Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Barbados - Stand Up Paddleboarding

Last week Melis and I went paddleboarding off the west coast of Barbados.  Melis has taken a liking to paddleboarding ever since trying it out off the coast of Malibu.  We made sure we tried it in Barbados.  

There were only 2 places we found that rented SUPs.  One shop on the south coast and one on the west. Since the water was more mellow on the west coast we decided to try it out near Holetown, at the Colony Club.  We had a blast even though jet skis and boats raced around us from time to time.

View Barbados in a larger map

Monday, November 29, 2010

Barbados - Scuba Diving - Carlisle Bay Marine Park

Wednesday afternoon I went scuba diving off the coast of Carlisle Bay, Barbados.  I went with the dive company Dive Barbados Blue located near the Hilton hotel.  We took a short boat ride out to the marine park where there is a handful of sunken ships (see map below).  I love diving wreck sites, I enjoy learning about the history of the wrecks along with seeing all the marine life that lives on or around them.     We dove down about 50 feet and explored the 5 wrecks; Eillion, Bajon Queen, Ce-Treck, Cornwallis, and the Berwyn. The only open slot for diving was at 2pm, that being said the visibility was good but not great.  I was under for about 35 minutes  exploring the wrecks.  I would say the highlight was seeing a bright green moray eel and a sea horse.  I also enjoyed swimming through the wrecks themselves.  

Green Moray

Air pocket on the Eillion Wreck
Map of the the wrecks.

View Barbados in a larger map

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Barbados - Surfing the Soup Bowl

The past week Melis and I went to Barbados for a vacation and to visit our good friends the Tallons, from college.  On Friday morning Holly took us to Bathsheba.  This is a beach community that is home to the "soup bowl", the best surf spot in Barbados.  I used my friends' Patagonia 7'8'' board to enjoy some mid morning surfing.  The waves were amazing, a good 2 foot overhead, which is just about all I can handle.  I paddled out around the reef and got a quick tip from a local out in the water that the wave breaks right in line with a house on shore.  As soon as he told me this and motioned me to come over I caught my first wave.  STOKED!!!!!!!!!  It was a nice, clean wave that was easy to turn.   The waves were awesome and there were only 5 people out.  The water was around 76 degrees and I didn't need booties to walk out.

After the session I couldn't wait to get back out again.  Unfortunately, a few days later when we returned the waves were well blown out and super choppy.  Still, that one session was all I needed, those waves are the best I've surfed.  I can't wait to go back!

Choppy Soup Bowl!
View Soup Bowl in a larger map

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Yosemite Backpacking - Young Lakes/Glen Aulin 8-1-10

Cary and me at Young Lakes
Falls of the Toulumne River
High Country, Yosemite

Last weekend Cary and I went backpacking in the high country of Yosemite. On Friday night we drove up to Toulumne Meadows where we camped under the stars at the backpackers camp.  In the morning we were woken up from various campers yelling "go bear go".  I sat up in my sleeping bag to see a black bear with her cub roaming around the camp.  Apparently the mother bear tried to take a campers backpack.  According to the ranger this bear "green 5 s niner" or something close to that is a regular there.

After the bear sighting we got up and rolled over to the wilderness office and got in line.  We got there around 7:20, a good 10 minutes before it was open.  There was already a line of 15 people waiting for wilderness permits.  About 40 minutes later Cary and I lucked out and got the last 2 permits for the same day!  Our plan was to go up to Young Lakes via the Glen Aulin trail.  After getting the permits we packed our bags and set out near Lembert Dome.  4 hours later we arrived at Young Lakes (6.5 mi).  The hike was mellow and filled with lush vegetation.  We quickly cleared out a camp site and set up our tent.  We took a dip in the lake and relaxed.  That night we took photographs, trying to capture "star trails".

The next morning we took some early morning photographs of the still lake then packed up camp.  We decided to do a 3 mile cross country route from Young Lakes to Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp.  We followed a ridge and then headed down about 1000 feet using landmarks, a compass and a gps to steer us in the right direction.  We did a lot of bush wacking and hopping over dead trees.  In the end it took us about 4 hours to get there.  We thought we were still a good hour away when we stumbled into camp!  That afternoon and night we relaxed near the Toulumne River and took some more photographs.

After a relaxing night we woke up and did a day hike to Water Wheel Falls.  The trail from Glen Aulin followed the Toulumne River with a ton of different falls along the way.  There were wildflowers all over the place. This hike was simply spectacular.  We only saw a handful of people and the falls were huge and spectacular! Water Wheel Falls was great, however, I didn't think it was more extraordinary than the falls leading up to it.  If you are ever in the high country I strongly recommend this hike.

The next morning we woke up early and packed up.  We hiked up the river to Toulumne Falls where I realized both my batteries for my camera were dead. Ugh!  Oh well, it was still great to see it.  Hopefully Cary got some nice shots.  2 hours later we returned to my car where we took a dip in the river.  This time we dove in all the way and man was it cold!  It was great to rinse off  4 days of dirt, however, it was still a bit colder than I expected.

All and all it was a great trip. It was nice to take a leisurely backpacking trip where we focused on taking photographs.    You can check out some of my photographs at:

I will be posting them for the next week as I get time to process them.

Click here to see Cary's Photos

View Yosemite - Glen Aulin/ Young Lakes in a larger map

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Robinson Lake (University Peak Attempt) May 22/23

Looking up from Robinson Lake
Looking at University Peak to the right at 11,500 feet

Last weekend Cary and I headed back to the Sierras.  We decided to attempt University Peak out of the Onion Valley/Independence area.  We started climbing around mid day on Saturday.  With snowshoes on we headed up to Robinson Lake.  1 mile and 2 hours later we arrived at Robinson Lake.  The weather was very pleasant as we set up camp for the night.  As night began to creep up on us so did the clouds.  Around 7 it started to lightly snow.  After dinner Cary and I went to the lake with an ice axe to break through the frozen layer of ice to filter some water.  It must have been in the high teens at night.  My water inside our tent started to freeze including my hydration bladder!  I slept in down booties, down pants and a down parka.  

The next morning we woke up to a few new inches of snow.  We packed our bags, put on our gators and crampons and headed out.  It started to snow more and more as the morning went on.  The clouds totally engulfed us, limiting our view of the peaks.  We continued to climb, realizing it wouldn't be a good idea to go for the summit.  Around 11,500 feet and 1 mile from camp we reached the base of the peaks.  We decided this was a good place to stop.   With visibility being limiting I climbed about 300 feet up the right embankment to get a little more climbing in.  I quickly lost sight of Cary and decided to come back down.  On our way back to camp we glissaded 200 feet down to Robinson Lake.  It was the steepest glissade I have done yet.  Good times!

We arrived back to our camp with a few more inches of snow.  We packed up our gear and headed back to the parking lot.  It snowed the whole morning we were out.  The scenery was absolutely beautiful! We only saw a handful of people the whole weekend, and that was close to the parking lot.

Elevation at parking lot = 9200 feet
1 mile (via snow travel) to Robinson Lake, 10,500 feet
1 mile to the base of University Peak.
Total Miles = 4  round trip
My high point for the trip = 11,800 feet

View Robinson Lake - Sierras in a larger map

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Rock Creek, Ruby and Dade Lake

Don't step in the hole!
I should have had my ice axe out.
Heading up to Dade Lake
The views were amazing!
Yahoo for snow camping!
Our kitchen
May 1st and 2nd 
Over the weekend Cary and I went camping and climbing in the Eastern Sierras.  Friday afternoon Cary and I drove up to Rock Creek Lake, arriving around 10:30pm.  The snow level was around 8,000 feet, however, the road was paved all the way to Rock Creek Lake, 9,700 feet.  Friday night we spent the night in the bed of Cary's pick-up truck.  Saturday morning we got up and packed all our gear.  We headed out on snowshoes simply because we did not have any room in or on our packs to store them.  A little over 2 miles later we reached Heart Lake where we set up camp.  After setting up camp we hiked past treasure lakes to Dade lake.  The views were spectacular.  Snow was swirling off the mountain tops making for an amazing landscape.  

We returned to our camp around 6 and shortly after started dinner.  We dug out a little space to sit and a little table (see above pic) to make dinner.  The next morning we hoped to climb Mt. Starr.  We woke up around 5:15am, grabbed our gear and headed out.  Heading up we climbed a short class 3 section to get above the tree line.  Once over the tree line ridge we hiked up to Ruby Lake which is almost half way to the summit.  We scouted a nice shoot that looked inviting, however, Cary pointed out it was in an avalanche zone.  We saw trees were stripped of branches on the mountain side.  We decided to call it a day and hike back down to our camp.  Next time I climb I will probably go around to Mono Pass and climb up from the other side of Mt. Starr.  We returned to our camp around 10am and packed up and hiked back to the parking lot.

All and all it was a great trip, yeah we didn't summit, however, we did get a lot of info for next trip.  The views were amazing, the weather was alright (a little windy) and we only saw a handful of people each day.  Next time I would like to backcountry ski instead of snow shoe in.  Skiing would be much more enjoyable and faster on the descents, everyone we saw the whole weekend were on skis.  Great, one more toy I need to save up for:-)

For more pics click here
  • RCL to Heart Lake = 2 hours on  snow shoes
  • Heart Lake to Dade Lake = 2.25 hours on snow shoes
  • If climbing Mt. Dade, camp at Treasure Lakes
  • Heart Lake to Ruby Lake = 2.25 hours with crampons
  • RCL area is a great back country skiing area
  • Temps:  Low 20's at night, 40's during the day

Orange is our climb up.  Purple is our descent.
View Rock Creek Snow Camp may 1st 2010.kmz in a larger map

Monday, May 3, 2010

Mt. Baldy 4-24-10

Last weekend Cary and I climbed Mt. Baldy. There was still plenty of snow above the ski hut (8,000 ft). For details about the route see last week's post.

View Baldy 4-24-10 in a larger map

Monday, April 12, 2010

Mt. Baldy

After taking 2 months off from climbing due to my bike accident, I returned to mountains to climb Mt. Baldy (Mt. San Antonio), the highest peak in Los Angeles County.  On Saturday my buddy Cary and I   met up at Manker Flats around 7am where we started our climb.  About 2,000 feet and 2 hours of hiking up the dirt trail we reached the Ski Hut, which was where the snow line started.  At the Hut we put on our gators and crampons and started out on the hard packed snow.  We decided to take the most direct route up (the right side of the bowl).  The conditions were perfect for climbing with crampons, the only problem was there was a good chance of rock fall and we didn't bring our helmets.  Cary and I zig zagged back and forth for the next 3 hours taking occasional breaks to catch our breaths and to eat some snacks.  By 12 we reached the summit.  It was super windy and a bit chilly.  We took a half an hour break to take photos and eat our lunch.  On our descent we decided to take a different route down.  This enabled us to glissade down a few parts of the bowl (see the video).  Finally, around 3:30 we returned to the parking lot.  I couldn't have asked for a better day to climb.  The conditions were great and only a handful of people were out.  I just hope the snow will stay around for next weekend when Cary and I plan to climb another peak in the San Gabriels. 

Start: 7am
Summit: 12
Return; 3:30
Elevation start: 6,100 ft
Summit: 10,064 ft

*Thanks to Cary for the photos and the video

View Mt Baldy 4-10-10 in a larger map

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Timber Mtn

On Saturday Cary and I headed out to Ice House Canyon to do some climbing.  It had been 7 months since the last time I climbed anything with snow on it.  We were not completely sure what we were going to climb but we figured  IHC had plenty of options.  Around 7am we started hiking up the canyon.  It had plenty of snow of the ground right from the very start.  This meant there  was going to be a ton of snow up top.  After 1.5 miles of hiking up the canyon we put on our crampons and decided to climb Timber Mountain (8,300 ft).  We climbed this mountain last year, however, from a slightly different part of the mountain.  The traditional trail leads up Timber from the saddle but we veered up Timber about half a mile before the saddle.  It was great to climb again, we switched back and forth until we reached a ridge. From there we followed it to the top of Timber Mountain.

It was a great day, a few scattered clouds but mostly sunny.  When we reached the summit it was covered in snow, no foot prints except from one animal.  No one had reach the summit since the storm last weekend.  Good times!  We ate our traditional pizza lunch (one of us cooks a pizza the night before, usually digiorno) and relaxed for 20 minutes.   On our way back down we put on our snow shoes and started to descend via the saddle.  We soon realized, thanks to a cross country skier, that going down the slope was a lot easier without our snow shoes.  We could simply dig our heals into the soft snow and head straight down.  We finally reached the trail head at 3:30.

Future climbs:

  1.  In late March I am heading to Denver to do some telemark skiing and also attempt a 14er with Cary and Katie. 
  2. I also plan on attempting a California 14er in April or May.
Below is the GPS track of our hike.  You can save the track and put it in Google Earth for a 3D view.

Start: 7am 
Summit: 1:00
Return: 3:30

Elevation Start: 5,000 ft
Summit: 8,300 ft
Round Trip Mileage: 5.35 miles

Click here to see more photos

Sorry for the poor video quality, I forgot to switch my camera settings.

View Timber Mtn in a larger map