Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Go Dylan Go..

Mr. Dylan Kentch just left Alaska en route to the lower 48. He's starting a year (or 2?) long trip from Seattle down to South America via Mexico to Brazil & Argentina on an lugged steel 80's vintage singlespeed. I would not put a repeat of the Darian gap crossing beyond him.

He looks like this:

If you happen to see him along the side of the road in Washington, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico etc. Please give him abundant food and shelter.

Good Luck Dylan!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

aww gee schucks..

Mr. Dial came by the shop yesterday for a 3+ hour Alpacka binge sewing session.
I think he was pretty excited at the results!
Thanks Roman

Long before I even moved up to Alaska I had read about Roman's hell bike missions. Traversing the Alaska range? where the heck is the Alaska range? Roman and his partners took wilderness mountain biking to a place where followers (even fueled by modern cookie dough!) would be hard pressed to reach again. We stumble along humbly in the footsteps day dreaming of riding across the Black Rapids Glacier and eating bacon grease for 40+ days.

He's the kind of person who picks something and takes it to the highest possible level before moving on or loosing interest or motivation. Obsessive possibly. Highly Driven Yes.

Now, with packrafting he's pushing it to new realms it's never been, and his enthusiasm is highly contagious. (six mile on Solstice anyone? Knik arm attempt duex?)

Have fun in New Zealand Roman... and stop feeling so Guilty about leaving!

Monday, December 21, 2009


ok no more doom and gloom.
Here is a stitched photo from biking in the Quimsa Cruz.
This spot was pretty nuts, we descended from a 15,300' pass and hoped to drop some, but all we found was a frigid wind off the glaciers and abandoned mining ruins inhabited by enormous high altitude feral rabbits. Around the lake and back up we went to some even
higher unnamed pass!

Saturday, December 19, 2009


This pretty much sums up my feelings recently.
It will make sense in the next few months.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Gold Paning

The "Omega High" pressure has caused a crazy inversion for the past week +. Resulting in lots of fog and not much sun. So it was time to go find some above the fogged in city. Billy offered a boondoggle and even if they aren't' they are. And I always seem to bite hook line and sinker.

Up we went, around Corn Biscuit to to Goldpan. The glowing orb in the distance is the sun. Yes it still exists.

The main chute on Goldpan usually has a school buss cornice and is downright spooky looking. But with the stability it looked feasible.

Kevin and Ryan passed us. Thanks for the skin track and boot pack guys!

Super aesthetic up track, a bit exposed..

Hard and crusty entrance gave way to more of the steep chute. Then the flat light fan lower down.  
Here comes Yvonne..

Stoked on the run we headed up the back side of Corn Biscuit to hit the Corner pocket Chute.

Righteous sunset even if it's at 3:45. The Chugash just soaks it up...

Top of Corner Pocket:

Humm.... looks a touch firm.

 it was.

Fantastic day out. who cares if the snow sucked.

Thanks Billy and Yvonne!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Tuesday Triage

Lucy is a Killer.
The death toll lately has been staggering and the bodies have been piling up.

Medical attention was needed.. and Fast!

Mr. Watermelon Head getting sutures.

Mr. Rope dog had cranium matter exposed. The situation was dire indeed.

In the end amputation of the head was required.

Mr. Bungee Duck was not looking so hot with severe lacerations to the the back and torso.

The wound was closed and Mr. Duck received a heavy duty flack jacket to prevent future injuries.

All in all it was a rough day to be a stuffed dog toy, but they live on to see more thrashings.

Monday, December 07, 2009

hello winter

Inagural day at Turnagin. Rocked.
Thanks Jeff and Cathy!


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

gear thoughts

I try to keep this blog less about gear and more about doing, but what the heck, a  little geek out now and then never hurt.
So some random thoughts:

Touring on an aluminum frame with a thru axle suspension fork and 26" wheels is actually pretty sweet. Just like old days, I did not miss the bigger wheels really. Please don't hate me...

Schwable marathon extreme 2.25's are totally incredible tires. No flats, not a scratch in the sidewalls. Now they just need to come out with a 29" version. Way more dirt worthy than the XR's. Wish I had these on previous trips.

Bags - beat on and no complaints, at one point I had 25 lbs in the harness (water) , then later hung 20 lbs off the bottom of the seat bag and nothing ripped. awesome.

Megamid worked as it always does, but next time I might consider bringing just the outer of a Hilleberg for better performance in wind.

XGK burning gasoline - 3rd world no brainier. Except that the pump cup died on the very last morning. MSR switched the tried and true leather pump cups for rubber. silly MSR...

Pads - Julie's Big Agnes primaloft pad leaked like a sieve - on the top fabric! It's gotta be defective. we could not keep air in it despite many patch jobs. My prolite 3 3/4 length was not thick really enough for the hard Bolivian ground, it's the same pad I used last time down there so I must be getting soft.

Bags - I brought a 20 synthetic because that's the good mid weight "alaskan" bag I have. A 15 degree down would have been perfect. No need for a synthetic down there. I also brought a ultra light primaloft hooded jacket and slept in it almost every night (with all my other clothes too!). My Mont bell alpine light down jacket would have been better and warmer. (Last time I had a 5 degree down and a tent...and was toasty the whole time, I must have forgot that when packing...)

Shoes - I brought my Sidi's and trail runners... mistake. I was just too lazy to buy new bike shoes with winter coming. J had pearl izumi X alp enduro's with flip flops... I was Jealous as she walked with ease on rocky stuff while I stumbled in the plastic soles (not much left of them), later the soles delaminated and they are basically destroyed now. whoops.

We barely had any rain, even though we were expecting much more, so thankfully none of that stuff really got tested or used in any way.

anyway, this was all mulling around. now it's not.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


I put the first part of our bike trip on
Link here

Monday, November 23, 2009

Heading home

Last night of this extended vacation before a 36 hr enduro air port a thon to get back to Anchorage. It´s been an amazing trip. Packed a lot in that´s for sure. The Illimani / Qusima Cruz traverse was an increadible route with all it´s many ups and downs. Those Andes I tell you... Since then we´ve gotten a taste of the Altiplano rainy season in Sajama which basically consisted of ¨run but you can´t hide¨ hail and lightening storms, then after that some much needed down time hiking into warmer climes in the Yungas.
Photos soon!

Monday, November 02, 2009


Back in La Paz after a great 4 day loop around Sorata. No pictures to post.. sorry. I dont trust my memory card to sketchy public computers!

Basically climbed all day to 13,000´and took an abandoned road that short cutted the tops of numerous valleys and ridge lines over to another village. Then came back on a low road which contoured all the valleys we passed over. Super Dramatic vertical relief.

Julie is fighting a stomach bug and I´m already on Cipro for the same... so we are back in La Paz resting and re-stocking up for a 10-12 day trip to Cochabamba via the south slopes of Illimani and the Quisma Cruz range.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


ahhh Bolivia
Adrienne, Julie and myself for half, then 2 of us for the rest.
Diverse temperatures, altitudes and landscapes...

Apolobambo, Quismera Cruz, Altiplano,?, ?

Here is my new pack, basically I wanted a pack that is light and fine to bike with, but still have enough volume to put everything into and be able to do, say a 4 day trek.

It came in at 1 lb 9 oz, which is pretty light. Its 7 oz lighter than the Talon 33 and right about even with the 22, and able to carry much more. I was going to use my old standby, but the hip belt was a bit bulky for long term biking, and a touch on the large side.For this, the back and side pieces were already cut, and were the last bit of dyneema grid I had, so they determined the size right off the bat. I've never had a pack with a big back stretch pocket, so it's a bit of an experiment.

Full Dyneema X-pac bottom... nuts.. its incredible material.  friends in high places...

I designed the buckles so that I could use the front pocket of the harness as a lid for backpacking. I've done many a bike trip using the lid of a pack for a handle bar bag, and it's what inspired the Harness design to some extent. Multi function gear is good!

See ya later!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Front range rally

Tuesdays have somehow become my day off. I had plans today to go for a hike and get some other stuff done. When I looked outside to thick, pea soup fog and mist I had a feeling it was one of those days where you can get above it...
With wipers on driving up through borderline rain I started to have second thoughts about my optimism. Top of the Dome trail - thick fog, 1/2 way up knoya same... then it started to happen.

My energy level went through the friggin' roof right about then, let the slaying begin!
On top of Knoya, Lucy was just getting her groove on as well.

Tikishla, one of my favorite front range peaks. We took the ridge to Knoya pass then went straight up the scree face. (not great, but decent)

Luz was stoked about Tikishla, and celebrated by basking in the Indian summer sun.

Next up - East Tanaina. woo hoo, I've never done this one before, no better time like the present. Bombed down scree and traversed the basin to the right side ridge.

From the top of E. Tanaina, West Tainaina was close, but big talus and bolders are not the GPT's 18" tall specialty and we were starting to ponder return options. Humm this looked good....

Elliot Ridge and Wolverine finishing via Near Point for a loop, sounds like a plan. but first a big drop to Long Lake..

This photo is cool since it views a previous photo I took a few weeks ago in the opposite direction - scroll down.

into the fog again. 

up up up to Elliot ridge, starting to hurt a bit now...

Elliot Ridge was fantastic, can't wait to head back and do it again, just awesome ridge running.

Glen alps area..

  Looking back at the first part - Knoya, Tikishla and the Tanaina's

up wolverine, down, up near point down.

Totally giddy.. feeling like I got away with something. But with 8,000 something vert, my feet think otherwise, Lucy is busy researching new pads.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Over the weekend I pretty much finished all orders that I've promised to people. So now its all about actually getting my own gear together. In a week I leave for Colorado for a few days, then on to La Paz Bolivia for a month of biking and talking to llamas. The header photos recently have been from the last trip I did down there. The previous one was in Parque Nacional Lauca after crossing into Chile on the road to Arica. The one above is in the middle of nowhere after leaving the tiny Aymara village of Sacabaya. I had an amazing experience both in getting to, and passing through the village. So the photo above describes a lot of things right now.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

33 woo hoo!

Two weeks ago, The GTP turned 1 and I took her out for a good long mountain run. Well today was my birthday, so she took me out on one to reciprocate the favor and to visit with my mountain friends. Good thing we both like galloping!

We landed a perfect like 18 hr weather window between the "colder by the day" rain.
Up we went. Long ridge line with lots of up and down on the south side of South Fork, then back via the valley trail. I've only done this ridge one other time like 7 years ago which is crazy since it is freaking awesome.


I love ridge running.

"Go faster you slacker - there's more ridgeline to slay!..."

Hello Alaska range...
"Hurry up!"

Eagle peak looking all Alpinesque..

We made it to the Triangle pass where I threw in the towel amidst changing weather and a stiff wind, Lucy wanted to go slay Triangle peak but I talked her into chasing Sheep instead. By the time we got down to Symphony lake she was actually starting to show signs of tiring herself...

I thought she'd let us just walk the valley out back to the trail head, but nope, no such luck today. She made me gallop.