Archive for August, 2010
After many years of skiing on the North Shore mountains of British Columbia and looking across the border to the north face of Mt.Baker in the North Cascades, I knew one day I had to ski it. A lot of factors have to come into play to pull it off — weather, work, desire, motivation and fear.
You know the rest of the saying. Sometimes it hurts to say it, but you can say it with me right now. “Try, try (try, try) AGAIN!” This is kind of a basic tenet of alpine climbing, or maybe all climbing really; actually, life itself. So what am I trying to get at here?
If you followed my last post, it was a video from the a trip I took to the Adamant Mountains in 2008, a recap of some attempts, successes and failures from a great 10 days in the mountains. A lead in to climbing there again this season. And we did climb there again this year…
July 13th we (Craig and Jeremy) decided to drive to the Golden, BC to pack and prep to fly into our glacier camp at the base of some amazing summits. Camp would be a 10 minute walk from 2 unfree-climbed 600m alpine big walls. Drool.
But for the few days leading up to our departure, way too much time was spent looking at the weather models, trying to figure out if we had any chance of some long awaited BC summer high pressure. For details I can’t really get in to (let’s just say extenuating personal circumstances of a team member) we decided to give it a try anyway, and by the morning of the 14th we were waiting to fly in from a random logging road, and watching the black clouds prevent our passage.
Like hiking, biking, bears, trees, deer, camping, rafting, hunting, skiing, climbing, running or fishing? If you answered yes to any of the above, then you should support the National Conservation Lands and all the local non-profits working to protect them.
Over the next few weeks, and in celebration of their campaign Season of Service, National Conservation Lands will be raffling off more than 100 prizes from companies including: Patagonia, Moosejaw, Keen, Osprey Packs and Venture Snowboards. That’s about one winner per day, so your odds of winning are better than Vegas — and you’ll be protecting America’s wild lands to boot! So keep checking back to see the most recent giveaways.
Pick your favorite project, donate and win!
Hundreds of single track enthusiasts will ride into the Black Hills of South Dakota’s high country this coming Labor Day for the 10th Annual Dakota Five -O, a mountain biking race that will challenge its riders to 50 miles of single track with some amazing vertical climbs. Part of the Osprey Adventure Envoy team will be on board to check it all out, with some great swag, and sweet giveaways.
The Race will begin with a Smokey the Bear start through Spearfish, South Dakota. Yep Smokey the Bear himself will kick off the race. Smokey will lead the riders through town before entering into the single track section of the race that includes 45+ miles of single track through some of the most beautiful parts of the Black Hills.
The course start consists of three miles of gravel road climbing. This gravel road will give the fast guys and girls a chance to vie for position, before funneling onto the twisty, smooth, single-track through the National Forest in the Black Hills.
Along the ride, riders will find water stops, break stations, and the famous Bacon Station, where five-O riders can pick up their official on course PBR. Much needed after 35+ miles of riding.
As riders enter back into Spearfish, the Start/Finish location for the race, riders will find live music, food, pasta feed for riders, and plenty of cold brew.
Other exciting events for this year’s Five-O include Strider Sports Bike (www.stridersports.com) kids race.
This year’s Event is limited to 500 racers, with NO race day registration. Check out more about the Dakota Five-O at http://www.dakotafiveo.com
Hope to see you there.
Ben Clark and Jon Miller are on a ski expedition to return to 23,390′ Baruntse, their second attempt.
Ski The Himalayas Season 2, Episode 4 leads viewers on the Mera La trail to Baruntse. Miller and Clark share the adventure as the pair view the expedition footage often sharing a story “not for air”. In this episode the trail winds through high mountain passes and into remote villages.
In conjunction with Outsidetelevision.com.
Three weeks from today, I’ll be flying to Ethiopia. I’ve been training for trip. I’ve been aqua jogging.
Actually, I just had to stop aqua jogging. I was over-training with the 12”-wide water-flotation device. In my defense, I was just trying to keep up with Astrid, the 65-year old woman with a hip and knee replacement. At 33 with two back surgeries, I was eating her aquatic dust. It’s a good thing I’ve finally been cleared to go back to climbing. It’s about time—East Africa is looming close.
Not everyone sees it like this. My father does not understand why I am a) going on a trip in Ethiopia so close to two back surgeries and b) flying to Ethiopia so close to two back surgeries. “Do you know how long the plane ride is?” he asks me each time we talk.
“18 hours,” I usually say, wondering if he thinks it will get shorter or longer if he keeps checking.
“Are you sure this is a good idea?” he asks.
It’s hard to reassure anyone who took care of you during the height of your drug hazed post operative days that going to the grocery store by yourself is a good idea, let alone going to Ethiopia. So to reassure my father, I have had to resort to going to his sweet spot.
“Think of the poodle,” I say. “Don’t you think he’d be proud of me?”
I’m 40 years old, father of a two, Caleb who is four and Sophie, two.
I‘ve always enjoyed riding but I’ve really embraced this passion over the last four years, as I was introduced to mountain bike racing. I race not only for the competitive aspect but also that it motivates me to stay in shape. I bike to work every day. Probably very ordinary to most of you, but biking year round through the Saskatchewan winters where temperatures plummet in -30 degrees Celsius… Not so ordinary. You might say I’m a little nuts but that’s okay — it beats buying a second vehicle!
This weekend my local mountain bike club, Off-road Syndicate (ORS), held its annual race, The Wascana Challenge, at the scenic and popular Wascana trails. This race is part of the Saskatchewan inter-provincial race series.
Saskatchewan is located pretty much in the middle of Canada, right in the middle of the Canadian Prairies. One might think what’s the challenge, when you’re riding on flat prairie landscape. Although the Prairies are flat, erosion by rivers, or maybe even glaciers melting, created a series of valleys which provide us with some interesting trails, perfect for endurance cross racing. Wascana trails offer some steep climbs and technical descents in treed areas and also some nice flats to catch your breath in between.
Our summer here in Saskatchewan has been particular wet this year, as we usually enjoy a semi-arid climate. Heavy rain fall two days prior to the race, made the trails very slippery and made some areas even more challenging to ride. As most of the trails are hard pack, traction was minimal. Heat was also a concern for most of us who are not use to riding in hot and humid conditions. So needless to say the race was pretty demanding.
The first lap was a little frustrating as I caught up with some slower riders and had to wait until after the first climb to be able to pass. Once that was done I was pretty much on my own for the last two laps.
The last lap was, and always is the most demanding as fatigue and pain sets in. I had plenty of water for the entire race and never felt the effects of dehydration. (Hydraulic packs are nice. A hydraulic pack used to be a six pack, stuffed in my back-pack on my way home from work on a Friday!)
I manage to finish forth in my wave, with a time of 1 hour, 44 minutes — 2nd in my category — pretty good considering the conditions. Well that’s it for me this time around, so keep riding and have fun!
My wife and I recently took an adventure to Europe. This little trip had been on the calendar for about 2.5 years; a way to celebrate a career accomplishment that my wife was working towards. We planned it to be a backpacking trip through Europe hitting all the major destinations: England, France, Monaco, Italy, Greece, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Denmark. Our adventure was going to be traveling town to town, country to country sleeping in hostels, and on trains to experience Europe. But a few months before our departure we were dealt one of life’s many unremarkable rewards that would change our plans completely: yep, Jr. Jobman was on the way.
Overly happy and ecstatic about the future we decided that the last thing that we should do was put an overstuffed backpack on my pregnant wife’s back. She would be 15 weeks along when we would depart for Europe, a critical time for mom and baby. So, our plans changed from a multi-week backpacking adventure, roughing it where needed, to a southern European cruise trip, hitting up some of the most beautiful coast line cities in the Mediterranean. Not quite the adventure that either of us had envisioned but it turned out to be a great decision for Jr., Mom, and Dad.
Our trip started in Barcelona, traveling from there to Villa-France, Monaco, Pisa & Florence, Rome, Naples, Santorine and Athens, Greece, and Kusadashi, Turkey. More than enough places for us to fill our two weeks with culture, adventure, and, of course, more ruins then we ever could have imaged.
Having wanted to ski the remote Glacier Peak in the North Cascades for a while now, my brother and I finally lucked out with promising weather and hit the road for three days. With a great late snow season we were confident there would be snow left to ski, even if it was almost August, and we were fueled by our inspiration to keep the “turns-all-year” spirit alive.
I’ve been wanting to do one of the National Ultra Endurance (NUE) MTB100 marathon races for a few years, and although the Wilderness 101 didn’t fit great into my racing season with Untamed New England (a 3-day, non-stop adventure race) a few weeks away, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do this killer course. A course considered by many to be the toughest technically and physically on the NUE circuit.
The Wilderness 101 takes place outside State College (home of Penn State) in Rothrock State Park and surrounding state lands. The 160 km course is mountainous and extremely rocky. There would not be fast flowy single-track here like we are accustomed to in Ontario; instead it would be a maze of gnarly rocky single-track interconnected by old coal mine trails, fire roads and the occasional paved state park road.