Most of the resort season just ended this past weekend (April 24th)with record breaking snowfall (Vail 524″). This huge amount of snow kept us mostly in or around the resorts and as a result had less backcountry skiing days then expected.
Regardless when we got out it was awesome.
A perfect day in Montezuma 2/27/2011 with Trent, Tweak, Caitlin and myself with no one around.
The Cornices were crazy that day and a number of the normal lines we were unable to do due to the potential danger of releasing one of those bad boys. Trent wanted to ski “Baby Notch” and the way in required some serious hacking to make the cornice doable (there has never been a cornice in this line for the last 3-4 years):
Caitlin picked out a sweet line that is rarely covered in snow. Here she is trying to get lined-up and making sure that small wind-lip is nothing to be worried about:
Caitlin going fast through the line and onto the open snow-field:
Tweak crushing it in “Little Chute”:
Days like this make this place the best.
This snow-season has treated me pretty damn well. The season started off right with a full-blown powder day at Vail’s opening day…easily one of the best days I have ever skied Vail due to a combination of great powder everywhere, zero crowds, and so many runs that I couldn’t move the next day. Since then we have had a lot of snow and a lot of adventures. However I have lacked in my photos since I normally do not take my camera with me to the resorts/side-country.
Here is a sampling of what has taken place:
A-Basin Sidecountry Scott Miller Sequence:
Tweak eating some powder:
Matt (which is Evan and Monica’s kid) is killing it in the park this year:
Big Air Competition Downtown Denver:
Pretty cool event but as with most ski competitions they get somewhat boring unless you are standing right there (ie on the side of a halfpipe or right where the landing is). The structure they built was fricking awesome and it would have been a lot of fun to be in the comp.
Luckily our buddy Brian hooked us up with a phenomenal viewing location on top of the Denver Post building that overlooks Civic Center park. Great spot to hang out with friends and see something new in Denver. Damn the post building is sick.
Had a crew of people meet up in Crested Butte for a weekend of great snow and our buddy Jake’s B-Day. It dumped all day on Saturday and we had bluebird all day sunday with loads of snow everywhere. I focused on riding all weekend so no camera patrol but had way too much fun at the best ski mountain and town in Colorado. Still in my opinion the best mountain town in Colorado (see what it is like in the summer)
Yes we had some good snow (and scary cornices) in Zuma. Here is just a taste of the usual awesomeness this place provides:
More Adventures to Come!!!
Link to full-post here: http://andylibrande.com/news/2011/04/random-snow-adventures/
What: Ice Climbing in Ouray Colorado
When: Feb 11th-13th, 2011
Who: Andrew G, Hoof-Cakes, Caitlin, Brain G, Myself, meeting up with Vinny, Sarah, Andrew M, and some other dude’s whose names I haphazardly forgotten…yeah we had a crew.
Reasons why Ice-Climbing in Ouray is the shizzle:
- Gear: Nothing like playing with sharp-pointy Ice Axes all day
- Technique: The better at hitting/kicking you are the more fun you will have
- Location: Comparing Ouray to the rest of Colorado is like comparing a Salema Hayek to Rosie O’Donnell
- Ice Park: Huge area, easy access, plenty of climbs and beautiful things to look at. I am always impressed when I visit here. Plus you walk from the Motel to the ice-park.
- Ice: Unreal formations everywhere.
- Food: Classic Mexican at Buen Tiempo and a new favorite at Mouse’s Chocolates
- Hot Tub at the Victorian Inn: Best views from any hot-tub I have ever gotten drunk in (here is an idea picture)
- Not Driving on I-70: Well technically you can get here via I-70 but why would anyone want to drive on that road. Instead we enjoyed ~5.5 hours of scenic roadways and saw a incredible sunset over Monarch Pass
Yes. I was pleasantly surprised with how awesome our trip to Ouray turned-out. First off Ouray seems like a little bump in the road on the way to bigger and better things (ie Silverton, Durango, etc); however you only appreciate this town when you have spent some time here.
This is my third Ice adventure to this town with the previous two being on commercially guided trips with the DU Alpine Club back in college. Those were a lot of fun but this time was able to piggy-back on some friends with a bunch of Ice-climbing equipment and were able to explore on our own.
First day was spent at the New Funtier Area. Good area that has a number of concentrated climbs in a narrow canyon.
Vinny leading up some thin ice:
Whitney posing for the camera:
Andrew G. showing us how it is done on a sketchy pillar at the end of the day:
The second day we headed to the excellent South Park area which is much further in the canyon, however the actually area is in a wide-section of the river and makes for a nice place to hang-out and watch climbs.
Amazingly a Bighorn Sheep crossed under the canyon when we were setting-up the climbs. They hung out above us all day too:
Caitlin after cruising through the tough part:
Brian making his mom proud:
Andrew M. doing some leading on beautiful ice:
Andy L. (myself) up on the right with Vinny quickly catching-up:
For the original post please visit: http://andylibrande.com/news/2011/03/ice-ice-baby/
Updates have been slow as I have been trying to fix my main computer over the last month or so…luckily I am getting close!!!
This doesn’t mean it hasn’t been a hell of a busy winter. Plenty of days out riding great snow, ice-climbing, and other shenanigans has made the time go by quick.
Here is some eye candy to hold you over:
Caitlin in the side-country at A-Basin:
More to come….
Below is a slideshow showing some of my favorite photos from 2010. 2010 was a pretty good year with a number of really cool trips to new locations and old favorites. Hope you enjoy:
If you are following from a feed please follow this link for the full post: http://andylibrande.com/news/2011/01/some-favorites-from-2010/
Date: September 18th, 2010
What: The wedding of our good friends: Trent and Bethany!!!
So three month’s later here are a couple of the better pics from the wedding night. Essentially just a sample of the nearly 400 photos that I took that night.
Congrats Trent and Bethany!!!
Jake and Annie:
Dan and Cara:
Ian and Brooke:
Caitlin, Annie, Liz:
A bunch of people:
Trent and Bethany’s first dance (under the stars non the less)!!!
Duncan, Ryan, Ilham, John:
Kate and Christian:
Rod and Maryann:
Some really creepy looking dude that crashed the party:
The next day Caitlin, Jake, Annie, and I all headed over to Minturn to do some bouldering in the aspen forests. Along the way we saw some of the best fall colors I have ever seen:
When: September 10th-12th, 2010
Start: Goose Creek Trailhead, Lost Creek Wilderness
Destination: Shaft House Area
Caitlin and I decided to finally get in a backpacking trip just as the Fall colors were starting. We decided to check-out a place that my roommate was just a few days before us as the scenery looked just amazing.
We took off late on Friday and drove to the trail head as quick as possible (lets just say the Honda Civic tore-up the last 14 miles of dirt-road to the trail head) and arrived to the parking lot with the sun just about to set and darkness setting in really quickly.
We took off down the trail moving as quickly as possible to try to take advantage of the last glowing hints of evening sun, but we quickly found ourselves hiking in the dark. The trail is relatively easy with the first chunk of it on a smooth hillside just above the creek. At one point it does climb far above the valley and with the looming trees (and moonless night) we encountered some seriously dark hiking. Out comes the headlamps and what seems like an eternity of rolling trail we eventually got to the turn-off to the “Shaft House”.
Relieved that we finally hit the turn-off we hiked-up this new trail with no idea of where we would camp. In the pitch dark we occasionally smelled some campfire smoke, hear some bumps in the night, and eventually set-up behind a massive boulder. The sheer darkness and absolute stillness of the night made it challenging to get our bearings.
Morning was an unbelievable site. Huge granite rock-formations everywhere with thick forest and the beautiful fall colors just starting to show.
We hiked out to a overlook over a massive valley with an incredible array of large domes, massive boulders, and a creek wandering through the middle. With the help of some guys that were camped nearby we learned that it was possible to get all the way to the creek bottom. We scrambled all the way to the far stream in the picture below:
Attempting the get to the creek bottom was a major event in itself. With a significant amount of rock hopping and scrambling (sometimes over great exposure), we had to drop through chimney’s, climb over knife-edges, do some sketchy jumping over crevasses, all while trying to pick out which route would be possible. Awesome stuff!
Once we were at the stream we were rewarded with a Wild Raspberry Bush!!!:
Hanging out down at the stream-bed (ie Andy falling into the stream):
On the hike out we found a little more direct route but had to take this insanely sketchy, rusted-out ladder that was precariously perched between a couple boulders (not bolted into the rock), above a pretty gnarly ravine. Here Caitlin shows her discontentment with me taking photos instead of holding the ladder steady:
Once back to the top we had to relocate our campsite to this one with a phenomenal view of the valley around us. Then off for more exploring.
Caitlin at the old Shaft House (they actually tried to pump concrete into the ground to seal-up all of the rocks to form a reservoir where we hiked earlier in the day; luckily they failed):
We snagged a sweet spot from the guys we ran into previously. Our campsite had to be one of the most scenic locations I have ever slept:
We built a fire on top of the massive rock formation and hung out looking at the stars in a perfect moonless night:
Hiking out of our camping spot was fun. We were completely protected on all sides by rock cliffs, boulders, and tight squeezes. Here is what we had to do to get out of there:
We hiked out with minimal water (the filter was not working well) and towards the end the heat of the day caught-up to us and made the last climb out of the valley very hard. Once back to the car (which was in direct hot sunshine) we raced out of there and headed down the dirt-road to where the road went over the river; we desperately needed to cool off and clean off the grime!
The drive home was a little different as we stopped at Zoka’s for lunch (amazing as usual) and then headed towards Breckenridge over Kenosha and Hoosier Passes as Caitlin needed to go buy some skis on pro-form (she picked up some new Armada JJ’s!!!). The colors were starting to look real nice on both passes and the drive was well worth it.
If you are following from a feed please check out this post on http://andylibrande.com/news/
When: July 30th – July 31st, 2010
Where: Near the Camp Dick campground close to Lyons
Who: Ben, Andrew, Scott, Yours Truly, and Stranahan’s
Why: Well Ben decided to randomly get married on extreme short-notice so we had to throw a bachelor party on extreme short-notice.
Let’s get the elephant in the room a little explanation. Yes, we did have a bachelor party in a place called Camp Dick. Yes, it was just a bunch of dudes camping out together, drinking together, and reminiscing about the good ol’ days. And yes, it was a lot of, uhhh… fun….
We left Denver Friday night all jammed into Andrew’s SUV with several crash pads, gear, food, adult beverages, and four of us with the mission to give Ben a damn good evening/weekend. Luckily for us the drive to Camp Dick is just enough time to enjoy some beverages in the backseat and ramble on about how cool we all once were.
We get to Camp Dick and Andrew has to navigate the 4×4 road in his Ford SUV which was a little tight but we managed. We quickly found a awesome camping spot near the river and had a awesome boulder that we could sit on in the middle of the St Vrian river were we could cook and chill. Luckily I have been there a couple of times (documented here), so everything was pretty easy to figure out.
Morning was a little rough but here Scott and Ben discuss the merits of sleeping in a tent directly under a fallen tree:
We hit up the Bolt Boulder to try out our climbing skills the next day. Awesome high-ball boulder with easy access and a few really fun problems. Andrew getting high into the crux of the main easier problem there (crux is at the top):
Ben showing off his good looks:
We tried to convince Ben to eat this colorful friend:
Anyways congrats to Ben and Beth!!!
When: June 11-13, 2010
Who: Myself, Caitlin, meeting up with Trent, Bethany, Duncan, Cara, Dan, plus the dogs.
So this recap is a little late considering it is now September and this happened back in June. But I couldn’t leave out this trip from the records because it was ridiculous. Let’s start at the beginning and all the photos will be in chronological order just for sake of ease.
We all convened in the Pinyon Flats Campground Friday night on a relatively quick drive from Denver. It is Bethany’s B-day weekend but we were able to reserve only one campground that can’t have more then two tents and two cars; we were not about to let “the man” hold us down so we set-up camp under a beautiful clear night sky with 4 tents and 4 cars (as we were traveling from all over the state). Spirits were high that night we were excited for a awesome weekend on the dunes filled with glorious adventures and abundant amounts of fun. Let’s just say everything changed quickly…
About 2-3am was when we encountered our first challenge: insane winds!!!! We are in the sand dunes so that means where there is wind there is also flying sand; this is not just a little sand, but epic amounts of fine grain sand getting into every little crevice that it could find. Sleep quickly became a luxury as the wind and sand combo was blowing up tiny particles of sand underneath the rain fly and dropping down on us in the tent; it was literally raining sand.
Morning dawns…kinda. It’s cloudy, it’s windy, it’s kinda raining, we are sleep-deprived and it is really early so we do what any logical human being would do in that situation: drink. Out comes the Jack Daniels which we enjoyed alongside numerous fresh cherries and other breakfast goodies; let’s just say each one of us was focused on this activity with Olympic-like intensity.
Several hours later we decide it is time to go do something (not before we had a run-in with vigilante park ranger about the tent situation even though our tents combined took up less space then the tent cities some of the other campers had). We head over the the incredibly busy visitors center (cold, wind and tourons do not mix), which was fun because well, we were intoxicated. Then it was off to suffer on the dunes:
Hiking in wasn’t too bad, a little chilly and a lot windy:
Trent Catching some Air:
The others turned around because they have the dogs and the sand was really messing with their eyes, however Duncan, Caitlin and I keep venturing further. Bad idea as the wind was to out backs but hiking out the wind was in our faces . Right before we decide to turn around:
Luckily the group found an awesome out of wind bank along the river. Some of us caught up on the sleep we were missing:
The low-hanging cloud on the right is part of a small fire that was happening just miles from the campground:
After catching up on sleep (and starting our afternoon hang-over from all the morning drinking) we thought we would get out of the wind and sand and headed to Zapata Falls. Nice little short walk to some freezing cold water (in the deep canyon part ice was still lining the walls). Duncan trying not to fall:
The evening gave us some nice light and you can see how crazy the wind was:
Next morning we awoke to beautiful skies, no wind, and perfect temps. It was such a radical change it was hard to realize that it was the same place. Trent, Bethany, Caitlin and I all found a quite area away from other people and played in the creek, tried some sand-boarding, and just enjoyed the sun:
On the way out Caitlin and I took the scenic route up the San Luis valley eventually hitting up 285 for the ride home. While we were dealing with wind and a little rain in the sand dunes, the I-70 corridor was hit with a very late season snow-storm (most of the snow had already melted off of the peaks and we were sure glad we weren’t camping in that):
Now I can finally say I have been to the sand-dunes (even if I am still scraping sand out of my eyes 3 mos later)!
Teva Mountain Games
Spent a weekend hanging out at the Teva Mountain Games up in Vail June 5-6th with Caitlin and ran into a bunch of friends that were up there as well so it was a lot of fun (Andrew, Whitney, Ben, Beth, Terra). This is the second time I have been to the games (first time documented here), so it was good to be back to check out some of the fun events with highlights being the in-town Kayak events and the Bouldering competition; compared to the last time I went there the events were good but the timing of certain events overlapped while at other times there was a huge space of time where nothing was really going on. Regardless it is still an awesome event which everyone should check out.
The coolest part about the games was the water-levels on the Gore Creek running through town were just insane with the CFS nearing doubling during the day on Saturday (what I heard from 1700 CFS in the morning to nearly 3000 that night!). The water was so high on Sunday that they had to cancel the events mainly due to the huge amount of debris floating down-river. Anyways we were lucky to witness some pros hitting the creek that night at some of its highest flows on Sat night.
We literally watched full trees come down the river as it hit 20 year highs:
Here is a picture of how crazy flooded it was that afternoon (seriously up 3ft from the morning):
Watched the 3rd Annual World Bouldering Cup held in the US. Always fun to watch top climbers hitting a wall that is nice and tall. Also really cool to see how many people come and watch this event, easily the most watched event at the games.
Really cool features that they mounted to the climbing wall:
Bouldering at the Kluttergarden
On Sunday of that weekend hit up the beautiful Kluttergarden up near Red Cliff, CO. I had only been there once before (awesome trip documented here), so I was really excited to get back-up there again to play on these beautiful boulders.
We meet up with Terra and her roommate and the four of us enjoyed several different problems on just one boulder. The place was also insanely busy but everyone we ran into was pretty laid-back and we still had this boulder to ourselves for most of the day.
Here Caitlin sends a fun little variation that she found:
This climb I am working is on the same boulder and is a cool traverse with a hard lip to try to top-out on.
Then we headed back to vail for a late lunch and to clean-up all of the give-aways at all of the booths 🙂
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