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Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas 2009

This year after spending so much time traveling and wedding stuff we decided to just sit tight in Utah. It was a pretty cool idea since it would be our first Christmas together at home. The last 4 Christmas's had been spent dashing to visit family, and while that allows much celebration and jubilation it is also a lot of stress around the holidays. This year Cassie's parents made the trip to Utah from Oregon. We did all the normal Christmas stuff such as eating way to much food and exchanging gifts. Many hot toddies were enjoyed and even the dogs got pork bones as treats. Luckily our tree also decided to hang on till Christmas though even a slight bump caused needles to rain down on all of us. Much fun was had by all. We also went cross snow shoeing, skiing at Sundance, a trip to Antelope Island, and a trip to the frozen Stewart Falls.

Antelope Island is an island on the great salt lake. Surprisingly it has a few large peaks on it so the terrain is quite diverse. Back in the early 1900s bison were inroduced to the island (only to come close to devestation during the filming of "the last great buffalo hunt around 1926ish" apparently at that time they didn't mind killing 400+ bison for a movie. Luckily the herd is now protected and numbers somewhere in the 600+ range. You'll notice in my photos all of the golden grass that is on the island. It's sustained by  springs that come out of the mountains. The bison eat the grass and apparently the habitat is quite good for them. Also on the island (hanging out in the trees) are porcupines. These guys were taking naps when we spotted them and were pretty happy just lazying around soaking up the sun. After the photo ops we hiked up as far as we could before the sun started setting.

On Sunday we hiked to Stewart falls. Those of you who have come to visit  have probably hiked to this fall with us during warm weather. We had never hiked it in the winter until this trip and wow was it amazing. Nothing like a 100+ foot frozen waterfall with water roaring down behind the thick ice. Quite an impressive site.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Adventures with the VW

Some how many months have again slipped by since our last post. Winter has come to Sundance with a couple feet of snow and frigid temperatures. We aren't quite ready for snow yet and have been taking a bunch of trips south lately. We've been getting the van all styled out for our big trip, with a solar panel, roof rack, refrigerator, and awning. While all these new gadgets make camping and traveling really, really nice, driving a 23 year old van around can lead to some interesting situations. A couple things we have learned in the last few months: 1) if your gas gauge is ever rapidly dropping, you likely won't be able to see the gas leaking out as you are driving along at 60 miles an hour. Maybe your gas gauge has just decided to break, but maybe you really have a disconnected fuel line -- how the van was still running during the 20 mile drive to Hanksville while this was happening I have no idea, but we made it, did not catch on fire and were able to easily fix it, 2) even if you get a prewired kit and have double checked all your wiring, it would be wise not to walk away from the van the first time you plug in the solar panel. A solar panel in the full sun of Indian Creek creates quite a bit of power and can easily melt the incorrectly wired charge regulator. Fortunately Matthew saw this and realized what was happening prior to damage to anything beside the faulty charge regulator and a bit of smoke in the van.

I spent a week in Death Valley for work meetings -- unfortunately it meant too much time inside a conference room but I did get to see Ash Meadows wildlife refuge where a bunch of great restoration work is going on and I got to see a few of the native fish which are endemic to the area. I also went to see Devil's Hole which is rather disappointing. It's home to one of the most endangered fish that only lives in that spring -- the population in 2007 was 38 fish. The hole is all fenced off , so you can only look down through barbed wire and chain link to see the sampling platform over the hole. Another bizarre desert creation we saw was the amagrosa opera house in the nothing town of Death Valley Junction. A dancer and performer from NY had a flat tire there 35 years ago and fell in love with the place. She restored the opera house and every Saturday has been doing shows. We were there on a Saturday night, but unfortunately Marta Becket was in the hospital and is unable to do performances any more. We watched a movie showing some of the history of the place and performances she's done. Really fascinating, but bizarre!

Over Thanksgiving we made a trip down to Escalante with Chris and Emily. We'd heard about all the great canyons down there but hadn't made the trip yet. We hiked through Spooky and Peakaboo canyons which are the two most spectacular non-technical canyons I've been through. Amazing narrows and spiral formations in the rock.

Last weekend was a trip down to Red Rocks where we were hoping for some warm desert climbing. The climbing was great and sunny, but definately not warm. We stopped in St. George on the drive home to check out Moe's Valley boulders which we'll definately be coming back to spend more time at.

We made it home Sunday evening just as the snow was starting and now there's no question that winter is here. We got about 18 inches of dry fluffy powder and frigid temperatures. Our blood has definately thinned since we left Alaska since -5 now seems pretty miserably cold! If only there was any kind of base, it would have been great skiing, but that will come after a few more storms maybe this weekend.

Friday, September 11, 2009

the end of summer and fall

Well to say it's been a long time since our last post would be a huge understatement. I guess when life got very busy we just gave up trying to post about it. Well here is the recap of the summer.

First, Cassie and I got married on the beach in Oregon on August 6th. It was a fantastic ceremony and very chill. The weekend following the wedding we had a reception with friends and family invited for a bbq. The food and drinks were superb and everyone had a great time. There are a thousand more things I could say about how much fun we had, but honestly I just don't think I have the energy to describe it all in detail.

After that we headed up in the van to Squamish for a few days of granite climbing. Unfortunately it rained a good bit while we were there so we only got in two days of climbing. We did have a great time though and are planning on heading back at some point.

August was a very hectic month and after getting back in Utah we were soon heading to Monroe Canyon for a climbing trip, and then in September we headed to Ohio for a reception that my Mom and Bruce threw for us. It was another great party. (again completely leaving out many details, please ask if you want to hear them)

After that reception we went to Red River Gorge in Kentucky to go climbing. It was beautiful sandstone and we really enjoyed it even though it rained every single day and was extremely hot and humid. Bruce was extremely kind and let us use his classic VW camper for the trip.

September was over after this trip and October was into full swing when we did a slot canyon trip with the Utah Climbing Club. We did two slot canyons in a single day and had a blast. Cassie's parent's swung through on a Southwest roadtrip and visited with us for a weekend.

Now it's November which means its been almost four months since our last post. We'll try to be be better about keeping up with it. Enjoy all the pics, even though we weren't posting we were still having fun in lots of cool places. If you haven't heard from us in a while there is a good chance we've posted pictures of our adventures to flickr.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Summer is flying by!

I can't believe the last blog post was in May. It really doesn't seem like that long ago. I suppose we've just been super busy with climbing and other fun things.

Well I guess we need to catch everyone up on the news.

First, Cassie and I are getting married in about 2 weeks (august 6th). The wedding is going to be super simple. We've rented a beach house on the coast of Oregon and will be doing a nice ceremony on the beach with our families. A couple of days later we'll be headed back to Portland to have a reception with Cassie's extended family. It'll be a great bbq. We're doing pretty much everything ourselves which means our families are going to be helping out with a ton of stuff. It's so cool that we both have such great parents who understand that we're excited about having a non-traditional wedding. We're going to owe them big time for all the work they've been doing. In april we flew out to visit and got things started, now we just need to drive up to Portland and really start getting things moving for the reception and wedding. We're both really looking forward to getting married, and to having our families meet each other (they haven't even met yet). It's going to be a great experience!!!

After the reception we head to Squamish to do some climbing for a few days. A couple we climb with here in Utah is going to meet us there so we can all climb together. It's going to be sweet granite climbing and bouldering. We aren't huge granite heads, generally the slabby friction climbs require such a  specific technique that our grades for leading are significantly lower than what we'd normally hop on, but I suppose that's the way you get better is to just climb on it, right? 

Second big new: we just bought a VW camper for our big roadtrip. This thing is killa! It's a 1986 Westfalia Camper. The guy we bought it from had almost completely restored it with body work. We completed the project with a new paint job and presto! it looks almost like its new. great new shocks, the 16" wheel package from gowesty, and a custom stereo system with a 10" subwoofer under the back seat. It totally kicks!!! We've taken it down to the Overlook for climbing and camping, and we've been up to City of Rocks for another weekend of climbing. So far it pretty much rules. We're really looking forward to the big road trip (which appears to be about 2 years off) now that we have the van. 

3rd Cassie and I both climbed an 5.11d called Heimie the Mexican Gyneocologist at the Overlook after a few tries. It was a vertical climb with cool crimps and small pockets, plus a sick sloper. I usually don't think I climb dead vertical routes well and I tend to like overhanging routes better, but this thing was great. Cassie sent it with style, almost pumped out at the top, but stuck with it and did it! At the overlook our good friends Chris and Emily came with us. Chris surprised us by doing a 10c on his first try after years of being away from climbing and Emily surprised us by getting on a rope and trying a climb. She's quite afraid of heights and we were all excited that she was willing to give it a try. Next time we'll put her on something easier than a 5.9 and get her to do a bunch of climbs. We had such a great time camping with our friends. On Saturday evening Jason and Sam came down with fireworks and sparklers and lit up our evening with much hilarity attempting to build "the perfect firework". We did cool pictures with sparklers and headlamps as a way to celebrate independence day, and even got to watch some fireworks very far away in Parowan. 

So, to recap the last month and a half, we've climbed at triassic (crazy cool weather in june), climbed at Maple (sent an 11d at the pipeline) climbed at the overlook over fourth of july, climbed at city of rocks (waaaay to hot in July), climbed at Little Cottonwood (crazy granite slabs) and have had a great summer. Other than that we've been getting ready for the wedding and are really looking forward to having two weeks off!

Today as our final day of fun before leaving for Oregon we went to the Uintas and did a hike along the Duchesne river. Lots of great wildflowers and beautiful waterfalls were everywhere!

Also this weekend we got to watch a desert tortoise. He was really cool. We'd love to adopt him but alas we simply don't have the yard necessary to allow him to enjoy himself.  Oh well, he was still super fun.

Also, BTW even though we haven't been posting lately, we've been taking LOTS of pictures. Check them out!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Joes Valley and a Sunday drive

Cassie and I are not fishermen. We have either not done it enough, haven't paid a good tribute to the gods of angling or are simply unable to adapt to the necessary laziness of the sport. We lost at least 6 hooks in a single day to snags, rocks, or whatever it is that lies beneath the surface of the water and didn't catch a single fish to make up for it. Luckily our friends Chris and Emily with their mellow techniques managed to catch 3 over the course of the day. Even more amazing was that they were happy to let us eat them. We have great friends. Our crew of fishing consisted of 3 dogs and 7 people. Mojo amused himself with staring at the fish that had been caught. Strangely he was not at all interested in the animal when it was waved in his face, but rather the dark shadow in the water which moved when he pawed at it kept his attention for at least a few hours.

After having our fill of lost hooks and slack fishing lines we headed back to camp, fried up the fillets and enjoyed some dinner and smores. Sunday Cassie and I planned to head out of camp early to get some climbing in at Maple. We had seen a possible alternate route on a dirt road which leads through the mountains that might be scenic and would potentially still get us to Maple. I did say, "potentially". The road wasn't state maintained and in our little honda civic we knew there was a reasonable chance that we wouldn't make it all the way across the mountains on this road. Also, this time of year there is still much snow at higher elevations which can cause roads to be impassable. Our sense of adventure won out though and we decided to try it anyway. We made it almost to the pass which was probably around 9,000ft when we hit enough snow to force us to turn around. It was definitely not a loss though, as we had two great hikes. The first was to a couple of waterfalls and the second was through bright green mountain meadows with wildflowers blooming. We saw deer and elk and traced a little mountain stream down to it's confluence with the larger drainage which was raging. There was so much snow melt in the area that the ground on the hill leading down to the larger draining was completely saturated in some areas. Small streams appeared out of nowhere. These wet grasses soon consolidated into trickles, and the trickles became streams. No small wonder that the grasses grew so green and lush with all the moisture in the soil. Unfortunately the wetness also caused some slippery walking, and i took a nice spill with the camera in my hands. I believe I either yelled a choice expletive or it might have been "the camera!" which as I fell in top of it became covered in mud. No worries though it cleaned up and was still taking pictures. As we neared the end of our hike we noticed the thunderheads building quite ominously above our heads and thunder sounded in the distance. We hiked back to the car before the road became a muddy mess and headed downhill to the Reservoir.

After so much excitement we never made it to Maple for our planned day of climbing, but then we didn't really mind. It was still a beautiful day in Utah.

Monday, May 25, 2009

springtime in the wasatch

It's been a while since we posted. Springtime has fully hit the Wasatch and we've been busy trying to make the most of our weekends. During that in between stretch of not enough snow to ski, but too much to hike, it seems like the snow piles are never going to leave the street. But of course they finally do, snow is gone, river is raging, trees have leafed out and the hummingbirds are back. We have two feeders that these guys can go through in a day. Our sugar usage increases significantly this time of year, but it's worth it to watch 3 different types of hummingbirds zooming all around, fighting for territory (these guys can be mean!) then sitting peacefully together for a few seconds to drink some food before starting territory battles all over again.

I had thought that when we moved to Utah, that it was a place where it doesn't rain very much. I thought I had left the springtime rain behind in Oregon. Somehow though in the last 6 weekends, I think we've had 2 dry ones! We were both pretty grumpy on Friday evening when we checked the forecast and found that it was supposed to rain, pretty much everywhere in Utah, the whole long weekend! In spite of a 60% chance on Saturday and 40% on Monday, we drove down to Maple Canyon both days which has the craziest cobblestone conglomerate rock for supper fun climbing. It drizzled a bit on us, but we were climbing in the pipeline which is mostly overhanging so it stayed mostly dry. We were reminded that Maple is a good place to wear helmets or leg guards rather as we saw a woman get hit in the calf by a rolling rock then Matt get hit in the thigh from a rock whizzing down from somewhere above. No major harm done in either case, just some nice bruises, but a little bit of a wake up call. We were both projecting some harder climbs, which we didn't quite get cleanly, but made good progress on.

A couple weekends ago we went down to Cedar City with the club to climb at Pocket Rocks. As you can guess, the rock is full of pockets and quite fun to climb on. It's a bit like Smith Rocks, only much smaller and less spectacular. After 3 days of chasing lizards in the sun, Mojo slept for 4 days straight, but is now fully recovered and disappointed we did not go to a lizard filled spot this weekend, only the typical birds and squirrels which aren't nearly as exciting.

One of the best parts about spring where we live is the alpine loop road. It's closed all winter about 2 miles above our place, so great cross country skiing in the winter. This time of year, it's still closed for a few more weeks, but the road is still closed, so we have our own mostly private access for running and hiking where we can watch spring in all different stages as we go up in elevation. In a few weeks, it will be full of tourists again, but it will mean we can access some of our favorite trails and make it over the mountain to American Fork.

That's the highlights of spring in the Wasatch, we're hoping it stays spring a bit longer before switching to the blazing heat of summer. Matt's much better at keeping pictures updated on our flickr website, than we have been with the blog, so check our flickr page out when you get a chance.

Hi All (Matt here adding my comments)

Since our last post most of what we've been doing is bouldering and climbing. Little Cottonwood has great bouldering and Triassic (our weekend getaway) has been terrific even though the weather in the mountains has been rainy and unclimbable. We've been to Ibex as well. During the evenings we've been going to Rock Canyon a good bit and pretty soon American Fork will be a more frequented destination. As far as sending goes it's been a great spring. Cassie onsighted or flashed all of her problems at Pocket Rocks, and I've been sending some of my hardest boulder problems. V6s are getting a bit easier and I'm hoping to send a V7 before the end of the year.

Right now we're both projecting hard routes at Maple. Cassie has her sights set on an 11b pumpy overhanging route at the Pipeline and I'm trying a 11d and a 12b which are also at the Pipeline. Cassie took two lead falls today and I think she's making great progress controlling her fear of falling. I think next weekend the 11s we will probably send and maybe I'll make some progress on my 12. It's funny how climbing works. Even though Cassie and I are both capable of climbing 5.12 it takes a lot of work and effort to complete a problem. For those of you who are not familiar with climbing lingo a "send" is the ability on lead (lead means you are not on toprope) to climb a route without hanging on any of your gear from the ground up and without falling. Many people can climb super hard on toprope, but the true test of your ability is to lead.

In other news we went to the San Rafael Swell and Goblin Valley a few weekends ago. We went to a place called Eardley Canyon and the "Amazing Pool" (seriously that's the name of the pool). It was a beatiful weekend and we had a great time even though Cassie was pretty sick.

So, we're still having fun and loving our lives here in Utah. Hope everyone else out there is well!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

snakes and frogs

Last week, I was out in southeast Utah looking for rattlesnake dens. Not something I really thought I'd be doing ever. I've seen plenty of rattlesnakes and am not overly afraid of them, but looking for them as they emerge from their dens has never been something that has crossed my mind as a good thing to do. It was quite an interesting experience as we went out with one of my co-workers who has been with the state for over 30 years. He is an amazing photographer and would frequently go out to photograph these snakes, but was afraid that when he retired, the knowledge of where the dens are would go with him. The location of dens is something we don't publicize, since a lot of people really really don't like snakes. Apparently a popular Easter activity at one of these sites is to go out for a picnic and shoot snakes. Other sites that are close to campgrounds and tourist attractions, other agencies have spent a great deal of time and effort to remove the snakes. And by remove, that does mean kill. If you move a rattlesnake somewhere within the range of it's den, it will just come back. If you move it a few miles away outside the range of it's den, it will just circle, looking for the den and die when winter comes and it can't find it. In spite of the general public's love of snakes, we were able to find quite a few. As the weather starts getting warmer in the spring, the snakes come out to the mouth of their den and warm in the sun for a few days while still going back in at night. Once they're good and warm for a few days, they leave and don't come back to that spot until the fall. We didn't see more than 6 or 8 at any one spot, but apparently if you hit it at the right time, you can see hundreds of snakes leaving their den at the same time.

Thursday and Friday, Tyrone Hayes was in salt Lake. He is one of the leading scientists looking at the use of the pesticide Atrizine and how it is one of the factors in global amphibian declines. Atrizine which is used primarily on corn and in forestry after clear cutting causes feminization of male frogs and makes them more likely to get other diseases and deformities. This alone was interesting to me, but Tyrone Hayes is one of the best speakers I have heard in a long time. As scientists, we often hear that we should be unbiased scientists and just let the science speak for itself. But when the chemical industry and federaly regulatory agencies who we trust to keep us safe turn a blind eye to very convincing science, that can be hard to do. Not only does this chemical make hermaphrodite frogs, it lowers sperm count in humans and has been linked to increased rates of breast and prostrate cancer in humans. Tyrone does and amazing job of making the science understandable and relevant to non-scientists and also brings in the human and social justice aspect. The people who have the highest exposure to atrizine are usually migrant workes and other low income minorities working in the fields and in the factory. Check out his website atrizinelovers.com for more information, and if you ever get the chance to hear him speak. Go! He can explain this far better and in a more interesting way than I can. He is the only scientist I've ever heard, conclude and summarize his talk in a spoken word / rap and actually be able to pull something like that off.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

San Juan River

Last week, I got out for a rare week of field work on the San Juan River. The unfortunate thing about moving up in the world of biology is that you seem to get further and further away from what it was that got you into the job in the first place, being in the field.

The San Juan River flows through the very southeastern corner of Utah ending at the eastern end of Lake Powell. The headwaters are in the San Juan mountains in Colorado, so while where we were floating was very much the desert, the river is fed by distant snowfall. And like all the rest of the major rivers in the West, the flows are regulated by dams.

My trip down the San Juan was for the San Juan River Recovery Program. The San Juan is home to two endangered fish, the Colorado pikeminnow and the razorback sucker as well as three native fish which are not endangered, but are considered tier 1 or the most sensitive by Utah, the bluehead sucker, flannelmouth sucker and roundtail chub. The Colorado pikeminnow can grow up to 6 feet long, although fish this large have not been seen for many years. The razorback sucker is aptly named with a prominent, narrow ridge between its head and dorsal fin. Historically, these big river fish, especially the pikeminnow migrated hundreds of miles to their spawning grounds. Now their accessible spawning areas are much reduced by both large dams, small diversions and in the tributaries a complete dewatering. Although some of us may wish for the dams not to be there, the big ones we have are not going anywhere anytime soon and the goal of the recovery programs is to recover the species while still allowing for water development. It may seem like these are pretty contradictory goals, and in my more cynical thoughts, they very much are, but the reality is that humans need water too and while we definitely should be using it wiser than we often do, we do get water in the river and for the fish from these dams too. Part of the recovery program is flow requirements for critical habitat that requires minimum flows and flows that mimic a natural hydrograph during critical times for the fish.

Another major threat facing these fish, is the introduction of non-native fish. In the San Juan, the primary culprit is the channel catfish. I believe this was introduced to the San Juan through its stocking as a sport fish into Lake Powell and other reservoirs. The catfish provides a double whammy to the pikeminnow. Large catfish are very predacious on smaller native fish and while pikeminnow are also predators and eat small catfish, the catfish have spines which can get stuck in the pikeminnow as they are trying to eat it and can kill the pikeminnow.

So, the purpose of this and many trips down the San Juan, Green and Colorado Rivers is non-native removal by electroshocking. What this consists of on these large rivers is a crew of at least 5 people, 3 boats (2 electroshockers and 1 gear boat). The electroshocking boats are set up to send a current into the water at a voltage that stuns the fish, but doesn't cause any long-term harm. One person rows, keeping the boat as near the bank as possible while another stands at the front of the boat with a net, netting up all the non-native and endangered fish they see. The non-natives are counted, measured and removed from the system, while the endangereds are scanned for a tag, measured, weighed and returned to the river. The tag has an unique number so we can tell where it has moved from and how much it has grown.

The trip down the San Juan is beautiful and is very popular with recreational boaters, due to a fairly peaceful float through tall canyons of limestone and sandstone. There are a number of side canyons and hikes to explore as well. Unfortunately for a work trip, while it is still beautiful and enjoyable, you don't get to sit back and enjoy the scenery too much. You are either focused on rowing (trying to keep the boat near the shore without running into the shore, rocks or trees, while keeping your eye out for fish and turning the boat in whatever direction the fish are so they can be netted) or standing at the front of the boat, focused on the water in front of you ready to lunge with your net when something pops-up for sometimes just a second before it sinks back into the silty water. Another treat for all on the San Juan, is the last 12 or so miles which were inundated by Lake Powell when it was full. This deposited a lot of sand and left a nice bathtub line on the rocks. This stretch of the river is very flat and slow and you have to keep your eyes peeled for where it is deep enough so you don't get stuck in the sand bars. On my trip, this was also the day it was rainy, snowy and very windy, and the wind always blows upstream. This meant sometimes you were rowing as hard as you could just to stay still.

In spite of the wind and cold weather, it was a great trip. We removed a few thousand catfish, recaptured a few hundred pikeminnow, and a handful of razorback suckers. As far as the non-native removal goes, the San Juan is a place where we actually seem to be making some progress, over the last couple years, the catfish we catch are smaller and fewer. The San Juan is also being helped out by the drought in this aspect too. When Lake Powell receded from its full height, it created a waterfall about 10 miles downstream from where you take out from the river. This waterfall is preventing any additional catfish from invading as well as all of the other non-natives which are in Lake Powell. The downside is that any natives that go over this waterfall, are stuck downstream where they have little chance of surviving.

For me, this trip was a much needed reconnection with the river and reminder of why I spend most of my working hours in a office trying to help conserve our native fish.

*pictures will be coming soon, they're on a different computer

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

It's spring break time and that means all the college students are out climbing! Elyse came to Utah for a week and a half of action packed climbing. The day she flew into town we took her to Rock Canyon for some evening climbing. The weather was perfect and the broken quartzite was sharp and positive. Over the weekend we headed to Joe's Valley for some sandstone bouldering. We had a decent sized group with us consisting of a new friend Collin, Chris, Peter, Elyse, Cassie, and I. Everyone warmed up on "Small One" before I took the crew down to the riverside boulders to escape the climbing crowd. We've never seen that many people at Joe's before. After conversing with some fellow climbers we found that it was due to the out-of-towners from Colorado and beyond. Regardless, we had a great day of climbing. Cassie came very close to sending a V6 and I sent my second V6 so we were quite happy with it.
The next day Elyse and I went to a piece of art on the great salt lake called the Spiral Jetty. It was cool, but as the water level was quite low there wasn't really any jetty at all. The water was about 100 yards out from the spiral. I also high-centered the honda civic and we had to get a pull out from a couple of nice guys with a decent sized SUV. It was epic since there was a snow storm coming and not really anybody else anywhere nearby for at least 20 miles. Oh well at least it made for good storytelling afterwards.

Cassie headed to the San Juan river for a 5-day float trip of catching disposing of unwanted sport fish which are causing problems for the native species who used to thrive in the rivers.

The following weekend we decided to make a camping trip of climbing at Triassic on Saturday and then heading to Little Wild Horse Canyon.

Climbing at Triassic was sweet. The weather was outstanding and some hard problems were sent. Most of the sending was by our uber-hard sending friend Andrew and not us, but we were certainly happy for him. It's very cool to climb with someone who inspires you to try harder, and Andrew certainly does that. His girlfriend Rachel (sp?) also came for the weekend. She's a hard climber as well and left with a tough V4 project that she is working. We had a beautiful day of climbing which ended on a boulder that has 3 problems on it, each with the same start, and a different finish. The Good a V4 has a pretty scary topout over a bad landing, The Bad a V5 has a crazy throw for a jug, and the Ugly is a very long V6 that has some stout moves with long reaches between holds. Andrew impressed everyone by flashing or onsighting all three problems. I contented myself with trying the V5 and came close to sending, but just didn't have the juice to finish. No worries though, we're heading back to Triassic this coming Sunday since the weather in Provo looks like it will be either Bad, or Ugly :)
Sunday we drove out to Little Wild Horse and were shocked at how windy it was. It was tough just keeping the car in the lane at some points due to crazy gusting the wind was. We ended up getting to the canyon a bit before noon and hiked into the canyon with my famous words of "I'm sure it won't be so windy in the canyon". Much to my disappointment the opposite was true. The soft sand in the canyon was being picked up by strong winds and thrown into our faces like a sandblaster. It was brutal. I didn't know sand could get into that many places on my body. Luckily the scenery made up for the conditions and we had a great time exploring the slot. It was strange to see that even the narrowest parts were actually dry this year. Two years ago (almost exactly) we did the same hike with Cassie's parents and there was water through a decent portion of the slot which required wading through ice cold water to continue the hike. This year there wasn't even a puddle, which was disappointing to Cassie and I. We kind of liked the extra work that the water forces on us. Instead of doing the loop hike we exited the same way we came, one reason was that mojo was with us and I didn't want to have to carry him up and down some of the boulder jams, another was that the wind was making the hiking unpleasant enough that everyone was pretty happy to just call it a day and plan to come back to hike Bell canyon another day when the weather would be more cooperative. On another note I was very happy with the pictures my Canon SLR camera took. It really performed well in the low light conditions and I ended up getting some nice shots. Feel free to check out our flickr page (as always) for lots more pictures that you see here.

Little Wild Horse Pictures
Joes Valley Pictures
Triassic Pictures