We interrupt this broadcast…


I figured that this is a ski website and all I have done is post tropical pictures. Well, I have been skiing and here is proof.

Last weekend up on Hollywood Wall in Frasier Basin.

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Mid-Winter Break


When we headed out in the morning this hadn’t slid. After having to bail on our initial plan due to dangerous conditions we returned to see this from the trailhead.

Amid growing persistent facets, including a scary collapse in the Hyalite Canyon, I bailed on the cold and headed to Hawaii with my wife for a two week tropical honeymoon.

It appears the slide was triggered by a cornice or ice fall.

We flew out of Billings and had layovers in Denver and San Francisco without any real problems.

After a late arrival in Kona, we rented a Jeep and crashed at a roach hotel (a warning for the budget minded traveler: Despite the allure of a $40 a night hotel in Kona, I highly recommend avoiding the “Kona Hotel” known for its distinct pink color) and got up early to head out and snorkel at Captain Cook Bay where we were inked by an octopus (video coming soon). Afterwards, we headed to the “City of Refuge”, a place where if a criminal could make it to the village before being caught, he had the opportunity to be exonerated by the King.

Palm trees in the City of Refuge.

Tiki man.

We explored some tidal pools and watched turtles swim and soak in the sun before we headed to the other side of the island and our accommodations for the week.

We then saw some turtles while tidepooling.

Sarah found a great place to stay for the week called Josanna’s Garden. It is an organic fruit farm deep in the jungle outside of the small hippie town of Pahoa. Steve and Janelle run a fascinating operation and utilize the WWOOF system. In exchange for 25 hours of farm labor, mainly picking fruit and packaging it, you can stay in a small bunk for free. While Sarah and I paid for our cabin and didn’t have to work it certainly got our minds thinking this could be a great way to travel cheaply.

Sarah inside our cabin near Pahoa on the Big Island.

We had a great time at “The Farm” and even Janelle, who used to live in Basalt, Colorado, used to swim with my dad. She claims she was faster than him, but I think her memory is a bit off as no one was really a faster swimmer than him.

Our cabin was a converted gazebo with a kitchenette and outdoor shower. It was most comparable to a forest service cabin in the jungle. They had tried their best to seal out the windows but the mesh screens provided minimal bug protection. Thus, we slept under the additional cover of a mosquito net. There were also a few geckos, a keoki frog, and a green anole as welcome housemates who feasted on the ever present bugs.

A green anole

While we could not swim in the ocean at the point closest to the farm, a short 4 wheel drive (good thing for the jeep) down the road would take us to the “Champagne Pond” in about 8 minutes. This was a large, geothermally heated, tidal pool filled with fish, turtles, and eels. The temperature was around 91 degrees and was perfect for snorkel soaking. I have a lot of GoPro footage of snorkeling and I hope to have a short video put together in the near future.

The eastern side of the Big Island is incredibly diverse with thick jungle broken by lava flows. The Farm was about a 2 mile walk to the rugged but beautiful Puna Coast. One night Sarah and I stargazed out on this point and it was one of the coolest and most unique things I have done on a trip.

The Puna Coast

In an attempt to avoid the huge “photo dump” posts I typically create, I am breaking this trip up into smaller segments so I can tell a better story. So, stayed to tuned for more posts in the coming days and weeks on our Hawaii trip.

Out with the old and in with the new


Currently I am taking a brief break from the mountains to attend a workshop at the prestigious Harvard University. It certainly is interesting sitting in a room full of Harvard PhD’s and future Harvard PhD’s.

I was recently going through my website stats and besides closing in on 35,000 views (thanks everyone!) I have not updated any links on my webpage since its inception 4 years ago. So with that in mind check out a few new links I have added to the sidebar. I am also removing a few irrelevant (that sounds harsh) or old blog links as well (RIP Steve Romeo).

The new links include:
MT Splitski: A blog devoted to splitboarding in Southwest Montana and the Jackson Area.

Junkfunnel: This is an extremely handy site for any Bozeman based backcountry skier. Nicely formatted charts from various remote weather stations as well as new snowfall summaries. I particularly enjoy the temperature charts as you can get a good feel for diurnal temperature fluctuations (and thus the formation of facets) very easily.

Southwest Montana Avalanche Forecast: I don’t know how I missed this one.
Colorado Avalanche Information Center’s accident reports: This is a great resource for any backcountry rider, learn from other peoples mistakes so you don’t get flushed.

Sadly, I am removing the following links:
Oronaut: my friend Evan hasn’t updated it since 2009 so I figure it is time to stop sending people there.
Shawtann Outdoors: like Evan, Shawtann hasn’t updated this site since 2010.
Tales from the Mid-Country: Same as above, my friend Cisco hasn’t added any new content since 2010.
TetonAT: I hate removing this link but since Steve Romeo passed away last winter I don’t see a point in keeping it around.
The Road Before Us: A former coworker’s site, but their content doesn’t really jive with this site.
Aspen Snowmass: This was nice when I was traveling a lot to ski, but since I haven’t returned to my home mountain in 2 years or so, it is time to let it go.

Now, since we are done with some housekeeping, enjoy a few photos from the last few weeks of touring around the Bozeman area.

Milky skies in Beehive Basin.

Milky skies in Beehive Basin.

Former Backcountry Magazine editor Drew Pogge drops into a line in Beehive Basin.

Former Backcountry Magazine editor Drew Pogge drops into a line in Beehive Basin.

Drew Pogge

Drew Pogge

Attempting to get a little artsy up in Hyalite

Attempting to get a little artsy up in Hyalite

My older brother Zack popping a small pillow while exploring up Hyalite.

My older brother Zack popping a small pillow while exploring up Hyalite.

Zack practicing stabbing bears with his ski pole while carrying speed.

Zack practicing stabbing bears with his ski pole while carrying speed.

A few photos from December (and technically New Years day)


Here are few photos from a couple of tours in the Bozeman/Big Sky area over the last month. Snow has been pretty good though a recent dry spell starting to show its wear on the snowpack.

I have been exploring a little bit up Hyalite, where the snow is good on certain aspects but pretty rotten everywhere else.

East Face, Mount Blackmore

East Face, Mount Blackmore

Evan Johnson skiing some low angle pow

Evan Johnson skiing some low angle pow

I also had an early New Years morning mission with Patrick up Middle Basin above Big Sky. Best snow of the season for sure and the terrain is looking nicely filled in.

Sunrise in Middle Basin above Big Sky

Sunrise in Middle Basin above Big Sky

Patrick Lawrence airing a cornice in Middle Basin

Patrick Lawrence airing a cornice in Middle Basin

Touring on the Beehive Ridge

Touring on the Beehive Ridge

New season, new knee


In case anyone has been wondering, yes I can ski. My knee is still a bit sore but I have managed to spend a couple days in the backcountry skiing and one day lift served at Big Sky. Pics have been sparse, but with early season conditions there hasn’t been much to photo. I was able to snag this shot of Steve G skiing up Hyalite this past weekend.

Steve G enjoying some early season powder skiing

Steve G enjoying some early season powder skiing

So other than one blurry shot of Steve there is not much else to report. I did manage to get a new ski set up this year, so I am looking forward to more snow and a better base to get out there and use my new toys.

Summertime…


Gallatin Valley from the South

It has been a nice, hot, and smokey summer up here in Bozeman. But a new puppy and canoe have been keeping me plenty busy. Here are a few select shots from the summer so for.

Wild Iris

Charlie Noone fishing Upper Hyalite Creek

Rainbow over Gallatin Canyon.

Fishing under Elephant Mountain.

Nice looking Cutty caught by Eric Bee.

There have been several fires this summer with the heat and dryness. Watched this chopper refill to put out a nearby fire.

A new canoe has added a new element to the summer. Sarah and I testing it out on Hyalite Reservoir.

Sarah enjoying the evening.

Canoing on the Yellowstone.

Sarah and Dudley enjoying the float before we flipped and I swamped my camera.

Back in action!


Testing how well my knee is healing on a 5.9 at Revenue Flats.

The doctor gave me the good news last week that my patella has healed and now I just need to concentrate on strength and flexibility. I figure besides hitting the gym and physical therapy, I should focus on activities I enjoy doing as part of my rehabilitation routine. I have been fishing mostly, because it is causes the least strain on my knee, but I have also tried some climbing (top rope only) and biking around town.

My fiance, Sarah, fly fishing the Yellowstone River below Emigrant Peak.

I also made it to Yellowstone National Park for an afternoon of spring wildlife viewing. Saw a couple bears, a bison giving birth (pretty gross), as well as your usual assortment of Lamar Valley wildlife.

Prairie goats (aka antelope) in the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone National Park.

Mammoth Hot Springs in late afternoon lighting.

Last weekend it was nice to finally get on some rock and test the knee, and as always, cragging with friends is about as good as it gets. Sarah and I camped for a night up at Revenue Flats, west of Norris, and spent some time getting our rock climbing muscles warmed up with some friends.

Bridger Mountains on a short hike in Bozeman.

My older brother Zack, belayed by his wife Sara, on lead at Revenue Flats.

Zack silhouetted while leading a 5.9.

Sarah fitting in with the Revenue Flats locals, lining up her shot with a .38 special.

Eric Newman on his first lead after a 60 foot whipper that broke his foot last autumn.

Myself, slowly working my way up.

Nearing the top, I was able to climb 3 routes each day, a 5.8, 5.9, and two 5.10a’s. Not bad for having a weak, sore knee.