Monday, June 30, 2008

Bike commuting in comfort

Seattle Sports Rain Rider Pannier
I've been flirting with bike commuting for a while, but the relationship never really developed into anything long term. This year gas prices and a rising concern for the environment in which I love to play, have prompted me to commit to driving to work only one day out of every week. This translates to a lot more biking than I've ever done before. I don't live very far from my office (about 5 miles), but the way is mostly uphill, and I usually have a fairly heavy load to slog up there- including my laptop. I herniated a disc in my back a couple of years ago, and though I have an awesome commuting backpack that is quite comfy, all the weight has been starting to tweak me out.

I turned to panniers as the solution, and bought a pair of Seattle Sports rain rider panniers based on the review on that praised the construction, durability, lightness, and waterproofed-ness of the panniers. I know it doesn't rain very often here in Salt Lake, but with my entire academic career contained in my laptop, I just can't afford to lose it to a surprise September downpour. Sure I back up my hard drive weekly, but not daily, and losing a week's worth of work: not an option (not to mention the cost of replacing my only machine). I've logged a number of miles with my panniers, and though it's been predictably dry during that time, these suckers are amazing. I can carry surprisingly large loads (I brought them along for a recent trip to the library and managed to squeeze numerous reference books in each- I'd guess about 25 lbs or more and they didn't even seem the slightest bit perturbed by the experience... wish I could say the same for my calves on the way back to my office!). Getting all the weight off my back has been a life saver and certainly means that I'm less likely to wimp out and give up on my resolution.

The panniers I got are an updated version from the ones described on bike commuters. The only differences I can see are an additional buckle strap which does come in handy during the rare occurrence of a light load and a waterproof zipper pocket. This is particularly useful for holding wallet, keys, bike lock, or anything else you want to get at quickly and without digging through your stuffed pannier.

Overall, these are an excellent purchase for a bike commuter or someone wanting to go on a long bike trek who requires a light and waterproof pannier. Though they aren't sold on yet.. I'll keep on suggesting it 'till they are!

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Friday, June 27, 2008

The Grand Finale

Footage from Snowbird's closing weekend! A big THANKS to everyone that was involved with this season.

Two Flavors
Medium-Res YouTube Version

High-Res Download

What an awesome way to end the season! Pond skimming, slush skiing, and chutes defined by bushes. Doesn’t get much better than that!

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Video Editing at 6000m

Ok, so John Griber and the rest of the North Face team didn't go to Gasherbrum II just to film and edit some cool video at 6000 meters, but it's pretty amazing that they can do so. Heck, most guys I know can't even film and edit at sea level, yours included.

Follow their progress (and other video updates like the Trek to Basecamp) and hopeful ski descent of Gasherbrum II on their blog.

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JetBoil Recipe - Chicken Thai Pizza

As promised here is the first of a few JetBoil recipies for your backcountry cooking adventures this summer.

This one is from Matt Young who you may recall was the winner of the 2007 JetBoil cookoff. Good luck and enjoy.

Thai Pizza with hand made crust


1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup lukewarm water

1 tablespoon yeast

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons vegetable oil or melted margarine (both work fine)


2 teaspoons ginger, freshly grated (or 1/2 teaspoon powdered)

2 tablespoons peanut or sesame oil

3 tablespoons peanut butter, unsalted & all-natural

1/4 cup tamari

1 lime, juice only

1/2 to 1 teaspoon of Thai green curry paste

8 oz. of Thai-Style marinated baked tofu

1 bunch scallions, chopped

1/2 cup carrot, Fine

1/2 cup pineapple, chopped

1/4 cup cilantro leaves, loosely packed

Make the dough as if you would any normal pizza dough and allow to rise in a warm/covered container. Cooking the pizza in the bottom of a JetBoil 1.5L Cooking Pot is the best way to make this happen. It makes for a personal sized pizza. Cook on low simmer with the lid and a touch of oil if available under the pizza dough.

You may have to reduce quantities due to size of jet boil or make 2 pizzas. This is good and a nice break from ordinary pepperoni and cheese.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Go Skateboarding Day

I love skateboarding. While I'm not nearly as good as I was in my teens, it still gets me stoked to ride my skate.

On the recent Go Skateboarding Day which for those of you who didn't realize it was this past Saturday, June 21, the world of skateboarders were urged to get on their plank of wood and ride.

This guy took it to the next level. Sure, the 405 is like a parking lot most days but I don't think it's the kind where the worst that can happen is a rent-a-cop gives you the "move along" song.

--via the InterBike Blog



Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Fat Lady Sang on Mount Nebo

You've heard the old adage, "It's not over until the fat lady sings". A week ago a few of us at who, despite temps that are in the 80's and 90's are still clinging to the passion for sliding on snow, took off after work and headed up to climb and ski down Mount Nebo's north peak here in Utah.

At the last minute while passing the Payson exit we changed plans and abandoned the approach that I had taken this past January from the town of Mona on the West of Nebo. Instead we gambled that the Nebo Loop would indeed be open to get us close to the summer trail.

While "open" is a relative term, we did make it to the trail head after a couple of snowdrift crossing attempts, snow shoveling sessions with avalanche shovels, the removal of several downed trees, and some meaty 4-wheel action that would make any redneck proud.

Starting off at sundown our crew of seven summited the peak just north of Nebo sometime after midnight and there spent the windy night just above 11,000. The next morning we crossed the ridge onto Nebo proper and although the snow was marginal and quickly melting, summited and skied down what we could. Enjoy the pictures:
From the false summit to the summit

Jim, CEO and founder of, nearing the summit.
Setting up for the summit shot - 12,000' never felt better
The line - NW Chute of Nebo. It looked better in January
Dustin dropping in, but not the knee.

Dirt walking back to the truck in boots - this is when I questioned was it worth it?

I think it's safe to say that the Fat Lady has sung. My skis are officially awaiting October powder.



Friday, June 20, 2008

Who's got the stove in the North Columbias?

I received an email from a friend looking for adventure in the North Columbia mountains of B.C. The invite was the only motivation I needed. So, I jumped in the truck and was in Blue River, B.C. by Sunday Evening. (Blue River is home to the infamous Mike Wiegle Heli Skiing outfit) We then started heading up a forest service road (FSR) towards Mt. Cheadle and the Serpentine Ice field. Beta on this area is limited to say the least. I was grateful for my friend Dana’s local knowledge of the area. We got to the end of the road and sorted group gear. An interesting conversation started up:

G: Which stove did you bring B?

B: I didn’t bring a stove, I thought you were bringing it.

G: I thought you were bringing it?

B,G & D: Oh $h!t…..

Ever the optimist we started hiking up the cut block towards the ice, hoping we’d find running water somewhere. We saw one sub-adult black bear on the way.

We setup the shelters on a nice little dry spot in an alpine meadow. Waking at 3:30am, we tried to find water, and were unsuccessful.

Time to regroup. Dana’s husband ended up bringing us a stove Clearwater. While we waited, we schemed up a new destination. We were to attempt Mt. Duffey, the 9200’ peak with glaciers on the N and E aspects visible from Hwy 5. So, we regrouped. We began exploring some of the newer longing roads for optimal access. We finally parked the truck @ 5300’. 4 hours of bushwacking brought us up to 6500’ and stellar view of the Monashee Mountains. A quick super, a bit of snow melting, and then we all crawled in our sleeping bags at about 8:00pm. We were back up at 3:30am. The light was amazing, and it looked like a great day for steep snow climbing. We were soon on our way, slogging up the snow covered slopes.

At about 9:00am we reached the bergshrund at 8700’. The snow was already feeling pretty sloppy. I was beginning to think that we would not summit. I volunteered for the first technical pitch and started up across the ‘schrund. Above the slot, I managed to find some good rock to build a anchor with some rock pro. I brought both seconds up.

All of us were now at the anchor, 500’ below the summit. It was a tough decision, but in the end we decided to bail. None of us wanted to go for a ride in a ground slide that day.

We did get some top notch shovel glisse on the way down.

We packed up camp, and walked out in the rain. There is still over 6’ of snow in the mountains of the North Columbia in the middle of June! Wow!


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

"Into the Wild" biking in Denali National Park

I've been craving a good adventure lately, so when Eric Parsons invited me to join he and Dylan Kentch on an experimental combination to mountain bike and packraft, my thought was that this trip would include the excitement/exertion that I was craving. The vision was to bike 56 miles into Denali National Park, float down the Toklat River, and then find the Stampede trail to bike to the Parks Highway. There were plenty of unknowns, but the great thing about a trip like this one is that your only choice is to go find out, and to have faith that you'll find the way, so off we went!

On the park road at the top of Polychrome Pass

Riding down the Toklat River
Down the river we went . . .
Always the skier, I took a mental note of those coolies on Mt. Sheldon! Holy happy place!!!
We camped at the confluence with the Toklat east fork and started the next day navegating upriver. This included riding shelf ice, gravel, and crossing the river about 20 times . . .


And then it was 10 hours of tundra walking over tussocks in search of the Sushana River.
We finally broke out on to a ridge and were able to see more-or-less where we had to head. You can see the Sushana in the distance if you look carefully in this photo . . .

Finally, we arrived at the Sushana River, the "Into the Wild" bus, and the beginning of the Stampede Trail :-) The Stampede Trail was surprisingly rideable . . . arguably "Type A" fun! We sorta laughed when we hit the road, reflecting on how well things had gone and somewhat amazed that we didn't "epic." Sure, the 2-day trip had taken 4 and there was one day of fairly unfavorable travel conditions, but we had expected at least that at the outset. We also had a great time together as a group which makes the memory even better! Read the full story here!

(photos: Eric Parsons)

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A Little Chuteing

Date: June 13-15, 2008
Location: Alta/Snowbird, UT
New Snow: 0"
Featuring: Me (Jake Kirshner), Daryn Edmunds, Carston Oliver, Ben Wheeler, Molly Baker

Number 4 for your viewing pleasure!

Low Res YouTube Version:

High-Res Version:

Switching to a goggle-strap mount next weekend so hopefully that will make the camera a bit more steady.


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The Euro Adventures of Jonny and Micah

This is the first of two reports from alpine masters Jonny Copp and Micah Dash, who are spending their spring and summer in the French Alps after getting denied access to the Tibetan Alps this year. All photos by Jonny.

Had the Tibetans not rioted, Micah Dash and I would have been caught in the epicenter of an earthquake that killed over 60,000 people this May. I’ve been learning more and more that timing is everything. And when I start to disbelieve what I’ve learned, another incident occurs to drive home the lessons.

Micah and I had planned to attempt a new route this spring in a remote region of Tibet, heading after this soaring unclimbed line that inspired us. We were fired up. But by April the Chinese Government refused to grant Micah and I our permit to climb in the region due to discord on the Tibetan front. The Olympics, essentially, were getting in the way too because of the increased media exposure.

We had the time and the psyche, so we had to head out. We ended up in the Alps. And from day ONE in Europe we had amazing serendipitous meetings, close calls in the mountains, great food, wine and cheer in towns, and even though it was the worst May for weather in 7 years, we climbed almost everyday – sometimes while it was snowing on alpine routes or while it was raining on overhanging limestone (no worries!).

The low-point (otherwise known as the highpoint) of our trip was part way up the West Face of the Petit Drus. A new route on the feared face was our main objective. It’s feared because 8 years ago half of the mountain fell off lifting a dust cloud that rose and floated from France to England. This major collapse of the wall’s infrastructure was seen by all in the Chamonix Valley, and the face has had few visitors since.

The wall wasn’t as scary as its reputation (as is usually the case). Never-the-less, it was a full alpine adventure with thin ice corners, steep, gloves-off rock climbing, crazy weather, and a tiiiiiiny leeetle bivouac site perched on the edge of a gendarme. It snowed that night as the storm moved in, and we didn’t sleep due to the cold and spindrift. That was our highpoint, or low-point depending on perspective.

The trip moves on and is still at hand! We are lovin’ the sweet French limestone in Ceuse, the granite in Chamonix’s upper valley, the Via Ferrata approaches and the European pace of life. And that leads us right back to timing, which is everything. Today: a glass of wine at 8pm with the sunset and a BBQ.

Salud, Jonny Copp

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Zombie Roof

So obviously I am fully into rock climbing season now and ski season is over for me after over a 100 days on the snow. What can I say, I love both sports just as much! But if you get bored of my rock posts, you can always scroll back to some skiing ones and relive the powder dreams at

For now, I guess I am on a bit of a roof crack binge. The last few days a bunch of us have decided to tackle Zombie Roof, an ultra classic 5.12d roof crack that is right next too some of the most classic 5.8-5.10 routes in Squamish. I have walked by this climb for 10 years now, and only tried it for the first time yesterday. After sending 'My Little Pony' the other day (see one of the older posts), I was feeling inspired to try this thing.

It is on you from the word go. It's about half as big as My Little Pony, but there is no real sections of cruising, just technical tight hands, finger locks,laybacks, ringlocks, heel-toe camming, and whatever body english trickery you can come up with. All of my other (smaller) friends are getting some good hand jams in at the lip, but my meaty paws are making me work a bit harder. Oh well, I haven't sent yet, but it will probably check in at a bit higher grade for me, more like 5.13a.

Good fun all around, check out my next attempt at making videos here...let me know if you are into the climbing vids, and I will keep 'em coming. All the climbing footage I ever see these days is always bouldering, deep water soloing or sport climbing, so I am trying my hardest to get some shots of hard trad climbing out there!

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...It Ai'nt Over Till It's Over

Date: June 6-9, 2008
Location: Alta/Snowbird, UT
New Snow: 0"
Featuring: Me (Jake Kirshner), Josh Matta, Adrian Lazo

Camera was a bit jittery on this go through due to some chunky snow conditions. I decided to keep it short to avoid repetitive shots. Working on a better mounting technique to minimize the shake.

Low Res YouTube Version:

High-Res Version:


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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Gannett Peak, WY Part 2

Gannett Peak Summit Day
Summit day came early with a 2:30 am start. Before leaving the Black Diamond Mega Light, I could hear the wind raging. It didn't sound good, but Steve said that he could see stars and had hot water boiling for coffee. Soon we were skinning up to the base of Gannett Peak with the Gooseneck Glacier route in mind. The wind did not subside and clouds were beginning to roll over the summit of the peak. It was a cold morning on the mountain. In what seemed like no time we were ready to crampon up and boot it up the Gooseneck. As we neared the entrance to the Gooseneck couloir the normal bergshrund was absent due to a good snow year, but the weather was deteriorating fast.

Jeramie, Tim, and Chris determine whether to push for the summit hidden in the clouds to the right in photo. The Gooseneck Pinnacle is the rocky spire to the left.
Soon we noticed that there were micro-windows of good weather that would allow us brief glimpses of the summit ridge and summit. After a quick refuel, we decided to push on. We figured if the weather got worse we could retreat from the top of Gooseneck Pinnacle.

Tim and Jeramie push for the summit of Gannett Peak:

We climbed quickly to the top of Gooseneck Pinnacle where the summit ridge begins wrapping up and to our right. At the top of the pinnacle the mountain seemed so mystical with the fog-like clouds rolling through.

Chris, Steve, and Tim hoping the weather holds long enough for a safe summit:

We decided to make the final push as we kept getting nice views of the summit. The summit ridge offered fairly quick access to the top of the mountain, but the exposure of the large cliffs beneath us on either side and solid snow kept us on our toes. With one last push, we finally made it to the top of Wyoming! Our goal was halfway done.

Chris and Steve on the final steps to the summit:

Chris, Steve, and Tim do the mandatory summit pose on Gannett Peak:

With more clouds and weather rolling in, we wasted little time on the summit. We quickly geared up for what would be an exciting ski down. The traverse over the summit ridge had me concerned with large cliffs below, but we all managed just fine with grins to boot.

Steve Romeo exits the summit ridge and jump turns towards the Gooseneck couloir:

Chris Weydeveld gets his tele on the highest mountain in Wyoming:

Jeramie Prine joins in on some splitboard fun:

Tim Weydeveld bringing the smooth drop knee on Gooseneck couloir:

Steve Romeo enjoys the big views and relief from Gooseneck couloir:

When we finished skiing the Gooseneck route on Gannett Peak, we decided to do some more skiing on Dinwoody Glacier. The next day we made it up three quarters of the Gannett Glacier and stopped just shy of the North Face summit of Gannett. We were happy with one successful summit, three glaciers skied, and many good times had. We enjoyed the long slog out in white out conditions on Scenic Pass, but made it out safe. It will be a trip I will not forget.

Chris, Jeramie, Tim, and Steve stoked on a great trip:


Alta Explores New Lift on Flagstaff

KCPW public radio in Salt Lake City broke the story yesterday that Alta Ski Resort is exploring the option of putting a lift up the very popular Flagstaff Mountain which is across the street to the north from the current Wildcat lot.

Currently a very popular backcountry skiing destination and somewhat of a right of passage for those seeking to access the immediate backcountry here in the Wasatch, the ridge up Flagstaff could at some point in the near future be void of the many switchbacks from ascending skiers and in it's place rope lines and moguls. Not to mention an access road which would likely need to ascend to the peak.

Flagstaff Mountain - Looks good no? (I'm standing on the road taking this picture)

It was THIS good!

It's not that this terrain is so impressive, which is really isn't comparatively speaking. That's not to say I personally haven't enjoyed many a powder run on it's south facing aspect where a proposed lift would go.

It's that this route is likely the 2nd or 3rd most popular backcountry skin track in the Wasatch which accesses prime north facing aspects like Days, Main Days, Holy Toledo, Toledo Bowl, Jaws, and Silver Fork to name a few in the immediate vicinity.

Citing concerns of avalanche control in lieu of Homeland Security wanting to be rid of avalanche guns that launch artillery into the snowpack, this lift would not really give the resort that much advantage from a terrain stand point but as long time local backcountry skier and Athlete Andrew McClean states,
" would be very devastating for the backcountry skiers."
I would agree entirely.

As you can imagine the message boards have lit up with nearly 10 pages at and 7 pages deep with comments on

I imagine there will come a time for some public opinion. I hope that the backcountry skiers both in Utah and from all around who understand how this lift could detrimentally affect the already crowded Wasatch wouldn't wait until that time arrives. - Alta contact us

--all images taken by Kendall Card are of or on the south face of Flagstaff



How's the Weather?

It was eerily still this morning when I awoke. Now I know why.

It's June 11th and I'm sitting here watching FAT flakes of snow fall from the sky, stacking up trees whose leaves emerged weeks ago.

I'm not sure whether it's the fact that today is June 11 or if because this is not the first time this month that this scene has played out, but I'm officially over it.

Sure, like any self respecting backcountry skier I'll take advantage of this storm and head up the Mirror Lake Highway to search out somewhere to skin, hike and ski, much like I did this past Saturday when it snowed 6" in the high country. But honestly, is this what to expect from the 21st century weather?

Tired of clearing snow off your car?

Chime in: I'd like to know where else it's snowing today. Chime in with a quick comment below.



Tuesday, June 10, 2008

My Little Pony

A bizarre title for a post for this blog...but let me explain.

You see, My Little Pony is the twisted name that my good friend, and bad ass mountain guide Craig McGee gave his new 30ft, 5.12+ hand and fist roof crack that he free climbed last fall here in Squamish, B.C. Go figure...

Recently, a friend and I went to check this thing out, and try and do the second ascent. It is a perfect route for us to tackle right now, because 'June-uary' is in full effect in the Pacific North-Wet; the rains will not stop! Luckily there are a few secret caves that stay dry in the rain, so climbers like me can get their fixes!

Here's a video of the route and our day...I did end up sending it with the gear in place, so I have to go back and do it placing my own gear - and hopefully get someone to shoot some cool footage of 'the battle'.

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Final Adjustments

We are lifting off in 3 days. I guess I should be nervous having never undertaken a trip like this before, but curiously enough I'm indifferent. I just spend my days organizing and enjoying hot food. We both have the same boots, La Sportiva Spantik's. These boots are incredible, they feel like oversized rock-climbing shoes. First, we adjusted them to fit our crampons, then went for a little front-pointing test on a tree in our backyard. These boots have a stiff, precise feel to them. We decided to throw some weight on and see how fast we could charge up Mount Olympus. We should have picked a little less busy of a day because everyone we passed was very curious what was on our feet. After the 100th or so inquiry, I just started telling people we were astronauts breaking in our "moon boots", I think a lot of people believed me.

The boots handle exceptionally on rock, the rubber sole sticks to everything. I climbed around on them a little and had no problem edging or smearing. I can't believe how agile they are for a large double-boot. I have yet to test them in arctic environments but I am told they are one of the warmest available. I can't imagine a more ideal boot for tackling technical terrain on an arctic expedition. A little pricey, but completely justifiable, how can you really put a price on keeping your toes?

We decided to take training a little easy yesterday and went for a hike to a very unique sport crag in Big cottonwood Canyon. The approach was about 45 minutes but well worth it. I've never climbed rock that required such delicate movement, all of the climbs were sloping down the fall-line which made barn-dooring an ever present challenge, especially while clipping.

I counted up the food we are bringing, last night. So far we have approximately 103,000 calories, which according to my calculations gives us about 3500 calories a day for 30 days for one person. Our menu is pretty standard, mostly comprised of rice, oatmeal, peanut-butter, nuts, chocolate and beef jerky. I'm personally looking forward to housing obscene amounts of these foods because it's pretty much what I eat everyday anyway. I think the remaining calories deficit (about40kcals) should be made up with butterfingers, nutritious and delicious. When else can you eat candy bars all day and lose weight? We should definitely take advantage of it.


Gannett Peak Trip Report (Part 1)

Steve Romeo, Chris and Tim Weydeveld, and I have returned from our week-long ski trip to Gannett Peak in the Northern Wind River Mountain Range of Wyoming. The trip was a success in that we climbed and skied from the summit via Gooseneck glacier, skied most of the northern mountain, and played on three different glaciers.

We hired a Native American guide to drive us to the Cold Springs trail head cutting out around twenty miles of an already thirty eight mile round trip to ensure much skiing was had. Driving to the trail head felt like an African safari with elk, bighorn sheep, and antelope roaming the foothills. It was a beautiful and wild drive to the trail head, and I was stoked to see some new country that many will never experience due to the fees and access. After a twenty mile drive, we were dropped off and all alone. What a great feeling!

Chris and Steve sorting out packs before the sixteen mile approach:
We were planning on hiking and skinning fourteen miles the first day, but our first obstacle would be a five mile and 2000 foot climb over Scenic Pass and down to Ink Wells. Then we would try to skin another nine miles to our base camp. We did not know how the snow conditions would be, so we crossed our fingers and hoped for good skinning.
Scenic Pass in the background:

Tim skinning up Scenic Pass before dropping into Ink Wells and Dinwoody drainage:

We skinned up the majority of Scenic Pass and soon had some great views of Dinwoody drainage and the north side of Gannett Peak after nearly five miles.

Once we made it down to the Dinwoody drainage our hopes of skinning all the way to base camp were squashed by marginal snow in the valley and we ended up camping four miles short. The next day we made it to the confluence of Dinwoody and Gannett creeks where we called home for the next four nights.
Tim, Steve, and Chris preparing for summit day:

The next morning we decided to wake up at 2:30 am for an attempt at our main objective, Gannett Peak. The weather and clouds were rolling in when we turned in for good night's rest, but we hoped for the best in the morning...stay tuned for Gannett Peak Part 2.