October Goings-on - Balloons and Birthdays 
Sunday, October 27, 2013, 10:33 AM - General
Posted by Administrator
October is a good time in Albuquerque because the weather is good and it's a good rest break between climbing/bikig season and skiing season. On Oct 4th, I biked out the the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta with some nob hill friends, including Kelley, Mike, Mike, Allison, Ben, Luke, Louie. The chilly ride was worth it to kick off the week long balloon fiesta in style.









That evening was the AMRC brewfest. I volunteered to man the silent auction and pack up gear - but still had plenty of time to socialize and try the Trident's Spirit Ale.

The following weekend Paul and Pearl visited. We headed out to the balloon fiesta for the mass ascension and the night glow. Leigh stopped over for some BBQing Saturday night, and we hiked around on the Sandia Crest Trail past the Kawanis Cabin. It was good to see my old Boulder friends again! The last time I saw them was at their wedding in VT a year ago.





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Moab - Oct 2013 
Monday, October 21, 2013, 07:27 AM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
Mike, Tom, and I drove up to Moab to meet Leigh, Justin, Mark, Sam, John, and Sam's sister Leana (Lele) for some canyoneering last weekend. We arrived Friday evening and met up with the crew. In the spirit of our friend Lance, Mike, Tom, and I wore wigs for the first canyon: Big Horn in Arches National Park.

The following day we went up to do the Granary - a longer and funner canyon with some large rappels. It was a great time out with a lot of great people. Back in camp, we cooked up some burgers and had a few beers, and Kenny, my old friend from IL (turned Moab kayak guide), came over to camp and we caught up.

Sunday, we ran though Not Tierdrop Canyon. The 2nd rap required building our own anchor out of rocks we found in the area. I think it would have held 1000 lbs, but it was still exciting rappelling off loose rocks.










More photos are here.
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Birthday and 'The List' 
Saturday, October 19, 2013, 08:04 AM - General
Posted by Administrator
I celebrated by birthday by biking up to the Four Hills rocks with Josiah and Leigh for the sunset and then heading down to Tractor for a couple beers. I also released a list of things that I would like to accomplish before I turn 30. It's ambitious - perhaps impossible - but why not set sights high. Here we go!

1. Ski Mt. Rainier.
2. Scuba dive a tropical reef.
3. Eat an amazing steak in Argentina.
4. Buy fat skis, shred pow, and huck a 10+ footer.
5. Bike 3,000 miles with 50,000 ft of elevation gain.
6. Climb South Maroon Peak via the Bell Cord. (Bonus points for Pyramid Peak.)
7. Mountain bike 20 miles at night.
8. Climb a high alpine route to a major summit (e.g., Ellingwood Ledges, Grand Teton).
9. Take a train from Oslo to the Norwegian fjords.
10. Become a technician on Albuquerque Mountain Rescue. (Bonus points for relearning WFR skills with a ride-along with Albuquerque Fire Department.)
11. Spend a week at burning man.
12. Go hot air ballooning.
13. Ski every named run at Taos.
14. Mountaineer in the southern hemisphere (e.g., Aconcagua, Cotopaxi, …)
15. Watch a U.S. soccer game at the world cup in Brazil.
16. Eat curry in India without getting sick.
17. Gamble in Vegas.
18. Heli-ski in South America.
19. Raft the Taos Box.
20. Attend an epic music festival (Tomorrowland?).
21. Ski Vallee Blanche from Aiguille du Midi in Chamonix. (Super bonus: do full Haute Route!)
22. Brew a tasty ale while drinking a tasty beer.
23. Canyoneer in Utah with a 100+ ft rappel.
24. Create a video of time lapse photography.
25. Party with a shot luge.
26. Climb a multi-pitch ice or mixed route.
27. Get a ski race suit and take home NASTAR gold.
28. Chase animals around the African savanna.
29. Backpack in the Canadian Rockies, e.g., Banff.
30. Get a couple more house plants.

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Mountains to the Desert Century: Telluride to Gateway 
Sunday, September 22, 2013, 07:27 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
Allison found Mike, Tom, Jeff, Boulder Mike, Kelley, Luke, and myself a killer pad in Mountain Village for the weekend. Jeff, Allison, Luke and I drove up on Friday night and kicked the party off with some grilling, loud music, and hot tub time.

The following morning we were up early for the Mountains to the Desert Century ride. I made a quick breakfast of oatmeal and lots of fruit, but with the big crew we couldn't get going in time and ended up getting to Telluride about the time of the mass start. We spent another 10 minutes looking for a parking place and then 20 more minutes getting people and bikes in the proper shape.

Out of town, Mike, Tom and I joined forces and ripped down the mountain. I pulled the big hill out of Telluride at ~45 mph for a mile and a half and then we cycled through our little peloton/echelon for another 25 miles to the first stop. We averaged a killer 28 mph for this stretch! After the rest of the group got in, we climbed the 700' to Norwood and stripped down to warm riding gear. From there the burque crew started pulling as a team with Allison and Jeff jumping in the mix. Boulder Mike stayed with Kelley for a lot of the ride and then would bolt up to us (incredibly!). After the next stop we tried to ride as a group, but even at a slow pace Kelley and others would break the pelaton in half... so it was a casual, downhill, down-wind ride with plenty of beautiful canyon scenery. Boulder Mike and I took a couple serious pulls at the beginning of the last 30 miles and broke away from the rest of the group. Tom rejoined and then I got dropped from the lead peloton at a ~25-28 mph pace in the canyon. It was sooo brutal and I was starting to feel the distance. We all stopped off at a natural spring to rehydrate and eat. I did the final 20 miles with Mike and Jeff. We rotated through the group and despite my calves staring to cramp I was pulling strong and helping drag the group to the beer tent! Perhaps the funniest part of the ride was that Boulder Mike and Tom went out to do the extra hillclimb to make it a 133 mile ride... so they came in late. Very late. In fact Tom crossed the finish line a couple feet behind Mike, but this won him the Caboose Award as the final person to come in for the day. As an ex-Ironman and all around fit BA, it was funny to have him getting his photo with the caboose trophy!

Strava Stats:
Distance 104.5mi
Moving Time 04:56:29
Elapsed Time 06:34:13
Max Speed 49.9mi/h
Avg Speed 21.1mi/h
Total Climb 2,377ft

There was an (exhausted) afterparty but we turned in quick Saturday night. Sunday we took Ophir Pass over to Silverton to get back to ABQ. The weather had turned, but it wasn't a problem with Jeff's new 4WD Tacoma.







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Rainy Weekend in Albuquerque - AMRC RL Training 
Sunday, September 15, 2013, 04:45 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
Friday night Mike and I got together to talk about the AMRC training we were running Saturday morning. Allison was also in town because, after her cycling accident, she wanted to stay with Mike so there would be someone for concussion watch and because it's good to have people look after you after a car hits you. We grabbed food at Flying Star and then hit the hot tub with Luke. At the end of the night, we had our plans settled for the morning.

Saturday morning Mike, Allison, and I drove up to the crest parking lot at 7am ahead of the AMRC team. We headed down to the Tombstone in driving, cold rain decked in the best goretex and waterproof clothing we could find! It had been raining hard (for Albuquerque) for the last 3 days and everything was muddy and soaked so the approach was atrocious and I butt skiied down the mountain at least once. Mike set up a static line to the top of pitch one and, after a little coaching, belayed Allison down to Mike. They set up the scenario, while I packed up may anchor and hiked up to the approaching team. As acting rescue leader, I guided Kerry, Zak, Mark, Sam, Tom, and Brendan down to the top of tombstone. Once there, we built the main and belay systems and sent Sam down to access the patients. (Note to self: have the first person over the edge bring hypotherma gear.) Then Zak took the litter over the edge to pick up the critical lead climber (Allison). There was some edge pro work to be done, but overall everything ran smoothly. We had some trouble getting a good throw on the 3:1, but with enough resets, the crew on top got Zak and Allison back up to the top. At the edge it was a terrible transition so we built a 5:1 to get people off the main, and then created a bridle on the head as a progress capture with my grigri. Worked great. At the top of the Tombstone we called the training complete and Mike and and Sam asended back to the top. Then it was a muddy slog back to the parking lot. We ran into Kevin at the top with his new son, Felix. That was a real treat! I haven't seen there new kid.










Sunday, I spent a long time diagnosing the leak in the garage and then went off to soccer practice. We were supposed to have a game, but the fields were too wet. In the warmups, we were shooting on Mike, and he dove for a ball and dislocated his pinky finger. David calmly reset it before I could even ofter my assistance. After that we ran some drills and then played a scrimage. It was exhausting playing 2v2 with David, Amrit, and Mike with Steve in goal. I really like the level of play of this team - some really amazing players but I can usually keep up. Go Lovelace!
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Arcs, Sparks, and Alcohol: Chicago Trip 
Thursday, September 12, 2013, 07:59 PM - Trips
Posted by Administrator
I headed to Chicago for the UL standards development meeting on PV arc-faults this week. But before that excitement, I spent the weekend with my brother in Chicagoland:

Friday night we went out for a beer at Chicago’s American Outlaws bar to watch the US get killed 3-1 to the Ticos. Not the USMNT’s best moment.

Saturday was much more cheerful. We took the train in from Joliet to Chicago, rented bikes to cruise around Millennium Park, and then rented kayaks. We got a couple stable-feeling singles and had warm, sunny weather to take a lap around Goose Island and then down to the locks on Lake Michigan. There were a LOT of other kayakers out on the water, but I was proud of my bro and I for easily sailing past them with some Southern Illinois power strokes. There were also a lot of other tour boats and motorboats out for the good weather so Josh and I dodged the behemoths and surfed the wake after they passed. Overall, it was a cool experience on the water in a big city—slipping under the bridges and through the towering skyscrapers. Afterward we got a late lunch at Goose Island Brewery. Yum. And then we grilled up some brots for dinner. Double yum.








Sunday, I forced Josh to do a little work on his decrepit car. We found a U-Pull-And-Pay style parts place and we got a hubcap, two door handles, a gas door, and a passenger seatbelt (all for less than $50!) It wasn’t too bad to get everything installed and still get a nice 5 mile hike around Swallow Cliff Woods. As an older brother, I felt it was my responsibility to introduce Josh to some tasty Belgian beers, so we tasted a Chimay and Duvel while watching the new Star Trek. Then to cap off the night we had a Tim Tam slam and some traditional Korean candy. Triple yum.




Overall the meeting went well, and on Tuesday night the US qualified for the World Cup in Brazil with a 2-0 victory over Mexico!!


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Korea! 
Thursday, September 12, 2013, 07:58 PM - Trips
Posted by Administrator
One benefit of running international renewable energy programs is you get to travel internationally. I was invited to give at talk at the 2013 Energy Tech Insight meeting in Seoul, Korea by the Korean Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning (KETEP) group to highlight my collaborative research project with the Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute (KERI).

Korea photos are here.

Amanda, a new business development person, and—for a couple days—Bob, joined me on this trip. Amanda and I got into Seoul a day early to explore the city and walk off any jetlag. Our first adventure was getting dinner on Monday night. We headed off from the hotel at around 7:00 and eventually found a place that offered Korean BBQ. Normally, you cook your own dinner on a fine metal mesh over the hot coals that they bring out, but since we didn’t know a single word of Korean, they took pity on us and helped cook our meal of Ox and Pork. The food was delicious with side dishes of Gimchi, small sardine-like fish, lettuce and sauces! You dip the cooked meat in the sauce and roll it up in the lettuce after remastering chopsticks.

Afterward I headed out alone to the Banpo-daero bridge over the Hangang River. The park along the river had a nice bike path and I was surprise to find at 10pm many young people biking and picnicking down by the water. The bikes were nice and fast, and the meals were heavy on the beer/soju. I instantly liked this place.



Tuesday, Amanda suffered jetlag much worse than I did and was up at 3am. With all the free time she did some research on places to visit, so we compared notes and then headed north into the city. We had mastered the subway at this point (absurdly easy) and went to get some food at the open-air market, Namdaemun. After that we went to Sungnyemun Gate, which was first built in 1398 to keep Seoul safe from foreign attacks. I got a little mixed up with directions at this point but eventually we located north and headed up to Deoksugung (one of the five palaces in Seoul). It was a nice grounds with great structures. The curved ceramic roofs of Korea are truly spectacular. We tried to go to Gyeongbokgung but it was closed on Tuesdays, so we wondered through Bukchon Hanok Village for a while and got some big dumplings and a bottle of sojo for lunch. Recharged, we walked to Changdeokgung and took the Secret Garden tour. It was beautiful! Small ponds and dwellings hidden in the forest. You could imagine this area looking nearly the same back in the 15th century when royalty was strolling the grounds. Jongmyo was closed (tues) so we went south to the Cheonggyecheon creek and then back north into Insadong for some shopping and ice cream treats. There was a place with amazing snorkle-shaped cones that they would inject with soft serve. They were so good!







Wednesday, we listened to Steve Chu’s keynote, were wined and dined for lunch, and I gave my smart grid presentation. We meet my Korean partners for an amazing 14 course dinner! It’s Korean culture to leave food on the table at the end of the meal to indicate that one is satisfied; and we certainly left a lot of food on the table but I would describe my condition as closer to immobilization/food coma. It was culinary madness! More food just keep coming and coming! Afterward, our hosts treated the US contingent to a boat cruise on the river. We quietly sailed through the city’s lights and pointed out the Olympic Park, Gangnam (“River South,” a rich neighborhood), and the Namsan tower.



Thursday, we spent some time at the conference, but flew down to Busan and then drove to Changwon. I was suffering from a cold that hit me on Tuesday morning, so I didn’t do much this evening.

Friday, we toured KERI’s labs and explored some of the city: the Seongjusa temple, Seongsan Shell Mound (archaeological site where seafood scraps were found), and House of Changwon (창원의집). After dinner, Amanda and I took a walk around the hotel and got some ice cream. From what I could tell, Korea’s a smoothly operating industrial engine: well-organized, clean, very safe, and I felt completely comfortable walking around at night. I liked this place.




Saturday, my colleague from KERI, Ahn, drove Amanda and I to Gyeongju for some sightseeing. We got to town, and after a little confusion over where to park, rented bikes and struck out to learn about the Silla Kingdom that controlled this region. There actually were 3 kingdoms in what’s now modern Korea: Silla, Goguryeo, and Baekje. Gyeongju was the center of this region from 57 BC to 935 AD with the 8th, 9th, and 10th centuries holding the most growth and historical artifacts. We first visted the tombs of the Silla (e.g., General Kim Yu-sin) in King Tomb Park and then biked to Anapji Pond to take in King Minmu's reconstructed dreams. We walked through the Gyeongju National Museum but then turned our attention to food. I guided the team on a slightly extended return route along the river and then we found a nice, completely empty restaurant for lunch. Ironically, the restaurant owners were eating McDonald’s and watching MLB.





The highlight of our day was traveling up into the mountains to a couple UNESCO world heritage sites. The first was Bulguksa, the stunning Buddhist Temple. The 2nd was the 8th century Seokguram Grotto, home to one of the best preserved Buddhist statues in Asia.




Ahn drove us down to the ocean to dip our feet into the freezing sea as the sun was setting. We cruised up the coast a short way along the fishing villages and then we decided it was time to find the hotel and dinner. We had stirfried Gimchi and a few bombs (sojo and beer).



The final day of the trip we popped into the Gyeongju Tower and toured the Millinium Park grounds. Ahn, Amanda, and I had a nice brunch in the sun and took the car, to a bullet train, to a train, to a plane, to a subway, to Dolores Park, to another subway, to another plane, to a shuttle, to a car, to my house. Actually, the San Francisco layover (7 hours!) was enough to spend the Sunday afternoon lounging in Mission Dolores Park in the sun and that was wonderful. Way better than sitting in the terminal.


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Sandia Super Weekend - Aug 2013 
Thursday, August 22, 2013, 10:10 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
I got up at 7:30am Saturday morning to do the round the mountain ride. The few few miles weren't too bad but there was a head wind heading up to Bernallilo. Then the climbing started. I was going fine until the gravel road, where I ran out of water and catastrophically bonked. I was only on the last 3 miles of gravel before intersecting the crest road but without water it was hopeless. I meant to grab a couple cliff bars on the way out of the house too, but I somehow forgot. Plus, the slow riding while dodging rocks and patches of washboard road was really hard on the skinny tires. Eventually, I couldn't keep it up and I had to start walking. I ran into a east mountains man missing some teeth who offered me water in an antifreeze jug. After he took a swig, I gave it a smell and filled up my bottle. After that I could ride a 1/2 mile before needing to rest some more. After 3 looong miles of this, I finally ended up on the paved crest road. Finally I got up there and rolled down to the ski area, climbed the final hill at about 3 mph, and then sailed down to the Lizard Grill on North 14. I was too exhausted to bother braking so the turns were a little exciting. At the restaurant, I stuffed myself on a veggie burrito and easily drank 5 monster cups of water and lemonade to try to get some strength back in my muscles. It worked! I made the final 20 miles home without too much agony. In the end it was a 70 mile ride with 4500 feet of gain. Burly!


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At this point, I figured I'm in for a nice evening of rest. WRONG! I got the mountain rescue page out for a mission for a hiker lost somewhere off the trail on La Luz around 7:00. So I loaded up my pack and went out to try and find this guy. Fortunately, I got up to incident base quick enough that I was on the 3-person strike team. The Metro One helicopter spotted the guy using a cell phone GPS waypoint before it got dark, so it was relatively straight forward to hike up to Chimney Canyon and bushwack through the cacti, shrubs, and trees to the GPS coordinates. We had the helicopter use the spotlight to help guide us the last few hundred feet to the guy. The patient was about 20 years old and in the air force, but while trying to hike down from the crest he went exploring and got lost. It seemed strange, but at least he knew to call for help when he ran out of water and it was getting dark. (People sometimes don't do this since they think it'll cost them, but it's completely free!) So we assessed him, gave him some water, and hiked out on the old Chimney Canyon climber trail. The news media was there when we got out to get a shot of the action, but I left pretty quick to go get a few hours of sleep.

Sunday, I was up at 6am to go climbing with Andy, a friend from the mountain rescue team. We planned to do Warpy Moople even though it was at the limits of my skill and comfort zone. Plus there have been some major injuries and deaths on the route, so that makes you think about what you're doing a little more seriously. Turns out it was every bit as challenging as I expected.

P1 - I led slowly, but it wasn't too challenging. Had a hard time placing gear for some reason.

P2 - Andy smoked the 5.9 move off the deck with a handful of cams. I decided halfway up I'd save my strength and aided through the roof, pulling the last couple cams as I moved past them.

P3 - I got hopelessly lost by taking the dihedral up to the roof. The move got very hard, so I planned to down-climb, but then decided to try a hairy traverse. It was tense (!) but I made it through slowly. The opening move was fingertips and smearing--something that I hate with my worn shoes.

P4 - I lead the 5.8 pitch to give Andy the crux. We could have made it to the bolts but the rope drag was too much and I had to make an anchor. There was a small roof that I did get up to, but then found myself wearing out, so I stuck my foot in my cam loop and stood on it. Cheating? Maybe, but I didn't have the least bit of remorse. I clipped the bolts and brought Andy up.

P5 - The scary traverse to 5.9 R face climbing! I don't know how Andy pulled it off, but he got up that thing. I was stressing about that pitch all day, so it was good to finally knock it out. The traverse wasn't so bad except the 25 lb backpack was trying to pull me off the edge. I got though with some small holds and then worked up the face. It was tough climbing, but anywhere that seemed too much, there seemed to be a piece of gear handy that I could give a pull on. I only did this 2-3 times, but it made things much easier for my next pitch. At this point we had drained all our water though, so it was starting to get a little desperate.

P6 - I led the 5.8 face into an offwidth. The face was tough, but I found pro regularly, so I was feeling ok. I chose to traverse right and it was a good decision, this led to easier stuff and the crack to the final belay stance.

P7 - Andy led us up to the top of Muralla Grande. The sun set and I got to climb the final pitch by head lamp. And then it started to rain. And then the lightning started. We found the stashed water and hiked back to the van.

It was 16 hours door-to-door and 11 hrs 45 min roped up. That's a big day! Needless to say, it was a tough bike commute to work Monday.











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Knife Edge of the Shield 
Monday, August 12, 2013, 09:01 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
Josiah and I have been talking about doing this climb for a while, so it was good to finally knock it out. We climbed the Knife Edge of the Shield, a low 5th class climb, with a few trad pitches for those choosing to make it safe.

Briana, Josiah, and I left early on a partly cloudy Saturday morning and worked our way up Piedra Lisa and Rincon Spur Trails to the base of the climb. We freed our way up to the 'W' and then roped up. I found making the jump from the 'W' wasn't too bad and placed 4 pieces on the first pitch. Briana and Josiah went back and forth with the jump decision and in the end Josiah made the jump, but Briana went the more challenging route around to the left.

I did another pitch up the steeper section and then up a small chimney back to the easier class 4 stuff. Maybe not necessary to have the rope, but I was glad to have it, especially since I found a few loose rocks. Placed a couple cams and a couple nuts on the 2nd pitch, but avoided rope drag as best I could. From there it was up to North Sandia Peak for a lunchtime beer and all the way back down the La Luz Trail.







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San Diego Weekend 
Monday, August 12, 2013, 08:09 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
In an effort to try and cheer up Jason after his motorcycle accident, I flew out to San Diego for the weekend. He was tore up pretty bad after hitting the firetruck that crossed the middle line on a blind turn. Fortunately, he had recently gotten out of the wheelchair; but 14 broken bones, severe nerve damage in his left arm, and fasciotomy on his left calf would certainly get anyone down. It was the 6-7 pain level from the nerve damage for the last 3 months that had him at new lows. And I'm sure Jason can take pain as well as anyone since he's an ex-bike racer--perhaps the most brutally painful sport ever.




At any rate, I did my best to cheer him up. We got some beers at Trader Joes and talked about options for bike rides in NM and the ski season. Saturday, we sailed to Coronado Island and had lunch. All the boats were checked out when we got to the marina so we killed time snacking and drinking in the sun.






Sunday, we visited my old high school bud, Chris (who's nearly done with the UCSD PhD and now engaged(!) to a charming British woman he met in Geneva while working at CERN). Then we headed out to Palomar Mountain for a quick 30 mile bike ride. Even in his broken state, Jason got to the top a good minute before me... vampire breathing past me on the final 1/3rd of the ~3000 ft climb.



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Bush Shark Spire and Guideline Training 
Monday, July 29, 2013, 08:03 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
Mike and I headed out to do some climbing Saturday. The weather held and we knocked off Bush Shark Spire, which it probably a little harder than I want to be climbing right now. I had a foot come off a smear about 25' up and took a gentle fall on a #1 camalot. It held fine and I think it shook Mike up more than me. I did make slow progress though... my forearms were on fire! By the half way point, I was moving very slowly and placing a lot. On the final move I backed off to place a #3 and retry it. Overall, P1 was very well protected and I managed to get up. Mike worked some kind of magic over the crux, because when I tried to do it, I found absolutely no hands. In the end, I figured I was fatigued enough to not be embarrassed aiding through it and I popped in a C3 to make the move. It blew and I went airborne--but hitting nothing but air. The next time I placed it much more carefully and was up in no time. The rest of P2 got progressively easier to the chains. We ran a line to the summit and then rapped back into Echo Canyon for the climb out.

Sunday AMRC held a guideline training at the Hideout. This was a very nice spot that some of the rescue leaders have bolted routes in the past. We set up a low angle and compared this to the guideline system. I was supposed to be in charge of the low angle scenario but instead split off to help run the main with Courtney and Marc. It took a long time to set up, but the system ran fairly smoothly. We did have to double knot pass when the 200' main ran out. The 2nd guideline anchor also had rope length problems and claimed everything would have run smoother if the 600' line was about 50' longer. We also got some load cell data for the two ropes at different points during the scenario to compare to theoretical values. Looking forward to seeing those results.






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Climbing by Telluride 19-21 July, 2013 
Monday, July 29, 2013, 06:52 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
For Kevin's 31st birthday, Bill, Kevin, and I headed to Telluride to find some mountains. We climbed in Cracked Canyon on Friday. Kevin led Chewbacca, and we top roped Crack of Mind, and I led Pirouette before we were scared off by the lightning. We found an amazing camp spot toward Hope Lake after the Trout Lake turnoff around [+37° 48' 42.61", -107° 52' 1.32"].




The next day we headed off to Pipeline Wall to do a couple sport routes. Bill combined the 1st two pitches of Ame's Way and I finished it off. Then Kevin combined the 1st two pitches of Skylight Arete and I got to finish it off again. Double topout! Kevin found another 5.8 and I belayed him from the shade. Then we had a beer while overlooking the town, got two large pizzas at Brown Dog, and rode the gondola up to the top of the mountain to watch the sunset and stare at the Wilsons.



The next morning we were up early to hike Golden Horn and Vermillion Peak. Hope Lake was spectacular, but the 2000 ft of talus was not. It was misery to get up to the saddle, but from there the climbing was great. It was good to be above treeline in CO again!



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Weekend in Town 
Friday, July 19, 2013, 07:27 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
Friday I met up with Jeff and a couple folks from my intermural summer soccer team (Ron, Enrique, and Katy Jo) to watch the Border Classico soccer game between, the Colorado Rapids and Santos Laguna in the UNM football stadium. The game was good but ended with the Mexican's up 2-1.



The following day, I met up with Kirk, Jennifer, Chris, Melody, Josiah, Kelley, Mike, and Julia for a beer at Il Vicino Canteen before heading over to a house party. In a moment of brilliance, we through a party in the treehouse during a lightning storm.



Sunday, before the heat was too unbearable, I did a lap around town and watched World War Z with Tom. It could have been so much more...


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4th of July and Lizard Head 
Monday, July 8, 2013, 08:02 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
For the 4th of July, I had a few people over (Rusty, Mike, Tom, John, Jack, Jeanne & friends) to BBQ and, after carbo-loading, we jumped on bikes and headed to Balloon Fiesta Park for a Fireworks. Rusty was cruising strong on his cyclocross bike (occationally in the arroyo), so I hoped on the back wheel and blazed down there with him (not in the arroyo). The fireworks were nice, but the lightning was even more impressive. Coming back, the arroyo was flowing strong--great to see in this drought.




Mike, Tom, and I, ventured up to the Wilson's area by Telluride for the long weekend. We climbed Lizard Head (5.8ish) via the Southwest Chimney route. Up at 4:30, we were roped up at 6am. I led the first pitch and was very happy it wasn't too cold on my hands above 12,000'. My 2nd hold exploded when I gave it a pull. Albert Ellingwood spoke warmly of this effect after his 1921 FA, noting "a rottener mass of rock is inconceivable" and "most of the enticing small holds crumbled at a touch, and large masses of the loosely compacted pebbles would topple dangerously at a slight pull.”

After that, I was having some serious mental issues with my holds, and without my confidence, my climbing was particularly weak. I managed to get up to a slight roof but awkwardly moved around in the crack for about 20 minutes, came down to rest and look at the moves again, and went up to finally work up the gumption to step out, clip a piton, and crawl over the bulge. The final move of the pitch was also tricky, but well protected; I pulled a nice layback to make it up to the spire. I belayed Mike up and then belayed him out while bringing Tom up at the same time. Easier said than done, but it was safe and I didn't tangle the doubles somehow. Weather looked a little more threatening at this point, but it would hold for us.

Mike led the crux pitch relatively well. A few questionable placements, but he got to the top and brought Tom and I up quickly. I had the backpack dangling off my harness for the crux (slight roof) and it kept getting caught and pissing me off to no end. The summit of this massive pile of choss was... chossy! We went up to the top, signed the log AMRC Alpha Team, and then rapped back to the top of the 1st pitch.

Here's where things went wrong. I got to the anchor but the ropes refused to pull. We all tugged hard. Nothing. I climbed back up on the loose debris to get to a place where I could prussic onto the pull rope and weighed it down. With everything I could give it, there was a little movement. I backed my way to the 1st anchor with my 1:1 system. Then up I went again to give it another pull. Again, putting my whole weight into the rope it moved slowly through the chains on the summit. I repeated this 10 ft/pull maneuver until we had the ropes. It was particularly scary to be jumping down the debris field toward a 200 ft cliff prussiced to a loose end of a rope... though Mike did have a belay on the other end.










To celebrate the climb, we headed into Telluride for pizza and a beer. On the free gondola ride over to Mountain Village, a middle-aged Florida woman openned conversation by saying, "You're dirty." We explained that we were camping and she told us her sons wanted to try that, but there were too many things that could eat you out there and that she'd need to hire a guide. We just looked at each other in disbelief. Really, is there such a thing as guided camping?


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Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre, Red River, and South Boundary Trail 
Monday, July 8, 2013, 07:47 PM - Weekend Fun
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Mike and I went north of Questa to find the Questa Dome area. We eventually found ourselves on a rough 4WD road--enough so that we decided to hike the rest of the distance to the trailhead. Just as we were thinking we had been going for a lot longer than 0.2 mi that the directions called for we heard a couple 4 wheelers. A nice old man with a giant axe and a middle-aged woman with a pistol on her hip came up the road. We explained that we were lost and looking for the Questa Dome trail. They said that it was back where we came from, so I asked to bum a ride. I hopped on the back of the old guy's ATV and Mike saddled up with the woman. Great decision! We made it back to the car in no time, and to our shock, the trail was about 100' from the parked vehicle. Somehow we missed the dirt turn.

The Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre was a fantastic climb--or at least the 2nd pitch was fantastic. Mike lead off the deck and made it to a nice big tree. I lead the crux pitch as the thunderstorm started flaring up. I stepped out onto the super airy corner and worked my way up some very nicely positioned chickenheads. I only used 2 cams for the whole pitch because I was slinging so many chickens out there. It was a very fun pitch - perhaps my favorite lead of all time! I got Mike up as the rain started.

On the rap, the ropes got tangled into a total mess and it took me forever to get down. They kept catching on those now-less-than-wonderful chickenheads! Then I got the red rope stuck in a crack and had to spend some time releasing it. Fortunately the rain stopped and we could take our time leaving. 2 raps and we were back on the trail.




We got a margarita at a Mexican place in Red River with Tyler, Allison, Tom, and Brad. Back at the car camp, we decided to make the most of the long daylight hours and head up to a sport area in town. Mike led a surprisingly challenging 5.7 sport route, Alision gave it a shot, Tom climbed it, and I top roped it by headlight. Someone in town must have noticed my up there, because there were a few yells of encouragement from the Texas-infested city.



S'mores by the camp fire. I gave Mike my best chair.


Josiah, Dave, and Kelley joined us for camping that night. In the morning, after a slow start and some confusion, the mountain biking crowd (Josiah, Dave, Tyler, Mike, and myself) were dropped off at Garcia Park on the South Bounday Trail. I led the group east to the top of the standard route. The storm was already gathering on the ridge, so it was a real shame that Dave flatted just as we began descending. As the lightning blasted all around, we swapped tubes... but it leaked. So we changed it to another one... and it worked. We took off just as the rain started. We outpaced the storm and pretty soon we were back out ahead of it. This would continue for the remainder of the trip. We outrun the storm and then break, only to find the sky growing darker again.



Everything was going great--easily some of the best singletrack in the state, if not the nation--but then I had a minor endo. No biggy, I thought, but I broke a spoke. So I tucked it up around the others and kept riding, but I heard a few more 'tings' of a spoke and then slam! The rear wheel locked up completely! I have concluded that the other broken spoke must have pulled the rear derailleur into the rear wheel. Everything was broken. I took off the derailleur and with Josiah's help turned my bike into a single speed for the final 5 miles or so. Luckily it was mostly downhill. The chain wondered around on the rear rings until it finally ratched up to where it shouldn't have been and put the chain under extreme tension: like 100s of lbs of tension! I could barely crank, but kept at it. Eventually the tension bent and broke my middle front chainring in half! At this point I was walking with a backpack full of bike parts. I rolled where I could, but it was a long gravity-fed ride out. Finally, after dozens of rollers, I hit the road. With a push from my friends and a tail wind I hit 38 mph back into town where Tom, Kelley and the cars waited. That'll certainly be a ride to remember.




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TTT at Chris and Harmony's Place 
Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 09:19 PM - Week activities
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About 24 hours back in the country, I did the 25-mile round trip bike ride to Chris and Harmony's place on the westside for the monthly wine tasting. They have a stunning place with a pool and a great view of the Sandias. The Spanish reds went very well with the aged cheeses that I brought from France.




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Grenoble, Chamonix, Paris! 
Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 08:16 PM - Trips
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I attended IEEE PES Powertech and my first SIRFN meeting in Grenoble last week. I visited Grenoble a couple years before in conjunction with the EU PVSEC conference, so it was good to see the city again. My old roommate from GT, Sebastien, still lives in the area so we spent a couple evenings enjoying the local beers and cheese (it's a French thing). He and his wife, Estelle, are prod parents to 20 month old Camille, who was kind enough to play rugby with me when I went over to their place for dinner.


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Cultural exchange: Marble Red from ABQ and Leffe from Belgium.

One morning before the conference, I took a nice 6-mile job up to the Bastille, through the caves, and back down a rough 30% grade hill into town. Of course my calves would hurt for a couple days because of the effort, but it was worth it for the sunrise views from the empty fortress!


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I toured the Chartreuse distillery and museum. This green liquor is created from 140 local herbs collected by Monks in the mountains. Supposedly only 2 of the monks know the complete recipe.

The Friday after the SIRFN meeting was La Fête de la Musique to celebrate the summer solstice. I remember my first encounter with the Fete in Paris in 2007 very well, because the streets were packed with rock, indie, techno, classical, and every other musical genre in between. Grenoble didn't quite have the same auditory density, but a few of the guys from the workshop joined me on a grand exploration of the different venues. We eventually picked up a couple beers and stopped off at the "Rock" zone. Seb eventually put Estelle and Camille to bed and joined us at around 10pm. We then headed off to the techno area to bring the night to a close. Our line-up was pretty good with DJ one Finger, Jeebey, and Itchy et Scratchy. At 2am, I gave up on there being a tram and jogged the couple miles back to the hotel, only to get up at 6am to catch my train to Geneva.



Estelle and Martin, both ex-UNM ski racers and ex-French/Austrian national ski team members, greeted me in Genève. We got supplies for a wonderful breakfast at their place in Annemasse, and then piled into the car to head toward Chamonix.

I didn't realize it before, but Estelle's parents had a spetacular house in the valley where we could stay, and her parents were out of town for the week too! From there we launched a couple day hikes. The first was a 6.5 mile hike/climb to Lac de Pormenaz. It was a very steep climb up but we somehow picked the only spot in the whole region where the sun was shining, so it great. We reached the ice-covered with a little snow hiking and had yummy baguette sandwiches.

We hiked back via the ski hill to Plaine Joux and then jumped into Lac de Passy for some refreshment. The clouds covered Mont Blanc for the most part, but every now and again they would seperate so I could make out the summit and it's impressive glaciers.





For dinner, I treated Estelle and Martin to dinner in Chamonix. Syrah and Fondue in front of Europe's biggest peak is certainly a great way to bring the evening to a close.





Sunday, we climbing in poor weather to Aiguillette des Houches. We could only spot the lower portions of the glaciers, but it was still a nice 3 hour hike with some respectable elevation gain (2,800 ft). We chomped down some sandwiches and then trucked it back into Chamonix for ice cream cones!




We grabbed a beer and I headed back to Paris. I navigated from Gare de Lyon to my hotel in a drizzle late on Sunday night, but managed to get a nice 2 hour walk around the city; I wanded up to the Pantheon, through the Luxembourg gardens, and down past Notre Dame before heading back stateside.

Photos are here.
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El Rito 6-9-13 
Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 07:35 PM - Weekend Fun
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I blazed up to El Rito for a little fun with Josiah, Briana, Marc, and gang on Saturday night. Despite a respectful party night, we were up climbing in the morning. And thanks to a big group ahead of us, we could top rope all day. I struggled up a 5.7 before slowly working up (with many breaks) Balls to the Wall (5.10b) and Blackballed (5.10c). Then I took a stab at Look Ma, No Cavities (5.10c) and gave up after a half dozen attempts at a move mid-face. I managed to make it much harder than it really was, but my arms were toast. Josiah and Briana made it up no problem! Then Briana led Crest Chewel (5.9) on the arete and took a nasty leader fall from the top of the cave. Easily a 15 footer into the rock ledge at the bottom! Shaken up, but otherwise ok, everyone breathed a sigh of relief!




One day this same week there was a howling easterly wind, so I took the bike out to see if I could win any of the strava courses around the house. I picked up 3 KOMs and a 2nd by crushing along with the wind. My proudest: the decent from Carlisle on Lead at 34 MPH.



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Saturday Sufferfest! Biking to the Crest 
Sunday, June 2, 2013, 03:26 PM - Weekend Fun
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I’ve wanted to do this ride for years but didn’t have the time, strength, or cojones. It was every bit as miserable as I expected: 66 miles and 6500 feet of climbing! My garage to Sandia Crest and back again.

Kelley and Eric started out on the ride but they turned around in Tijeras. I was left to struggle hours up north 14 with a head wind to the triangle. From there the winds died a bit, but the heat and gradient picked up considerably. I swapped places with another rider a couple times and we eventually got to the top in about 2 hours from the triangle (5 mph average at the top portion - slightly reduced with a refuelling stop). I celebrated the summit by calling Mom for her birthday.

On the ride down I averaged 35 mph to the ski area, which means that on a good day I have a shot at taking the KOM on strava. I'll have to give it a try sometime soon. It was closing in on 2pm, so the winds had shifted and I got the westerlies through the canyon and down central/zuni back home. Overall I was completely burned out, but proud of myself. I even biked to Il Vicino Canteen for a beer with Justin and Leigh and then headed over to Tyler's for the afterparty.


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Mom and Dad in NM 
Tuesday, May 28, 2013, 08:43 PM - Weekend Fun
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My parents visited NM for a week to help around the house and do a little exporing. During the week they walked around Nob Hill and the University, biked out to the Petroglyphs, rode the train to Santa Fe (while I was at the AMRC training), watched Mud with me, and then road tripped up to the Pecos for the Memorial Day weekend.

Friday - We stopped off at Tent Rocks for the slot canyon hike. On the road Dad played with GoPro road trip time lapse capabilities and Mom napped in the back. That night we made camp at Panchuela Trailhead in the Pecos. It was packed for the long weekend, but we managed to find a nice spot. I gave my parents the two sleeping bags and I had to curl up in a blanket for the night. It was so cold up there at 8000' at night!





Saturday - Based on a tip from Justin, we took off on a shot hike up Cave Creek to the caves. They turned out to be short little mazes but interesting with the running water pouring through the rock. The river disappeared into the side of the mountain for 1/10th of a mile while it made the subterranean traverse. We brought headlamps and helmets up there (climbing for me, cycling for Dad, and skiing for Mom); the few people on the trail must have thought we were an odd group. The big discovery was a bat taking a snooze on one of the rocks.

Back in camp, we had a beer in the hot sun and gathered up firewood for the night. We wrote letters to grandpa, cooked carne adovada on the open flame, and turned in early.





Sunday - We embarked on a bigger adventure up to Stewart Lake along a nice 14 mile loop. The trail migrated through spectacular aspen forests and worked up a couple thousand feet to the gorgeous alpine lake with a half dozen fishermen. We had sandwiches on a sunny rock and then headed back downhill to the car. The return trail didn't get spit out at the car so I jogged the last 2.4 miles to the car and swung back around to get Mom and Dad as they finished their trek. We had Tim Tam slams to celebrate a great day in the wilderness!





Monday - We packed up camp and made our way south. By chance we ended up at Pecos National Historical Park, so we took the mile loop around to look at the kivas, old spanish church, and imagine settlers working there way along the Santa Fe Trail. NM's got some fairly impressive history! We took the long way back along North 14 and had a great lunch at Greenside Cafe. Then it was back into town to relax and play Sorry and Golf. I dropped my parents off in the morning for the flight back to my brother in Chicago.






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