families an kiddos to the tune of having a large bouncy castle this year. Sawyer loved it and its almost like a mini-reunion for all of us. Rainier stayed near the pig the entire time getting droppings of pork while Kona was passed out on the lawn. We ended up leaving to head back to the mountains around 8:30pm and both dogs and Sawyer were racked out for the entire drive back to Vail.

The next day was my 1st Father’s Day. Now, I know what it felt for my dad for these 37 (almost 38) years. Its’s wonderful. Between a great brunch at the Wolcott yacht Club, a much needed nap, and a little bouldering down at Wolcott, we all had a great and relaxing day. I just love my little Sawyer to the moon and back. She makes me the luckiest father on earth.

Father's Day brunch

Father’s Day brunch

At the Wolcott Boulders

At the Wolcott Boulders

Happy to be together

Happy to be together!

Sawyer Adventures

The past few weekends have afforded Kristine & myself some wonderful adventuring with little Sawyer as well as Rainie and Kona. While we might not be going out on all day outings either climbing or hiking/skiing peaks these days, these are the most valuable times where you really enjoy showing your children the beautiful outdoors and introducing them to your passions. So, from swiss bobbing to Cordillera’s nordic course pulk sledding to Escalante Canyon rock climbing to backpacking up our local Red & White Mountain, Sawyer has done it all these past few weeks and I think, for the most part, enjoyed herself. Obviously, there are the tougher, stressful times during these outings, but we believe it will all make Sawyer a bit stronger in the long run (hopefully). We sure enjoyed being with her.

Sawyer's 1st swiss bob

My 1st swiss bob

Hanging with Rainie

Hanging with my dog, Rainie

Wolcott Upper Tier climbing:

Hanging with Dad

Hanging with Dad

Me finishing the lead of one of our favorites - The Guru Crack (5.9)

Dad finishing the lead of one of our favorites – The Guru Crack (5.9)

Kristine at the crux on The Guru Crack

Mom at the crux on The Guru Crack

Rainie standing guard while Sawyer sleeps at the Upper Tier

Rainie standing guard while I sleep at the Upper Tier

Kristine & Sawyer at the Sunset Wall of the Upper Tier

Mom & Sawyer at the Sunset Wall of the Upper Tier

Red & White Mtn & Cordillera Pulk Sledding:

We hiked up to our favorite car camping spot on Red & White

We hiked up to our favorite car camping spot on Red & White

A beauty day

A beauty day

In the pulk, Julbo glasses on, ready to roll

In the pulk, Julbo glasses on, ready to roll

Dad pulling me around the couple mile course

Dad pulling me around the couple mile course

The downhill was exciting

The downhill was exciting

All the ladies

All the ladies

Escalante Canyon, Colorado:

It was a hot & sunny day in this remote canyon

It was a hot & sunny day in this remote canyon. Too hot for me (Sawyer) to take a nap, which made for a shorter day for all of us. However, we got a few climbs in and look forward to another trip to this area

Jesse working the tough 100' trad climb called Unknown Awkward at the Cabin Wall. While reported 5.9+, the consensus was that the climb was in the 5.11 range. We agree

Jesse working the tough 100′ trad climb called Unknown Awkward at the Cabin Wall. While reported 5.9+, the consensus on Mountain Project was that the climb was in the 5.11 range. We agree :)

Kristine on Unknown Flake (5.9)

Mom on Unknown Flake (5.9)

Kristine higher on Unknown Flake

Mom higher on Unknown Flake

Dad leading up TH Crack (5.8)

Me leading up TH Crack (5.8)

Jesse high on the fun TH CRack

Jesse high on the fun TH Crack

Back at home

Back at home

Able to sit up now

Able to sit up now

I do like to grin and silently laugh :)

I do like to grin and silently laugh :)

1st time in the backpack (6 miles RT and 2,000′ up Red & White Mountain to the base of the bald spot):

Ready to rock with Dad

Ready to rock with Dad

At the T-junction on the Red & White Mtn road (FS 779). This was our turnaround point

At the T-junction on the Red & White Mtn road (FS 779). This was our turnaround point

My CO hat and matching Julbos

My CO hat and matching Julbos

Heading down on yet another beautiful day

Heading down on yet another beautiful day

The backpack was a success!

The backpack was a success!

Easter 2015:

We went over to a friend's home for brunch

We went over to a friend’s home for brunch

Sitting up and playing in my Easter attire

Sitting up and playing in my Easter attire

The fam

The fam

With Dad

With Dad

Happy

Happy