Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Had another awesome day up on Hood today! A couple friends and I skinned from Timberline up to the top of the Palmer then skied down to Government Camp. From the parking lot to Silcox was perfect - fresh powder with a single track up the hill. From Silcox to the top of the Palmer the snow was still good but the wind picked up and the clouds lowered to create whiteout conditions. Skiing down was a little difficult until I got use to the 46 pound pack I had on. From Timberline down to Government Camp was perfect foot deep powder that we just floated through. Amazing!

No photos to share. I took a bunch but evidently my camera froze as everything came out all black. I really need to get a reliable camera before Denali. I'm beginning to think digital is NOT the way to go - too many problems. Anyway, I'm off to a Denali planning meeting now...

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I had an AWESOME start to my ski season last night. A couple friends and I made fresh tracks in knee deep, dry powder at Mount Hood Skibowl. We were on the 5th or 6th chair to reach the top of the upper bowl when the lifts opened at 3pm and we skied almost non-stop until 8:30pm. The conditions are AMAZING! Some of the best snow I've ever seen on Hood. This could easily be February skiing and it's only November.

We are having some unusually cold weather in the Portland area which has resulted in dry snow up on Hood and the resorts are getting dumped on. It even snowed in Portland this morning. Again it's only November. I was really beginning to worry about the ski season since this is suppose to be another warm, wet El NiƱo year. Hopefully this snow will stick around and we'll have a great snow year. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Right now I can't wait for the road to Mount Hood Meadows to open. The latest word is ODOT will have it repaired by December 15th.

Tomorrow we're thinking about skinning up the south side of Hood if the conditions are stable enough. Maybe even tag the summit if we can...

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

This afternoon I went climbing with a couple of friends at PRG. I started off by leading a 5.8 route with no warm ups. It was a very easy 5.8 but my first real lead in about 10 months. I was definitely nervous but it felt great to get past the psychological barrier I had developed about lead climbing. After the single lead I went on to top rope a 5.9, a 5.10-, and tried a 5.11-. I didn't complete the 5.11- but spent enough time at the crux that I'm pretty sure I can get past it the next time. This is very exciting since it was about 14 months ago that my climbing peaked when I tried (unsuccessfully) another 5.11- route and then started having finger problems. My finger problems still persist but the fact that I can almost climb what I did before means I'm adapting to the whole situation.

Anyway, I'm definitely looking forward to going back to PRG after the holiday weekend to lead some 5.9's and try to complete my first 5.11- route. I hope everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

It's been a week since my last post. Not much going on adventure wise but I've been keeping myself busy going to the rock gym and trial running. Last Friday Kerry and I went to the 113th Annual Mazama Banquet. The new "cocktail hour" format was good, the guest speaker very interesting and I really enjoyed catching up with friends I hadn't seen in a while. Over the weekend we ran the Maple-Wildwood loop in Forest Park again. We've averaged 1 hour 17 minutes the four times we have run it so far. It's a tough run and going to the New Old Lompoc afterwards pretty much finishes the day off.

The other thing I've been doing is working with the Mazamas to determine their IT needs in their new building. I've spent a couple of afternoons in the office inventorying the existing equipment and coming up with an upgrade plan. So far it is an interesting project and gives me some ideas for a future business.

That's about it. We're still in between summer and winter seasons and I'm eagerly waiting for the snow. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the road to Mount Hood Meadows opens up soon. It was completely washed out by floods earlier this month and I have a season pass to ski there.

Oh yeah, I finally uploaded the photos from my stroll across the Golden Gate a few weeks ago in San Francisco.

Monday, November 13, 2006

I spent the afternoon at PRG with Leisure Life Larry today. Even though I haven't climbed in about 3 weeks I was able to get right back on the wall and crank out 8 routes including a couple of 5.9's and a 5.10-. The new ratings at PRG are definitely stiffer than they were last year. That is good because now they seem to be more in line with what Smith ratings are. I've decided it's time to invest in a new pair of climbing shoes. I'm sure that will please those of you I've been climbing with after listening to me whine all summer about my toes sticking out of the end of my shoe.

This past weekend Kerry and I did a couple of long trail runs in the rain. On Saturday we ran my new favorite loop in Forest Park - the 7.7 mile Maple-Wildwood loop. On Sunday we did the shorter 3 mile "hill fest" loop in Hoyt Arboretum. Even though it's only 3 miles and takes about 30 minutes, you end up working for every inch of it.

This week I'm continuing on the consolidation plan of moving everything from the Train Station to the Shack and getting rid of a bunch of duplicate stuff. This weekend is the annual Mazama banquet at the Oregon Zoo. I'm keeping my fingers crossed it's not a snooze fest like last year. They changed the format so it should be more interesting.

That's all for now. Not much exciting going on with LLC until ski season starts...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

I've been in San Francisco with Kerry this week and heading home later this afternoon. While Kerry has been at her conference I've been wandering around my old stomping grounds. On Tuesday I rode CalTrain down to Palo Alto to meet with my old group at EMC for lunch at the Peking Duck. It was the usual 2.5 hour team lunch I had when I traveled here for work. It was good to see everyone again and catch up on all the EMC gossip. They were a great group of people to work with and made corporate life at EMC tolerable. I miss them but know we'll all stay in contact.

Wednesday I decided I'd take a walk across the Golden Gate Bridge since it was something I never did while I lived here. I added my own twist by starting from our hotel on 5th and Market near Union Square. The weather forecast was for sunny skies so at 9:30am I headed down Market Street to the Embarcadero going by Noah's Bagel to grab a bagel and coffee. I walked along the Embarcadero stopping to eat my bagel and drink my coffee on one of the piers open to the public. I passed the uber touristy Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf area and continued on to the Maritime Museum and Fort Mason which I didn't even know existed. It sits bluff overlooking the bay between the Fisherman's Wharf and the Marina. It looks like it would be an interesting place to explore further.

After Fort Mason I continued along the waterfront through the Marina District and to the Presidio. The Presidio is a huge place and was always one of my favorite destinations in San Francisco. I discovered a new trail I didn't know about and followed it along the waterfront. The trail ends at Fort Point under the Golden Gate where I turned uphill to reach the sidewalk that goes across the bridge. The bridge itself is a mile and half long and 220 feet above the water in the middle. The views of the bay were incredible! Having forgot my camera (again) I bought a disposable camera and will post my photos once I get it developed.

I took a short break at the viewpoint on the north side of the bridge before turning around. I stopped for lunch at a cafe in the Fort Point Visitors Center where I had an interesting sandwich of sliced apples, a bri-like cheese and honey on whole wheat bread with nuts. It was very tasty and I might try it as a climbing lunch. After lunch I walked back through the Presidio, the Marina, Fort Mason, Fisherman's Wharf to Pier 39. There I braved the crowds of tourists to get a caramel apple from a shop that was a frequent weekend destination when I use to live here. After eating my snack surrounded by a flock of hungry pigeons I turned down Stockton street and headed back to the hotel arriving around 4:30pm. All told it ended up being a 7 hour day hike on a beautiful day in San Francisco.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Since I'm feeling a little better after being sick for nearly 2 weeks I decided it was time to head back to "work" today. So I picked up my buddy Ryan D McCoy aka Microwave and drove out to the Columbia Gorge to do a hike up to Indian Point. It was a short 4 hour, 8 mile hike with about 2600 feet elevation gain - nothing too strenuous for my first day back "on the job". What made it interesting was the cold weather and rain. Fall has definitely arrived full force in Portland. We even had the hiking trail equivalent of black ice for the last 1000 feet of elevation gain. The ice covered trees were cool to see and the forest was alive with ice laden branches crashing down all around us. I even missed getting hit by a huge limb by about 20 feet. On the way down from Indian Point we came to a clearing along that gave us a good view of the Gorge all socked in with gray rain clouds and few hillsides poking out. Unfortunately I didn't bring my camera thinking there would be nothing but rain to take a picture of. Lesson learned - never leave home without it.

Anyway, cold and wet we made our way back to the trailhead and stopped by the Salmon Row Pub in Cascade Locks for a late lunch before heading home. All in all a good first day back at the "office".