Fadgen's Adventures

Fadgen's Adventures
Green Creek Lake

Saturday, January 3, 2015

A Jackson Hole New Year!

With Taylor and Dylan coming home for the holidays, I figured we should continue our latest tradition of doing some skiing together. Last year the kids and I skied Grand Targhee and Jackson, but Tamara didn't make it due to her brother, Bill, unexpectedly passing.  She pretty much picked the location this year after having to listen to all our stories over the last 12 months.

It was dang cold when we pulled into Jackson Tuesday evening and after some excellent pizza at Caldera Pizza we hit the sack early anticipating some excellent turns in the near future.

Wednesday morning was a tad colder than Tuesday night - the car thermometer at the resort base showed -22!  Damn!

It was tough getting the clothes situated and the gear ready without getting frostbite, but we somehow managed.  We took the gondola for the first trip up, mainly because it was enclosed.  Upon reaching the top of the lift, the temperature was a balmy 17 degrees - excellent. Just too make sure we weren't out of our minds, we proceeded to ski all the way down to the resort base. Yep, still freezing a$$ cold.
Gondola Splattski
Being the smart folks we think we are, it didn't take but this one run to realize that we should ski the top half of the mountain, and stay away from base area.  So that's what we did.

We took the tram up next so Dylan could check out the conditions of Corbett's Couloir.  For my sake there was still a few large rocks showing, so he (we) decided to forgo risking death, but we still managed to get in some smaller couloir runs.
Dylan preparing to drop in
Overall the snow wasn't too bad for this early in the season.  The coverage was great and the snow soft.

We skied both Wednesday and Thursday and had a blast.  If the smiles are any indication...

Now where to go next year?

Saturday, December 20, 2014

First Ski of the 2014 Season!

This year has been another slow start to the ski season.  After a blast of winter weather in mid November followed by a warm December, we finally have enough snow to venture out for a tour.

Tamara and I decided to get out this morning and head up above Idaho City to 1) make sure the boots we picked up for her last spring will work, and 2) just to get out!

We knew we would be interacting with the snowmobile crowd and immediately got our 2 stroke fill as two dudes revved their machines to an earsplitting noise level right next to us as we were getting dressed!  Oh well, everything can't be perfect all the time on these ski trips.
Now time to find some peace and quiet.

We were  on our feet at 9:30 heading up the snowmobile trail to Pilot's Peak in gray skies, a balmy 34 degrees and steadily falling snow.  Before we peeled off the main trail we had almost 2 dozen snow machines come by us, but everyone was courteous and slowed down as they slid by.

The snow was falling steadily as we climbed, and thankfully the forecasted 30 mph wind had not yet started.

Two and a half hours, 3 miles and 1800 feet later we reached our destination - Top of the World Bowl.
Tamara cruising up the mountain 

As we were climbing, the snow looked and felt good.  But after we transitioned to downhill mode, we quickly realized that the foot deep powder, was very, very heavy.  No worries though.  We did our best to keep on our feet.  Some did better than others!

And here are the shots where we managed to stay upright.

As this was our first time out and the conditions were close to miserable, we elected to only do the one run.  Once back to the car we were all smiles.  Hopefully, the storms this week will build a great base so we can have a long season.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Day to Honor, Celebrate and Remember

Disclaimer:  If you are a "normal" follower of this blog, this entry was not written by John, nor does it have anything to do with bagging any peaks.  This is your chance to bail.

Last December 29th, I lost my little brother, Bill Lucas.  This November 17th, we had the honor of celebrating him at a ceremony in Arlington National Cemetery.

To start, we spent an evening with John's sister, Kathy and her husband, JC in Alexandria.  Then my niece, Hailey and my brother and sister (Rod and Julie) showed up mid-morning Sunday, and we just sort of took over Kathy's living room for several hours.  All was good, though.

John and Kathy

The Lucas clan (and John)
Since the ceremony was on Monday, we spent a few hours Sunday afternoon kicking around Old Town Alexandria, VA.  John and I are fortunate in that we always seem to have a great time when family gets together.  This time didn't disappoint.  Although we were visiting for a more solemn reason, we still had many laughs...and tears.

Monday morning dawned cool, wet and rainy.  Considering we left single digits and 8 inches of snow back home, we weren't complaining, too much, about the weather.  After the 80 minute drive of 15 miles (I don't miss traffic like that!), and one wrong turn, we arrived!

The Fall colors were beautiful!
We met the rest of the family in small gathering room and took a few pictures.

A family shot with Sister-in-law Jane and William Robert Lucas IV

Our last sibling picture

Once we all arrived, there were two family groups that drove down from PA that morning (an early morning, 5 hour drive with kids.  YIKES!), we were ready to proceed to the cemetery grounds.

The unfolding of the flag, prior to the ceremony
 Our sister, Deb, spent a few months in Afghanistan this time last year.  A flag for Bill was flown on Christmas Day.  Unfortunately he never saw that flag.  We'd hoped this flag would have been able to be used for this ceremony, but alas, since it isn't the same size they practice with, they wouldn't allow his flag to have the honor.

The 21 gun salute participants

The re-folding of the flag towards the end.

The flag presentation to Jane

After this portion of the ceremony, we walked over to where Bill's Niche is, for the final portion of the service.

His final resting place

The temporary identifying marker

As we began making our afternoon plans and heading out of the cemetery, the skies opened up and just POURED.  Thank goodness it held off for us!

We had a small gathering (only 18 of us) afterwards at Chilis for lunch before we all had to head back to; home, the airport, school.

One of the best parts though, was that I got to get my hands on my two new great(s):

Great niece, June

Great nephew, "Little Bill"
In all, it was a quick weekend trip, but well worth the time spent!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Prophyry Peak - 10,012 Feet

My buddy Dan texted me early in the week wondering about getting out this weekend to enjoy the great fall weather.  After some back and forth, Dan threw out Prophyry Peak in the White Knobs, and since I didn't have a better idea, it was settled.   Dan invited Jordan, a young man I'd met on the fall outing a few weeks prior, as well as Margo.  Since Margo lives in Pocatello, she would to meet us in Arco later that morning.

As we sped through the night, Dan received a couple of texts.  The first was from Margo letting us know she wasn't going to make it.  The second was from Deb Rose, wondering if we could swing by and help them with their truck which was stuck up Sawmill Gulch Road.  WTF!

Luckily for Deb and her group, Sawmill Gulch was on our way and we were only a couple of hours away.  So we took a right rather than a left, and headed up the rough road in search of fellow peakbaggers in need. After a couple of miles, we came upon the group of four (Deb, Victor, Matt and Rob) and their truck.  The truck had slid off the road on an icy patch and was perched on the edge of a small ravine.  In a couple of minutes we had the truck free.

Rather than continue on their objective of White Cap Peak, they decided to join us instead.

The one trip report for Prophyry Peak on SummitPost mentions a difficult river crossing.  Difficult?  Not really, but you could not feel your bare feet by the time you had reached the other side.
Deb crossing while Victor and Matt wonder what they'd gotten themselves into
Dan wondering what the ruckus is all about
There is an assortment of cow paths leading from the river up Castle Creek, allowing easy going for the first mile and a half.  Castle Creek takes you by Castle Rock which towers above.  (Dylan, I looked at the rock - terrible!  Won't hold any pro).
Castle Rock
After a few twists and turns up Castle Creek our objective came into view.  As you can see, the weather was absolutely miserable!

Jordan and Dan
Matt and Deb
When we reached the 8000 foot contour, the group split up.  Jordan, Shadow and I decided to take a more direct route, while the others chose a milder objective.

Jordan charging up the mountain
Shadow wondering why we are so slow
Jordan and I obtained our desired ridge and cruised up it until it ended in a jumble of partially snow covered, loose rocks.  Fun!  Nothing like worrying about a twisted ankle as the rocks move under the snow with each step.  But, we had chosen this route, so it was time to suck it up.  We carefully traversed the rocks so we could get a better view of an easier route.
Shadow loving the loose rock!
Jordan navigating the rock

If you look closely (very bottom, just left of center) you might be able to make out three of the others on a path.
The quickest way out of the rock was also the steepest. The ridge looked like it had the least amount 
of loose rock, so this was our path up.  After several hundred feet of the ridge, we came upon the crux of our route, a mass of loose rock for the final 100 feet.  Jordan waited out of the way while Shadow and I moved up.
The summit's up there somewhere.
Shadow took the lead and other than one steep section where she needed my assistance with a push, we made it through this section without incident.  We reached the summit at approximately 1:15PM, 2.5 hours after we had crossed the river.

Jordan on the final scramble. 
There was a little breeze blowing while Jordan and I shared our lunches with Shadow, waiting for the others.  After 20-30 minutes Rob, Vic, Deb, Dan and Matt joined us.  The views were outstanding, but for some reason I neglected to take any pictures.

A look back at the ridge Jordan and I took
After another half hour, it was time to head down.  I wanted to make a loop of the trip, but due to how late it was we opted to backtrack down the other's route.  Good move since it was 4PM by the time we reached the trucks where some ice cold Grand Teton 208's were waiting for us.

Time: 2.5 hours (summit), 5.5 hours (car-car)
Distance: 6.75 miles
Elevation: 2700 feet


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A team of adventurers consisting of John, Tamara, Taylor, Dylan, and Shadow Fadgen