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Up and Down Quandary Peak

Last week when I was in Colorado with Roger, Jane, Ian and Lori, I thought I'd try to show everyone back at home what climbing a mountain is like. And relatively speaking, Quandary Peak in September is pretty simple, requiring nothing technical. It's only a 3.75 mile, 3300 foot climb to the summit. And then you go back down the same way.

So here's a video!

Download this video (72.3 MB)

Click on the still frame to play.

I took this with my Canon camcorder, but I'm going to look into some other, more robust options for outdoor activity, maybe some combination of GoPro for ruggedness and mounting, and Flip for resolution?



A Vacation Preview

It's official - plane ticket is purchased! Annie sent me some photos today from Tantalus Drive in the hills above Honolulu.

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Day Two - A Lie, A Bridge, A Mountain

The next morning, I got a 7 AM start and headed west out of the Black Hills and across the open expanses of eastern Wyoming. At Lance Creek, I headed off into a maze of gravel roads going west to hit the freeway at Douglas. All the land was still open range, with frequent cattle guards, but the view was open and much less unnerving than the confines of the Black Hills. The roads were even in pretty good shape, and I made good time to reach the freeway near Douglas. I wanted to visit an interesting spot mentioned in the gazetteer - Ayres Natural Bridge.

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Day One - Harney Peak and Howls

From Hermosa on the east edge of the Black Hills, it's an easy drive west up to Sylvan Lake. It was about 2 PM, and I was planning to do my usual Harney Peak trail hike/run to start getting acclimated to exertion at elevation - which I will have plenty of over the next two weeks. Immediately after entering Custer State Park, we all had to stop for about a dozen pronghorn that wanted to cross the road. I stopped in at the Needles area and climbed around with my camera a bit. There were three climbers atop the spire just on the west side of the tunnel. I was too late to see them climb, but found a good vantage point to watch them rappel down the back side. (I actually went over the tunnel and bouldered up to the narrow top of a rock to get this photo.)


Climber rappelling at the Needles Area in the Black Hills

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Day One - Scuffs

A few quickies from the first day of the Wyoming/Colorado trip.


In the Badlands

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A Visit to the Wounded Knee Memorial

On my way out to Wyoming and Colorado in 2007, I drove through South Dakota's badlands and Black Hills. I had decided to forego all the ugliness surrounding the freeway and Rapid City on this trip, and head south into the big prairie - the Pine Ridge reservation - intending to work my way over to the Black Hills from the south, thus avoiding the traffic, the billboards and the tourist traps. After a few hours of sleep in a rest stop, I went south from Kadoka on SD 73 in the predawn hours.

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Wallace Falls

After a couple of days just hanging around town, Annie and I got up early today and drove out to Wallace Falls State Park, near Gold Bar in the North Cascades. This is a centerpiece of the park; Middle Wallace Falls. Notice the dusting of snow on the trees at the top of the picture.


Middle Wallace Falls.

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Pete Meets Moose


Alces alces

Well, that's an ambiguous title - actually it was two moose; a cow and calf, in late spring. It could have been a lot more dangerous than it actually turned out. I think I ended up doing the right thing.

This happened several years ago, one afternoon in May, I think, when I was up on the North Shore. I drove up the Gunflint Trail, stopped various places along the way, and was at the Magnetic Rock Trail in mid-afternoon.

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Sacagawea Summit and the Bridger Range

Primal Quest '08

Yours truly on a most awesome ridgeline - just south of Sacagawea Summit in the Bridger Range northeast of Bozeman, Montana.

It easy to see in the photos the unique nature of the central Montana mountains. Each range is fairly isolated and distinctively sticks up out of the lower valleys, so, from the top of any one range you can look out and see the others appearing as islands in an ocean of blue-green. From atop the Bridger Range we could look out to the east and see the Crazy Mountains; to the southeast, the Absaroka Range; to the south; the Gallatin and Madison ranges; and to the west, the Tobacco Root mountains.


More photos below the fold.

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You Don't Know the Sun!


Delicate Arch, near Moab, UT

Reflections on Primal Quest '06

It's hard to convey how ridiculously unforgiving summer in the deserts of Utah can be. The skies are crystal clear for days on end, with no relief from clouds. Humidity drops down below 10% and temperatures soar above 100 degrees. The instant the sun peeks up above the horizon, it starts to heat the sand and the slickrock, both good absorbers. It's as if a switch is suddenly turned on, and as the sun rises higher the heat only gets more intense.

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