Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sunday Powder Ski

Elliot, Gunnar and I went for a little backcountry ski on Sunday 12/16.  We ascended Mushroom Ridge then skied down into Westernhome Gulch.  The skiing was blower.  After that we ascended the west ridge or Gladiator Peak intending to ski a SE ridge down toward Galena Lodge.  At the top of the ridge  approx 9200 feet Elliot remotely triggered a slide.  He was skiing the ridge at 27deg but triggered a slide in the adjacent bowl with a starting angle of 32deg.

Our stability tests that day yielded easy shears on the new snow old snow interphase.  The slabs however were so soft that they often broke up when doing a hand shear rather than pulled out whole.  The weak layer was about 12 inches down.  The significant thing stability wise was the ease of the remote trigger and the propagation 100 meters across the whole bowl.  This layer will be real trouble with any additional load.  Any new snow will wake the snowpack up and make it really scary.  

Buried surface hoar crystals on the sliding surface.
So our big take away today was the value of good habits.  We were aware of the instability but our stability tests made us feel it really was not much of a hazard.  We had observe no other obvious signs of instability.  Stomping on ridge top wind loads had produced no slides.  We discussed what to ski and decided to ski the ridge instead of blasting straight down the bowl.  Even if we had decided to ski the bowl a ski cut at the roll over would most likely have triggered the slide and kept us safe.  So skiing one at a time and a conservative line AS A HABIT really payed off today.

By the way the skiing was awesome and we had a really sweet day.  Stay safe

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Orienteering Event

Last Sunday the Community School Wilderness Navigation Class hosted a community orienteering event at the Fox Creek trail head.  27 contestants braved the cold to run around in the woods looking for orange and white orienteering tents.
Trying to stay warm--temps at 9am were about 15 deg F

G-Nar giving out instructions for the event

Race crew checking out the course--all is well

The boys:  Jay, Kristian and Lukas on their way to a strong second place finish.  Big BA points for fording the Wood River to save a few seconds.

G-Nar's Mom ripping it up

The Motor Girls on the last flag--and on the way to a dominating victory!! ( Nordic Skiers Rule!!)

Our fearless race director.  It should also be noted that the beginner course was won by the amazing OLA advisor team of Nancy and Erika.  Way to go but next get to play with the big dogs.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Project 8000 - Mt Ranier, Washington

Not enough time right now to compose a trip summary here folks but below you'll find a slideshow of the climb we were fortunate enough to complete during the first week of August. Looking forward to a great year!

Project 8000 Participants: Max Tanous (Grade 9), Garrett Rawlings (Grade 9), Annika Landis (Grade 9), Rob Landis, Tom Boley, Travis Vandenburgh

View the Project 8000 slideshow here. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Are you ready?

Setting safety on the California Salmon. 
One of the things that all of us love about the river is that it's constantly changing.  Thousands of years ago, the philosopher Heraclitis observed that, "You can never step in the same river twice."  This dynamism makes paddling on the river--whether in a kayak, canoe, raft, or stand-up paddleboard--so joyful and interesting.  Of course, this constantly changing, dynamic environment also has dangers.  How many times have you come around the corner in your "local rapid" to find a new piece of wood, a downed tree, or, even worse:

To that end, on July 7th and 8th, the Community School will be offering an Advanced Swiftwater Rescue Course, to help prepare private boaters, guides and trip leaders for just these sorts of situations.  With a mix of classroom instruction, hands-on practice, and exciting rescue scenarios, this class will aim to leave all the participants prepared for whatever difficulties they may face on the river.  Even if you're an ultra-conservative and responsible boater (like we all strive to be), if you spend enough time floating Idaho's beautiful rivers, you will need these skills--whether for yourself or, more likely, for another party of river users.

Participants who attend the class will receive American Canoe Association Swiftwater Rescue Level 4 Certification.  Here are the details:

Dates: July 7 and 8
Time: 8 AM - 5 PM
Location: Community School, Big Wood River, Salmon River Day Stretch
Cost: $150 per participant
Prerequisites: Must be 16 years old, in good health and overall fitness, possess solid swimming ability, and be comfortable swimming in moving current during river drills.
Course Capacity: 15 participants
Instructor: Dane Stevens, SWR Instructor, SWR Level V, ACA Whitewater Instructor
Co-Instructor: Elliot Jacobs, SWR Level IV, ACA Whitewater Instructor
Contact:  Elliot Jacobs,
Minimum Gear Requirements (email Elliot if any of this is a problem; we have some gear that we can loan out):
  • Clothing suitable for extended swimming in cold water (wetsuit or drysuit)
  • Helmet 
  • Suitable River Footwear
  • PFD (type III or V)
  • Throw bag, 15+ft of 1 inch tubular webbing, 2 prusick loops (P-cord with diameter smaller than throw bag rope diameter) and 2 locking carabiners
  • Whistle
  • Boat and Paddle
  • Lunch for both days
To Register: You can find a registration form at the Community School Summer School!

See you on the river!

Tuning it up for Spring!

Well...that pretty much says it all.  If the Middle Fork of the Salmon River is any indication, boating season is well underway!  Idaho classics like the Lochsa, Middle Fork, Main Salmon and Payette are all at prime levels.  The trouble with spring kayaking, however, is always the transition.  With ski season, there's a good chance that you get a few days on your skis before you head out into the steeps.

With kayaking, however, we typically get in our boats for the first time each year to something like this:

Running "Pair-A-Dice" on the Murtaugh Section of the Snake River.
Fortunately, pool sessions at the YMCA pool give us the opportunity to get a few rolls in before we jump out on the river.  Community School Outdoor Leadership Academy students have been really taking advantage of these roll sessions, along with many members of the rising 9th-grade, who are all super fired up about kayaking the Main Salmon River next year.

Here, Outdoor Leadership Academy student George shows perfect form on the sweep roll.

In addition, these pool sessions provide a great way to introduce new paddlers to the sport, and to pair them with locals who want to teach.

Good coaching equals good rolling!  Schley and Moffat teach rolling.

One of Pierson's first tries.  He's rolling now!

Adam Majors has been running these roll sessions, and plans to continue them throughout the summer.  The cost is $8 for YMCA members, and $15 for non-members.  Check it out: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6:30-8:00 PM.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Corn

Hannes, Elliot, Pete and I heard there might be some Easter eggs to find on the top of Galena Peak so we went on the hunt--but all we found was some really good corn skiing. 
Pete heading up the final climb

Near the top:  Castle Peak in the background. Temps were 19 deg when we started around 7:45.  Slight overcast and moderate winds at the summit.  We were wondering if the corn would come off. 
Summit:  11,002, Then the ski down.  Not exactly corn was the saying of the day for the top 1000 feet of vertical. 

But then it got really good and stayed that way for the rest of the descent.  Over 4000 feet of skiing back to the car. 

The middle rock band--Kind of steep here

Wolverine Track in Cherry Creek on the way out.  All in all a really fun adventure. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Dark Canyon Trip

 Water and Rock!!

I went to this extraordinary place called Dark Canyon with the family over break.  Dark Canyon, a tributary of the Colorado, sits in this really remote corner of Southern Utah.  It is South of Canyonlands, East of the Colorado and North of the highway between Blanding and Hanksville.  Not much out there but canyons.   We went there last year too and did a really difficulty route.  This year we decided to do a route that was a little easier but still mostly off trail and remote.  We is me, my wife Amy and my two girls Kaitlyn (17) and Annika (14).  Make no mistake this is a dialed desert crew comfortable in rugged 3rd and 4th class terrain.  So three themes emerged:  Great weather, amazing slickrock camps and beautiful water and rock. 
Some amazing slickrock camps

Our route took us down the Sundance Trail into Dark Canyon, up Lean To Canyon, Down Young's Canyon then down Dark Canyon back to the Sundance Trail.  We saw a few folks in Dark Canyon near the Sundance trail but no where else. The route involved mostly off trail, some 3rd and short 4th class sections and demanded good route finding and navigation. 
Some of the 4th class sections

3rd and 4th class terrain is a little more challenging with 40 lbs on your back

There was amazing pottery and lithic scatters on the mesa tops

Another type of native
Some more water and rock