Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Climbing Mount Heyburn - Stur Chimney

The weekend of June 29 and 30th 2007 we had our second official Teton training weekend. After checking out Tom Lopez guide to climbing Idaho and we settled on making an attempt at climbing the Stur Chimney on Mount Heyburn. We felt that the challenges of this climb would hopefully start to mirror our upcoming assent on Grand Teton. Mount Heyburn is one of the more distinguished peaks in the Sawtooth Mountain Range, boosting several distinct summits.

"Mount Heyburn from Upper Bench Lake"
The Stur Chimney is a great alpine trad route, with a fairly high discrepancy of number of pitches and grade. Between several online accounts and Tom's guide book the route is between 2 and 5 pitches and has a rating between 5.2 and 5.8. I found that the route is somewhere in the middle of all the ratings. However we did not get a chance to climb the route on our first try. We left from the Red Fish Lake backpacker’s parking lot at 5am, but by the time we had reached the base of the climb we were low on drinking water and physical drained, plus the day was well into the mid-afternoon. We spent lots of extra time walking around the snow fields instead of crossing them and in my opinion the descriptions on how to find the route are way off. We spent a few extra hours looking for the route up on the upper saddle; I should have thrown away all the description on where the route was and listened to my gut. We decided that the mountain isn’t going anywhere and opted to save the climb for another weekend.

"Beggars can't be chooser, when getting beer up here!"
About a month later on July 28 - 29, 2007 we decided to make a second attempt on Heyburn. We were still working on getting ready for climbing the Grand Teton and we had lots of linguistics to work out. Our main problem with climbing the Grand Teton is we have 4 climbers and only 1 lead climber. Steve and Nicki joined us so we could get some actual practice with climbing with 4 people. We set off in the morning at about 8am from the upper Bench Lake; much of the snow has melted from a month ago. The hike to the base of the class III gully was easier than the last trip but still a tough hike for us.

"Angela, Nicki and Steve"
Once we arrived at the start of the class III gully we took a short break and stashed some extra gear. We scrambled up the gully until we hit a short 15ft section near the top, where we decide to rope up for safety.

"Angela and Nicki scrambling up the gully"
Next you traverse a horizontal pitch to the base of another narrow short gully with twin cracks. This pitch is more of a careful walk and not much in the way of rock climbing.

"Angela and Nicki doing some easy walking."
This next 25ft section is where we broke out the gear and decided to practice climbing as one team of 4. The plan was to have me lead a pitch and set an anchor, then I belay Steve and Nicki up together on one rope. Nicki would be tied into the end of the rope and Steve would tie in about 8ft up the rope with an alpine butterfly knot. Nicki would also be trailing a second rope. Once Steve and Nicki were up and into the anchor, we would re-rack gear and Nicki would belay Angela up the first pitch and I would have Steve belay me up the second pitch. Sounds good in theory but didn't work very well for us on Heyburn. Perhaps with more practice in a non-alpine environment we could get this technique to work.

"Nearing the top of the twin racks."

Everyone made it to the base of the Heyburn chimney, however due to our difficulties with the last pitch, Angela and Nicki agreed to sit out climbing the final 2 pitches.

"Ryan and Steve ready to climb."
The first pitch of the chimney is about 50+ feet easy and fun climbing, the crux move on the pitch is a small chalkstone that is protected by a fixed piton. This pitch ends below an enormous chalkstone that makes an obvious small cave. Another fixed piton is located near the back of the cave and makes for a good place to set a belay station.

"Steve all anchored in!"
From the cave, move climber's right around the roof, there's another piton on the face that I used to protect this section. Once past the chalkstone I decided to stay out of the face and forgo getting back into the chimney. I stopped about 15 feet from the summit at a natural 10’x10’ ledge and built an anchor. The last 15 feet we soloed up to the summit.

"Steve Scrambling to the Summit.

From the summit we had amazing views of the Sawtooth Range; you could see most the Bench Lakes and Red Fish Lake. I wished that the gals could have reached the summit with us, perhaps another time.

"Nice View eh?"

After we got our fill of being at the summit we climbed back down to the 10'x10' ledge and found an existing repel station. We used a 60 meter rope that got us down to a second repel station. After a second short repel we were back at the start of the Stur Chimney. We did 2 more repels to get everyone back down to the start of the class III gulley. The climb was great and a lot of fun; I would definitely recommend climbing the Stur Chimney.

"Showing my approval with a nice hefty thumbs up!"

Here's all the pictures from both trips: Climbing Stur Chimney

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Angela Birthday Adventure!

May 18 - 21st 2007 we had an action packed four days for Angela's 28th Birthday. The weekend was definitely action packed with lots of adventures, however the birthday jaunt turned out to be a life changing thanks to Angela!

We drove up to McCall, Idaho Thursday night and camped at the primitive Lick Creek campground about a mile down from Slick Rock. Friday morning we got up made some breakfast and then headed the mile or so up the gravel road to the base of Slick Rock.

"The View from the Road"

Slick Rock is a wonderful slab of granite that has some of the longest technical rock climbs the State of Idaho, we opted to climb the trad 5.6 Regular route. This was Angela's first venture into alpine climbing and also her first multipitch climb. Getting to the start of the climb took us about an 45 minutes mainly due to finding a safe method of crossing the river.

"Scampering across the rapids"

We had a lot of fun climbing this route, a few tricky parts but otherwise nice easy climbing. Near the summit of the climb the Regular route come with in about 10 feet of the bolted 5.8 Memorial route, we decided to jump onto the last pitch of Memorial, and finished up with 9 total pitches of climbing.

"Ready for the next pitch."

After reaching the summit we deiced to sit and rest for a while, we ate some food and talked about our climbing achievement. I got up after a bit and started to re-rack the climbing gear and get ready for our decent. Angela however asked me to come back and sit down, she wanted to show me something. As I was sat down Angela proceeded to pull a book out of her small backpack. I was surprised on how she managed to conceal the book in her small pack along with her food/water, rain gear and decent shoes. The book was titled: "The Story and Adventures of Scout and Scamp." Angela had created a book that contained a handwritten and illustrated account of the trips we've been on since we started dating.

"The Story and Adventures of Scout and Scamp"

We sat and read through the book recalling all the memories and good time's we've shared together. Then we came to the last entry in the book which detailed our recent assent of Slick Rock. In the story we had just finished the climb and were standing at the summit, the story continued on how Angela got down on one knee and ask me if I would marry her. Before I could say anything Angela turned to the back of the book and removed a rope bracelet and then with tears in her eyes she really asked for my hand in marriage. Even thought my answer wasn't written in the book I still knew what to say..... and that was "Yes!" I put the bracelet on and Angela tied a knot. We are getting Married!

"Sorry Ladies I'm Tied Down!"

After some time had passed we packed up our gear and made the decent off the climb. There's not much of a trail coming off Slick Rock more of a bad mountain goat trail that is fairly rocky and steep. At times we used small shrubs and tree roots to help our decent also there was a fair amount of snow adding to the fun. Back across the log bridge and we successfully made our way back to the car in just over 9 hours. The day was awesome, nothing like getting in a classic Idaho climb and getting engaged to at the summit!

"Regular Route"

The rest of the weekend was spent mounting biking, hiking and relaxing. We rode the Loon Lake loop the next day. On the south end of Loon Lake there is a old B-23 Dragon bomber that crash landed in 1943. Unfortunately when we got to the lake the water level was extremely high and we didn't feel like swimming over from the North end to see the old plane. We ended up riding the loop before the spring trail crews had a chance to do any maintenance. So there was an excessive amount of down trees on the trail.

"Just a few tipped over Trees!"

Near the end of the ride Angela took a header off the side of the trail and fell down the hill. She stopped when she hit a downed pine tree with sharp broken branches. The crash could have been really bad, luckily she missed all the pointy spikes. She did manage to accumulate some bruises and good scraps. We finished off the day by taking a well earned soak in Burgdorf hot springs.

The last day of our trip we planned to hike out to Louie Lake and Boulder Lake. From the trailhead you can take one of two trails, one tail goes to Louie Lake and the other to Boulder Lake. We hiked to Louie lake and decided to try to make it back to the trailhead by the way of Boulder Lake, by crossing over the dividing mountain pass. However we started the hike in the rain and up past Louie Lake near the pass the rain turned into snow. Using our better judgment and lack of full on winter attire we decided to head back and get some beers at the McCall brewery.

"Where did the trail go?"

Here's all the pictures from the trip:
- Slick Rock
- Loon Lake
- Louie Lake

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Other Fun Summer Adventures

City of Rocks: August 25 - 26, 2007

- A fun trip to the City with Angela for some climbing and relaxing together. Saturday we go in 6 climbs with the best was the 2 pitch Lost Arrow Spire. Definitely worth climbing 5.7 - 4 stars! Watch that repel it's a doozy!!

"The Lost Arrow on the left"

City of Rocks: August 04 - 05, 2007

- Went down to the City on my 30th birthday weekend and got some climbing in with friends. I had a hoot and was a great way to break out of the 20's and on-ward to the 30's.

"Climbing Too Much Fun 5.8"

The Needles: July 14, 2007

- 14 mile out and back hike to granite rock spires that apparently are climbable. We left Boise late in the day and by the time we neared the Needles it was dinner time. We did some quick time calculations and figured we'd better head back otherwise we wouldn't make it to the car before it was dark. We ended up coming back to Boise just after midnight.

"About a mile from the Needles"

The Needles has two different approaches, the 16 mile or a 4 mile round trip. We went back a month later to hike the 4 mile and climb, however when we got a few miles from the trailhead fire crews had shut the road down. Apparently the whole Needles area caught fire 2 days a go.

"Hope she grows back!"

Monday, July 30, 2007

Teton Training 1 - Moores Mountain and Mount Heinen

The weekend of June 16 and 17th we had our first official Teton training weekend. We are planning on making an attempt at the Owens-Spaulding route on the Grand Teton in August.


We had two adventures this weekend: first we got a few climbs up at Moorse Mountain, located up passed Bogus Basin Ski Resort in Boise. Moores Mountain provides a nice break from the summer heat and is the closest granite for climbing. We climbed the 2 pitch 5.9 "Computer Girl."

"Angela on the second pitch"

Before calling it a day Angela belayed me on a 5.10b "Life with Out Beer" tragic name but a wonderful climb!

Here's the pictures: Moores Mountain

Sunday we heading out on a Class 2 route up to the summit of Mount Heinen. We started up the standard route on the South East ridge from Irish Creek Boat Ramp which is on the Arrowrock Reservoir.

"Looking back at Irish Creek Boat Ramp"

The route was about a 10 mile round trip with 3500 feet of elevation gain. Based off the chrono function on my watch this hike took us 6 hours and 36 minuets. A great close hike to Boise and a good Teton training weekend.

"Mount Heinen"

The rest of the photos: Mount Heinen

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Sawtooth Relay 2007 - The Happy Prostate

The weekend of June 09, 2007, was the second year of team "The Happy Prostate" and my third year of running the Sawtooth Relay. Check out last years post on the Sawtooth relay for more description about the race: Sawtooth 2006

We assembled the team from last year except for Joe Knosp last years team volunteer who was on vacation in Alaska. All the runners from were back and training hard for more fun running in the Sawtooths. Dan Doyle, Steve Oliver, Ryan Fisher, Steve Durnel, Lee Knosp and Ryan Smith, with Shane Smith as our new team volunteer.

"The Happy Prostate"

However with one week to go before the race we decided get in one last higher elevation run at Bogus Basin. Unfortunately about a 1/4 mile into the training run Steve Oliver stepped on a small rock and twisted his ankle, and a few days later Steve was under doctor’s orders not to run. With race day less than one week away we scrambled to find a replacement runner, luckily Ian Blasch agreed to fill in for Steve. Thanks Ian!

"Nooooo Steve were missed!"

Race Day 4:42am: headlamp… check, reflector vest… check… Fisher keeping the ladies warm… check!

"Keeping Warm with Ol' School!"

Our team had a 5:00am start time this year and Ryan Fisher was our starting runner for this years relay.

"Ahhh...Go Ryan Go?"

Here are the statistics for Leg 1: (Ryan Fisher)

Description:Rolling gravel and paved roads through Stanley and on Highways 21 and 75 with full view of the Sawtooth Mountains and the Salmon River.

Elevation Gain:300Elevation Start:6,370 feet
Elevation Loss:170Elevation Finish:6,500 feet

Estimated Time:53:38:24
Actual Time:51:21:xx

After we cheered for Ryan Fisher at the start of the race we drove about 2 or 3 miles up the road and hopped out of the team vehicle and waited for Ryan to run past. We gave Fisher some water and cheered him on. Then we piled back into the car and motor up the road to the start of Leg 2. Here is where Ryan Fisher handed off to Ryan Smith for Leg 2.

"Ryan Fisher to Ryan Smith"

Here are the statistics for Leg 2: (Ryan Smith)


Description:Gradual uphill on Highway 75.

Elevation Gain:190Elevation Start:6,500 feet
Elevation Loss:20Elevation Finish:6,670 feet

Estimated Time:49:33:18
Actual Time:49:29:xx

Back into the daylight no more headlamps or reflector vests! Ryan Smith handing off to Ian Blasch for the start of Leg 3.

"Ryan Smith to Ian Blasch"

With less then one week of official Sawtooth Relay training Ian did a great job running his first Sawtooth Realy.

Here are the statistics for Leg 3: (Ian Blasch)


Description:Rolling uphill on Highway 75.

Elevation Gain:240Elevation Start:6,670 feet
Elevation Loss:30Elevation Finish:6,880 feet

Estimated Time:45:16:12
Actual Time:39:14:xx

Ian Blasch handing off to Dan Doyle for the start of Leg 4.

"Ian Blasch to Dan Doyle"

Here are the statistics for Leg 4: (Dan Doyle)


Description:Gradual uphill on Highway 75.

Elevation Gain:190Elevation Start:6,880 feet
Elevation Loss:10Elevation Finish:7,060 feet

Estimated Time:35:26:24
Actual Time:38:19:xx

Dan Doyle handing off to Lee Knosp for the start of Leg 5.

"Dan Doyle to Lee Knosp"

Here are the statistics for Leg 5: (Lee Knosp)


Description:Long steady uphill leg on Highway 75.

Elevation Gain:310Elevation Start:7,060 feet
Elevation Loss:0Elevation Finish:7,370 feet

Estimated Time:52:28:12
Actual Time:50:18:xx

Lee Knosp handing off to Steve Durnal for the start of Leg 6.

"Lee Knosp to Steve Durnal"

Here are the statistics for Leg 6: (Steve Durnal)


Description:Long, steady uphill leg with curves and switchbacks to .15 miles past Galena Summit.

Elevation Gain:1,331Elevation Start:7,370 feet
Elevation Loss:0Elevation Finish:8,701 feet

Estimated Time:48:09:00
Actual Time:55:08xx

Total Roadkill for everyone’s first legs came too +37. Holy Crap sure beats last years of -5! Roadkill is how many people you pass or get passed while running your leg. Here's Steve Durnal handing off to Ryan Fisher for the start of Leg 7.

"Steve Durnel to Ryan Fisher"

Here are the statistics for Leg 7: (Ryan Fisher)


Description:Long, steady, downhill leg with curves and switchbacks.

Elevation Gain:0Elevation Start:8,701 feet
Elevation Loss:1,411Elevation Finish:7,290 feet

Estimated Time:54:10:48
Actual Time:46:48:xx

Ryan Fisher handing off to Ryan Smith for the start of Leg 8.

"Ryan Fisher to Ryan Smith"

Here are the statistics for Leg 8: (Ryan Smith)

Description:Steady downhill on Highway 75.

Elevation Gain:0Elevation Start:7,290 feet
Elevation Loss:360Elevation Finish:6,920 feet

Estimated Time:43:15:54
Actual Time:41:52:xx

Ryan Smith handing off to Ian Blasch for the start of Leg 9.

"Ryan Smith to Ian Blasch"

Here are the statistics for Leg 9: (Ian Blasch)

Description:Moderate length leg with steady downhill.

Elevation Gain:10Elevation Start:6,920 feet
Elevation Loss:350Elevation Finish:6,590 feet

Estimated Time:41:45:36
Actual Time:35:35:xx

Ian Blasch handing off to Dan Doyle for the start of Leg 10.

"Ian Blasch to Dan Doyle"

I know it's still before noon but once your finished with your second leg there's only one thing left to do! Enjoy a well earned frosty cold beverage.

"Because you can't wait 'til afternoon - A.M. Ale"

Here are the statistics for Leg 10: (Dan Doyle)


Description:Long leg with rolling downhill on Highway 75.

Elevation Gain:40Elevation Start:6,590 feet
Elevation Loss:410Elevation Finish:6,220 feet

Estimated Time:49:02:24
Actual Time:53:41:xx

Dan Doyle handing off to Lee Knosp for the start of Leg 11.

"Dan Doyle to Lee Knosp"

Hey Dan what time is it?

"Tecate Time!"

Here are the statistics for Leg 11: (Lee Knosp)


Description:Moderate length leg with gradual downhill.

Elevation Gain:10Elevation Start:6,220 feet
Elevation Loss:290Elevation Finish:5,940 feet

Estimated Time:44:43:48
Actual Time:40:54:xx

Lee Knosp handing off to Steve for the start of Leg 12.


"Lee Knosp to Steve Durnel"

Here are the statistics for Leg 12: (Steve Durnel)


Description:Short leg with gradual downhill on paved bike path.

Elevation Gain:10Elevation Start:5,940 feet
Elevation Loss:150Elevation Finish:5,800 feet

Estimated Time:23:40:12
Actual Time:24:03:xx

Total Roadkill for everyone’s second Legs came too +28. Overall we had 65 RoadKills! Here's Steve Durnel running to the finish line.

"Go Steve Go!"

Each team that finishes the race gets to join up with there runner for the last 50 feet of the relay. As the team crosses the finish line they announce the team name and everyone cheers! We hung around for some free food and beer, listen to the live band, relax and discuss the highlights of the race. We headed back up the road to Sunbeam to take quick soak in hot springs and then we headed back into Stanley to dine on some fine Texas-Style BBQ. Until next year Sawtooth Relay, Happy Running! Check out all the 2007 Sawtooth Relay photos: The Happy Prostate.

"The Happy Prostate 2007"

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Robie Creek 2007 - I Run the Body Electric

"The Toughest Half Marathon in the Northwest" -

Running Robie has been on my list of goals for a number of years. I just never imagined being in shape to run this race or having someone that would run with me. I don't think I would have actually run Robie if it wouldn't have been for Angela running with me.

The race to Robie Creek is a 13.1 mile race that follows up and over the sagebrush covered hills of Boise. Runners trudge up 8 miles to the 4,797-foot Aldape Summit, and then continue down a steep five mile decent to the finish line. Boise's spring weather can greatly add to the challenges of running Robie. In fact the weekend before the race fresh snow fell on the upper 1/2 of the course, luckily a week later on race day we had almost ideal weather conditions for running Robie.


Once the winter hits our running level drops to about zero, snowboard, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and other winter activates like home brewing filled up our time. However once January 2007 came along we had to kick our running back into high-gear. Two weekly lunch time runs, two nightly runs on the treadmill, and one long weekend run kept up busy until mid April. Climbing, mountain biking were also mixed in to save us from being burned out from running.

"Yea... that Pissed Off"

February 19th, 2007 - Registration Day

I wish I had Chuck Norris helping us out with our Robie registration. Agggrrr.... I felt like running the 13.1 miles wasn't as hard as trying to get registered. This was the first year that the Robie Creek registration was 100% on-line, and it was a complete and utter disaster! Registering was a long and frustrating day; I ended up getting registered shortly after 11am. Angela however ended up trying for over 7 hours before she got her number. Bottom line was there online setup couldn't keep up with the number of people trying to register and there server ended up crashing. Lets hope they can get there act together next year!

April 21th, 2007 - Race Day (Uff-da....)

Was it fun: yes
Was it hard: yes
Run Robie again: yes

We arrive at the starting line at Fort Boise Park an hour and half before the start and bumped into lots of other friends that were running the race. Andy, Tyson and Steve showed up for some race day support and Andy snapped some photos. The race started off at high-noon and 2 hours later the race was over and I went straight over to the beer table and got us each a tasty brew! Angela and I ran together for about 5 miles, then we drifted apart as the course got steeper. I ended up finishing the race in 2:00:54.3 and Angela at 2:04:49.2. Here's all the numbers: Robie 2007

"Running the downhill"

After picking up the beers I started to head back to the finish line, but was intercepted by Angela who had just finished the race. We took our beers and went down and breefly soaked our legs in the ice cold Robie Creek. After that we hung around the post-race party got some food and rested our tired bones. After the race we headed back to Boise and spent an hour at Serenity Retreat relaxing in a hot tub. April 21, 2007 was a good day! Check out some race photos that Andy took: Race Photos