Granite Peak Southwest Ridge - 3rd Time's the Charm!

 Granite Peak Southwest Ridge - 3rd Time's the Charm!   5.8 miles/2.7k gain to base of peak 2.2 miles/3.4k gain on the actual peak    To put it mildly, this mountain has been elusive.  My first attempt saw me high on the peak, reaching the top of a gendarme, only to see a thunderstorm quickly bearing down.  Knowing how much fun mountain thunderstorms are (not), I turned back without hesitation.  The second try was more of a long shot - the weather was wet and socked in, and the mountain had some early snow.  No thanks.    I'd often wondered if I wanted to bother with a third try on Granite, but the promise of a long bike downhill sealed the deal (you can hike too, but it's less fun...)  By 7 am on July 4th, I was driving toward Eska Falls.      Depending on what sort of vehicle you have, you may find yourself parking well before the real Eska trail begins.  My Corolla isn't much of an offroader, so I always park in a small gravel lot before the pavement ends.  The unpa

On breaking your neck...

   It's been nine weeks.  Nine weeks since I lay staring at the ground, struggling for breath, hearing my own strangled sounds of pain.  I knew I would be OK.  I just needed to breath, and everything would be OK.  I didn't realize that my past and future had just been in a violent physical collision.    I breathed.  I managed to sit up.  The world got brighter.      I lay daydreaming in the hospital.  My narcotic haze was pierced by words I heard in the hallway.    "Fractured."    "Pneumo."    The doctor stepped in.  He looked right at me.      "You have two fractures in your neck.  You have a fracture in your back.  You have multiple rib fractures and a pneumothorax in your right lung.  You must be a very tough guy."    I didn't feel tough.  Fear welled up in a way I'd never felt before.  Breaking your neck isn't something that happens to me - that's for other people.  People who know how to live in wheelchairs, people who know how

Ice Cream Cone/Skybuster Mountain 8/22/20

Skybuster/Ice Cream Cone seen from Mt. Significant, January 2019.  LONG lens!    I remember the first time I saw it. Eastbound on the Glenn, just before passing Kings Mountain and Chickaloon, on a clear, flat section of road, I happened to glance south, and there it was, standing tall in the distance. I couldn't take my eyes off, and couldn't help but wonder: did that insane tower of rock have a name, and what would it be like to stand on its incredible, precipitous summit? Since I wasn't driving, I easily answered the first question with Google.    That inspirational behemoth was named Skybuster.    Answering the second question, however, would have to wait.    Several years and lots of beta gathering later, it was time to try. Since the peak is so remote, it seemed a good idea to make this our first fly in approach. With excitement and some apprehension, we loaded up at Merrill field and flew (choppered!) out. WOCKA WOCKA WOCKA Sitting in the chopper at Merrill field. Fue

Best Photos of 2019

January Cumulus Mtn (left), with Korohusk peak in the center.  Extremely low snow for a January day! Josh Chelf was all smiles while crushing the bike leg of the TriFlake winter triathlon. Jacob Kirk spent the whole race in plaid - and went on to place third in the individual division! Local running legend Matias Saari - on skis?!   February Tyson Flaharty of Goldstream Sports fresh off his ITI 350 win with a bike still fully loaded with gear.  Interview on my Youtube channel! Beautiful blue ice behind Ptarmigan Peak. James Stull riding in Phoenix, AZ.  We brought Alaska with us - the coldest temps in 125 years! OMG WHAT IS WRONG WITH ZAC'S FACE?!?!  We were driving back from a trailhead in AZ when we first saw this - and nearly crashed the car from laughing so hard.   March March means the return of the sun, and the death of eastward facing ice climbs.  That same beautiful blue ice from February is being sun rotted, but that's OK because