Thursday, October 30, 2008

Vulcan Llaima

Well, I uploaded a few photos from Vulcan Llaima and haven´t found a computer to get the rest up, but here´s some of the climb . . . I¨ll try and get the ski at some point!


Heading up . . . we chose to go around the far climber´s right side since it looked a little less steep and exposed than the main face. It was still glaciated, however, and much less direct . . . I guess that´s not a huge problem since half the point is getting in shape!


Old glacier and lava outflow . . .


Looking down on old eruption effects . . . this one erupted only 4 months ago!!! I´m not sure that all that damage was done in the most recent eruption, however . . .



When we got to the lava at the top, it was literally steaming . . . it was a trip to walk through, but no big deal. It was also pretty warm :-)



So, the crazy part was that, since we had to walk around the rim of the volcano to get back to our descent (since we took the long way up), we had to walk around the caldera and it was intense! Steam coming from everywhere, tons of lava rock, and sulfur remnants. At one point, I climbed up and took a look into the actual caldera and almost got nauseaus . . . it was DEEP! Let´s just say I moved back from the edge immediately!


After walking the caldera, we dropped into a fabulous 5000´corn run . . . and then came another adventure of navegating the Chilean countryside . . . stay tuned!

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Road Trip Continued

Okay, so Yosemite served up a HUGE portion of Humble Pie, much like it always does. Free climbing El Cap is HARD work, and I don't know if I was fully prepared for it. But in the end, getting sick to the point of vomiting and temperatures in the 30s prevented us from doing any free climbing, and forced a hasty retreat from 22 pitches up the wall. Oh well, the big stone isn't going anywhere, so I can come back again next year!

It was then off to Smith Rocks for the American Mountain Guides Association Annual Meeting. I managed to squeak in a few days of climbing before and during some meetings and trainings, and even got to tick some classic Smith Rock's routes, including Toxic and Chain Reaction.
Smith Rocks at Sunset


The Classic 11b Toxic


Classic Smith Views on the warmup


Trying to figure out the beta on The Quickening 12c/d


All in all, it was an amazing event to support the non-profit AMGA, in furthering their cause on training and certifying guides in the US...you should read more about the AMGA, and if you do hire a guide always try and hire one that is certified and/or trained by the AMGA.

At the last minute the keynote speaker bailed (it was supposed to be Jack Tackle) and yours truly had to step in and give a presentation on climbing in Squamish and my alpine trip to the Adamants this past summer (which I blogged abit about here). Free flowing beer aided my cause, and my 2 hours of prep time proved to be more than enough to really get together a pretty good show, or so I thought. Lots of videos, great pics (from friends who know how to use a camera) and some hopefully funny self depricating stories all added up to a good time. The same night also had a silent auction and raffle raising thousands of dollars for the AMGA. There were also 2 days of clinics on all sorts of great topics. Next year the event will be in Moab, UT so make yourself available to check out this fun event.

After the meeting was done I left Smith to pick up my wife in Yosemite. We jumped right back in the car and clipped some bolts and soaked in some hot springs in Bishop for a few days. Feeling the need for more crack climbing, we have now relocated for a 2 weeks in Indian Creek. I will keep you posted on the good times had down here in the red desert!

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Namasté - Kullu Dussehra and the one that got away.


Downtown Manali.

The many barricades and the seemingly inauspicious presence of armed police was apparently necessary to help maintain a controlled and tranquil scene at the 2008 Kullu Dussehra Celebrations, Ben Ditto and I (Pat Goodman) had the honor of attending.
Police at the 2008 Kullu Dussehra.

The recent bomb blasts in New Delhi and the enduring conflict between India and Pakistan have justly caused law enforcement officials to tighten security twofold. Since July 2008 Troops from both sides of the Line of Control in Kashmir have routinely been violating the cease-fire, I must admit to my minor apprehensiveness, our attendance here was possibly the most dangerous thus far in our Indian adventures.
The chariot of Lord Raghunath being pulled by thousands of devotees.

The seven-day Kullu Valley Dussehra in India’s Himachel Pradesh is unique and one of the biggest traditional, religious and cultural festivals of the country. It begins when Dussehra celebrations end in other parts of the country and unlike the rest, no effigy of Ravana and his brother and son are burnt, although, the festival does end with an animal sacrifice. Traditionally, over two hundred deities converge on Kullu to destroy "the evil empire". They pay homage to Lord Raghunathji while music and color fill the valley. This celebration commenced on the tenth day of the rising moon - the Vijay Dashmi.
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A short video shot during the Kullu Dussehra.

When the chariot of Lord Raghunath, the chief deity, accompanied by palanquins of other deities reached the historic Dhalpur Maidan the surreal sounds of beating drums and the playing of shehnais (Indian Clarinet) made the hair stand up on the back of my neck, every person in attendance was in a state of complete awe.

The Thonkru produces a very unique sound.

The birth of the Kullu Dussehra lay in royal fads and it nourished on religious, social and economic factors and ultimately came to be well established, because of the inborn love of the hill-men for fun and frolic, displayed in community singing and dancing. Numerous stalls offer a verity of local wares Kullu and Kinnauri shawls, handicrafts, carpets and dry fruits are a major attraction for the customers. Overall a very amazing cultural experience!

Piles of yummy food for thousands of people.


Our last few days in Manali were spent gathering some unique gifts and bouldering. We had been trying one particular problem that was conveniently located a few minutes walk from our hotel. One fairly big boulder - one fairly hard problem. We never sent it though it’s "the one that got away".

The one that got away..

Our bus ride to Delhi was no biggie, 15 hrs or so and the plane ride was mostly chill aside from some wicked turbulence that lasted for several minutes while we were flying over Russia. I got back to North Carolina just as the Fall colors were at their peak.

Morning smog in New Delhi, India.

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Short vid of an Indian truck stop.

How much stuff does it take to play in the mountains??


I need to extend a sincere acknowledgment of gratitude to the following -
Mountain Hardwear, Sterling, Evolv, Backcountry.com and Blackdiamond
Without the support of these companies I would be living a far less exciting existence! These companies pour tons of energy, support and product back into the community, I strongly encourage everybody to support them!Beautiful Fall foliage in North Carolina.
























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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Backcountry.com athlete Drew Tabke's first month in his new home.

A cool update from Drew...


One month ago I left Salt Lake City with my car packed to the ceiling. I was headed for Seattle, my new home for the winter (and longer?). Here are a few pictures of what I've been up to so far.

















Camping in the Hoh Rainforest National Park on the Olympic Penninsula


























Climbing and skiing on the Coleman Glacier on Mt. Baker.








































Climbing and skiing the Muir Snowfield on Mt. Rainier.

I love it here!

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Portillo Big Mountain Telemark Camp - Part 2

The sun has already begun warming up the rocks and loosening up snow thousands of feet above. Hang fire sluff begins ripping out of couloirs around us as we all reconvene on Primavera, a stunning bit of apron that unfolds right above the lake. We get the cameras situated in two different spots and the crew begins ripping fast, monster turns through the untracked outer margins of the run.



Nick and I both look at each other with the same thoughts as we watch Carder Lamb, another 17 year old from Vail Colorado throw up a monster rooster tail of snow in the shadow of the lake followed by Peter White from New York City as he lays out clean wide radius turns. The crew is progressing magnificently. They were starting to stand up tall and rip at high speeds with ease and comfort.

Our dream of over two years had come to fruition: Create a telemark camp in a location with terrain that was stunning enough to be able to teach and develop the contemporary tools to safely navigate and rip big mountain terrain on telemark skis. Nick had approached me with the idea two years ago after a trip to Portillo to check out his friend Chris Davenport’s Ski With the Superstars Camp. He knew he had found the place: a stunning Andean setting with endless chutes, spines, and couloirs both on and off-piste. A small cozy all-inclusive lodge that sits like a stranded cruise-ship lakeside at the foot of a glacial valley. It was quite simply the Noah’s ark of the ski world. It took us two years to put all the pieces together and get the camp up and running, and finally we were watching our first seven clients rip powder lines in front of a deep purple lake.

The energy is high as we make the transition at the lodge to backcountry mode. For many, this is their first time using skins, and we take some time to cut skins and get everyone situated. Then it is up the lift and on to one of Portillo’s legendary five-man Pommas that drag you straight up couloirs. Unloading these pommas on a 40-degree slope always provides laughs and antics, and this ride is no different. From there we begin booting up several more hundred feet across the ski area boundary to the upper reaches of the Lake Run. We come to rest just below a cliff band where we look down 3000 feet to the reflection of the mountains in the lake.

We begin having our first discussions of backcountry safety, and Nick lays out the plan. “We are going to stay out of the main gulley at all costs. We’ll divide the run into two halves and go one at a time. I’ll rip down first and duck out in the safety of the rock outcrop on the right. Then we will do the same thing with the lower half and reconvene at the lake. With a smile he’s off, and in signature form he straight lines the first 50 feet to build up enough speed to really lay it out.

The crew looks at each other, smiling and shaking their heads. Adam Johnson, a 26 year old from Denver is the first to speak “It’s a stunning thing to watch”. Everyone agrees, but not without first offering a few sarcastic remarks and fun jabs.

Nick is a paradigm shifter. He is the Seth Morrison of the telemark world. Telemark skiing will never be the same because of his influence. He has redefined how a slope might be approached on telemark skis and in doing so has bridged the gap between Telemark and Alpine skiing by dragging the telemark world into the high speed, breathtaking, Super G turn realm that has characterized the Big Mountain movement in the last five years. Add to this cat-like airs and aggression and you have a skiing spectacle that leaves people struggling with words to describe what they just witnessed.

This technique became the foundation for the camp. To ski in this style begs a technique overhaul which we both had been tweaking and developing over the last ten years, me in the venue of the CRMS Telemark Team and Nick in his global adventures, big mountain descents, and competition lines. Now we were both crawling with excitement as we were starting to see it manifest itself in a place that was truly conducive to this type of skiing.

One by one the group took off for the second half of the run. Each skier carving monster turns and disappearing in a cloud of snow over the last rise that dead-ended in the lake. The end result is almost 3,000 feet of the most stunning skiing people had ever experienced. People were smiling and laughing and trying to find the language to describe what had just happened as I carved my last turn and joined the group. Kelsey Lewis’s (a 17 year old member of the CRMS Telemark Team) response was to beat me about the head with a flurry of punches and slaps and a Cheshire grin. As we skinned up Nick layed out the plan again. “We face the same hazards going up as we did coming down. I am going to cut a skin trail that keeps out of the main gulley (the next day we watched rock fall from the summit thousands of feet above us cause an avalanche that ripped down this very same gully and explode into the lake). We will only cross the gully once at the top, where we have to.”



People I-podded up and we climbed in the mid-day sun. Our destination was Tio Bob’s restaurant, which sat on-Piste at the top of the run for a Chilean feast overlooking the entire Portillo valley.


Check back soon for the Portillo wrap-up...

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Vulcán Villarica

Well, I left Anchorage last Monday in a snowstorm and travelled 3 consecutive nights to arrive in Pucon on Thursday morning at 8am and meet my old friend Scott and new friend Christian. Our intention is to spend 2 weeks skiing volcanoes in Chile . . .

So, true to KO form, I got off the bus and on my skis, as we headed to Villarica that afternoon. It was just over 5000 ft climb and descent in super good corn! Enjoy the view!


Villarica from downtown Pucon
Me at the beginning of the descent
Scott and I looking down on the world
photos courtesy of Christian Ratcliffe

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Portillo Big Mountain Telemark Camp - Part 1

Shralping Portillo Chile with Backcountry.com athlete Nick Devore
Epic conditions and high spirits characterize the first annual Portillo Big Mountain Telemark Camp
by Kayo Ogilby

Nick’s head pops up over the edge of my top bunk and I know there is no more ignoring the 7:00 alarm. He cranes his neck out of the narrow window of our room in the Inca Lodge and gives the report: “Bluebird”.



We drag our selves to the Yoga room, and Danny Pylman, a 17 year old camper from Vail Colorado begs for Nicks mercy and pleads him to let us do _ hour of child’s pose followed up with maybe some of the head stands he has been teaching us. Nick smiles, and we begin. The Yoga has been a twice-daily gift to stretch our aching thighs, sore backs, and battered bodies. It has also provided critical time to absorb and visualize technique, warm up and cool down, and prevent injuries.

Nick wraps up the _ hour morning practice by bringing us back to telemark posture and allowing the group one more opportunity to connect the mind to all that must come together to rip fast powerful telemark turns. “Step forward into your turn, watch your back knee and make sure it stays in the same track as your front, feel both feet plant into the floor, engage your pelvis and push it forward, stand tall, drop your shoulders back and notice what happens to your back foot as you pivot your hips”.

Breakfast is leisurely and our stares are glued to the Andean peaks and purple/blue sky. The plan for the morning is to hike and traverse into remaining patches of untracked powder from a storm three days ago and then pack up the backcountry gear for the legendary Lake Run. We divide up into two groups, the juniors with Nick to hit some airs and begin thinking about competition lines and the adults with me to work on wide open super-G turns.


Check back for the next installment...

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Back in the Salt Lake Groove

Date: October 12, 2008
Location: Rocky Point, UT
Featuring: Me (Jake Kirshner), Nik Aksamit, Kris Aksamit

Low-Res YouTube Version:

High-Res Version: http://www.jakecast.com/helmetcast/helmetCast9.m4v
(right-click > save target/link as...)

Winter is back...

Jake

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Silverton Snow

Jen Ader Brill sent out an update from Silverton Mountain today with some early pow turns. It's like clockwork - Silverton always seems to get the first pow turns of the year in Colorado. Here's what she had to say:

"Howdy Snow Fans,

This weekend dropped more than a foot of snow at Silverton Mountain . As the ski patrol arrived at the mountain today to do some pre- season work they discovered great snow conditions and went skiing.

The snow from this weekend was deposited on snow from last week making for a good base and fun turns.

You can see from the facial expression how excited they were to get some early powder skiing in.

The snow came from remnants that pumped up from the hurricane. It was very wet all weekend."





Photo Credit: Silverton Mountain/Jeremy Yanko
Skier: Doug Krause

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Barefoot Baba's and a cup of tea - More fun in India's Himachel Pradesh

For a bit of history regarding the beginning of this adventure follow this link – http://blog.mountainhardwear.com/2008/10/success_in_india.html


Ben Ditto soaking up some wicked Himalayan views.

“Oh my God, he’s got to be dead”, I thought as I ran up to the overturned vehicle only to find no one inside – then suddenly a parade of barefoot Baba’s came strolling past me, marching through the deep snow with no notice what-so-ever to the purple elephants nearby.
With a loud smack my head bounced off the trucks passenger side window causing the Tibetan man to my right to giggle – I must have fallen asleep. Though I am not sure how, the drive over the Rohtang La (3978m) is a rough one!


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A little taste of the road over the pass.

Ben Ditto and I (Pat Goodman) left Manali at 7:00 am en route to the Lahaul valley and the plethora of high quality granite boulders and walls rumored to be scatered along the Chandra river. Check this link for a look at the bouldering - http://www.pils-trips.com/spiti06/index.html.

Big wet unclimbed walls in the Lahaul valley.

It took us about 4 1/2 hrs to reach Chhatru (3360m), the bustling 4 tent tea house village and our drop off point for our next adventure; bouldering and some alpine climbing in the Chhota Shigri glacier valley.

Tea house in Chhatru.

Upon arrival in Chhatru we began to wonder our logic and our chances of climbing anything due to bad and worsening conditions. The boulders looked great – but we had no crash pad. The walls looked real good with many soaring hundreds of feet up from the roadside – but they were soaked! Not to mention the impending doom of the storm that had been following us all morning. Call it intuition or whatever, but we decided to keep traveling another rough 125 km over the Kunzum La (4551m) with our new Tibetan friends to Kaza (3600m).

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Prayer flags on the Kunzum La.

Kaza is the headquarters of Spiti sub-district perched beautifully along the bank of the Spiti river. In earlier times, it was the capital of Nono, the chief of Spiti. It possesses a distinctive Buddhist culture similar to that found in nearby Tibet and is located in one of the least populated regions in India, not to mention has some of the friendliest folk I have ever met!
The Kunzum La was exceptionally beautiful and marked the drastic transition from the green, fertile Lahaul and Kullu valleys to the arid, lunar like barren mountains of the Spiti valley.

Spiti Valley.

Once in Kaza we thought “wow this is great, we are in Kaza…hmm wait, why are we here??” Neither of us had even heard of this place before and although it was beautiful we needed go climbing and this was not the place to climb. So we spent the next couple of hours trying to hire a truck to get us back to Manali. Apparently many other people had the same plan, one more big snow storm and the passes would be closed making the journey back to Manali difficult at best. Ki Monastery.

Again we departed at 7:00 am, this time with 12 people loaded into a 6 passenger vehicle. The drive back over the Kuzum La was a rough one, the storm that had followed us the day before dropped a lot of fresh snow on the already treacherous roadway. Glad we were not riding in this one!

On our way back through Chhatru our caravan stopped for some tea. Ben and I inadvertently bumped into some climbers that had been enjoying the area for a month or so. Never-the-less those fine folks were feeling the impending season change and wanted badly to get back over the Rohtang La before it closed – this solidified our decision to bail back to Manali. Had we stayed the day before, we would’ve been stuck just like these guys waiting for the off chance that a truck has the space for another passenger. 10 hrs after leaving Kaza we stumbled back to what has become our base in Manali, the Tourist Hotel(touristmanali@gmail.com).The Tourist Hotel in Manali.

Though the name hardly implies it the hotel is super low key with a helpful, friendly staff. In fact, one of the staff by the name of Gupta, has insisted on taking us to the Kullu Dusserha celebration in a few days. “A festival for the Gods”, he says, “sure to make you smile.”
Stay tunned for more India adventures and hopefully some more climbing …

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Fall Road Tripping - Part 1 El Cap

Okay, so I have been a slacker with blogging. September came and I actually had to work a bunch. Well if you call teaching a bunch of keen 20 year olds how to climb in Squamish and the Coast Mountains Work, then so be it. But it was all in the name of 3 months of no work and all play before the winter snows have me pounding out the vertical on the skis.

Part 1 of my journey has taken Jasmin, my wife, and I down to Yosemite, where we are just super psyched to climb as much as possible. After a few days of cragging, we decided that what we really want to do is get up on El Cap again, but this time with no aiders, trying our best to free climb it via the route 'Freerider'.

Freerider is no walk in the park, and it checks in at around 30 pitches, with most being hard 5.10 to hard 5.12. Neither of us are expecting to send it on this trip, but we both want to check it out to see if it is possible to ever do the unimaginable: free climb the most iconic big wall in the world. It has always been a dream of mine, and will likely be a multi trip endeavor but who cares! It will be a lot of fun trying!

But free climbing big walls is HARD work. Day one we climbed the first 10 pitches, and rapped back down to the valley floor via some fixed lines. Yesterday we packed up our haulbags and got prepped to be on the wall for 4 days. Today we jugged back up and hauled our 100+ lbs bags up about 1200' - a third of the way. Tomorrow we get down to business and drag our butts up El Cap trying to free climb as much as possible. Stay tuned...I will keep you posted on how it goes, as well as the rest of the road trip, which will include Smith Rocks, Indian Creek and Spain (I guess that is a flying trip not a road trip!)
The first 100', only 3,300' more to go!


Jasmin soaks up some intense CA rays 1000' feet above El Cap Meadow


Jas heads out on pitch 11 of Freerider

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Seasons and continents in transition . . .

During seasonal transition times, my energy always gets a little weird. This year my solution was a combo of yoga and diverse cardio adventures in the form of mountain biking, skiing, and mountain running.

Getting in ski shape . . .




On a run in the front range, just after my bike broke - perfect timing at the end of summer!
On the way to Whittier, and using tunnel time to learn handstand :-)

And, in the name of transition, I am preparing also to transition continents! As Alaska enters full winter, I'm headed to spring in Chile to ski some volcanoes and then to Antarctic for a ski cruise! Hopefully, I'll have some good adventure stories to share!

Thank goodness for the Dakine Concourse Double ski bag!

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Sunday, October 05, 2008

White Fall

It's a white fall here in Utah.  Nothing like a little skiing to help pass the time until...well, skiing.

Alta, caught between Fall & Winter.
Me, caught between Biking & Skiing
 My Bike, caught between Dirt & Water.
My grin, caught between Stoked & Totally Stoked.
My photographer, caught between Tired & Confused.
My ski poles, caught between Rocks & Snow.
Bike trails, caught between Mud & Ice.
My skis, caught between Resting & Waiting...
Always waiting on winter,
Jake

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