The Flying Dutchman

Jason Deugan and I climbed a snow route on Longs Peak yesterday, it’s called The Flying Dutchman and it is a 1,600 foot couloir that begins at Chasm Lake and ends at the Loft, a football-field sized saddle between Longs and Mount Meeker. We started around 2am from the trailhead and hiked about 4 miles to Chasm Lake, in the Longs/Meeker cirque. We climbed the snow sections unroped, opting to rope up for the crux of the climb: a 40 foot section of ice. A short way after the ice crux we were able to remove our crampons and climb up to the Loft on loose rock. From the Loft we hiked around to the back side of Longs and took the Clark’s Arrow route up and around to the Homestretch on the Keyhole route. A short distance and we were on the summit of Longs. We met the three RMNP climbing rangers at the summit who had just climbed Kiener’s Route and then began our descent via the Keyhole. The Keyhole route descends 4,845 feet over a distance of about 8 miles, so we were pretty busted by the time we got back to the car at 7pm. This was my first fourteener and I was pumped to be able to do it via a technical route.

The Diamond The Flying Dutchman Chasm Lake The Flying Dutchman Ice Pitch Clark's Arrow Longs Peak Summit Marmot

Update: Jason Deugan sent me a few pictures he took of our climb.

The Flying Dutchman The Flying Dutchman The Flying Dutchman

Mountain Project

One of the great things about the web is it’s ability to bring together people of similar interests. You can find forums on any hobby or topic that you wish, especially if information is critical to the hobby. Climbing is one of my favorite diversions, and one of the reasons that led me to move to Colorado. Luckily, there is a great web resource on climbing in Colorado and around the country, Mountain Project. It is an online database of climbing routes, photos and comments that are user-submitted and maintained. Each user has a page where they can list the climbs they have done, rate them and keep track of their submissions to the site. Something that makes Mountain Project stand out from other online climbing sites is the active development on the site, new features and content are constantly being added and improvements made. You can view my page on Mountain Project here.

Climbing Encounters of the Third Kind

What follows after the break is a story that I wrote for my climbing partners to read via e-mail after I had an encounter with a new climbing partner I met online here in Colorado. The events took place in November 2006, and I sat down that night and wrote this story. After I e-mailed this off to my buddies, it got forwarded around to THEIR friends and eventually posted on a couple of climbing message boards. I was out in Eldorado Canyon climbing last weekend and shared a belay with another climbing party who had read this story online – I couldn’t believe it had gotten around so fast. Anyway, here is the story… more…

Balloon Launch

Monika and I got up early a few weekends ago and took the kids to the hot air balloon launch in Erie. The launch was scheduled for 6am, but everything was running a bit behind and most of the balloons didn’t take off until around 6:30am. Samuel and Benjamin had a good time watching the balloons inflate and take off against the backdrop of the front range, and Monika and I were able to snap a few good pictures. Afterwards, we had a good pancake breakfast in Boulder and went back to our house for a nap.

Erie Balloon Festival Erie Balloon Festival Erie Balloon Festival Erie Balloon Festival Erie Balloon Festival Erie Balloon Festival Erie Balloon Festival

Ski Season for 06-07

This season was probably my best for skiing/snowboarding. Monika, Samuel and I had a blast whenever we went out, and we made the time to try to get up to the mountains whenever we could to slide around on the snow. Samuel learned to ski this year, and Monika’s riding just keeps improving. I switched back to skiing for the first part of the year (and whenever Samuel was with me), then snowboarded towards the end. I think I got in 20 days of riding this year, and hit most of the resorts that I wanted:

Eldora is close to home, kid-friendly and you don’t have to get on I-70. The downsides are no high-speed lifts, smaller terrain than other resorts and the season’s pass and ticket prices are about the same as larger resorts. Winter Park is great, lots of terrain, many blue runs and variations to keep it interesting. Copper is also great, the runs there are naturally segmented into beginner, intermediate and expert across the mountain. Breckenridge has a lot of good terrain over several mountains, but this makes it hard to get around if you want to ski something different. You’ll find yourself traversing back and fourth, but the upper bowls and the Imperial Express lift (highest lift in North America) make it worth it. I had my best powder day this year at Keystone, untracked knee-deep powder in the upper bowls. The downside? Hiking 1.5 miles to the bowls to access it. It felt like Keystone had some of the longer runs on the main mountain, and I had a great time riding there with Monika on easier trails, too. A-Basin is awesome, there are no high-speed lifts, but it has some great terrain, chutes and steeps. And it’s usually open through June! Great local mountain. Telluride has great views and terrain, but I was kind of put off by the McMansions all along the lower trails. Crested Butte seemed to be a great place to ride, but when I was there the snow conditions were poor and we weren’t able to access a lot of the expert terrain, something they are known for.

There are only a few other resorts I really want to hit in Colorado next year, Steamboat for the vibe, Vail for the bowls, Wolf Creek for the powder and Beaver Creek for the cookies in the lift lines.  I would also like to snowboard at Silverton, their setup seems to be a good mix between backcountry and lift-accessed riding.

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