Inspired Stone

July 12, 2012, 3:02 am
Filed under: Mountain | Tags: , , ,


The weekend before the 4th of July, Nicole and I hiked over the Continental Divide and spent two nights at Columbine Lake in the Indian Peaks Wilderness.

The trails on the east side of the Divide tend to be busy, so we started out early, and make it to the lake in the early afternoon. Spent the afternoon lazing around.

Day 2, our objective was to climb up Mt. Neva, which towered over the east side of the lake.

Day 3, wake up slow and head back over the Divide.


Bike to Climb :: Rocky Mountain National Park
November 2, 2011, 2:38 am
Filed under: Mountain | Tags: , , , , , ,

I continued with the theme of using a bike to get into the mountains, but I took it to the next level. While living in Davis, I had contemplated biking to and hiking Pyramid Peak, near Lake Tahoe, but the whole experience would have been a massive bike ride with a little hiking tossed in. Now in Boulder, there are far more options for an excursion where the biking and climbing are more evenly split. The nearest high mountains are in the Indian Peaks Wilderness, but it seemed that there were better biking conditions a little north on highway 7 and I had still not been into Rocky Mountain National Park. So I settled on biking up to the Peak-to-Peak highway, ascending Meeker Ridge on Mt. Meeker, traversing over to Longs Peak and then reversing the route back home. It was incredibly satisfying to leave our driveway on a bike, touch the top of Longs Peak and then roll back home about 36 hours later. Here is a photo sequence that captures the experience.

Local Adventure
July 23, 2011, 10:24 pm
Filed under: Climbing, Mountain | Tags: , ,

One of the best parts about living in Boulder is the proximity to the outdoors. Going climbing doesn’t involve 4 hours of round-trip driving, it’s a mere bike ride away. The same goes for a hike up a moderate peak. Before moving to Boulder, I was becoming uncomfortable with the amount of driving required for a trip to the mountains. Part of my discomfort came from the fact that as a person in love with the wilds, I’m part of a community that agonizes over damaging shrubs at the base of a cliff or dropping a wrapper on the trail, and yet there is no mention of the gallons of gas burnt on the way to the trailhead. The other reason for my unease was the realization that some climbing trips were in fact driving trips with a little climbing thrown in.

So, I began thinking about ways to shift the balance away from the car. The eastside tour was an experiment with that idea, combining a bike tour with hiking and climbing along the way, but in reality turned out to be mostly a biking and driving trip with a tiny amount of climbing and hiking:

Here in Boulder, it’s much more practical to leave the car at home. So here is a graphical summary of three local adventures without the assistance of a car. The size of the colored bars represent my subjective measure of the weight of each component, whether bike, bus, walk or climb. And not only is a car not required but they can all be completed in the morning before work! Ah, Boulder…

Trail Work and Wandering in the Eastern Sierra
November 12, 2009, 1:51 am
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A few days ago, I visited Bishop to help with a volunteer effort to improve the trails around the Buttermilk Boulders, a beautiful and popular bouldering destination. Many organizations were involved, including the Access Fund, the American Alpine Club and the Friends of the Inyo. The boulders are located in the high desert at the eastern threshold to the Sierra and given the sparse vegetation, a web of trails proliferate. So a group of about 70 volunteers arrived Saturday morning to rock the major trails and disguise the unnecessary ones. To help raise money for a toilet at the boulders (with so many people visiting, some amenities are required), Saturday night featured a slide show by Doug Robinson, a man that has been guiding, climbing and skiing hard in the Sierra for about 40 years.

Sunday was my day. One of the most prominent mountains on the Bishop skyline is Mt.Humphreys.

I have something of a goal to climb all of the mountains forming the western horizon as viewed from Bishop and one of the reasons I haven’t tried Humphreys yet is that the eastern trailhead is at the end of a gnarly dirt road. However, I’m not opposed to starting a climb with a desert hike and it looked like I could start from a highway 168 to the south and hike a dirt road about 3 miles to get to the trailhead. So that is what I did. An unfortunate decision to take a short-cut led to a lot of unnecessary ups and downs and I didn’t arrive at the trailhead until way too late. I did get an interesting, up-close look at the result of last summer’s wildfire.



The plan for next time is to A) Find someone with a high clearance vehicle or B) Start before sunrise and don’t take the “short-cut”. Despite not having accomplished the days goal, you can’t beat wandering around in the high desert wondering at the raw beauty of the desert meeting the mountains. The eastern sierra is wild, expansive, remote and inspiring. There will always be a special place in my heart for those mountains and desert along the eastern border of California.


Desolation, Late Fall
November 3, 2009, 5:52 am
Filed under: Photo | Tags: , ,

The fall is an amazing time in the mountains. The light is perpetually soft. Everything is cold, dry and crisp. I’m only a little melancholy about the coming snow which will cover much of the climbable rock and make travel at the heights difficult for those like me that don’t ski worth a darn. If it were always fall…that would be about right.

To soak it up, rather than just think about it, my wife Nicole and I ventured into Desolation Wilderness and got back to the car just as the sun went down and the full moon came up.






On A Walkabout
August 24, 2009, 1:01 am
Filed under: Photo | Tags: , ,


Yesterday, I went on a walkabout.  Sometimes it just feels good to get out in the mountains or desert with no definite objectives except to experience the area.  Hike around, on-trail and off.  Take some photos.  Climb a boulder or rock or peak.   On this occasion, I was joined by my eager, four-legged partner Lance to explore the area north of Echo Lake, near Lake Tahoe.  At the end of the day, I had scoped an obscure rock wall, taken some rock photos, drank 2 L of water, gotten dusty legs and made Lance’s paws sore.