Thursday, January 28, 2016

Three Things Thursday. Issue #14.

Throwback to April 2015. Meagan on the cliffs of Labyrinth Canyon, Green River, Utah. 
  • The management of Yosemite National Park is taking comments on the management of the designated wilderness there. Participate in democracy, make your comments. 
  • It's been a rough month for avalanches and backcountry travelers. What you do before, during, and after a trip to the mountains matters to your safety and the safety of others. 
  • East Coast snow stoke! 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

2015 Year in Review. Mountains and athletics.

Nevada

You may find it utterly uninteresting or thoroughly fascinating, or something in between. As always, the stories behind the numbers are the more interesting part, but this clinical look at one turn around the sun provides an interesting glimpse into this one rambler's life. 

  • 954 hours of total action. That could be termed "training volume". This is the sum total of time spent moving. If there's 8760 hours in a year, this is just over 10% of the entire year. On my feet, on the go. 
Of those many hours, the more logical way to look at each activity is in terms of days. But I have hourly info too. Check it out. 


  • 23 days of alpine climbing (179 hours)
  • 77 days of backcountry skiing (367.5 hours)
  • 25 days of hiking (88 hours). Many days of climbing and skiing involve some hiking. These 25 days I just hiked. No climbing or skiing. 
  • 8 days of ice climbing. (38 hours)
  • 62 days of rock climbing (224 hours. I really try and count just actual climbing movement time. Not belaying. But sometimes I count the approach hike as part of the climbing day, which gets rolled into the hour count)
  • 6 days at the ski area (17 hours)
  • 9 days of trail running (14.5 hours)
  • 1 day of mountain biking. (1.5 hours)
  • 211 days in the mountains.


  • 15 days I lifted weights as my primary exercise. (15 hours) No mountain time on these particular days. I lifted weights on some of the other days, but these 15 days I did no mountain time. 
  • On two days my exercise was canoe paddling, and on one I noted in my log that I spent 1.5 hours "kid chasing". Thanks nephew Sammy for that one. 


  • 9 days I was sick
  • 38 days of travel. Sick days nor travel days count as athletic recovery. If anything, traveling or being sick is as taxing on the metabolic system as a day of training. Without the benefits. 
  • The remainder then, 92 days, were rest days. Some of those rest days were more effective than others. The average rhythm, one could deduce, is three days on, one day off. But that is far from the truth. Work, conditions, motivation, and other life realities conspire to make for a far more flashy training and recovery schedule. It is often a couple days off between bigger binges of action. 
Other life and travel stats.
  • Three countries (USA, Peru, Canada)
  • 14 US States (NY, PA, OH, IN, IL, IA, NE, CO, UT, WY, ID, NV, CA, MT)
  • At least 25000 miles of highway. 
  • One dead Subaru.





Thursday, January 21, 2016

Three Things Thursday. Issue 13.

Teton Pass ski touring. 1/17/2016 Mark Smiley photo. 

  • Alarming footage from an avalanche over one of the country's most popular ice climbs. "Stairway to Heaven", January 11, 2016. No one was hurt. 



Tuesday, January 19, 2016

2015 Year in Review, Professionally.

High on Chopicalqui, Peru. July 2015



I do this each January, summarizing some data from the past guiding year. For the most part, by the normal data I collect and report, 2015 was pretty unremarkable. However, the coolest part is in information I don't formally collect. Of the 47 trips I did in 2015, the vast majority were new to me. Even in the Sierra, most of the guiding I did was brand new to me. Great exploration and expansion!


Here's what my guiding life looked like, by the numbers:
  • I worked 47 guiding trips 
  • Of those, 26 were single-day outings. 
  • 3 were two day commitments. 
  • 6 were for 3 days 
  • 1 trip went for four days 
  • 1 trip was 5 days and one trip was 6 days 
  • I did a 21 day course with the School for International Expedition Training in Peru. 
  • Of all those trips, I slept in the backcountry for work on 40 nights. 
  • That adds up to 86 guiding days. 
  • Of course, for every 3-4 guiding days, there is about one day of administrative work that includes packing, unpacking, food prep, etc. 
  • Of those 46 trips, fourteen of them were for alpine climbing. 
  • Only two were ice climbing 
  • 17 were rock climbing 
  • 14 were for skiing 
  • 14 were with returning clients. 
  • I instructed this year more than ever before. 23 of the trips, just under half, were primarily for educational purposes. 
  • On the remainder, the other half, objectives varied. Sometimes it is mileage or exercise, but usually it is a specific route or peak. In 2015 16 trips were initiated with a specific peak or route in mind. Of those 16, on 11 we made the summit or all the summits we set out to do. We accomplished all we set out to do 69% of the time. That is roughly average, as compared to the data I've collected since 2012. 
  • 2012 71% 
  • 2013 61% 
  • 2014 20% (An outlier. A rough year in the mountains... on the clock or off, I failed to "send" a number of big itineraries in 2014)