Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I just wanted to post a quick note about some blogs out there that have recently shown some of my work.

First, - the online blog home of Climbing Magazine.  This post was written by Sara Lingafelter.  We met down at the Red Rock Rendezvous this spring in Nevada.  After setting up our booth, we took advantage of some free time to do a little bouldering.  I brought my camera along and this is what came of it.

Two weekends ago I was asked to go up to the Wasatch Back Relay to shoot some photos for a Petzl blog post.  We were the headlamp sponsor for the race.  Stacy and I went up in the early evening and stayed a lot later than we had planned.  We were enjoying ourselves and I think the photos turned out pretty cool.

A friend of mine over at Deuter Packs asked me a while ago if I would be interested in writing a blog post for their blog.  I agreed to it and said I would put something together.  I showed him my series on ski mountaineering in the Wasatch and he decided to just cross-post one of my entries from this blog with a little intro about me.  I think the presentation looks a little better on my blog than theirs, but it is still cool.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Heart of Darkness

Late season can be a great time to get in some chutes that you didn't have the chance to ski when the snow was flying.  This is what I was thinking when I decided to ski the Heart of Darkness.  I was wrong.  Sort of.

It was late April and I wanted to get in another chute before I started to focus on training for the Ironman.  I called up a couple friends and we decided on the Heart of Darkness.  It looked super cool and none of us had skied it before.

Bootpacking can be fun.  Cardiac Ridge in the background.  Skier: Molly Barker

The walk in Spring is a little different than the walk would be in Winter.  You have to boot a lot more.

We were pretty sure we were in the right place.  Skiers: Molly Barker and Mark Hammond

From the summit of Mt. Superior you can clearly see the top of the couloir.  Once you drop into Mill B South it is not as easy to see where you are going.  So we just hiked up assuming we would find it.  We did.

Yep.  Those are the walls of the chute behind her, and that is why she looks so psyched.  Skier: Molly Barker - shot on the Holga

The Heart of Darkness is a bit different than the other S5's I did this winter as the rappel is at the top.  This means there are no real "no fall zones."  Just do the rap then figure out how to put your skis on in such a tight and steep area.

The line you can see in the background is called the Skyramp.  Mark wanted to do this on the same day, but changed his mind when we felt some movement on the approach.  Skier: Molly Barker

The rap is fairly short and just a matter of getting past the unskiable stuff at the top.  Then we were hoping for something worth skiing inside the chute.  This wasn't really the case.

This chute is so aesthetic.  Who would not want to ski this?  Skier: Molly Barker

It was pretty much just ice down the chute.  In ideal conditions I could see how this would be super fun to ski, but in the conditions we were in it was difficult to even try to make turns.  But hey, we got up there, learned some things and got down a classic line.

The Heart of Darkness from the bottom looking up.

Now that the objective was accomplished it was just a matter of skiing down Mill B South to our stashed car in Big Cottonwood.  This proved to be more adventurous than we had planned.

At the end of the skiable patches of snow.  Skier: Molly Barker

We skied what we could ski, but ended up hiking out the last of it.  It was a fun day, but I definitely need to come back when the skiing is a bit more favorable.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Venture Outdoors Festival

Just to let you know, I will be showing some photos at a booth at the Venture Outdoors Festival tomorrow - Saturday, June 19, 2010.  There will be activities all day, but the booth part of the festival goes from 3-10pm at Canyon Rim Park at 3100 S 2900 E.

I am sharing the booth space with a friend of mine, Garrett Smith, of Hammers Inc. Photography.  He was kind enough to offer the space and I thought it would be a great venue to show some photos.  His photos will be reason enough to come by.

If you feel so inclined, stop on by and check things out.  I will be selling and showing prints.  If you can't make it but are interested in buying some prints, send me a note and I will put something together just for you.

The Great Salt Lake.  Prints available at the festival.

You can find more information about the festival here:

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pfeifferhorn - NW Couloir

My birthday is March 29th.  This was always nice growing up as I would usually ask for ski stuff for Christmas and baseball stuff for my birthday.  Things are a little different now.  I no longer play baseball and it turns out that chute skiing in the Wasatch is prime in late March.  Huh.  Who would have thought?

Can anyone think of a better way to celebrate one's birthday than to ski something any sane person would never consider?  Me neither.  I called Mark Hammond about skiing this line and he was a bit hesitant.  He had done it before and knew better.  But he eventually agreed to it (I am sure, as a personal favor to me).

The peak.  Skiers: James Good and Brook Golling

The approach to the Pfeifferhorn is a bit longer than the typical Wasatch walk, but once you get in view it begins to pay off.

A dude was headed up there while we were yet approaching.  He helps give a little bit of scale to this peak (that is him as he approaches in the lower left of the frame).

The bootpack up the actual peak isn't too bad it is the walk across the ridge getting to it that was scary.  It is pretty exposed in spots and I have never been great with that.  I don't know what it is, but I am much more comfortable on steep stuff when I have my skis on.
Our objective for the day was to ski the Northwest couloir (the Northeast face is what you see in the above photo).

And this is just the beginning.  Skier: Brook Golling

Here it is.  A 50 degree couloir that just seems to get steeper as it approaches the rappel.  The conditions weren't exactly ideal for skiing this type of terrain.

The business end of the chute.  Skier: Brook Golling

It just gets steeper and icier.  The final 10 feet approaching this anchor got my heart beating a bit faster than usual.

Everything changes once you are on rope.  Skier: Brook Golling

I was psyched to finally ski this chute.  The skiing was marginal all the way out, but a lot of the time with this stuff you don't do it for the skiing.  You do it for the overall adventure.  And it was a good one.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Memorial Couloir #3 - Mount Olympus

During the winter I somehow found myself with a few extra days of time-off from work.  Whatever shall I do with this time?  I called Mark Hammond and asked if he wanted to join me for some skiing.  He said he had his eye on the Memorial Couloirs off Mount Olympus, and it sounded good to me.

We approached from Neff's Canyon and up the backside of Mt. Olympus.  You know the main chute that faces the city between the North and South summits?  We walked right up the other side of that.

Contemplating which line to ski.  Skier: Mark Hammond

We went back and forth a bit about which chute we wanted to ski (and which chute was which according to the guidebook).  We decided to go from the North summit into what we thought (I am still not sure) was Memorial Couloir #3.

I knew I learned to climb for a reason.  Skier/Climber: Mark Hammond

After a bit of an interesting final approach, the view from the summit was pretty cool.

Remember when Zeus cried, "Release the Kraken!"? I imagine he was somewhere near here.  Skier: Mark Hammond

We then had to drop in just about ten feet or so to get to the top of the chute we had decided on.  Just so we didn't lose any of our gear, we slung a rope around a rock and lowered ourselves into it.

The West-facing chute was too cool-looking to not make a quick turn or two for a quick photo op.  Boarder: Zach Clanton

The chute we actually skied was the east-facing one opposite the above photo.  It was super tight and super cool.  Zach went ahead to make sure it didn't cliff out halfway down.  It didn't… much.

Nice.  Boarder: Zach Clanton

There was, instead of a big cliff, just a short section where you had to point it and hop over a few rocks.  I got going a little too fast and had to bail into the snow.  The only problem was that just under the snow was a rock that was just itching to make acquaintance with my face.

I think I am pointing at the rock that got the best of me.  Ph: Zach Clanton

If anyone knows if this is actually Memorial Couloir #3 or not please leave a comment below.  I question it because the guidebook is a bit unclear on this and it seemed more technical than S4-, but maybe that is just the blood talking.

For more photos be sure to check out:

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

The Y-Not Couloir

I feel like Andrew does a great job describing this one in his guidebook, The Chuting Gallery:

Y Not? A 40' cliff in the middle of a 45ยบ slope is one good reason!  This is the Y Couloir on steroids.  Shorter, steeper, narrower and scarier by far.  An out-of-control fall in the Y-Not would lead to a graphic death as the victim pinballed down the chute, over the cliff and was torn to bits in the rocks below.  Falling is forbidden.  Timing is critical.

This is the type of ski line description that you don't show your mother (sorry if you are reading this now, mom).

As soon as the snow conditions began to settle this season, the Y-Not was first on my list to hit.  My beard was right on the edge of full and big.  It did not necessarily play a huge role in the actual skiing of this line, but the correlation of both the skiing and the beard was easy to see - they were both awesome.  I got two friends together and we headed up one morning in early March.

The approach is simply 3,000 feet of bootpacking straight up the Y.  We happened to be doing it on a day with a lot of snow and no existing bootpack, so the walk took a bit longer than it has in the past.

James Good and Mark Greenwood lead the way up the Y Couloir.

The top section of the Y-Not is super tame.  Just wide open skiing with a lot of snow.  Then it begins to steepen up.

I have other shots of skiing the upper section, but I just kept going back to this one as my favorite.  I think I just like its generous emptiness.  Skier: Mark Greenwood

The approach to the rappel anchors is where the descent becomes steep and serious.  A fall over this cliff/cave would not end well for anyone.

James Good makes his way to the rap.

The rap anchors where completely mangled due to rock fall (or something) so we had to improvise.

Sometimes rappelling requires a tree and a little more rope than you were planning.  Skier: James Good

Once you get on rope you can begin to relax, smile, and get psyched for what is below.

A freehanging rappel midway down a nearly 3,000' ski descent.  This is cool.  Skier: Mark Greenwood

The bottom section of the chute is tight, steep, and super fun.

The Y-Not is a Wasatch classic for a reason.  Just show the line the respect it demands and you will be glad you did it.

For more photos be sure to check out: