Fadgen's Adventures

Fadgen's Adventures
Green Creek Lake

Sunday, April 10, 2016

A Little Desert Relaxation

Dylan "relaxing" on an off width
A few weeks back Tamara and I joined Dylan in Las Vegas for the 13th annual Red Rock Rendezvous.  The RRR is a rock climbing “festival,” put on by Mountain Gear, in the climbing mecca of Red Rocks.  We had previously attended this festival in 2012 and were eagerly looking forward to gaining some additional knowledge from the climbing seminars put on by professional climbing athletes.  Needless to say we had a great time.  We learned a lot: I learned traditional lead climbing, Tamara brushed up on some beginner techniques, while Dylan suffered through an off width clinic.  In addition to rubbing shoulders with some semi-famous rock climbers, we enjoyed the free flowing beer and wine, a great bar-b-que dinner and camaraderie of like-minded individuals.
Supposed to be gangsta signs!

 Since I had to attend a trade show in Las Vegas for work, on Thursday, we decided to make a semi vacation out of the week.  After a fun time hanging with family Sunday night, Tamara and I headed east to Zion National Park and Dylan headed back to classes at Utah State. 

The first stop was outside the park for some mountain biking in an area called Gooseberry Mesa.  This area is supposed to be “Moab like” slick rock riding, a new treat for us.  It was definitely new, but I am not sure about the treat part. With a printed map of the area, we headed out following the white dots painted on the rock.  It didn’t take long to get completely turned around on the flat mesa.  But as long as we followed the dots we’d be fine, right? 

Other than a couple of near crashes and quite few walk-a-bikes, we did OK for our first time riding on rock. We definitely need more practice with this type of riding to get proficient at it. 

We didn’t actually get lost while riding, turned around a few times, but never lost.  Next time it might be helpful to bring a GPS.

The next morning we hit Zion NP early to try and beat the crowds up Angel’s Landing.  Angel’s Landing is one of the most popular hikes in Zion.  It climbs a paved path up steep switch backs on the side of a a wall, before crossing a knife edge ridge offering some excellent exposure.  This ridge comes equipped with chains to grab on to to steady yourself if needed.
Tamara with Angel's Landing in the background

The final ridge

I’m glad we started early on this, as we got to enjoy the summit with only 40-50 of our closest friends!  Despite the crowd, the view from the top was outstanding.  The descent was uneventful, other than dodging the hundreds of people heading up the chained route!  Gotta love our national parks!
The true high point
That afternoon we stopped at the local bike shop to get some beta on another mountain bike ride – the JEM trail.  This is another great trail outside of Hurricane, Utah that traverses along the Virgin River canyon rim before meandering around the valley for miles and miles.  Not much climbing involved on the ride, but the stiff wind, warm temperatures and rocky terrain kept our heart rates up.
JEM Trail
Virgin River

 Since personal vehicles are not allowed in Zion NP, the following morning we took a leisurely bike ride to the end of the road.  We stopped along the way to enjoy the stunning morning views as well as the climbers ascending the famous, Moonlight Buttress.  Now those are some bad ass climbers!

We finished up the weekend with seeing some of the boys (and girls) from the old college days, down on Fremont Street.  Good times!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Copper Mountain

I'd been watching the snow pile up on the Banner Summit SNOTEL site for the last couple of weeks, and after Friday's 8" dump I was ready to give it a go.  Tamara and I met up with John, in Banks, and negotiated the elk filled roads to Banner Summit.

It was a little after 9AM when we pulled into the un-plowed wide spot on Highway 21 and started to unload.  After carefully stashing a couple of special post ski beers in the snow between the car and 7 foot wall of snow that marked the road edge, we were off!
Beautiful morning!
Luckily, someone had put in a skin track on Saturday, so we didn't have to break trail.  There was an inch or two of fresh snow from Saturday on top of the 8" from Friday.  It was about 10 degrees, the sun was out, and there wasn't any wind. It was looking good!

Tamara cruising up
This section was begging to be skied

As we progressed up, we made a few stops to strip layers, drink and chat.  Before we knew it, the summit was in sight.
John nearing the summit
Tamara on top (J. Platt photo)
Summit Splattski sans Splattski
The top couple hundred feet was a bit wind affected, but once we got past this section it was silky smooth!  So silky smooth that we ended up doing three laps!

All I could think about as we skied up the road to the car was the stashed beer.  Unfortunately, the snow plow had pushed up a 4 foot mountain of snow between the car and snow wall removing my footprints that led to the beer.  Oh, well, no worries.  We'll just use our shovels and dig it out.  Fifteen minutes later, we had moved the mountain of snow around, but could not locate the beer.  Dang!  Next time I'll bring a cooler.

 Splattski's Trip Report

Monday, January 4, 2016

Red Mountain Resort Family Ski Trip

For the last few years we have been taking a short family ski holiday between Christmas and New Years.  It's a great way to spend time with Taylor and Dylan, since neither currently live in Idaho.

This year we went a little big and went north to Red Mountain Resort, in British Columbia. The criteria for this year was small town and large vertical drop.  Red delivered these aspects and more!

The first morning out we hooked up with a Snow Host, Doug, to show us around the mountains.  Yes, plural - there are three mountains.  This was a great way to get a feel for the place.
Dylan and Tamara with Doug
Chairlift selfie sans Mom (triple chair)
Heading up
Coming down
Taylor cutting it up
The first day was spent in the cold, but the views were phenomenal, above the "Kootenay Sea!"

We spent the rest of the afternoon skiing in and out of the clouds.  That afternoon we found a base - Rossland Beer Company!  These guys are a small operation and they put out some great beer.
Bicycle art in front of Rossland Beer Company
The second day was spent further exploring the ski area, specifically looking for the few remaining powder stashes.  Our first foray didn't turn out too well.  The trees were too tight and we ran into large rocky drop offs.  So, after lunch, Dylan and I took off looking for tree skiing while the girls stayed on the cruisers.

We spent a half hour hiking from the top of one of the lifts (Grey Mountain) to another peak (Mt. Kirkup) that is serviced by the resorts snowcats (unfortunately it wasn't opened).  From here we enjoyed a great powder run that brought us back to the lift.  At this point we met a local, Jamie, who had been skiing the area for 58 years.  He took us under his wing for a couple of runs, showing us his personal powder stashes!

The ladies enjoyed themselves as well.

The third day was more of the same.  We took the gals to show them Jamie's powder stashes (sorry Jamie) and polished off what remained of the untracked.

After getting beat up for three days straight, the ladies decided to rest on our final day.  We all had a leisurely breakfast before Dylan and I headed back into the sidecountry.  Our destination this time was Record Mountain, a little over 1.5 miles from the resort backcountry gate.  We had a great skin in the sunshine and reached the summit in a little over an hour.

Record Mountain
The powder here was smooth and silky.  After two laps, we realized we screwed up by not starting earlier in the day!

Something strange happened here!

And here is a short video of Dylan on Record Mountain:

That evening we had another great meal together that included our third helping of poutine for the trip!  Just can't get enough of that stuff.


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