Tuesday, March 30, 2010

East Side

Saturday, Justin, Ben, and I headed for the East side of Glacier park in search of some adventure. Ben had never been to the park in winter and I had never been to the east side in winter so we were both very excited. As expected the park never disappoints.

The scenery was stunning and we couldn't wait to be surrounded by it. Winds were howling so we camped at the gate eliminating the need to take so much gear into the park.

Looking in from the dam

The windy conditions made our camping situation less than ideal, but we made the most of it. A dam provided a nice wind break so we could at least enjoy a fire and not be forced into the truck too early.

By the morning we found ourselves very comfortable and too lazy to get up when the alarm went off. Two hours later we started stirring. Plans for the day were made, gear was sorted, and we began our adventure.

We were camping six miles from the Many Glacier hotel due to a gated road (thanks NPS). Since the road was completely void of snow, we brought bikes to quicken the approach. Other than the brutal head wind, the ride was nice. After about an hour we were ditching the bikes for skies.

Starting the trail to Iceberg Lake

Luckily there was enough snow to ski from this point. We decided to check out Iceberg Lake and ski the notch if possible. The trail to iceberg must be one of the best in the park. A very gradual ascent over five miles with continuous views.

Grinell Peak

High winds kept us from climbing any peaks, but we were still having fun and liking the light packs. As we got near the lake we could see the notch couloir and some ice climbs we didn't know existed. We were there to ski, but being climbers, we couldn't resist the ice.

We chose the largest, bluest ice and climbed it. Nice 350 feet of WI3+/4- with a walk off/down climb. As we were climbing, the weather changed. By the time we were back to our skies, we were in near whiteout conditions. This was the Glacier Park Justin and I have come to know so well.

Iceberg Lake Cirque

Unfortunately this shut down our plans to ski the notch also, but we were still happy to get the climb in. The rest of the day was spent skiing and biking out.

The climb (far left), the descent (far right)

As always our light and fast style allowed us to pack in 22 miles, an ice climb, and still make it back to Whitefish for drinks and greasy food.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Grand Canyon

Last week, Sage and I left for Arizona. Neither of us had seen the Grand Canyon, so we thought this would be a fun trip. We flew in Friday and spent Sat. with my grandparents and cousins. I see my grandparents every year, but haven't seen my cousins since I was about 10 years old. It was great to see everyone, but too bad my brother wasn't there. We almost had all the grandchildren together with our grandparents.



After the nice visit, Sage and I headed North for Sedona. The town was beautiful, but the weather wasn't. Despite the rain, we still went for a walk and enjoyed the town.

Hiking in the rain

From Sedona, we headed to Flagstaff and found snow, and lots of it. Shut down by weather, we checked out the town and spent the night. Weather was looking poor for the Grand Canyon, but we figured we would head up there anyways in the morning.

Grand Canyon

We woke to partly cloudy skies and went North. By the time we got to the Canyon, the clouds were high and visibility was good. We enjoyed an afternoon of sightseeing with the occasional snow shower. There were a few places left to stay and we found a nice cabin to stay in.

The next morning we woke to white out conditions and figured it was time to leave. This part sucked! Four hours of driving in a white out at thirty miles an hour in a compact car that in no way was set up for snowy roads. Not to mention that no one in Arizona know how to drive in those conditions regardless of how beefy their trucks are. What a nightmare!

We survive and eventually found ourselves back in Sedona. This time it was hailing, so we enjoyed the views from the car. The next day was spent working our way back to Phoenix and back to the sunshine. On the way we stopped at Montezuma's castle and checked out the cave dwellings.

Outside Sedona

Outside Sedona

Montezuma's Castle

Despite the poor weather, we had a great time.

Big Sky Country

About a week ago I went to Bozeman for a little climbing and skiing get-away. I planned on hanging with Ben, but when I got there, I found out Patrick was in town for an avalanche course.

Ready to drop in

Patrick had a friend working at Moonlight Basin and she graciously hooked us up with tickets. The skiing was great and the area was nearly void of people. We enjoyed the skiing and ended the day at the bar to some food and live music.


The next two days Ben and I went climbing. Temps were warm, but the ice was good. A lot of people were out so once again we found ourselves in the Bingo Cave. This time we were on a new route, but it worked me as well. After the cave session, I was on my way back to Missoula.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Valentine's Day

Sage and I went to the Boulder Point fire lookout where I thought we could avoid people and have a quiet evening together. The hike up was farther and a little more difficult than I remember, but when we got there, it was time to relax.
Boulder Point lookout

We had the place to ourselves and quickly got a fire going. The cabin heated up nicely and the stove worked great to cook on. We enjoyed a nice dinner with wine and spent the evening relaxing to the glow of candle light.

Sage staying warm