Fun Prison


Recently I spent 2 days sled skiing in the paradise that is Cooke City. I got home late Sunday, repacked, slept a few hours, then headed to the other side of Yellowstone National Park to the Centennial Mountains to stay at the Hellroaring Powder Guides for 3 nights and 4 days.

The camp is in a wilderness study area so everything has to be packed in and out every winter without the help of motorized equipment. This makes for a unique spot which is well supplied but still primitive and provides a great wilderness experience (as long as you don’t cross into the snowmobile area a couple miles away).

My buddy Austin came up from Silverton with some snowmobiles and we headed to Cooke City for a couple days of sled assisted powder skiing.

Pilot and Index peaks from just below Daisy Pass. We had great weather and snow conditions in Cooke.

Took Dudley out for a ski to watch the sunrise over Cooke City on Sunday.

Then I met up with some friends in Bozeman and headed to the Montana/Idaho border to meet up with more friends from Jackson Hole. We snowmobiled about 10 miles then had another 3 mile hike to the camp. Once there we unpacked and headed into the hills to explore.

Leif scoping his line across the valley from camp.

We skied both the east and west sides of the creek the first two days trying the find pockets of soft snow (we did!). The third day we all headed out to make a summit push for nearby Mount Jefferson (10,208′).

Olly stoked on Mount Jefferson.

Bee stoked after a successful summit mission on the peak behind him. We still had 2000′ vert of good snow back to camp too.

On the last day, we decided that instead of taking the same trail back to the trailhead we would attempt to climb and ski Nemesis Mountain(9,449′). After a fun but circuitous ski tour, we topped out on a large avalanche path. With our heavy packs we opted to stop there and ski the avalanche path back to the valley. The summit would have to wait.

Pat Owen enjoying the last run of the trip, 2000′ vert of perfect corn.

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Early winter


Winter has been off to an interesting start this year. We had some good snow before Thanksgiving but then the dreaded basal facets appeared. This persistent weak layer has relegated me to sticking to low angle pow. Despite the frustrating snowpack I have had some good days meadow skipping with the dog and showing my cousin-in-law what is up with the backcountry scene in SW Montana.

Heading out for some exploration in the Northern Bridgers

Dudley Dog scoping the views from an early morning tour in the Northern Gallatin Mountains.

Cousin-in-law Tommy finding some good snow up at Bridger Bowl.

Tommy on the approach in the Northern Bridgers

Tommy reaping the benefits of all the hard work backcountry skiing requires

Dudley and his pal Weebo on the march in the Absaroka-Beartooth Mountains

View of the Southern Gallatin Mountains in Yellowstone National Park

Tommy avoiding stumps above Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park

This curious coyote was very interested in what we were doing.

Mission accomplished!

Insert Game of Thrones Cliche Here


Enjoy some nice wildlife and scenic photography from Yellowstone National Park this fall.

 


 


 


 


 


 

Winter Storm Watch


The annual vigil of carefully watching the weather and waiting for the flakes to fall has begun. This year’s summer felt too brief with the majority of it spent rehabbing my knee. Nonetheless, I did get out on some hikes and enjoyed the wonderful Paradise Valley just out my back door.

Mount Wallace (10,620′) in the southern Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness.

My lovely wife, Sarah, biking in Paradise Valley on her way to brunch at the Pine Creek Cafe.

Passage Creek in the southern Absaroka-Beartooths.

Passage Falls in the Mill Creek watershed.

Fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium)

Fishermen on the Yellowstone River

Yellowstone Lake, look closely and you can the Teton Range in the distance.

Paradise Valley, perhaps the best place on earth?

Broken Knees and Sightseeing


Well I’ve done it again. I blew out my other knee during closing weekend at Bridger Bowl. With a torn MCL, ACL, and meniscus my ski season is effectively over. Sorry about minimal posts but with persistent, deep instability I stuck mostly to skiing inbounds at Bridger. I did sneak out for a nice tour on Elephant Head a week before ending my season.

Touring to the top of Elephant Head Peak

I have however, been able to hobble around Yellowstone National Park and take some photographs.

Porcelain Basin in the Norris Geyser Basin.

Hot Springs outlet channels can be otherworldly.

Another shot of Porcelain Basin

Opposing colors in two hot springs.

Cyanobacteria in a hot springs outlet channel.

Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River.

A wolf on the hunt. This was one of the coolest moments I have ever experienced in Yellowstone.

Trout Lake with Druid Peak looming above.

A coyote hoping to catch some lunch?

Grizzly bears in the distance.

Sandhill Cranes

Silverton


My younger brother visited from Kazakhstan for the holidays. I rallied down to Colorado for a couple of days to see him and ski Silverton. Sorry not many good pics as the conditions were marginal (dust on crust), but it was fun to get out and ski with my two brothers and my Old Man.

Classic downtown Silverton

My older brother Zack hiking towards Rope-Dee chute with the legendary Silverton Chair below.

As with any ski trip, late night re-fueling is standard.

Summer 2013 Wrap-Up


With the temperatures consistently falling below freezing I feel that autumn has finally arrived and summer has wrapped up. As I look forward to colder days and deep powder it is always nice to reminisce about my adventures over the warmer months.

This summer was notable because we had several very strong thunderstorms, which led to lots of wildfires and a fairly hazy August and September.

Lightning flash within an incoming thunderstorm



The weather was nicer early during the summer Sarah and I spent a fair amount of time in our canoe. We mostly floated the Madison River and Hyalite Reservoir enjoying the warm days and doing some fishing.

Tim and Amber joined us on a float of the Madison River



Steve G floating in his pack-raft along the same stretch.



Sarah and Amber enjoy a calm float on Hyalite Reservoir



Canoe camping on the far side of Hyalite



We also took our annual trip to Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park west of Bozeman. These caves are very cool and unique and they offer a great tour of the beautiful caverns.

Eerie light in the caverns





The main rooms in the caverns use special UV lights which shine at a spectrum that allows the human eye to see what the caves would look if the sun could shine in these tunnels. You can really see the pink iron oxides with these lights.



Hard to grasp the scale on how big these columns are, the main column is probably 75 feet tall.



Sarah and I also made it out to Seattle this summer to see the sights and sounds of this fun city. We were able to see our friends who recently moved to Seattle from Denver as well as check out the amazing Chihuly Glass Gardens near the Space Needle. This gallery is probably one of the coolest and most amazing galleries I have ever visited. I have a ton more pictures if anyone is interested but for the sake of brevity here are just a couple.

The outside portion of the Chihuly Gardens



A tree made of glass under the Seattle Space Needle



Leaving Seattle on a ferry heading to Port Angeles



Finally, I also spent a bunch of time in the mountains and looking at wildlife in Yellowstone.

Close up of a Bison eating some food



Panorama of from above East Hyalite Creek



Emmigrant Peak during sunset



My dog Dudley high above Hyalite Reservoir



Came upon this guy at the top of Beartooth Pass. We were the only people stopped and this goat just kind of chilled about 30 yards from us before ambling up and over a ridge.



The goat seemed more curious than scared of us.



Came upon a large herd of elk while working in the Centennial Valley in far southwest Montana.



Sorry if a few of these images seem overly edited, I am experimenting with some new software and still trying to get it dialed. Next post will hopefully involve some snow as the mountains are turning more and more white.