2016-03-16T11:55:11Z Jay Johnson Copyright 2016, Jay Johnson SPHPBLOG AMRC MRA Recert - March 2016

Mountain rescue teams in the MRA (Mountain Rescue Association) are recertified every 5 years by peers in their region - the rocky mountain region in our case. This last weekend I helped the Albuquerque Mountain Rescue Council (AMRC) pass the recertification with unanimous positive votes for all 5 scenarios. I led Search Team 3 in the first scenario (search) to look in the hideout climbing canyon for a 67 year old who activated his SPOT device (simulated). The low angle followed and Justin and I led a final team to the base of the technical for a wheel carryout but just as we got involved, the scenario was called. On the high angle, I led Team 3 into the field and brought the litter and other technical gear to the top of a cliff by the Tram base. I assembled the litter, helped with the main front-pretension system, and then ran the main for the lower. At the end of day one, we gathered at the cache for a nice BBQ dinner and drinks. It was great to meet all of our MRA colleagues and get some excellent critiques - many of which I personally took to heart.





On the next day, I messed up from the start and forgot my skins at home so I had to make a run back home before the scenario. I was lucky to rejoin the team at the old triangle grocery and be assigned to the strike team. Kerry put me on the beacon search with Justin and Mike and we cleared the field in record time. I took the right flank and easily cleared the field - Justin stole my beacon at 2.4 meters saying it was his :). I ran the flank, found clues, and ultimately ended up on the probe line that hit the final patient. On the winter technical, I led the technical team to the top of the recert hill, built a "brilliant" bollard, and assembled the raise system with Mike. Everything went smoothly and we passed unanimously.




On a personal note, in the last 5 years on the team I have only seen it grow stronger, faster, fitter, smarter, and more capable. I owe so much to my teammates for their mentorship, trust, and confidence. This team has been my family in Albuquerque. Through their support, I have been fortunate to lend my skills to dozens of people in need to save lives, limbs, digits, and offered closure for grieving families. I feel honored to be on the team and to be there for the New Mexico outdoor community.]]>
http://adventurejay.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry160306-214345 2016-03-07T00:00:00Z 2016-03-07T00:00:00Z
Christmas 2015
In the last 6 months I had read through a book of you grandfather's poetry. I was struck by a number of themes: acceptance (satisfaction?) in his life and his difficulty with growing older and becoming a greater burden and embarrassment for my grandmother. My grandpa commanded language better than I ever will and it was tough to see how his mental capacities had eroded over the years - especially since he was fully aware of the degradation. Yet, at the time I was reading grandpa's poetry, I was struggling with some powerful emotions surrounding my dating struggles, difficulties connecting with people, and the inability to reconcile my life choices. How could I selfishly ski every weekend when I should be doing more for the community? Why fly around the US and world to chase feelings of freedom and adrenaline when I know those flights are destroying the planet? Was my current research path going to result in the global impacts I wanted? And so forth. Those questions remain unresolved and still trouble me today, but I found a lot of comfort in my grandfather's words and I'd like to share some of them for the rest of you. Here are a few verses from the book of poems "When I Be Still" by Rod Johnson.

Sitting By, Frisbee in Hand

Senior citizen stage
confusing
choosing to go along
with family belief:
I'm out of it--
Or for real out of it.
Probably both.
So now what?

Is my life-long way
sitting on the bank
watching life's messiness
pass by
accelerating--
or am I evolving
to take integrity's road
to God energy
LOVE?
"Let go and let God"?

Am I more
coward than spirit?
Hiding out or
being in not of
the world?

I limit
second chakra energy
the "Honor of one another"
the wade into life's stream.
What is life about
if not to live fully?
What would such be like?
A perennial question.

Now this question
has another out: Age
How much do I use it?
How much does it use me?
How much from pre-conscious?
From beliefs? Habits?

Unanswerable.
Come and go of tides.
Yet one
to be pondered
pulled apart
played with
tossed back and forth
like a Frisbee.

Scampering

squirrel scampers high
twig to twig
head first to ground
digs but for a moment
back up
around
over over
ever different
only purpose fun
pleasure in being
so it seems to us porch sitters
we few no longer
desperate for survival

how busy be my fellows
what thrills us?
makes us feel alive?
roller coasters haunted houses
grandkids picking their ways

we use age to lean back
celebrate such energy
relive the show

ah yes other shows
purposeful business
force heaven into being
hold high one-way beliefs
that resent the every which way

that squirrel
smarter than we

Harder

The tide of time
Keeps rising,
The waves lap higher,
The surf pounds harder
Or so with age
It seems
Easy to be knocked
Off balance,
Fearful one will be.

The wise say to
Go with the flow,
Enjoy the ride,
No need to collect
More toys,
No need to sweat
The swells of the sea,
Just be,

One joy
Of aging
Is observing
Such wonders:
The marvel
Of forgetting,
The discovery
Of new creaks,
The surprise
Of needing
To catch breath,
The inclination
To sleep in spurts,
The effort
To bite life off
Given less oomph,

A bit harder,
To adjust,
To find joy that is
In each re-
meaning moment.

Hunger

In this out materialist world
Time is money.
Painting maybe makes 5 cents/hour
Poetry even less
So why do they pay?

When an image grabs one of us
More than for prettiness, pertinence
Painting becomes a joyful emergence
Perhaps like the high of drugs
Without withdrawal symptoms
More like meditation and prayer
Calling us from deep within
Adrenalin jumps, brain gulps, I'm driven,
Drawn to a different colored space.

So too with poetry
Words come when they come
Capriciously
Muse blesses with live phrases, fresh constructs
Drops them in poets' ever salivating mouths
Ambrosia
We love the chewing, swallowing
Digesting, building highs
But often we're stuffed with basic nutrition
Calories to keep the engine chugging, meeting
Commitments in what's called the real world.
Still our mouths stay sagape
Impatient for such elusive necessities
Our jaws triggered to clamp down.

Up-Springing

Long have I scanned,
settled for overviews,
filled with assumption.

But with this April's quickening,
my slowing down, growing old,
less dependent on independence,
my kneeling in loam planting,
the earth has pushed me up
like it sprouts
of which I am a part
subject to the same forces,
invites me to look about,
join pond wee goldfish,
backyard squirrels, rabbits,
its exquisites,
native birds missing winter hand-ons,
they and trees color-tipped for come-ons,
garish to soothing,
red, rust, burgundy, yellow, white,
lavender of rebuds most prefuse,
flower even more wildly experimenting,
the perennials readying to herald the annuals,
all among barely peeping green leaves.

Time to wake up,
Live worlds within worlds.

Gruel

I think of out leader of conviction
Spellbinding us with drowsing takes
Spooning us what slides down.
Gruel.
But, like undernourished kids,
We're beginning to crave solids
Ready to chew on all the squalor
Thanks to New Orleans' scream.

Leave it to us Americans
Who thoughtlessly gulp mush
When what we need
Is our own good heads
Mount our fresh steeds
And gallop into the fray.

Family centered (Excerpts)

….

Family is relationship;
Relationship, energy.
Energy seen blue from space.
In the joy of dancing through our lives
Everything mingles in a splendid
Spindled swirl
All held in the white hand of Love
And Mother Earth.

….

Love possible in family:
Parents crazy about a kid no matter what
Respecting her thinking for herself
Not buying any illusion of separatedness,
Steadfast bonding with penalties.
She pushes away yet ever tethered
Needing interface for self-definition,
Paradox creating lifelong
That kid in each of us.

The void among the sculptured heads
Undifferentiated energy.
Those who resolve the paradox
Awaken to find all is one,
The core meaning of family.
]]>
http://adventurejay.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry151225-170242 2015-12-26T00:00:00Z 2015-12-26T00:00:00Z
Lost Snowboarder in Santa Fe and Silverton Ice/Snow a former Taos Extreme Freeride Champion) had dropped into the Nambe Chutes at about 3:30pm and his friend had not seen him since. He didn't know the Santa Fe resort and may have triggered an avalanche with all the new snow. No one knew...

By the time we got all our gear together and clicked into our skis, it was 12:30am and somewhere between 0 and 10 F (with a subzero wind chill). We skinned up the Winsor Trail and worked our way toward Nambe Lakes. At the fork toward the lake, the trail was no longer tracked out and I began the task of breaking trail in waist-deep powder up the Rio Nambe. We called every 10th of a mile or so, but there was no answer in the crisp, moonless night. Only deep snowy forest. I had a few minor navigational mistakes but continued up toward the lake with the team in tow. The going was extremely slow and difficult. I was working hard to make kick turns and wind through the forest. Finally, at one rest break, I gave a yell and heard something back. It seemed to come from above me, so I assumed it was Team 2 up on Raven's Ridge. We radioed to the Incident Commander to ask that Team 2 stop shouting so we could be sure it was them. Team 2 responded that they had not yelled in the last 5 minutes. Holy Shit - we've got him! He's alive! And he's awake! I started working my way up to Ryan, zigzagging up the mountain to his spot near the creek. 10 minutes later, I reached him by exchanging yells. I can say with certainty that he was very stoked to see us! After talking with him about his injuries, cold level, and general welfare. We cracked a few jokes and I suggested that he crawl back in his pine bow shelter for a photo, which he did politely while joking about how cozy it was. I pulled out my big puffy, fat mittens, hot tea, and a granola bar for him; packed up his frozen-solid gloves and coat, attached his snowboard to my pack; then I strapped my spare snowshoes on him and started the 3 mile trek out. It was 4:00am now. We moved slowly, and as we made the 800 ft ascent back up to 10,800 ft pass, Ryan's condition deteriorated. So did ours. Ryan was getting progressively more nauseous and stopping regularly to vomit. We diagnosed him with acute mountain sickness since he had just flown in from the Bay Area two days before, but it was unnerving. Zak had been awake for 26 hours straight at this point, and Verena and I were approaching the 24 hour mark. Finally, we reached the pass just as day was breaking. We navigated the final mile of 600' descent to the parking lot. I ripped my skins and struggled to maintain my balance with a massive snowboard on my back. Everyone else slogged it out to keep a close eye on Ryan. We brought him up the ski patrol room and said our goodbyes to everyone. We definitely saved a few fingers and toes that night, if not someone's life entirely. I finally got home and to bed at 9:30am having been up for 27 hours.




I slept for 4.5 hours and then repacked for a trip to Silverton. Spencer, Briana, and I stayed the night in the hostel and then met Sharon for an ice climb of 2nd Gulley. I led the first pitch, but it was 1 degree F so the ice was bulletproof and difficult to get the picks and crampons in. I made it work, but was exhausted at the top of the pitch. I then belayed Spencer up and then simultaneously belayed the girls up to the 1st anchor. Spencer led the 2nd pitch but since I was using 2 singles, one of them was 50m, and we couldn't stretch it out to the top of the next section. As a result, we got to the walk out after 5 pitches instead of 4, but it all worked out. We skipped that last pitch at the top for another time since it was starting to get dark, but it was a fun day out with fun people. Then the 4 of us grabbed some pizza and ended up at the Venture Snowboards party at Grumpy's (for the 2nd year in a row!)








Sunday, Spenc, Briana, and I skied Silverton. They had gotten 7" overnight, but we got caught in some variable depth garbage on our first run in Dolores/RMYP. The 2nd run, called Mandatory Air, was much better with the initial drop containing hero powder all the way down to the choke. We caught the Waterfall Ramp back around and then found the pow stash of the day in Eagle's Nest/Gene Simmons. There was buried treasure: some rocks/trees/etc but there was a good 15 turns of pure bliss in 35 degree waist-deep snow. We hit it twice and finished our day with Tiger 2. No injuries for the Silverton opening - that's a good thing, knowing my record at that resort.

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http://adventurejay.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry151221-202127 2015-12-22T00:00:00Z 2015-12-22T00:00:00Z
AMRC Training and First 2015/2016 Taos Ski Day









Verena and I also worked on the counterbalance pickoff technique. I struggled with the first iteration because I didn't give enough slack in the first connection. Verena did much better with the 2nd run, but I'd like to try it one more time before executing something like that in the field. Here's my 7 step process for making it work:
1. Rappel to the patient and attach a safety line from your harness to theirs. This will never be weighted unless something goes terribly wrong so make it long.
2. Attach a pulley to your rope above your rappel device and run 7 or 8mm line from their harness through the pulley to a munter mule on your harness.
3. Rappel down, reversing positions with the patient to unweight their system.
4. Remove their attachment to their rope. You have maintained 2 points of contact for the patient so this is acceptable.
5. Reverse positions with the patient again so you are as high as possible. Move your rappel device up as high as possible and set the prussic.
6. Attach a tight line between your rappel device and the patient. This will mean that you don't take any of their weight, and because you're putting this on now, you know that you'll be able to reach up and grab your prussic that holds the pulley.
7. Release the munter mule on the pulley system. Remove loose items from the system. Rappel to safety. Note: the position you are in when first setting the pulley is where you will ultimately end up for the final rappel, so one must account for their rope stretch, but also be able to reach the patient if there are medical issues, etc.






Sunday, I got up at 4:00am, drove to Taos to meet Jeff, Patrick, and Jason. 3 of us skinned up to Williams Lake before the lifts were turning to get some high-altitude training. I used my new Lange boots (130 Flex) and blistered my feet and hurt my knees. Probably too stiff for any real touring but they handled well. I had a mini adventure avoiding the creek on the way back to the Bav, and then ripped the return trail back to the cars. Skied all day with 3 hikes and caught the Bavarian Chutes to end the day with a beer and hardy Gulyassuppe.



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http://adventurejay.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry151207-214034 2015-12-08T00:00:00Z 2015-12-08T00:00:00Z
Friendsgiving in Wolf Creek
This ended up being the greatest opening weekends I've ever had! 8" fresh on Friday, 8" fresh on Saturday, and Sunday I hunted the powder stashes in the backcountry so all told I skied freshies for 3 days straight. Was great to hang with the gang and party the long weekend away - complete with glowing icicles, glitter beards, face shots, hot tubs, and great food. Katherine made a lot of progress with her skiing as well, and I'm sure she'll be shredding in no time. The backcountry day consisted of doing a couple laps with Bill and Andreas in the trees to the east of lobo overlook and then skiing off the peak back to the car.







Sunday in the backcountry.






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http://adventurejay.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry151123-195257 2015-11-24T00:00:00Z 2015-11-24T00:00:00Z
Two weeks in Thailand (with a couple hour visit to Burma and Laos)
Here are some photos and a little slideshow google generated.

We took the 15 Day Kaleidoscope of Thailand with River Kwai with the following stops.










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http://adventurejay.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry151122-181837 2015-11-23T00:00:00Z 2015-11-23T00:00:00Z
Halloween in Moab Klondike Bluff Outer Loop and EKG on Friday. Then we headed out to the Trailhead of MMI and Lost and Found Canyons. We originally planned to knock out Winter Camp Wash, but since we got to camp after dark, we decided to leave it for another day.



In the morning, Tom, Jordan, Mike, Allison, and I took off for MMI canyon. After a little route finding, we dropped the first big rappel into a narrow with a pile of blocks leading down another 75 ft. We then work our way downstream and dropped one smaller and one larger ledge on the way to the base of the canyon using retrievable anchors (and they actually worked). It was fun - especially since it was halloween and we were wearing costumes! But I will confess that Lost and Found Canyon is better. At the end of the canyon hike we opted for the climber's exit, which is supposedly 5th class, but I would put it at 4.11b :). We had been taking our time and stopped off for an arch on the way back to camp, so the daylight was fading when we got back to the cars.

Tom and Jordan were bummed that they didn't get to do Lost and Found, so I said that I would take them on a speedy trip with the understanding that we'd be walking out with headlamps. We left camp at 3pm. I pushed the pace but ironman Tom and triathlete Jordan didn't mind. We crushed the route in record time: 2 hours, 28 minutes car-to-car for the "4-6 hour canyon." Rap one was done at 36 min; we combined raps 2-3 and finished them 1 hour in (got a little lucky with the rope pull and wouldn't recommend that for others that have more time); and we finished the last rappel at 1:30. We topped out of the climb at 1:50 and then booked it back to the cars at an average 3 mph. We got back before the sun had set. Awesome!

That evening, we joined up with a larger ABQ group to party in town for Halloween. Moab's a small town, but our crew of ~10 brought the party wherever we chose.










Larger

The last day in Moab, M&A and I did HyMasa to Captain Ahab - a very techy stretch of mountain biking. I liked it, but there were a number (maybe 6 or so) spots I couldn't commit to and walked the bike. Mike and his dropper post did manage at least one drop I chickened out of, so I will have to check into getting one of those in the future. Moab continues to be spectacular and an adults' playground. Can't wait to get back there.


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http://adventurejay.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry151031-183435 2015-11-01T00:00:00Z 2015-11-01T00:00:00Z
South Boundary, ASA 101, and Snowzobra



Sunday, I left bright and early for San Diego. Jason, Patrick, and I sailed down to Coronado, and we drilled docking procedures, and good skippering commands. We got a giant salad at the normal pizzeria spot and played around with a Stand Up Paddleboard. We biked back up the hill at normal Jason speeds. I could barely cling to the back wheel. The following morning we rocketed back down to the marina and took the American Sailing Association 101 "Basic Keelboat Sailing Certification" test. I managed to pass with a perfect 100 (first time the instructor has seen it!), but my man overboard was a little weak and the instructor made me redo the figure eight a 2nd time. In the end, we both got our ASA 101 certifications and I'm one step closer to the Bareboat Charter Certification.






The following weekend, Josiah, Sam, and I threw a party a Josie's place. We did a 16-hour slow-cooked matanza pig with Dave's seasonings. A crowd of over 50 prayed for snow, drained 6 sixth barrel kegs, and watched snowzobra burn.






I've also had a couple nice hikes and bike rides with a Katherine and her bulldog Kirby.




And here's a shot of the blood moon eclipse. 300mm, 3s, f/5.6, ISO 320.
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http://adventurejay.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry151026-195941 2015-10-27T00:00:00Z 2015-10-27T00:00:00Z
Flying the Craters of AZ Craters. Max and I carpooled out and I picked his brain about flying (or, rather, he voluntarily provided a 4-hour knowledge dump on the drive). Max, as a recent retiree and new P-3, is super excited about flying, and fortunately that excitement is contagious. We set up camp, played some Bocce and shared some special "V77" rum around the campfire as everyone trickled in.

In the morning, we stood at the top of Sheba with a stiff 16 mph wind. People were launching, but it was a little above my skill level so us newbies sat the morning out. I did learn a lot from watching folks launch in those conditions however, so the morning wasn't a complete bust. Eventually the winds picked up and everyone headed to lower ground. I kited for about an hour to regain my confidence. We then headed back to camp to slackline, juggle, shoot .22s and BB guns, and wait for the calmer, less thermally air of the evening.

At 4:30pm, 40 people and gliders loaded up into the 5-ton and head up to the bench launch site. A few skilled speedwing pilots and one wildly good Acro guy were playing around but the winds were still too strong for nearly everyone until dusk, when there was a mass exit. I shot pictures, but my beginner A-wing would not have penetrated the ~15-20 mph winds and wouldn't have been able to land safely.

Sunday, the winds were 25-30 on top of the mountain before 7am, so the crew went back to the bench launch spot. Winds there were initially strong, but they died for about an hour when I could do a quick reverse inflation and punch off for a 400' descent back to the parking area. It was smooth and uneventful - both good things in paragliding! Not the weekend I hoped for, but at least I wasn't totally skunked.


Leigh launches!




Unloading the truck with 40 people!




Soaring at dusk.]]>
http://adventurejay.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry151004-203952 2015-10-05T00:00:00Z 2015-10-05T00:00:00Z
Ang and Bill Got Hitched classic Westerns like Butch Cassidy and 3:10 to Yuma. Everyone dressed up in Western garb and threw one heck-of-a-event, complete with horseback riding, gunfights, and adulterous scandals.







Sunday, I knocked out a Oak Flats ride with Mike and toured the town for CiQlovia, including finally visiting the Railyards market!



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http://adventurejay.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry151001-202357 2015-10-02T00:00:00Z 2015-10-02T00:00:00Z
Austria and Italy
In Vienna, I climbed the St. Stephen's Cathedral on my first day in town, did a few days of work, and then toured the Belvedere and Schloss Schonbrunn - palaces from the Austro-Hungarian Empire era. The palaces were incredible structures and were surrounded by immaculate, immense grounds. Interestingly, the power from the Habsburg House was primarily gained through marriage as opposed to war (e.g., Emperor Francis II of Austria married of his first daughter, Marie Louise, to Napoleon); but I got to hand it to Franz Joseph I, he makes a nice home for himself!


St. Stephen's Cathedral Platz


Belvedere - Side A

Belvedere - Side B

Schloss Schonbrunn maze

One of the highlights of the trip was being hosted by the Governor of Vienna to a stunning dinner at city hall. They led us up 3 flights of stairs with a red carpet stretching up the middle into a large room with 4 massive chandeliers, handed everyone a glass of champagne, and wined and dined us all evening - and then the entertainment showed up: a couple who performed a few ballroom dances for the audience.


Wien City Hall



Researchers celebrating the completion of a good project

---------------

After Vienna I flew to Milan and caught a late train to Lecco. My tight 45 min layover in Munich was shortened to 20 minutes and I had to sprint to make the door. "Mr. Johnson, please come to Gate 27, we are closing the doors." Needless to say, my bad didn't make it, and I didn't have any luggage for the next 48 hours.

Nevertheless, I made do with my free, very rainy Sunday to tour Lake Como by boat. As luck would have it, my Japanese colleagues had the same idea and we shared the day together. The boat hopped from town to town, but we only stopped off at Bellagio and Como. Bellagio was particularly spectacular - perched on the tip of the peninsula on steep cliffs. The rain made all the cobblestone streets glisten and there was something very charming about all the people working together to adjust their umbrella heights to squeeze past one another on the narrow walkways.








After the smart grid communications workshop, I had a free day. Originally I was going to do one or two Via Ferratas (Gamma 1 probably), but it was pouring rain, so I headed down to Milan. At least there, I could play tourist and check out the Duomo and EXPO. The Cathedral was the most impressive I've ever seen in Europe (Take that Paris and Cologne), perhaps because you could walk up onto the roof and see the architectural marvels up close.





The EXPO is a modern day version of the World's Fair and Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life Theme was particularly tasty. I got some Bangladeshi curry and momos for dinner and washed it down with a BeerLao. The exhibits (and queues) ranged wildly for each host country. The US wasn't stunning but the high-ropes course for Brazil was wildly popular. The Middle Eastern countries with money, created elaborate facilities, but the poorer countries in Africa, and South and Central America didn't do much more than put up a few museum exhibits. I did learn a lot about food around the world, but I think the most interesting thing I saw goes to Estonia for their national sport of Kiiking; basically standing on a rigid swing and flipping over the hinged point!



The following day, I visited the RSE lab to discuss the experiments we're running in collaboration with them. Maurizio was kind enough to go out to dinner with me and show me the Navigli District - where the Leonardo da Vinci-designed canals transported stone to the cathedral for centuries.


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http://adventurejay.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry150922-194037 2015-09-23T00:00:00Z 2015-09-23T00:00:00Z
Climbing at Palomas Palomas last weekend. In my injured condition with limited mobility, I still managed to suffer up People Mover (5.6). Then we headed over to meet up with the rest of the crew and do a few 8's. Kelly knocked out Wavy Gravy, Trigger Happy, and Pussy Whipped at the end of the day, while I kicked back and belayed. Lance and I were in full retard mode and laughing about everything. I bought out my wall chair to chill too! I will make one suggestion: bring shoes for the hike in/out, especially when leaving in the dark.





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http://adventurejay.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry150830-190524 2015-08-31T00:00:00Z 2015-08-31T00:00:00Z
Paragliding Lessons
I've been taking classes with Chuck at Enchanted Air Paragliding and I've been progressing quickly. We did a day of front inflations, ground kiting, low tow-in's, and then a couple higher tow-ins to get me ready for releasing from tows. I finally released from the tow at dusk last Tuesday and Chuck gave me the nod for higher weekend flights.

After two weeks of training with Chuck, we went out to the middle of nowhere near Tome and I did my first high tow. I met some of the crew: Jim, David, and Larry. Jim looks at me and asks how many releases I've done at the Balloon Fiesta fields. I tell him, "One," and he looks surprised and says, "Well, it must have been a real good one then!"

Getting hooked up to a truck with a mile of empty, straight gravel road ahead got my blood pumping. With that driving distance it's possible to hoist the pilot hundreds of feet into the air (~1000ft/mile). I'm going through my preflight with everyone watching and there's a lot running through my head to ensure the flight goes safely: lockouts, weaklink failures, checking surges, all the training instructions, etc. I had an ok inflation and takeoff, and then tried to keep things lined up for the 6 minute drive. The air was much more dynamic at altitude so it was challenging to maintain the perfect heading. As the truck reached the end of the road, I comfortably held the release for about 25 seconds, wanting to eek out every last foot of gain I could get. I pulled the handle and the release was clean. I was flying somewhere between 500-800 ft above the ground! I did my best to practice a few turns, but they were painfully slow - something that I will have to perfect in the future. I didn't make it all the way back to the intersection LZ, but was able to come into the wind along the road for my landing. I didn't get out of the seat early enough but otherwise a nice landing and a great first high-altitude flight!



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http://adventurejay.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry150809-183433 2015-08-10T00:00:00Z 2015-08-10T00:00:00Z
Crested Butte Mountain Biking is Incredible


Saturday, I planned out a monster ride which linked trails 403, 401, and Snodgrass into a 30 mile, ~5400 ft day. At first reluctant, I successfully talked Josiah, Briana, Karl, and Rose to do it with me. Weather was perfect and the wildflowers were out in the Elks at the higher elevations. The climbing was warm but the riding was spectacular, albeit muddy from all the recent rain. We smoked the first climb and dropped down 401 with muddy roots and streams and a collection of steep obstacles. Josiah and I let go of the brakes and screamed down to the valley a good 10 minutes ahead of the rest of the gang. We then climbed up to 403 and suffered the steep, muddy climb up to the meadow. It was unrelenting and I red-lined a little too hard and tore up my throat from heavy breathing. After a long recovery, we dropped down 401 (one of the best rides in the country!) and smoothly carved through seas of wildflowers. Lower down we playfully plowed through mud pits and crossed swollen streams and eventually worked our way to the one-horse town of Gothic, where we indulged in ice cream and sugary drinks. Lastly, climbed up Snodgrass, navigated some fun tight trees, and rolled back around to the other side of Gothic Mountain and the cars. An completely satisfying mini-epic and a perfect weekend remedy from work and women issues I desperately needed.






Forgot my gloves at the house so I used Karl's clean room liners for the descents.


Top of the 2nd climb. 4000' of gain at his point.






Larger

Sunday, Sam, Karl, Rose and I managed to get another nice ride before the rain started: Upper Loop to Lupine to Lower Loop and Budd Trail. Not nearly as crazy as Saturday, but still a solid 2k of climbing. We packed everything up in the rain and headed back to burque.



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http://adventurejay.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry150809-171418 2015-08-10T00:00:00Z 2015-08-10T00:00:00Z
AMRC Guideline, Mike and Tammy Wedding, Winsor MTB


I showed up late for the AMRC guideline training, but made myself somewhat useful by helping set up the full strength anchor at the bottom, getting hauled to the top (wee!), and then running the main for lower sequence. I left early for Mike and Tammy's wedding - so I really got it from Zak and company.








Mike and Tammy had a small, quaint wedding in the South Valley. I played the role of photographer and did my best to get a few nice shots of the ceremony and reception. I think they turned out fairly well.








On Sunday, Mike, Allison, and eventually Mike #2 climbed the 4000' up Winsor to the Santa Fe ski area on bikes. The rivers were up so we played in the stream crossings to avoid the summer heat :) I ripped the descent and only managed to crash hard once! Stupid bush got me.


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http://adventurejay.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry150714-193135 2015-07-15T00:00:00Z 2015-07-15T00:00:00Z
4th of July in San Diego



The following day, Jason did a big bike ride while I took Chama on a 6 mile loop in Penasquitos Canyon. I do like the idea of having a dog, but I travel too much to make it practical. Jason and I rode the 20 miles to the marina on Saturday because the holiday crowds were insane. Plus, it's fun in a sadistic way to ride with an ex-pro racer. Jason's so hard to hang with - he's tiny and leaves near-zero draft for me to catch a break. We sailed to Catalina Island on the 24' Newport with a Jason's friend, Justin and his girlfriend, had pizza and beer and then meandered around the bay waiting for dark. At 9pm, the 3 barges in San Diego Bay fired up their shows. We were motor-sailing between all of them. The reflections off the water were spectacular! I did my best to get a few photos, but the movement of the boat made it tough.














Sunday, we did a check-out sail on the 27' Catalina with a couple joining the TPSC. I didn't get any tiller time, but it was still a great sail with 12+ mph winds. We drove straight to the airport from the marina, and fortunately I was delayed 45 minutes, because I was able to watch the US dominate Japan in the 1st half of Women's World Cup final with everyone at Gate 8. I headed to Denver for 3 days of rain and NREL meetings and then finally back to ABQ. ]]>
http://adventurejay.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry150714-185846 2015-07-15T00:00:00Z 2015-07-15T00:00:00Z
Dro and Nicole Wedding Rivers and Tides), went over to ride the slides in Seward Mini Park, got a burrito in the Castro (in celebration of the Supreme Court ruling...although the Mission District burritos are supposedly better) and then had a beer in Mission Dolores Park. I love that park!









Mid-afternoon I split with Matt and went over to Chris and Anna's to watch the women's world cup game and then drive up to a great AirBnB I reserved north of Bodega Bay. The house was great with a sunroom that looked out onto the rocky coast and Sonoma Coast State Park trails along the cliffside. I spent the morning exploring the beaches while Chris and Anna did a long run. Then Russell met up with us and we all got brunch in Cape Fear Cafe in Dunkin Mills. The drive was spectacular along the Russian River because the sun was finally breaking through the morning marine layer. We headed up to a mountaintop retreat (cult center?) outside of Tyrone, reunited with a great group of friends, and witnessed a charming wedding.




The reception was in Bodega Bay and hosted a number of characters from the SOTD (Stallions of the Dawn crew from NREL '06), sailing trips to BVI and SVG, and others along the way. Sadly, Paul and Pearl didn't make it, but with their newborn, they can certainly be forgiven. It was great to have T$, Russ, Chris, and Dro together again - we're a crazy gang and sooo much fun. Where else can you talk about (and plan) renewable energy startups and nudist communes in the same breath? When all the toasts, dances, and G&Ts had come to an end, we retired to the AirBnB place, assembled a 500 piece puzzle (for some reason?). I couldn't get everyone onboard but I took a midnight walk on the beach with T$ and her fiancé.






Sunday, we had a lovely brunch with the wedding crew, and then retreated to the bay area again. Chris and Anna took me to a great Berkeley Indian place, Vik's Chaat, for dinner and then I was off to the airport. Great weekend with amazing old friends!]]>
http://adventurejay.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry150625-184200 2015-06-26T00:00:00Z 2015-06-26T00:00:00Z
PVSC in New Orleans and Taos Search
Got a chance to meet Rachel and Jack for dinner. Not much chance to see that side of my family since they're so far away. I took advantage of the easy French Quarter access to social and have a beignet and hurricane or two.

The highlight as usual was the Sun Run. We managed to get a team together this year and Hot Carrier Injection tied for first place. Thanks Jack and Birk! I ran the 2.81 mile 5K in 18:33 (20:45 pace) and egged Jack on enough to have him out-sprint me at the end :) But either way, I earned my 5th Larry Kazmerski tie.









On Saturday, I grew restless and went up to camp with Kelley and crew for her birthday. I found them at sunset at Lower Hondo CG. Kelley, Francisco, and Amanda had just finished Wheeler and were completely content to relax by the fire. Stephanie and I just showed up to party and eat s'mores. I randomly met my work colleague in the campsite, so I asked Carrie to join us. Matt rolled in about 10:30 and Alyse ended up nearby.

At 0700 the next morning, the AMRC crew (Matt, Alyse, Jeff, and I) met at TSV parking area - turned incident base to search for a missing 61 year old male. Instead of getting a blackhawk ride to the top, we had to hike the 4200 ft up Yerba Trail to Lobo Peak. Justin from Atalaya SAR, jumped on our team and we ran a long, hot mission up to the ridge, down the ridge, into the steep drainage, and eventually back to the trail. After 7 hours we heard the death code come across the radio. We were only 0.1 miles from the find, so we traversed to meet Team 31 and assess the situation. I couldn't call the IC directly (no coverage) so our team headed back to base to sort out the recovery.

I let IC know the situation 2000 ft, 1.7 miles, and 20 stream crossing separated the team from the TH. They needed the body bag, litter, etc. At about 6pm, I made the decision to go home and not help out with the recovery (a combination of fatigue, plenty of help on scene, and busy work day Monday). Alyse and Matt did however bring supplies up to the group - putting their climbing somewhere north of 6000 ft for the day! Bravo! The body was recovered somewhere around midnight, putting the end to a week's worth of searching and providing closure for the family.

This mission was well covered in the national news because the patient was the White House Chef for Clinton and Bush. Some of the reports include: ABC, ABC again, New York Times, CNN, NPR, Taos News, and HuffPo.








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http://adventurejay.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry150622-202537 2015-06-23T00:00:00Z 2015-06-23T00:00:00Z
Visiting parents in IL
I helped my dad set up the first half of his latest sculpture: a jousting knight for the Abbey Ridge Brewery. I also helped with his latest film project by manning the mic boom for a couple scenes while he directed. The film included a climbing segment so I brought a bunch of gear with me from Albuquerque. I was the safety officer and had to set up a few shots of the actors trad climbing. It wasn't easy since they didn't have any climbing experience, but we made it work. The route I liked the best was at Devil's Stand Table in Giant City and completely stunning--so it should look great in the film. We were lucky to have a stunt double to actually lead the route, otherwise I was going to have to lower the actor onto the face. The final shot of the climbing scene was the climber falling, so dad and I set up a green screen behind the trampoline with bamboo. Hopefully it all worked out even with the 13-year cicadas screaming.










For the rest of the week, we took a couple bike rides, delivered art to the Alto Winery, loaded and distributed mulch, setup the pool, listened to the Woodbox Gang in Carbondale, played board games, and hiked the trail.






On Saturday, it was Ed's wedding reception. Ed and I were best friend's in jr. and sr. high school and I went to Peru with him a couple times. The wedding was a small gathering, but it was nice to finally meet Danielle and see friends from years ago. Terry is farming and Ivan is trucking. Ivan also started his family with a couple kids. Steve's mostly the same: still scheming to get back to Peru and probably happy to have his kids out of the nest.



At the end of the trip we swung by Washington to visit my grandparents. They are still living alone in their house despite the growing list and severity of ailments. As an early Father's Day gift, the family gave grandpa shirts to help him get back to his wife. With his alzheimer's he's been known to get lost from time to time.




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http://adventurejay.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry150613-141353 2015-06-13T00:00:00Z 2015-06-13T00:00:00Z
Iron Horse Bicycle Classic 2015
The ride was a go at 6am and Mike, Allison, and I geared up. They were poaching the ride from the condo, so I rode down to the start alone. I found a spot in the 2nd row with Josiah, Briana, Tony, and Sam and we counted down to the start. They were all giving me a hard time about my thick winter gloves in the 55 degree morning, but I thought they might be needed later. When the whistle blew - we were off in the front peloton. By mile 2 Josiah said he wanted to drop off, but I yelled to stay with the lead group and bridged the gap. Unlike last year, the police transport was quick enough to spread out the riders and it was much safer. I found my spot in the front 10 folks and happily sat in the draft. Around mile 5, I could feel a little bouncy softness in my bike and feared the worst. When we hit the train tracks in Hermosa (mile 11), my front rim hit the pavement and I was forced to pull out of the 6th spot in the ride. I watched as the first set of hundreds of riders passed as I pulled out the pump, and the next wave of hundreds of riders pass as I popped the wheel off, and then another set of riders as. As my friends passed they said, "Oh no, Jaaayy. Sorry!" I pumped up the front and decided to ride before a full tube replacement. Hopefully the slime would do it's job. It did work fairly well, but I didn't get enough air in, and I wasn't able to stand for any of the first climbs. At the first aid station, I got a floor pump and returned it to 100 psi (from 20 psi!!). The rest of the ride was hard, but mostly uneventful. I got over Coalbank slowly and at a low heart rate. I couldn't stand at all because my right hamstring was on the verge of cramping. After a ripping, freezing, water-covered descent at 45 mph (glad I brought those gloves now!), the snow started and wind howled. It was painful for 10 minutes starting up Molas, but then relented. I climbed weakly and on the last 300 ft to the pass, my hamstring finally cramped up and I had to grab it hard to keep it operating. I tucked the hill into Silverton and rode strong to the finish as all the people lined the street yelling, "Come on, you can beat the train. You're going to make it!" 3 hr, 40 min for my first Iron Horse (6300 ft of climbing over 50 miles). Not bad considering I flatted and cramped. Plus, I showed up somewhere around when the train came in: I think it got to town before me, but hadn't finished parking (so call that what you will). Had a couple drinks with the crew at Montanya as the snows began and then shuttled back to the condo with M&A.



[Bigger]

We rallied and hit the town with everyone that evening. What a fun bike gang.

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http://adventurejay.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry150518-204928 2015-05-19T00:00:00Z 2015-05-19T00:00:00Z
AMRC Search/Recovery 5-15-15




After 6 hours of that nonsense, we returned to incident base, chowed down in the police van, and were reassigned. To our luck, there was a break in the police case: a witness saw the subject on the cliff-side of the crest railing at a particular location. The witness reported that the patient looked very troubled and kept returning to the same spot along the cliff. I followed the APD officer up to the crest and he brought us south to the location. We built and anchor and rapped down the ~70 ft cliff and began searching. At this point, the weather had turned further south, the snow was picking up and coating the steep low-angle terrain. The winds started picking up as well. Craig, Andreas, and I split up to search along the cliffs. It took some time, but as we keep working our way down the hill, Andreas finally made the find. I radioed in the death code on the police radio and our search changed over to a recovery mission. It took quite some time to get APD down to take photos, so I ascended back up to get gear for the low-angle operation: a 200' rope, skedco, and rigging kit. At this point the lightning-thunder gaps were getting shorter, the winds were up to 30 mph, and it was snowing like crazy. It was very difficult to navigate the terrain or see into the wind. I ran the sked and rope down to the body. After the APD officer got photos, Andreas and I tied her into the rope system, put her in the body bag, and then packaged her into the sked. I went back up to get a 3:1 system setup, but found that that 200' rope wasn't going to make it, so I spliced it to the main for the high angle. I built a quick re-direct to get the rope up the low angle gully and Andreas manned the litter. I took over at the re-direct and we connected the sked into the belay the base of the cliff, added a tagline, and got the sked to the edge. Unfortunately the sked caught a minor underhang and the tagline attached to the foot was nearly useless to dislodge it. Kerry managed to get a hand to the sked to dislodge it and the haul team pulled it up over the edge. The three people below loaded up gear and climbed up with a hand line north of the high-angle system. Lightening was within a mile and the winds were 40-50 mph and there was 3 inches of snow accumulation at this point. It was my 13th hour of the mission when I jogged into the crest parking lot. We fled the storm, debriefed at the ski area, set gear out to dry in the cache, and I headed home for much needed sleep.

This missing-person's story got a lot of press. Here's a few of the news items:
KRQE May 11, KRQE May 12, KRQE May 13, KRQE May 16, Albuquerque Journal May 16, KOAT May 16.





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http://adventurejay.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry150516-151622 2015-05-16T00:00:00Z 2015-05-16T00:00:00Z
12 Hours of Mesa Verde



Thursday, Folks got together for a chill south foothills MTB ride and pizza dinner at Bonnie's.




Friday, we drove up to Cortez and camped out. The weather was cold and wet. In the morning it was 35 degrees and snowing lightly. I was on the starting line scraping mud out of my bike cleats minutes before the starting blast went off. It was an honor to be the lead-off rider for Josiah and my duo team, VaJayJoe. The start of the race involved a sprint to our bikes, so I did my best to get to the front of the group before clicking in; I did fairly well and was in the top 50 people or so of ~400 teams leaving the staging area. I hit the gas to hit the trails in good position but entered the singletrack breathing hard. At mile 5 the fat snow started dumping hard, but the course was tons of fun - great flowy singletrack with small rocky obstacles and some spots of exposure. By mile 8, the race was spacing out and I was riding at a normal pace and my sunglasses were fogged up so I put them in the collar of my shirt. Not much longer I caught my backpack on a low tree branch, ripping my mesh pocket with my garage clicker (stupid) and flinging my glasses somewhere. I was in tight trees with people behind me, so I just kept riding. The mud was really getting insane by mile 10 and I could barely ride large sections without fishtailing everywhere. Some people were taking the decents really slow--which was driving me crazy--but ultimately kept me on the trail, which is probably a good thing. In the rib cage I was stranded behind someone riding the brakes but for the last 5 miles I was mostly clear and just struggling to keep the bike moving in the right direction. A one point, I couldn't make a climb and as soon as I put my foot down it slid in the mud and I fell on my bike. The final drop back to the starting line went well and I was happy to be turning to torch over to my teammate, but when I got there they said there was a 2 hour delay. I got in at 1:40ish and in those conditions, I thought that was a solid effort. I hosed my bike off for a long while and went to warm back up in the tent while the other two teams came in.






At noon, they cancelled the race. We had spaghetti and beer, and most racers headed home. We decided to camp another night, so we could ride the course in the morning. The storm broke and we had slow races (trackstand practice), an RV party with Mike and Tammy, and a great camp fire. In the morning everyone went out for a ride, but my bike was in no shape to make another full lap with chain rust and dirt so I bailed after 6 miles.




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http://adventurejay.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry150507-170349 2015-05-08T00:00:00Z 2015-05-08T00:00:00Z
AMRC OCC Final Weekend with additional Ski/Climb/Cave/Bike








Kendrick and I grabbed pizzas at Il Vicino in Santa Fe and then worked our way out to Diablo Canyon. He convinced me to climb Post Moderate (though we ended up on Hellboy at the top) to level the score from the skiing. Kendrick made it look easy on lead - I, on the other hand, managed to unconfidently work my way up grunting and cursing. The crux of the 2nd pitch gave Kendrick pause and he had to downclimb and rework the problem a couple times. On top rope it wasn't as daunting and I pulled though. We rapped off the mid-pitch anchors as AMRC members started showing up.







The OCC crew, fresh from their NM SAR Field Certification testing, arrived at Diablo around 8:30. They were given a mock scenario to find a fallen climber, Shaniqua La Fonda, based on a few cell phone GPS coordinates. My team ended up wandering around east of the canyon for a while until the patient was located. We brought up ropes and rigging kits for the low angle rescue and set up 4 sequential anchors down to a trail to IB. I finally got my Baofeng radio programmed and it came with this very nice feature where you can listen to the radio until a communication comes in - we selected the mariachi music on 94.7. After a long, slow lower we made it back to the camp at 1am, debriefed, and then pitched camp.

In the morning, we started with the test-out stations. I manned the rigging station with Hans and Angela. Once everyone was finished, I went to the Styx wall and did a couple 5.7 top-rope climbs (one by belaying myself with a grigri - that was new). After lunch we went down to the Rio and cooled off. Kevin, Sarah, and I piled into Kendrick's Jeep and off-roaded a little on the way back to camp.






A storm was moving in, so we used the afternoon to watch Cliffhanger in Justin's van and go spelunking at Buckman Cave. The OCC crew went up there without a rope - so it was only Kendrick, Gio, and I that got any quality cave time. We covered much of the same areas that Mike and I explored a couple years ago. But this time we went a little deeper to a place labelled "Hell" with an arrow down a ~60 ft pit. It was a dead-end, but that was the farthest I've gotten so far. There is another big rappel from the big room with a triangular hole in the ceiling - guess we'll get to that one next time. I did also manage to avoid ascending the 1st rap with a tight squeeze and 20 ft of aid climbing. The first drop can be avoided in the future to save the rope for the lower sections.







As we got back to camp, the BBQ party was in full swing. The OCCers passed their tests so they officially joined the team. They were given their 8 mm cordelettes and Verena was awarded a grigri for her outstanding work in the class. A fire was built up and then we got the idea to have radium release hitch tying races. A week before, I claimed I could tie one in 30 seconds, but only got it down to 35 seconds before sharing the video with the class. Supra soon after sent me a video on FB that showed a 30 sec radium. So now it seems this has become a thing. I was paired up with Nick, the new guy, and I lost terribly... Supra beat him, and Lance won it all in the end. How funny to be tying knots at midnight. I also partook in some champagne and a couple beers at the fire, breaking my 26-day alcohol-less stretch. I had been trying to get a little more fit for mountain biking racing, but this party seemed worth breaking the drought.







Sunday, I was originally slated to ride the high road to Taos with Briana and company, but she got sick and cancelled. I chose to use my sunday to ride to the Santa Fe Ski Area. It was a tough climb and my knee started bothering me midway up. I dialed back the speed and eventually made it to the top - 30 miles and 4400 ft of climbing. ]]>
http://adventurejay.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry150504-193031 2015-05-05T00:00:00Z 2015-05-05T00:00:00Z
OCC Training at Big Block
The afternoon was devoted to a few specific skills: rap/ascension transitions and knot passes.







Afterwards everyone went over to Paulie's place to BBQ. The best part for me is feeling like I'm finally starting to get to know some of the new crew :)



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http://adventurejay.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry150426-185647 2015-04-27T00:00:00Z 2015-04-27T00:00:00Z
Mid-April AMRC Activities


Friday, I spent the day planting 10 Cypress and Austrian Pines at my house. I also got a big load of mulch to redo the backyard landscaping after years of 40-50 mph winds stealing my woodchips. By the end of the day the driveway was clear and my back was aching.




On Saturday, I was ready to work with the OCC class at the AFD fire tower, but at 6:30am a mission text came in. Andy, suggested I joined a few other AMRC folks to go out and look for a 51 year old female who was lost in Manzano Mountain State Park. We spent the day running a grid search in the Park, but with no sight of the woman. The following day, the sad news came in that the woman was found dead.



Saturday night was Briana's birthday party. I've been taking a month off alcohol so I DD'ed for the Effex revelers. Quite the scene with ~10 friends in the rooftop moshpit. I got everyone home sometime around 2am and passed out from sheer exhaustion.



Sunday, I joined Mike, Allison, Jordan, and Tom on a mountain bike ride in the south Manzanos. We did the Southern Crossing to Ponderosa, Gamble Oak, and Deadman for 16 relaxed miles in the warm afternoon. When I got home an AMRC pageout stated someone was involved in a 20' fall and had head and leg injuries. I rushed to the crest parking lot, and jogged 3 miles with Frank and Supra to the base of Chaos Crag (by Yataghan). When we got down there, we found that a UNM Reach and Treat and APD were already on scene and they said there was no head trauma, and no major swelling of the feet or legs. The helo was called off and we walked the patient to the La Luz Trail and littered him the 5 miles back down to the TH over 4 hours of agony. Fortunately, there was a lot of help and we moved fairly fast. AFD was nice enough to give us all a lift back to our vehicles and we signed out at 1:30am. I was in bed at 2:30 and made no attempt to make it to work on time Monday.




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http://adventurejay.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry150418-154543 2015-04-18T00:00:00Z 2015-04-18T00:00:00Z
AMRC mission, training, and the Super Monster



Because I was teaching the Operational Core Curriculum (OCC) class for the new AMRC members the next morning, I left the rig at my house overnight. I wonder what the neighbors thought?



In the morning, I was in charge of teaching the OCC raises and lowers. We covered the main and belay, litter rigging, and communications. Overall everyone was very attentive and excited to be out at white wash for the day. We did 3 1/2 lowers/raise transitions and then a low angle exit with a knot pass. Fun times with the newbies!





Sunday, I woke up with the crazy idea of riding the Manzano Monster Loop from my house. Powered by a couple cold slices of pizza, I suffered the thing out over ~6 hours. It wasn't so bad except I managed to endo right away on the descent to Otero and badly bruise the palm of my right hand. That made the remaining 25 miles of dirt pretty painful. Then I stopped in the AMRC cache to get more water. The winds weren't insane, but it still hurt coming home through the canyon. 57.5 miles and 4,676 ft on knobby tires!

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http://adventurejay.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry150413-190730 2015-04-14T00:00:00Z 2015-04-14T00:00:00Z
Rio Grand Racecourse Rafting and Closing Day at Taos


Jason was out on Friday and we hiked the rocks. Gorgeous sunset as always.



On Saturday Jeff and I met up with Mike and the outdoor rec river crew to do some laps on the racecourse. If I wasn't busy with mountain rescue the next few weeks, I would consider becoming a guide with that outfit. I layered up in my wetsuit and dry top so the cold wasn't too bad - Jason even ran it in the IK and was comfortable. We had 4 boats of 3 paddlers and ran it at 1000-1100 cfs, which gave it a nice pace, a few more options for lines, and lots of excitement when we high-sided on Big Rock (twice!). Some of us grabbed dinner at Taos Mesa Brewing and then camped out by the Taos Junction Bridge.








In the morning, Jeff and I headed up to Taos for the (original) closing day. We met up with Jason, Mugzy, and Victor and did a few runs and a lap on Kachina. I wore a onesie for fun (the tradition continues). In the afternoon, Jeff jumped in the Lego Man costume for the pond skimming competition. Only a few people made it across, and when he lost sight of the first jump's landing, there wasn't hope for him in the pond. Great time and Jeff managed to get 2nd place (primarily for the awesome costume)!





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http://adventurejay.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry150409-211654 2015-04-10T00:00:00Z 2015-04-10T00:00:00Z
Taos Yurt Weekend








Jason tried to drive me up closer to the Yurt but the Northside crew turned us back. Instead I got to skin the full 2 miles with a well-loaded pack. After 1.5 hours, I got to the yurt as the dark got too thick to see anymore. Exhausted, I got the cabin fire going, turned on the gas lights, and cooked up some tea. Eventually, I made my way into my sleeping bag, but Josiah, Briana, and Mike arrived right as I was falling asleep about 10:30. At 1:30, they finally turned in after giving up on Bonnie and Dave. But, lo and behold, D&B did make it in after 2am, after postholing for much of the upper stretch of the hike. I finally got shut eye sometime after 2:30, gah!

The next day, Mike and I risked the considerable to high avalanche danger to make a low-angle adventure towards Wheeler. We climbed up close to Fraser Mountain, had a summit beer, summitted Bull-of-the-Woods mountain and then skied tight trees back to the yurt. It was a fun little tour and great to ski in the Taos backcountry again. After the inbounds crew returned, the party kicked up and I cooked up a monster pot of rice, beans, mushrooms, and onions for everyone. As we were about to turn in, and to everyone's surprise, Kaela and Kelley showed up around midnight! We rallied and busted out the twister and charades.







Sunday, we worked our way down the icy death luge back to Twining. By the time we were skiing, the sun had baked the snow and it was hero spring conditions. I finally got to take a couple laps on Kachina with lift service!! I appreciate the ease of skiing mainstreet and the K Chutes, but it's moguled up, top to bottom, so it's not nearly as fun as it used to be. And the summit experience isn't the same as when you had to hike 45 minutes to the top. Oh well, I'll be happy when they open up Lake Fork Peak as a sidecountry run.



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http://adventurejay.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry150329-162012 2015-03-29T00:00:00Z 2015-03-29T00:00:00Z
Spring Cycling



I took a Friday ride with Mike, Allison, Briana, and Josiah in the north foothills a couple weeks ago. The wind was howling so when I caught the downhill, down-wind stretch toward the Rock Garden, I let it fly! Everything was great until it wasn't. I caught a compression, and as I exited, I couldn't hold the turn and high-sided. The road rash got me on both knees and my chin. Dang! I decided the order of operations was to procure beer before scrubbing the wounds. Everyone headed back to Mike and Allison's house for a BBQ and I was lucky enough that Nurse Allison let me use the shower and then bandaged me up.





Later, Mike and I made a Saturday of riding White Mesa and Red Mesa. White Mesa was as fun as always, but Red Mesa was new, super techy loose shale, and involved a lot of walking and cursing. Worth trying out once, but I don't know if I'm going to do that again anytime soon. (There are a couple fun slickrock areas out there though; so if these could be linked properly, it would be killer riding.)




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http://adventurejay.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry150329-154026 2015-03-29T00:00:00Z 2015-03-29T00:00:00Z
Opus Hut!!
The following day we did low angle laps on the pass and got some nice turns in. The snowpack danger was high (4/5) so we knew we wouldn't be skiing anything super exciting. My hip flexor was angry so I didn't stay out too long, but I did take a sunset lap with Andy and Bill.







The next day Justin and I tried to trigger an avalanche (while he was on belay), but no dice. The snowpack had solidified with the freeze thaw cycles. We skied some nice powder and then suffered back down the icy road to a Zia Taqueria lunch. Fun times with the mountain rescue family.


"A group of friends from Albuquerque Mountain Rescue spent the weekend ski touring at the OPUS hut in Colorado's San Juans in March 2015. The full moon and strangely warm weather was perfect for slipping away from the extended apres party to snag a picture of the cozy building."

Some more pictures are here.]]>
http://adventurejay.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry150317-175900 2015-03-18T00:00:00Z 2015-03-18T00:00:00Z
Todd and Kat's Wedding








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http://adventurejay.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry150314-151622 2015-03-14T00:00:00Z 2015-03-14T00:00:00Z
SF Race and Taos Pow
On Saturday I managed to redeem myself (at least partially) in the Santa Fe race with a 17/49 finish. Still no gold, but I felt I raced reasonably well. I skied the rest of the day with Chad and Nelson (a killer ex-CU racer from Steamboat).



That night I crashed out by the fire at Steve's place and the skied the next Taos powder day with Jason, Briana, Josiah, and a few other regulars. We caught the rope drop on Longhorn and I pointed them for one of my finest skiing lines ever. There was 17" on the weekend and 12" fresh from the night before. Then we caught the backside rope drop and got in the backseat and rode it like we stole it. Yehaww! Jen and Kirk joined us for the end and I discovered a stellar line I'm calling "Longhorn Trees" which nearly got our passes pulled - but we didn't cut any ropes that I saw ;)



The next weekend was the Taos race, but 44" of snow (epic!) over the last week shut it down for the weekend. I drove up with Mario on his 36th bday. There was 8" of snow in my driveway(!) and the while drive was terrible. Luckily the Outback recently was upgraded with Nokian Hakkapeliitta WRG3s - the best freaking snow tires ever. I ripped passed semis at 60 mph in 6 inches of snow on the interstate without any issue. Taos was limited again with all the bombing, plus the lines were crazy long (even worse on Sunday), but I got some good skiing on the frontside, Pollux, Pipeline, Lorelei. The back did eventually open, I hiked one, and then ran into Nelson, MR, Kate, and
Anniken for a quick run in Hunzis - it was neeple-deep (bottomless) and I couldn't feel any bumps below me at all! I linked up with Jeff and Mario after that and jumped off the 7 footer by the base of the Kachina lift. In the process I managed to injure my hip; I don't know what it was about the landing (in a lot of powder) that caused it but I strained my quad somehow. Jeff jumped off next and tweaked his knee so there's something about that spot that isn't right. I did a couple more runs, but decided that I needed to recover.





We went out to Taos Mesa Brewing and The Alley Cantina for Mario's birthday. Mike and Melissa also joined us for dinner at the brewery. The blues band was deafening though, so we had to head out early. I went 3/3 on shuffleboard at the Alley Cantina and then went back to Steve's to have a final beer with Mark and Sam. The next day, I decided at the last minute to ski, popped some ibuprofen, and sat in line all the way to the TSV. The crowd was the worst I've ever seen it - but I met up with Justin, Leigh, and RJ so we snuck around in the frontside trees. The powder was waist-deep! The best Taos conditions that I've ever seen. Justin and I kept running North American and then we caught Werner to Longhorn right after the rope drop. It was spectacular and I did the little rock drop without hurting myself! When people headed home, I fortunately ran into instructor Scott and skied until the last chair. Not bad for a cripple, but it was so fun all day, it was hard to resist.





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http://adventurejay.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry150302-210059 2015-03-03T00:00:00Z 2015-03-03T00:00:00Z
Hearti Gras and Saab Sell Gypsyphonic Mardi Gras Mixtape. A couple pubs later, we cruised back to the house to have gumbo and explore the party scene: love room, kissing booth, room filled with balloons, body painting, DJ zone, etc. What a celebration!












I also paid the 1975 Saab 99 forward to Abe. The history of that ripping award-winning ('93 Saab autocross winner) car continues and now I'm down to a single vehicle!

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http://adventurejay.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry150302-194423 2015-03-03T00:00:00Z 2015-03-03T00:00:00Z
Taos Powder



When I got finished with my last run of the day, I saw Steve hanging around the base. He agreed to let us crash at his house in exchange for dinner supplies. We cooked up a great fajita dinner with a salad + spiralized cucumber and carrots. (I'm embarassed by how much I love that spiralizer.) The great thing about Steve's place is that it also comes with a hot tub and home brew!

The following day, Mike and I skied with Briana all day. Taos opened the West Basin for the first time so we hit St. B's, Zdarsky, Stauffy Trib, and Waterfowl, which was chock full of rocks. Where the snow was good, it was great, but there was still plenty of dodging to do in the Basin, Pierre's, Reforma, Longhorn, Lorelei, Al's, etc. After 5 hikes, we celebrated the sunny day with a beer at the Bav and then pointed the Outback south again.



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http://adventurejay.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry150202-204959 2015-02-03T00:00:00Z 2015-02-03T00:00:00Z
The 22 Hour Saturday very conservative line for my first and ended up missing the 2nd run by a minute or two because Kaela and I took a long run down the ridge and they closed the course just before I got there. Bummer. I ran the gates without timing for fun and pushed much harder - felt like I shaved a good 0.5-1.0 seconds on my first run's time. Now I'm going to have to smoke Santa Fe to make up for my poor performance.

Kaela and I played on the backside in the afternoon. We hiked up and did a nice run on Detonator which still had powder on the fringes.

(Angel Fire's world class mountain biking trails with a few feet of snow.)


On our way back we stopped off at Kevin and Mary Kay's place to have dinner. Max and Felix were entertaining the crowd and we were having a wonderful time catching up, when an AMRC text came in. I didn't have any gear, but Kevin said he could wrestle up a headlamp and some crampons for me. We sped up the crest and were fielded as Team 2 by BCFD. We rushed down La Luz and plowed through waist deep shortcut powder to catch Andreas and Jeff in Team 1. BCFD sent in 4 of their people ahead of us; they found the patients just below on the trail near the Fin. The male and female, around 20, tried to get up La Luz but started postholing and soaked their shoes--then night came. The female had taken off her sopping socks and discarded them.

Kevin boiled up some miso soup and tea while I tended to foot treatment: I dried her feet and ankles, put on some dry socks, and then created a vapor barrier with trash bags before putting her feet back in the frosty tennis shoes. While there was some debate whether she could get to the top with painful arthritis in her right hip, she did eventually make it out under her own power (after 3 hours). Ironically, the firefighters took the longest. We gave them a spare set of snowshoes for the crampon gripper, but it was still a slow process. I tried to help by kicking a lot of the ice off the stairs and packed the snowy path down to the top.

Kaela had taken the car back to my house, so I got a ride with Andreas. All the doors were locked, so we banged on the bedroom window and eventually Kaela obliged to shelter me for the night. After a celebratory beer with Andreas, I crashed hard sometime after 2:30am. ]]>
http://adventurejay.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry150125-162526 2015-01-25T00:00:00Z 2015-01-25T00:00:00Z
AMRC Winter Training - Pagosa Spings
Day 1 we skinned up a forest road below the pass, and then the technicians-to-be, skied down to a ice fall. We rapped in and practiced our Abalakov (horizontal V) threads and Anderson (vertical 'A') threads. Details. I will say the one takeaway I had was that a bent coat hanger is way better than manufactured v-thread pullers. We ascended the ropes, skinned up to the rest of the group, and found a nice snow fort. Kevin wanted to know what it would be like to be buried in an avalanche so we gave him a radio and avalung and I buried him in about 3 ft of snow. He said it was cold, dark, he couldn't move, and he only panicked for a little bit before breathing normally through the avalung. He recommended the trial experience, but not the real thing.

Day 2 we ran an avalanche scenario. I was the lead beacon search member and cleared the field of 3 in a respectable 10 minutes. Then I started to work on our patient with a femur fracture before Zak came to my rescue. Overall I did an alright assessment, initial treatment, and vitals check. I didn't get a pedal pulse because of the ski boot, but should have because that's an indication to NOT to pull traction. Good to know. I built the T-slot anchor with skis and pulled the patient up with a 1:1. But this doubles the load on the anchor so a 3:1 or "drop C" is better. As a treat for the training we got to ski powerline. I was paired up with Kevin and Paul and we found some amazing first tracks in a wonderful glade. We managed to get a little lost on the way down, but found a road and got out eventually.










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http://adventurejay.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry150121-220032 2015-01-22T00:00:00Z 2015-01-22T00:00:00Z
Ski Kayaking at Sipapu





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http://adventurejay.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry150114-215212 2015-01-15T00:00:00Z 2015-01-15T00:00:00Z
Ouray Ice and Silverton Snow
New Years Day, Kaela and I went to the ice park and did an easier line in New Funtier. Kelley joined us in the afternoon for another quick climb nearby. She did fairly well for her first time with tools. Kaela also was getting the hang of things by the end of the day - and certainly looking good at it!




The next couple days, I skied Silverton. Josiah, Bri, Kaela, Justin, Leigh, Angela, Bill, Chris, Harmony, Jen, Kirk, James, Cam, and perhaps a few others were on the mountain - their record turnout (400+ people) which made the lines tough in the -10 F morning! K, Cam, and I did a hike to the Ramp for our first run, and then met up with others to explore more of the mountain. We found a nice power stash on the backside near riff raff but I caught something and junkshowed my skis everywhere. It was this, or the rough transition to the road that broke my toepiece on the Katanas. So sad!! But at least they had beer at the base and we went to Corvis Hot Springs that evening to recover. Warm water in the frozen, moonlit mountains can't be beat.

The following day I borrowed Justin's spare skis. It was my first time on Dinafits, but they did the trick and stayed on my feet. Cam did a couple runs with me - he's a phenomenal skier, so I hope he can teach me a thing or two in Taosland sometime. We did Colorado with the Josiah/Bri crowd and then more backside exploration of Mandatory Air and a Riff chute. Back at the house, after a harrowing blizzard drive, I cooked up venison stir-fry and baked pretzels for the crew. before we all went to Ouray Hot Springs for a soak.






Our final day in Ouray, Kaela and I walked around town and got treats at Mouse's. The town is so beautiful. Hopefully they're ready for the ice fest the next weekend!

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http://adventurejay.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry150106-221448 2015-01-07T00:00:00Z 2015-01-07T00:00:00Z
Christmas in WashMo, STL, and So IL
We sent to Washington, MO first and re convened the family for a nice lunch and dinner. The following day we went back to St. Louis for Christmas on my Mom's side. I managed to fix my uncle's beloved bubbles game by replacing some fuses (first time it's worked in 6 years). I think that was the best gift he's ever received for christmas in two decades :) In the morning, we did gifts with Jack, Rachel, and Jeremy Skyping on my iPad from New Orleans. Worked remarkably well.

After that we headed back to Washington to do Christmas on my Dad's side. Party of the festivities were to build Grandma (and Jolie the dog) a fenced in yard. The following day Rebecca drove down from STL to visit with me. WE reminisced about the good old days in Boulder with the NREL crew. After that came the photo day - Anne Elise and I managed to win the scavenger hunt by hitting the local thrift shop. The theme for this year was 'selfie', which I proudly won with the shot of me with ice frozen to my beard and hair. Anne Elise won 'best of year' with a shot of a lake in Guatemala.




For the last couple days of the trip, I went to my childhood home in southern Illinois. The family made the 26th annual hike (bushwhack) to Bald Knob Cross. I've done the hike every winter since I was 5 years old - so it was good to keep the tradition alive. Dad and Mom's HS friend and family from Manhattan stayed the next night and it was fun to see them catching up on the last 25 years. On my way out of town, the Johnsons, Pepples, and other Johnsons gathered in STL for a final brunch. It was nice to see Cara again - she seems to be happy and busy with work in Oakland. I'm sure I'll be out that way to see her again soon.





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http://adventurejay.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry150106-220944 2015-01-07T00:00:00Z 2015-01-07T00:00:00Z
Silverton with Briana
On Sunday, Bri and I linked up with Leigh, Justin, and Marc for a backcountry trip. We went up Country Road 52 to what I think is called King Solomon. It a a tough slog with a lot of downed trees, and then snowpack in the bowl was too unstable and we had to ski low angle trees back out to the road :(





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http://adventurejay.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry141220-215444 2014-12-21T00:00:00Z 2014-12-21T00:00:00Z