Friday, December 28, 2012

East Coast Powder, Dec 27

There was great snow, even by west coast standards. A cold storm came through and dumped a foot of powder on Okemo, and it continued throughout the day. Things were tracked out by the time we got there, but lightly tracked conditions were around everywhere. Ben and Annise met Jon Chris and I at the mountain, and we got some solid turns in. One of my last runs was perfect wind blown powder.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

College Rock, Dec 24

It was in the high 30s, but I got a burn in on the v3 traverse.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Linda Mar, Dec 15

Cori and I had a 3 hour+ session in the rain on Saturday.  The waves were glassy and closed out with the larger sets, but we both caught a few waves. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Mini Adventure Weekend Dec 8-9

Originally, I was planning on skiing this weekend, but the beautiful bay area weather kept me around for some non-winter activities.  Cori and I got a late start on Saturday, and strolled up to Mickey's Beach where we were greeted by a lack of crowds, and slightly wet rock.  Cori did great on her first outdoor climbs, and she finished the tricky and somewhat blank 10b.  We hung out with a nice loner, Brit, and his cute mutt, Ty until the sun set over the water in rather dramatic fashion.

Cori hanging out with Ty (taken by a nice stranger, Eric)

Cori and I got an early-ish start on Sunday, and we met up with Danielle and Tory at Ocean Beach for some surfing.  Cori is a well-traveled surfer, having spent much of her life living close to the beach, but she (and I) haven't been out for many months.  OB was cranking powerful waves on the shallow sandbar, some of which got into the head high range, which was waaaaay too much for me.  It was fun to be in the water, and successfully make the paddle out, but I only half-assed catching one only to back off.  I need easier waves!

Ocean Beach was rough...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

4 Hectic Days Out East, Nov 22-25

I went out east for the holiday, sleeping in 4 places in 4 days with little sleep, lots of alcohol, hundreds of miles on the road, and thousands in the air.  I saw t shirt weather in upstate NY turn to frigid near-freezing temps two days later, and leafless trees surrounding a backyard my Mom and Rich transformed over the past few months to be more manicured than it has been in years.  I had a 10 year high school reunion highlighted by witnessing an unexpected fight, drunken city walking and a host of boring conversations.  I drank some good wine and ate great food with my friends over at Grapestorm, then flew the longest domestic flight back home to San Francisco the following day.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

First day of the season, Nov 18

Got my season pass at Squaw. Bad conditions, but psyched for more.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Linda Mar, Nov 3

I went with Shanna, and unfortunately the waves were almost non existent.  She swam sans a wetsuit, and I caught a handful of bad waves.  Luckily, the weather was gorgeous!

Friday, October 26, 2012

LA Day Trip, Oct 25

Yesterday started at 5:30am, and ended at 11:00pm.  Our entire company flew to LA for a big meeting.  It was fun, but a total whirlwind. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Send Day, Oct 20

Chris, Nick, and I went back to Indian Rock today.  I sent my project Flake Traverse (v3), and Chris immediately sent The Bubble (v5) on the next attempt!  We were hoping for the triple, but Nick couldn't get the traverse.  We tried Center Overhang (v3), which has a big top move.  We all fell from around there, I never committed to it, but maybe next time.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Mini Bay Area Bouldering Circuit, Oct 13

Chris, Nick, and I met Reuben at Ring Mountain, where we got a couple of nice climbs in, including a v2 (Green Face) I hadn't done before.  Reuben left, and we went to Berkeley to hang out at Indian Rock.  It was quite crowded there, with many locals easily jaunting up the problems.  I have wanted to try a v3 flake there for some time, and I got half of the crux, so I'm excited to go back and give it a try again!  Chris sent that v3, and worked on the v5 variation.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Fall Colors, October 5

My Mom and I went upstream on the Concord river.  This was the first time I have seen good fall foliage since moving to California over 5 years ago.  It certainly wasn't peak, but it was beautiful and the water was calm.

We ate at the North Bridge where a bee snuck into my water bottle and stung me on the lip.  Stupid bees going in for an unwanted kiss.  Seriously, no one likes you.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Ultimate San Francisco Weekend

I won't be here, which is somewhat bitter sweet.  I'm in a wedding for a very good friend who get married in the Boston area, and I am in desperate need of some time away from the madness that has been my schedule in SF.  For those in the city, this weekend has Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Fleet Week, America's Cup, Decompression, an assortment of concerts, two Giants playoff games, a 49'ers home game, and two neighborhood parties.  I'm sure it will be epic!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Mt Diablo, Sept 30

It was hot, and there were lots of bees, that all seemed to really like Natalie, but unfortunately that feeling was not mutual.  After I flailed up Bolt Line (10c in the guidebook, but closer to 11c), we tried to get distance from the crowds of people and bees swarming around Amazing Face, but the bees insisted on a long distance relationship, and the climbs on the Middle Tier of Boyscout Rocks weren't so great.  As the sun started to set, we went back to the Lower Tier, where the bees had retired for the night.  Natalie lead up Amazing Face (9 or so), which was her first real sport lead.  She crushed it despite being quite scared.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Things have been extremely busy for me between wedding season, music visualization stuff, and concerts.  It has been over two months since I've been in the Sierras, and I'm not sure when I'll get there next.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

JPMorgan Corporate Challenge, Sept 12

I ran 26:55, which was 2 seconds slower than last year!  It was a more comfortable race this year, but I could have started slower.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Breaking the rule, Sept 6

I'm driving to Davis after work for a Wildlife Control show.  This is absurd.  If you are in SF on Friday, you should come to the show at Bottom of the Hill!  We'll be on around 11pm.

Update: The show was was awesome, and everything worked:

Sadly, the show didn't work so well on Friday.  Maybe I'll write about it when it is less of an open wound.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Charles River, August 24

Packrafting with my Mom at dusk. Gorgeous calm water.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Even Bad Waves Can Be Fun, August 18

I met Reuben at Linda Mar, and we floated around in the water for a while catching up since we haven't hung out for a while.  The waves were pretty crappy, but I caught a few nice ones.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Surfing, August 12

Gym-like day at in, rode 5 waves in an hour, and went home

Wedding + Rafting + SIGGRAPH, Aug 3-9

Epic, awesome, and tiring enough that I don't want to write about it right now.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Surfing, July 28

Judy and I went out for a morning session.  The wind picked up within the first hour, and we got swept way down the beach and had a long paddle back to the break.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Lake Sonoma, July 20-22

tried wakeboarding - was terrible, but can't wait to try again
really fucking hot outside
great food and company to enjoy it with

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Packrafting Thousand Island Lake, July 4-5

I brought my packraft up to Thousand Island Lake via Rush Creek/  I was carrying roughly 50 pounds, and was traveling by myself for the first time for an overnight.  Things did not start off well, with my nose turning into a very leaky blood faucet not more than five minutes into the hike.  Without a tissue or large leaf at my disposal, I decided to make my shirt look like I just gotten mauled by a bear as I sheepishly tried to avoid passerbys who might witness what I mess I was.

The trail was easy to follow, but required peeking at the map, particularly at the hydro plant below Gem Lake where the trail was stupidly hard to follow.  The first 4 miles was rather unremarkable with long stretches of steep, dusty terrain covered in horse shit, and views of a plethora of man-made structures rather than unspoiled wilderness I am used to in this area.  Not to mention, I forgot my lighter, and luckily a backpacker on his way out gave me his matches, which saved a frantic hike/run back to my car!

The scenery eventually gave away to countless alpine lakes framing sweeping views of some of the most rugged peaks I've seen in the Sierras.  Thousand Island Lake is about 9.5 miles off the road near an intersection of the PCT and JMT.  The wind was rushing through the notch between Banner and Davis, nicely blowing along the length of the lake.  Thus, I was presented with an opportunity I never thought I'd have on the trip - functional use of my packraft!  I was pretty sure my raft would have zero utility on this trip, making hauling it along more of an exercise in packrafting in the backcountry.

I decided to camp at one end, and raft back the 2 mile lake in the morning, lazily riding the wind the whole way.  I hiked the additional 2-3 miles along the lake to the far side where I setup camp in a sheltered high point on a ridge in the shadow of Banner Peak.  I made dinner with some difficulty due to strong winds, but made good use of my fresh veggies, butter, and trusty Liptons packet.  I took a swim in solitude, and admired the fading light dancing across the water and finally hiding behind Davis to the west.  Darkness fell, and the high winds and sore neck kept me awake for quite some time.

The morning brought light winds and swarms of mosquitos eagerly awaiting to bite me when I exited my tent in the morning.  I couldn't wait to get on the water, so I packed up camp and headed towards the base of Banner where the large body of water connected to the main lake.  Aaaaand, I was wrong.  Damnit.  It seems my guess about being on a little peninsula was off, but luckily I had my pack strapped to the raft a la Roman Dial, so I threw it on my back and walked to the main part of the lake.

I pushed away and was finally paddling.  The contrast between miles of hiking on my sore feet and the effortless floating with a strong wind at my back was delightful.  I set my sights on the first big island I saw, determined to land on it.  I kept letting the wind carry me back, and I landed on two more funky looking islands along the way, occasionally paddling towards the midline of the lake in order to correct for the slight crosswind.
Manatee Island
Hanging out on Manatee Island
Approaching Hedgehog Island
It didn't take long to complete the traverse of the lake, and the strong winds and whitecaps reminded me why I was glad I brought a pfd along.  I took a quick dip in the lake with a fellow San Franciscan I had met earlier in the trip.  She was hiking with a group of other city dwellers, and they were spending the next few days around the lake.

I quickly hiked back to my car, keeping a reasonable pace with occasional stops, and speedups to pass horses shitting in the middle of the trail.  Afterward, I caught up with Justin at the campground, and I headed to his Mom's condo in Mammoth Lakes for a shower and some hot tubbing, which offered quite the contrast to my dusty slog.  I definitely wish I had brought my axe and crampons, even though it would have meant for an even heavier pack.  Given how stark difference in scenery from the first half to the second on this trip, it'd be worthwhile to spend an extra day or two at Thousand Island to summit Banner and Lewis.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

San Diego, July 12-16

Long weekend visiting by buddy who just moved to the west coast. Gonna do some live updates to this post. Surfing tomorrow!

Update 1:
Surfing at Ocean Beach yesterday was awesome!

Update 2:
Hit up the Comicon and Little Italy for dinner and bar hopping.

Update 3:
Del Mar, La Jolla. Beautiful beaches

Monday, July 9, 2012

Back to the Fog, July 8

I ate a hungover breakfast at Rafters, then drove home, stopping at Hetch Hetchy for a 6 mile hike.

Now that all is said and done, get ready for a big ol' trip report!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Contrast, July 7

Beautiful wedding in Mammoth

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Feeling the Burn, July 6

We went to Devil's Postpile and hiked along the pct contouring the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin to scout whitewater. It seemed largely doable, but had some sketchy sections.

We hiked past the gorgeous Minaret Falls, then to the disappointing an crowded Devil's Postpile. My legs were hurting, but we went to Rainbow Falls to finish out the day at 8.2 or so miles. The bus ride back was hectic.

Two days isn't enough, July 4-5

Packrafting in the high Sierras. Gorgeous, windy, buggy, exhausting, wonderful. I have many pictures to comb through.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

McDonalds and Hot Tubs, July 2-3

Ok writing from my phone. Yesterday Conness was a 13+ hour day with 6
miles of hiking and about 1000 ft of rock climbing. It was tiring enough to warrant a massive massive meal at Mcdonalds since that was the only thing open late.

Today we relaxed by doing a short hike with a swim in an alpine lake, an hanging out in Mammoth finishing with a soak in a hot tub. Tomorrow, I'm hiking out with the packraft to Thousand Island Lake for a solo overnight- my first!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Let's See the Sun, July 1

I left a misty San Francisco, and am now in the sunny Eastern Sierras. The weather forecast doesn't look good for tomorrow, but we have our fingers crossed.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Kitchen Sink

Overkill? Maybe. Prepared for a week in the Sierras? Yes!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Linda Mar, June 24

Four three overkill
Warm water surprises me
Hours in the sun

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Go See Wildlife Control in SF on Monday, June 18th

This is pretty far removed from adventure sports, but I've been working on some visuals for a concert for the past few weeks.  It is going to be an incredible show!  Check out their awesome music video filmed on Ocean Beach.

Get your ticket, and I'll see you at Brick and Mortar Music Hall on Monday!

The show was a huge success!  Videos to come!

Update 2:
Here is my summary of the tech behind the show, and some videos.

Linda Mar, June 16

bigger than last time
warm and sunny - caught a few
love proximity!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Trip Report Worth Checking Out

Luc Mehl wrote about a recent trip in the Canadian Rockies.  Their style is inspiring and innovative, and the account of the avalanche is downright terrifying.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Cache Creek, June 9

Justin, Justin, Andrew and I went rafting on a windy day with flow higher than when we went last year.  It was an early morning, but a fun run down the river, and a good evening in the city hanging out with friends who are moving to Boston.

Friday, June 8, 2012

One Year!

It has been a year since I wrote my first post, and I've actually managed to average slightly more than a post a week!  Granted, many of my posts are hastily written, and are the product of satisfying the urge to record events rather than produce quality content, but I am happy to have accounts of so many memorable events.  Who cares if the only visitors are my Mom and spambots?  Err...well, the statistics tell me people are visiting my site looking for pictures of naked Bay to Breakers runners.  Sorry everyone, I don't have any, but I do have links to some of my favorite posts to commemorate the day!

4 days and 1300 miles

Traveling in South Korea

Packrafting the Lyell Fork

SIGGRAPH and climbing in Squamish

Types of fun

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend, May 24-28

Wrap party!
My long weekend unofficially started on Thursday as I was stuck in 101 North traffic trying to get home and changed for a wrap party.  These are usually excited events with an open bar, good food, and stylish entertainment after a movie screening.  The party was in a tall venue with 4 floors and a balcony surrounding a massive stage and dance floor where acrobats performed.  It was a fun and blurry evening, followed by a late and relaxed day at work where most people were too hung over to come in.  I don't really know how I was so awake at 8am, but I was!

Ty, Kyle and myself did the first music visualization planning get together on Friday night.  We sat and learned Touch Designer, and had interesting conversations about what constitutes a good music visualization, and what types of interactivity make sense.  In the end, Ty and I iterated on a nice and simple visualization with fireworks controlled by a MIDI keyboard.

Saturday morning, Kyle, Sharada, and I drove through Memorial Day traffic to Lake Nacimiento in Paso Robles.  It is a beautiful and secluded property on a bluff overlooking the water, and is owned by the family of a former coworker's wife. A bunch of us hung out, swam around in the lake, sat by the campfire, and had a generally low key and relaxing time.  
Kyle and I went on a short hike on the property.  
We drove back Sunday night, and I spent some more time on the visualizations with Ty.  We came up with a cool interactive thing that uses a Kinect and flashy colors.  I crashed hard, and woke up almost at noon on Monday, and went for my favorite run through Golden Gate Park to Ocean Beach where along the way I had the pleasant surprise of seeing the Rose Garden while in full bloom.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bay to Breakers, May 20

Kyle and I ran Bay to Breakers last year, and it was an amazing introduction to road races in California.  I learned that to be successful, one must use old floppy naked runners as motivation to run faster.  After all, no one wants to run behind that, especially in the last mile, and this year was no exception.  I barely slept the night before, but was ready to go at 5:45am.  I was able to sneak into a faster starting group since my slow run/walk/drink plans dissolved the week before, and I wanted to race with serious runners.  After a long anxious wait with many other runners, we were off and into the early morning San Francisco shaded streets.

I tried to conserve energy early on since I knew Hayes Hill would hurt a lot.  It worked well, and I kept up 8:30-9 minute pace for the first few, with some motivation from a underwear clad 20-something girl sprinkling glitter on me.  "I got your back, man," she said as I ran past.  It made sense since I was donning an animal print shirt bearing my chest hair, with a (real!) mustache and stupid green sunglasses.  I looked ridiculous, and glitter made sense.

Hayes Hill was rough, but I powered through.  I ran through the Panhandle and park, averaging close to 8:30 pace, speeding up as I got closer to the finish line, and within the last mile and half I got a major speed kick when some bystanders were cheering a fast old naked dude in front of me.  I couldn't let him beat me, and I ran past him in a flurry of spontaneous competition fueled by a strong distaste for the jiggly.

As always, the last bit was a horrible slog leaving me nearly in tears despite passing a variety of live bands en route.  I finished with a time of 1:02:40, which shaved 3 or so minutes off my time from the year before.  Not too bad for not running much recently!  I took the N home to find Jacob, Mike and a crew of girls dressed as sailors wasted in the apartment.  I soberly, albeit quit nauseously joined them to the panhandle, enjoying the drunk people watching and general debauchery that follows the civil yet distinctly San Franciscan road race.  I stopped mid-Panhandle where I met Natalie and one of her friends, Claire.  Sitting never felt so good, and I lounged in a lawn chair while sipping water and watching the costumed drunkards pass by.  We got some food and ice cream, and Claire was replaced by Natalie's friends dressed as flamingos.  We hung out with the flamingos until the post race exhaustion caught up, and I went home and fell asleep HARD!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Tahoe, May 12-14

A nice view from our dock
I bring almost nothing when I run in San Francisco on my favorite route from Hayes Valley, up Page st, through the Panhandle and the Park all the way to Ocean Beach.  Shoes, clothes, keys, clipper and credit cards, and maybe a few bucks - no cellphone.  I like feeling disconnected from everything; I find it makes me more perceptive of my surroundings, the people, their conversations as I run by, and the sun shining through the trees.  Nothing is recorded, and it is up to my brain to retain any information I process.

The simplicity is freeing in a world where I am constantly looking at my phone, uploading pictures, surfing the web, blogging infrequently, and generally leaving my permanent(ish) mark on the world through both local to my computer and in the cloud.   I'd love to think I can rely heavily on this principle - that I don't need or want computer devices to retain, process and obtain information on such a regular basis, but I get crap for burying my face in my phone more often than I should.  This came to the forefront of my mind when driving to Tahoe this weekend.  I pulled into a gas station, and noticed my precious iPhone 4s suddenly looked like an old tv with terrible reception.  It barely worked, and repeated attempts to revive it either resulted in more shaky imagery or weird striped lines.  Unfortunately, I didn't have the directions to the cabin written down, nor did I remember the address, but I was able to pry the info out, write it down on some scrap paper at a WalMart, and be on my way.  It is frightening to see how helpless I was without my phone.

I got to the cabin without further incident, and didn't really care about my easily replaced phone, nor do I right now.  What really sucked was when I realized that whatever rampage on the innards of my phone included deleting some photos from a few weeks ago that I hadn't synced to my computer.  If I spend the time to take a picture, I don't want to lose it.  Ever.  And definitely not ones I care about like these.  When this same thing almost happened in Japan, it was devastating (ask Jacob how pissy I was).  Luckily, I recovered those, and all the ones from this disaster.

But I digress, I had a fun weekend with an incredible group of people packed into a huge, lake-side house with a private dock, and enough food to feed a small army.  We lounged a lot, and damn did I get sunburned.  A few of us did a small amount of climbing with an unfortunately proportionate amount of bushwhacking through manzanita, and I had my first fall on gear (a small fall on an orange tcu).  Laughs were had, bikes were ridden off the dock, COLD swims were "enjoyed", and lots of terrific food was eaten.  I'm getting too used to drinking freshly squeezed orange juice from Colin's juicer.  Damn that shit is good!

I drove back Sunday night with a bunch of friends cramped into my car with far more of my gear than was used.  Usually, I am bummed with such a dearth of high-intensity outdoorsy adventure, but this weekend was great the way it was.  Even with my sunburns and broken phone.
Hanging out on the dock

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

4 days, 1300 miles, May 3-6

Trips that combine wilderness adventure with the niceties of city living always intrigue me.  I love the duality of the two seemingly disparate lives - rafting some class III rapids, then eating at a Michelin starred vegetarian restaurant.  Or maybe a frenzy of crowds, learning, partying and visual effects goodness at SIGGRAPH followed by eating almost only cheese and bread while living in my 1 person tent at Squamish and climbing for 3 days.  These four days had that contrast along with massive non-road-trip-rule-breaking mileage.
Getting some work done in LA
Thursday morning started with a hectic drive and thinking I'd miss my early flight to Burbank.  7:00am seems early as hell to someone like myself who gets up after 8:30, but apparently, droves of people are awake AND driving at this rather painfully early hour.  I walked into the terminal just as they started boarding, which was reassuring, although it did require running and a delayed departure to keep my anxiety levels in check.  Before I knew it (damn these LA flights are short) I was sitting at a spare desk in a dark end of a cubicle typing away, demoing software and hanging out with coworkers I don't see in person very often.  The day went fast, and I had an awesome dinner and good whiskey with my coworkers before crashing hard.
Winning the wedgie!

Friday started with more demos and a bit of actual coding before proceeding to the main event.  I've been extremely lucky to have been involved with some amazing projects at work, which have garnered a good amount of attention due to fantastic artists using my software.  Thus, a bunch of us won an award, and had a luncheon party complete with great food, pointy glass thingies (ahem, called a "wediges"), and fascinating conversations with the CEO.  I was jazzed and excited about my current project afterward, and got a bit more work in before boarding a plane back to San Jose, driving to Justin's in Redwood City, reuniting with my stashed gear, and driving 6 hours to Lassen National Park.  Yep, that last sentence involves around 500 or so miles of travel.  We arrived at Hat Creek Campground early Saturday morning at around 2:30am.  We were tired, and I had been snoozing on and off in the car, catching glimpses of a conversation I guess I was having with Justin, although my contributions were weak acknowledgments and what was likely incomprehensible jabber.  Needless to say, we slept in.

Must. Sleep.
Saturday morning we both knew we were going to take it easy.  We got a bit of a warmup in near Lassen along the park road.  It was nothing special, but got us on skins and brought our heart rates up a bit.  All said and told, we did maybe 700 vertical feet and a few miles.  Afterward, we checked out some potential packrafting in the area, ate bad food at a restaurant in Burney, and got to bed early with the yells of a group of obnoxious old guys partying alongside a rented RV in the site next to us.

We awoke at 6:00am on Sunday to a car blanketed in ash from those damn campground neighbors.  We both slept well, which was lucky since Justin and I both knew how intense this day would be.  Lassen Peak was our goal, something we had summited without skis in 2008.  It was while trudging down the soft mid-afternoon slopes on foot that I witnessed backcountry skiers scream past me in ecstatic joy, carving beautiful turns into the same snow I was fumbling on.  It planted the seed that backcountry skiing was the best way to do mountaineering, even though at the time I hadn't skied more than a few times in the past 10 years.

Lassen Peak in its full glory!
It was a long trudge on skins through the woods ending with rewarding views of the massive summit in a clearing.  The Northeast face beckoned with its steep untracked corn snow and we skinned for a while, eventually stopping to take a break and eat on a rock outcrop.  We tried to continue skinning, but decided it was too steep when it was too late and had to carefully switch to crampons and axes while precariously perched on steep snow.  The remaining slog was uncompromisingly steep and relentless front pointing up roughly 1500 feet of 30-45 degree snow.  My lightweight gloves were causing my fingers to get painfully cold, and my stomach wanted food, but we couldn't stop for fear of falling or dropping our packs or ourselves down the steep slopes.  The skis caused massive instabilities, and I was grateful for every moment I could put my heel into a small recess in the snow to catch my breath.
Steep and tiring snowfield

We were happy to reach the summit ridge, but it was only after almost getting blown off by a massive gust of wind that caused me to press my body carefully against the steep slope, gripping my axe in fear.  We found respite from the strong cold winds, relaxed and ate for a while, then headed up to the summit block where we were met by a group of three ready to descend.  Justin took one look at the descent and decided to head to the ridge and take video, but only after some adventure fluting and music video filming.
So it was just me on the summit block.  I organized gear, threw my skis into alpine mode and edged towards the cliff.  I calmly gripped my poles and peered over the edge.  It was a 55 degree slope for about 100-200 feet, covered in slick, icy snow.  There was no room for error as a fall would mean careening down the slope completely out of control.  Much to my surprise, it didn't phase me since this was the toughest pitch I have ever considered, and the solitude of the remote backcountry summit was unfamiliar and isolating.  All anxiety was gone and all my pain from the ascent was replaced with an overwhelming adrenaline rush.  I didn't see Justin on the ridge taking photos, but it didn't matter.  I was ready, so I took the drop.

I slid down the first 30 or so feet until I had to make a turn.  I threw in something between a timid jump turn and a snowplow and immediately accelerated FAST.  I had to dig my edges in to stop, but it felt stable as I released a large amount of sluff.  I made another turn soon after, releasing even more sluff.  Now, I was in comfortably maneuverable terrain, so I made a confident turn at speed, only to be hit by the wave of snow I had knocked loose.  I rode through, and was free, and on a continuous 45 degree pitch with good corn snow.  I threw down turn after turn, watching the clear path of beautiful snow pass by.  I stopped after 1000 feet, took a breather, and did another 1000 of awe-inspiring steep snow until I reached some rocks.  I whooped in joy, quickly took my skis off, and went to the rocks, reclined, closed my eyes, and relished my wonderful and preciously earned turns in solitude.
One very happy adventure-blogger!

Justin and I met up at the rocks, exchanged superlatives about the pitch we had done, and threaded turns down the remaining 1000 feet of steep skiing.  This lead to low angle tree skiing on wet mid-afternoon snow all the way back to the car where we packed up, and drove back to home.

It was a long and eventful four days that had no shortage of good lessons and fun despite me being on the verge of biting off more than I could chew.  Skis on your back makes front pointing with crampons hard and frustrating when you need to save energy to enjoy the descent.  I can't wait to ski down Lassen Peak again, even if it isn't attached on the end of a wonderful trip to LA to collaborate and hang out with my awesome coworkers.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Austin! April 19-22

Never been to Texas before. They have big stadiums.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Surfing, April 7

surf the large ripple
bright sun - a log among logs
many caught and missed

Friday, April 6, 2012

Squaw, April 1

Got some pow in after rain and strong winds

Friday, March 30, 2012

Bear Valley, March 24-25

Saturday - Rando Race

Uphill and back down
Repeat, oh this really hurts
Frozen lungs, hurt calves

Sunday - Inbounds

Feeing the great luck
Some powder, and no crowds, yes!
Dust on crust is good

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Adventure Eating Scale

A lot of people (rightfully) accuse me as having rather pathetically picky eating habits.  I am a near-lifelong vegetarian (ok, specifically a lacto-ovo pescetarian), but I hate mushrooms.  And eggplant.  And summer squash and zucchini.  And on the fruit front, I dislike peaches after throwing up (due to the flu) after eating two of them 20 years ago.  Needless to say, I was terrified of the food in South Korea and Japan, so I tried to approach eating on my trip in the same way I've been viewing outdoor adventures.  Go for it, then come up with a mildly humorous way of categorizing my distastes.

Type 1: Relished

Amazing, mouthwatering, and something to write home about.  Sanchon in Seoul was one of the best meals I've ever had.  It consisted of a HUGE set menu of vegan Buddhist Temple food whose elegant and modern plating provided a wonderful contrast to the traditional cuisine.  Each bite was amazing and unique compared with any similar food I've tried in the past.
So. Much. Great. Food

Type 2: Edible

Standard stuff.  It doesn't knock your socks off, but there is no effort required to extract the nutritional value from the matter in front of you.  I found fugu rather subtle albeit an adventurous meal.  The cuts of fish were perfectly edible despite the rather unique presentation.

Type 3: Choke it Down

Sometimes food requires effort to swallow, but can be chewed up and swallowed, potentially with some grimacing.  Sometimes it helps when the awful is accompanied by the good, like dead wasps floating in soju.  But, shit, even with the tasty alcoholic beverage, wasps really aren't too good.  There was tremendous social pressure in the bar filled with Australians and Japanese karaoke stars, so it had to be chewed up and swallowed to retain some American pride.

Type 4: The Pill Method

The pill method is a reliable escape where a big gulp of liquid and a hearty choke-risking swallow makes all but the most wrenched and foreign tastes disappear in a flash.  I busted this maneuver out for the raw horse meat I ate in Nozawa Onsen.  It was bright red, chewy and strangely presented like familiar and tasty sashimi.  My weak vegetarian teeth couldn't rip it apart, so I swallowed it down and quietly without garnering any attention.
It looked something like this.

Type 5: No Way I'm Swallowing this Shit

It was our first real meal in Tokyo, and an expensive one at that.  A myriad of beautifully prepared options filled a box in front of us, most of which were tasty and distinctly foreign flavors.  All but one.  There was a block of bright green gelatin product pressed into a rectangular solid that had a strong fishy taste.  One small bite, and I thought it was pretty good.  Key word: small bite.  As the owner was playing some energetic music (part of the draw to the restaurant), I took a big bite, which resulted in an immediate gag reflex.  Yep, I was done with the fish jelly.

Snow Monkeys Doing Stuff

Check out my photos from my trip to Yudanaka National Park.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

K pop hysteria

Spanning several hours at the MTV studio in Seoul a few days ago

Adventure eating at the dead zoo buffet

Lots of unidentifiable meats. Alex hypothesized that five percent of all animals on the planet were available for consumption.