Photos of the Trout Creek Fire:
We were climbing on the cliffs around the base of the formation of Devil’s Head below the Fire Tower overlook in the Pike National Forest off of the South Rampart Range Road (approx location). Photos were taken south/southwest.
We first noticed smoke plumes just after 2:30 (it was officially reported at 2:23). By 2:40-2:45 you could tell it was a fire.
at 3:00pm it was the biggest and worst phase:
Please click below to read about the rest of the Fire:Read More»
Who: Vinny E., Andrew M., and Myself meeting up with RAMBO
Where: Ouray Colorado
When: Jan 6th-8th, 2012
Last minute Vinny rounded me up and we headed down to Ouray to ice-climb and stay at Rambo’s house who has been living there for the past year doing AmeriCorps for the Uncompahgre Watershed Partnership. We left Denver after work and had a nice night drive all the way to Rambo’s awesome house.
The next morning we geared-up, checked out the Ice Festival and then headed to the New Funtier area. The Ice Festival was way cooler then we were expecting as they have a bunch of free gear demos and clinics; I demo’d a new harness since mine is getting old. Andrew leading the first route of the day:
Lots of people were out that day and with the Ice in the river not being very solid we saw a lot of people punch through. At one point Rambo had to pull some foreigner out of the river (nipples deep) and convince him that he needed to go back down the valley. Vinny leading another one:
The snow picked up quite a bit towards the end of the day. Here is just one of the many climbers in the area that day:
That night we cooked dinner, hit up the hot springs and were hanging out when a huge snowstorm blew through town dumping 6-8 inches in less then two hours. So naturally we decided to tie a rope to a car and pull each other through the side-roads of Ouray at midnight. Rambo’s shit-eating grin just gives an idea of how awesome this was:
Next morning was glorious!
We climbed right at the main competition area the next day right below the main (upper) bridge. Lots of people from all over the place.
Mt Sherman on the drive out:
Always a good time in Ouray!
Just like that we went from blazing hot to the cool temps of fall. I experienced this during a little landscape project that started in late August and went up to mid-Sept (essentially going from dripping sweat to just normal sweat). That little landscape project turned into a much bigger project somehow miraculously finishing moments before the start of the Backyard Bouldering Competition.
The cool temps lead to an active fall of many short-outings experiencing the intense fall colors. Below is just a photographic taste from the short adventures that took place during the extended fall season
Kenosha Pass (and all surrounding areas) were absolutely breath-taking on Oct 1st-2nd, 2011:
Once finished with the climbing comp I was able to get out again (had no real adventures since Independence Pass in early August). Here we are at Mt Sanitas in Boulder doing some bouldering, September 17th, 2011:
Andrew relaxing on the top-out:
Aspen’s just starting to get really colorful on Squaw Pass Road near Evergreen on September 25th, 2011:
A trip to Crested Butte with RAMBO happened on Oct 1st-2nd. Potentially the most colorful weekend in my life. More will be posted on this adventure, however here is a teaser:
My sister flew in from Austin, TX and we checked out Rocky Mountain National Park on a snowy day in the park. October 9th, 2011:
There were also a lot of elk out that day and we had fun watching them in their rut:
Friday afterwork session in Castlewood Canyon with Caitlin at the 9 Lives Boulder, October 14th, 2011:
Fall more or less wrapped-up in Colorado for me on a beautiful, brisk day in Castlewood Canyon doing some bouldering with Jake and Ben. November 11th, 2012:
Full Post here: http://andylibrande.com/news/2012/02/quick-moments-of-fall/
Thank you everyone for attending the 2nd Annual Backyard Bouldering Comp!!!
It was a huge success and I am really glad we had such an awesome group of people out ready to climb hard and have a lot of fun. The event was at least twice as big as last year and it was one of the most fun gatherings that we have ever had!!!
Below is a quick recap of the results and the event. There was 10 problems featured this year and a brand-new feature on the wall (literally finished the day of the comp!!!). Of the 10 problems 9 were completed which means I need to make it a little harder next year. Also glad to see such a diverse group of climbers out there and really glad to see all of the costumes.
- Men’s 1st: Jake Fell (2nd year in a row!!!)
- Men’s 2nd: Gabe Craveiro (after just barely missing it in the climb-off for 1st place!)
- Men’s 3rd: Vinny English (a late entry that come-in strong)
- Women’s 1st: Annie Bacci (Huge improvement over the past year!!!)
- Women’s 2nd: Brea Galvin (the Chilean Hooker outfit really helped the climbing)
- Women’s 3rd: Caitlin Shay (On the podium both years)
Prizes (these are the fun awards and glad everyone put a lot of effort into it):
- Best Costume: RAMBO (making a guest appearance as some sort of sexy chilean prostitute and climbing in extremely tight jeans)
- Best Determination: Bubbha (the hipster tried hard all not but realized it just wasn’t that cool to win)
- Midget’s Unite: Katie for not ever really rock climbing before and coming out and doing amazing
- Best Beer: Gabe/Marcio (for bringing a delicious belgian beer)(lots of hard competition)
- Most Bonus Holds: Andrew Giamberardino (somehow winning this prize both years for hitting the most amount of bonus holds but not completing the problems)
- Drunken Monkey: Andy Librande (flashing two separate problems after chugging a beer each time)
Thanks again for the awesome comp/party/BBQ!!!
More Info including the Competition Poster: http://andylibrande.com/news/2011/09/backyard-bouldering-comp-2011/
Details on the Scoring Format here: http://andylibrande.com/news/2010/08/backyard-bouldering-competition-sept-4th-2010/
Enjoy some pics from the night:
When: August 5th-7th, 2011
Where: Independence Pass, Colorado
Caitlin and I took off after work on a Friday to head-up to Independence Pass between Aspen and Leadville. The idea was to check out the bouldering that is all over the area, enjoy the sights, and escape the heat of Denver. We rolled in after dark and after taking Caitlin’s volvo for a little 4-wheelin’ action :-), somehow found free camping up Lincoln Creek road.
After sleeping like logs in the crisp night air (the denver heat was not making sleep easy), we awoke to a beautiful day. Amazingly our friend Terra happened to drive by our campsite as we were getting ready to leave for the day…small world.
Saturday we hit up the James Brown Boulders which we had a little difficulty locating as we were one pull-off too soon. Once we found these great boulders in the shade it was a nice day of trying a number of problems and enjoying the crisp air.
Caitlin working one of the tricky easier problems near the James Brown Boulder (notice the grassy top-out):
Me on the James Brown Boulder (awesome block):
We headed-up to the pass for some sunset viewage. Here is Caitlin showing-off:
Beautiful last chunks of light:
Small pond right next to the road right as the sun disappeared:
The craziest thing happened when we were back at camp and done cooking dinner. We were just sitting there pondering the night sky when a huge tree came crashing down in the forest behind us…scared the living crap out of us and it was pitch black and impossible to investigate. No idea why or how it fell but it was a crazy event that was a little unnerving.
Sunday morning cooking some breakfast:
Playing in the Grottoes:
Cool waterfall formation:
It was 100 degrees when we rolled back in Denver…nice to enjoy some cool weather and experience an awesome place!
Link to blog posting: http://andylibrande.com/news/2011/09/independence-pass-bouldering-and-camping/
When: July 17th – July 18th, 2011
Where: Eagle’s Nest Wilderness, Peak C, Upper Piney River Trail (TOPO MAP LINK)
Caitlin and I decided to add a little fun overnight backpacking trip onto a busy weekend. After going to a quick wedding reception in Frisco we headed over to Vail to embark on a short overnight backpacking trip. After driving down a very long dirt road (which uses the Red and White trailhead that we snowmobile in the winter) we finally reached the Upper Piney Lake Trailhead. Immediately we were greeted by a pretty nasty evening rainstorm which we decided to wait out in the car (and only took about 30 mins).
It quickly turned into a beautiful evening and as we started putting our packs on we were startled when two hudge BULL MOOSE popped-out of the brush 50 yards from us at the parking lot. Of course I had to get some photos of this incredibly rare occurrence (I have only seen moose in Colorado from a very far distance). Moose enjoying the tasty-treats:
Of course I wanted to get as close as possible and luckily we were down-wind from them. I sneaked over to an area with some thicker trees and tried to get as close as possible knowing that these animals are incredibly dangerous. I got this shot through the dense brush:
Right after I took that photo a jeep coming down the road saw them, slammed on their brakes and started taking photos as well. A group of car-campers nearby that were behind a small hill heard the commotion and joined in on the moose watching. I suddenly found myself in close proximity to two potentially dangerous creatures as the tensions quickly increased. The big guy looked around and gave me the stink-eye so I high tailed it out of there before he could test those hooves on me. Unfortunately the two never posed together but you can see both of them in this photo:
Moose distraction aside we started our hike in on an relatively easy trail with incredible views of the valley in front of us.
Caitlin measuring up against the local flauna:
Andy checking out the beautiful Peak C (Rough-rider Couilor is just visible on the notch to the right of the peak) We ran into a group that skied it on Sunday:
We backpacked in a few miles since the sun was setting quickly. Set-up camp and had a great cooking area overlooking two different valley’s. The next morning we got up and hiked around the area up the side of the mountain next to peak C. There are not really any trails in the area (and the ones there are poorly marked as we found ourselves somewhat misplaced).
We were camped at the bottom of this valley. To the Right is where the Trailhead for the Upper Piney is and a very large valley. In front of us in the valley is where the trail continues to Upper Piney Lake (which we missed this trail the night before). On the otherside of the peaks on the left is East Vail. The clouds made it hard to get a solid photo.
After watching the clouds build for a couple of hours a quick moving rainstorm scared us back down to the campsite where we got back just as the weather unleashed for 20-30 mins. Then it was back to clear skies and an awesome hike back to the car.
Beautiful valley views on the way back to the car:
Caitlin and I almost back to the car:
A view of the “Rip Saw” ridge from the road on the drive out:
Nice to get away!
Link to the full post: http://andylibrande.com/news/2011/08/backpacking-in-the-eagles-nest-wilderness-peak-c/
This year served up two completely different and incredible closing days. Vail’s closing weekend was April 24th and was completed with a condo in downtown vail, music, friends, family and two days of fresh powder!!!?!! Easily the best snow on a closing day I have ever seen (and it seemed appropriate considering I was there for Vail’s opening day which delivered deep fresh powder all the way back on November 19th).
Flash forward 72 days later and it is finally time for A-Basin’s closing day. Now A-basin has only been open four other times on 4th of July and the last time they were open this late was 1997. So odds of seeing another 4th of July ski day at a resort is fairly low and we had to make the most of it. So we had a lot of fun.
We got there just after 10pm. Virtually every parking lot was full to our surprise. Costumes on, time to celebrate:
Apparently we weren’t the only ones here to celebrate AMERICA!!!:
Best part about the wait in the ski line was throwing snowballs at people on the ski lifts. These 3 girls all wearing bikinis got dominated. If you look closely a snowball just ricochet off one of the girl’s faces…awesome.
Watching pond-skimming at the top of A-Basin:
The normal pond-skimming place was melted-out and luckily a new pond formed. I have never seen it form in this location before. The steep and abrupt entry made for some spectacular crashes. Here the crowd enjoys the views:
Clowns are horrible pond-skimmers:
People were yelling “AMERICA!!!” all day long and for good reasons! Here Caitlin gives the lift-line a demonstration in mogul skiing via bikini on surprisingly good snow:
If you fall while pond-skimming you nearly freeze in the 32 degree water and overcast sky. To make matters worse a little kid comes along and throws snowballs at your face as you are trying to climb out of the freezing water. This girl gets the worse of it as the crowd cheered the little kid on:
I Love America!!! Seriously it kicks ass.
Not all closing days are the same and this season provided two of the most unique and incredible days anyone could ask for.
Link to full post: http://andylibrande.com/news/2011/08/4th-of-july-skiing-at-a-basin/
Who: Caitlin, her sister Lizzy, my sister Lizard, and myself. (Me + 3 women!?!)
When: June 11th-12th
What: A quick overnight camping trip
Randomly both my parents and Caitlin’s parents did the Ride the Rockies tour this year (~400 miles over 6 days on a road bike!) which made for a convenient excuse to drive them to Crested Butte to drop them off.
Caitlin and I thought it would be fun to drop off each of the parental units and then spend a night camping with our sister’s and enjoy the awesomeness that is Crested Butte.
Arriving in the early afternoon on Saturday we stopped for a delicious lunch at the Brick Oven in downtown Crested Butte which has a surprising great selection of beer. After gorging ourselves on a meatball, pepperoni, and pesto pizza my sister and I parted ways with our parents and headed out to Gothic to check out Stupid Falls.
Stupid Falls is a massive waterfall that is really easy to get to (essentially you turn right after the first bridge on the approach to Gothic and drive down the dirt road until you see a large point in the shape of the river). It was running at 2,300 CFS and was just massive.
Here is video of the falls along with a few photos:
Sister in awe at the power of the waterfall:
We finally met-up with Caitlin and her Sister and found a campsite along County RD 734 where the snowline was not much above the campsite.
Long exposure of the valley that night (~5mins long):
The valley was a contradiction of seasons with spring time at it’s fullest in the valley with mid-winter snowpack on the mountains:
We tried to hike near the Ol Be Joyful waterfall however the trail was closed due to a massive river crossing. Instead we went to a trail near Gothic on the Judd Falls trailhead into the Maroon Bell wilderness. Caitlin and I have done this hike before and we knew that it would be good for the sisters.
The girls with Mount Crested Butte (the ski area) in the background:
Lizard hugging a massive Aspen tree:
Black Bear Track right in front of the wilderness sign:
Sister with Spider Peak in the background:
Link to full post here: http://andylibrande.com/news/2011/07/crested-butte-spring-in-june/
Location: Castlewood Canyon State Park Colorado
Dates: 3/26, 4/8, 4/9, 4/15
In between powder sessions in the mountains, hail storms in Denver, and intense wind along the front range we have been taking advantage of the beautiful climbing opportunities at Castlewood.
We have had several sessions (love the afterwork sessions) at the Fontainebleau area of Castlewood with Caitlin coming pretty close to sending Rocket Ship. Here she is on the first day out with the new Organic Pad March 26th:
Jake leading with style at the C-Section wall at Castlewood on April 9th:
The elusive Rambo made an appearance and we worked on the Plate Rock South Face Arete in an after-work session on April 15th:
Rambo up high on the Plate Problem with all of the committing moves at the top:
Eying out the most intense crack climb at Castlewood. The South Sentry is a perfect crack formation with a undesirable landing on a small boulder that is nearly impossible to protect with only one spotter/photographer…Rambo got up in it but the next moves were a little dangerous for our situation (4/15/11):
The largest herd of deer I have ever seen at Castlewood and surprisingly they weren’t too spooked (3/26/11):
Synopsis: We secured funding through a variety of grants to complete a quest that was so epic that the likes of Powder, Outside and other magazines were too scared to even cover this ground-breaking trek into the unknown.
Date of Ascent: February 19th, 2011
Expedition Team: Gathered from around the world each specialized in specific skills:
- Trent from Oklahoma. Specialty is eating spicy foods.
- Tweak from Virginia. Specialty is not picking up girls at the bar.
- Caitlin from Minnesota. Specialty is pretending to be blond.
- Bethany from lots of places. Specialty is dog handler.
- Arthur from England. Specialty is being English.
- Danielle pretending to be from England. Specialty is withstanding English humor.
- Mike from an unknown location. Specialty is surprising people.
- Andy from Colorado. Specialty is talking about how awesome he is.
Expedition Map (click for Larger): Below is the specialized satellite photo that we received from NASA of the basecamp. They were our only sponsors and provided us with instantaneous views of the changing weather, erupting volcanoes, and movements of the native (and extremely hostile!) tribes.
Interactive Expedition Map (click for Larger): http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=203858300141676234019.00049e9d29873c006d6dd&ll=39.628045,-106.077688&spn=0.006445,0.013733&t=e&z=17&ecpose=39.63537586,-106.07009034,3258.7,-141.401,61.105,0
Expedition Video: Brain Farm Cinema was on hand filming the expedition using a number of their highly specialized (and retardly expensive) cameras including the CineFlex. One of the crew members had to hike nearly 28,000 vertical feet with a 27 lb camera attached to their helmet to get this awesome POV footage.
Select Photos from the Expedition:
Skiing the Icy 70+degree couilor:
View of the vast untamed wilderness that surrounds this 45,000 ft peak:
On the twelfth day this Ferocious Beast (which I believe is a Yeti?) nearly killed every expedition member and managed to eat most of our dwindling supplies:
I hope all of you take this serious…
Link to Original Post: http://andylibrande.com/news/2011/05/sick-gnar-hidden-backcountry-spot/