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184 triplogs

Oct 04 2014
sbkelley
avatar

 Guides 6
 Routes 11
 Photos 1,377
 Triplogs 184

35 male
 Joined Mar 29 2007
 Reno, NV
Madera PeakGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 04 2014
sbkelley
Hiking6.50 Miles 3,110 AEG
Hiking6.50 Miles
3,110 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I'm a little surprised this one doesn't get more traffic, but no complaints. Great workout and great views, for sure! No warm-up at all involved, and the "road" was rocky and had taken a beating after the recent rains. The steep push and sweat equity makes the summit brew taste that much better, though. We still had some time on the day, so we went for some bonus mileage and dropped off of Madera to the west, then made our way along the ridgeline to Peak 6517'. Only three parties had signed in since 1999, and the paper in the summit register was a bit charred around the edges from a fire, but not a terribly recent one, from the looks of things.
Fauna
Fauna
Tarantula
_____________________
Jun 08 2014
sbkelley
avatar

 Guides 6
 Routes 11
 Photos 1,377
 Triplogs 184

35 male
 Joined Mar 29 2007
 Reno, NV
Spencer Trail - Dominguez Pass Dry LoopNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 08 2014
sbkelley
Hiking9.70 Miles 3,069 AEG
Hiking9.70 Miles
3,069 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
The Spencer Trail is great, and all the landmarks of the area are plainly visible. Photo ops abound! Enjoyed the open country traverse over to the drop. We took a different route down from where we should have gone, and I was getting a little nervous with the high temps and the cliff band blocking access the Paria, but JJ knew the Dry Route was a good option home, so that brought some piece of mind. We know for next time, and ended up being a good day in a great area. Rolled back along the old road in the warm mid-day sun. Stopped at the Lonely Dell Ranch on the way out, and the peaches are starting to ripen: should hit their peak soon.
_____________________
Jun 07 2014
sbkelley
avatar

 Guides 6
 Routes 11
 Photos 1,377
 Triplogs 184

35 male
 Joined Mar 29 2007
 Reno, NV
Shiva TempleNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 07 2014
sbkelley
Hiking18.75 Miles 3,999 AEG
Hiking18.75 Miles   11 Hrs   15 Mns   1.67 mph
3,999 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
JuanJaimeiii
neurolizer
We were looking for a higher, cooler adventure this weekend. This seemed to be the ticket, but we hit this on a hot day. That seems to be a recent theme in Shiva's summit log.

The walk through the North Rim forest is long, but easy. Navigation with a GPS is quite helpful from the Tiyo Point road junction to Shiva Point. From there, the route down to Shiva Saddle is relatively straight-forward, as there are bits of trails and routes here and there. We stayed on or near the main ridgeline from the point down to the saddle, for the most part. The lower part through the Coconino is steeper, looser, and less shaded, but is over quickly.

After crossing Shiva Saddle, staying on the ridgeline towards Shiva was the ticket to the base of the Coconino. A very Isis-esque Hermit Shale gully traverse appears, and the climbing starts after that. It was pretty straight-forward and fun scrambling. After topping out in the Coconino, we made our way to the final Kaibab barrier. An annoying, exhausting sidehill came next, but at least we were in the shade under cool pines! Steep, loose final climb to the top brought us to the famous jugs! A stroll (and a brew) on the south edge was the reward.

Hot day - even up this high. Highs were well into the 90s down at Shiva Saddle. Went through over 5L of fluids and would have drank more if it were available. Back on the rim by mid afternoon and enjoyed the pines and aspens on the relaxing walk out.
_____________________
Apr 26 2014
sbkelley
avatar

 Guides 6
 Routes 11
 Photos 1,377
 Triplogs 184

35 male
 Joined Mar 29 2007
 Reno, NV
Isis TempleNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Hike & Climb avatar Apr 26 2014
sbkelley
Hike & Climb36.10 Miles 12,000 AEG
Hike & Climb36.10 Miles2 Days         
12,000 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners partners
neurolizer
To begin, this is, without rival, the most difficult summit I've done in the Lower 48. We started down the South Kaibab at 6:45 a.m., moving through intermittent rain, snow, and patches of sun. We stopped north of Haunted Canyon for lunch, then filtered water (4L each) just before heading up the Redwall. There are two pretty sketchy climbs here, the 2nd of which is among the sketchiest of the 8 we encountered on the whole route, in my personal opinion. Pack hauls helped here. The traverse after is airy, fun, and generally awesome. Then a long, obnoxious stretch of side-hilling brought us to the Sheva-Isis saddle. It was now 4 pm. We had a brief discussion about our next move and decided to press on, knowing that we'd have to bivy somewhere up there.

A steep grunt and traverse across the first bay on the north side of Isis led to the crux pitch. Eric skillfully led this awkward climb, which had a little bit of everything (lie-back moves, face climbing, traversing - you name it!) We all followed, which is fun with a full pack and angled nature. This pitch, however, removed the need for the long traverse that JJ and Joe undertook. I cannot possibly express how impressed I am with those two after now having seen the terrain and knowing the amount of time they spent on it! We stashed the rope and harnesses here, but Richard kept some webbing for possible handlines up higher, which came in handy.

Getting through the room-sized boulder/crack was "fun" with our full packs. By the top of this, snow flurries were upon us, and so was evening . We found an amazing sheltered site on a ledge below the 3rd Supai layer and called it a night. This campsite is one I'll always remember - "nice view" is an understatement. It did rain off and on throughout the night, which added to the adventure.

Up at first light, we negotiated the fun fin/crawl pitch, then found a highly sketchy crack climb after that. Two more somewhat sketchy climbs found us atop the Supai. We drank from the full waterpockets here, then trudged up and across the traverse. Legs burning now, we crossed the "spooky gully," which was actually fine with the recent rains. The Coconino climb went ok (loose rock everywhere!) and after a little route-finding, we spied the summit, and topped out in windy, cold, cloudy conditions around 8 a.m. No pencil/pen in the register still, but we didn't care. A short summit photo shoot ensued, but we didn't linger long, knowing we had to get all the way back to Phoenix tonight. We began to retrace our steps, and I was admittedly nervous about the 5 hair-raising downclimbs before having the ability to rappel the last 3. They actually passed without much issue, and setting up and completing the rappels was a welcome change. There is now a new anchor at the top of Pitch 1 in the Redwall.

Elated to be on safe ground, but dreading the 16.5 mile exit hike, we shifted to summer hiking mode and enjoyed the warm, breezy afternoon as we moved steadily back towards civilization. Upon finishing the heinous descent of the Utah Flats Route, we chatted with a ranger at Phantom Ranch who'd actually climbed Isis before (and was good friends with Richard's uncle!) He even offered us a free night of camping at Phantom! I cannot express how hard it was to pass that up, but life called us home. Up the deserted (yes, you read that correctly) Bright Angel Trail we went at 5:30, and were at the car by 9:30, ready to start the long drive home.
Thanks for the Grand Canyon adventure of a lifetime, guys!
_____________________
Apr 05 2014
sbkelley
avatar

 Guides 6
 Routes 11
 Photos 1,377
 Triplogs 184

35 male
 Joined Mar 29 2007
 Reno, NV
Capitol Butte South Face aka Thunder MtnSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Hike & Climb avatar Apr 05 2014
sbkelley
Hike & Climb4.30 Miles 2,202 AEG
Hike & Climb4.30 Miles   4 Hrs   30 Mns   0.96 mph
2,202 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners partners
desert_boonie
neurolizer
Made a nice little loop today with Ken, Eric, and Richard. Up the South Face - we found the route to be pretty straight-forward and fun. The first move is indeed exposed, and after that, we zig-zagged our way up, generally following the path of least resistance. Well, except for Eric, who found a more, as he said, "exhilarating" route up. Ken, Richard, and I traversed over to find him after his detour, and we stayed on or near a minor ridgeline that met up with the main ridge. We found a couple minor climbs, including a chimney climb for Richard. We did not, however, encounter the chimney featured in the photos, which disappointed Richard. At least he got one in! The final bit was a steep hike and we were on the chilly summit.

Down the Southwest Ridge we went, and when we got to the saddle about halfway down, we made a beeline down the (brushy) drainage heading northwest toward the Dry Creek Road. The route went just fine, but wouldn't really recommend it unless you like thrashing around in thick brush with loose rock underfoot...

Looped back around to the car on the Lizard Head and Chimney Rock trails.
Culture
Culture
HAZ - Hike HAZard
Named place
Named place
Chimney Rock
_____________________
Mar 09 2014
sbkelley
avatar

 Guides 6
 Routes 11
 Photos 1,377
 Triplogs 184

35 male
 Joined Mar 29 2007
 Reno, NV
Tinajas Altas Highpoint, AZ 
Tinajas Altas Highpoint, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 09 2014
sbkelley
Hiking3.48 Miles 1,740 AEG
Hiking3.48 Miles   3 Hrs   12 Mns   1.27 mph
1,740 ft AEG      27 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
desert_boonie
JuanJaimeiii
An attempt in January with Ken to stand atop the Tinajas Altas Mountains ended up on a summit about one mile to the north (oops!). Starting in the wrong drainage will do that. It was a good accident, though: can't beat a day in this mountain range. It's beautifully rugged, bleached, stark, and wild. Chatting with JJ atop the Picahos a few weeks back, we concocted a revenge/return trip, however you want to look at it.

He drove us across the Camino del Diablo from the east on Saturday - new country to Ken and I. Saw plenty of Border Patrol, but nobody else. He drove, uh, efficiently, so we ended up camping at Tinajas Altas instead of our planned stop at Tule Well. Not that I was complaining: one of the better campsites I've seen yet in AZ.

Up at sunrise, we were off to the true objective. Amazing what happens when you find the right drainage, which is just a few miles north of the International Border on Road A16B. The lower part of the hike is the steepest and smoothest, but even this one had plenty of full tinajas. A nice, steady pace saw us moving through a spectacular, narrow drainage, steadily gaining elevation. Pools here and there, smooth rock, and a nice breeze, what else do you need?

We took a few minutes trying to find the highest point, but of course, it was the most jagged of the candidates. Summit! Enjoying a few Kroger Gummy Worms and a Four Peaks brew before 10 a.m. - that's normal, right?
_____________________
Jan 10 2014
sbkelley
avatar

 Guides 6
 Routes 11
 Photos 1,377
 Triplogs 184

35 male
 Joined Mar 29 2007
 Reno, NV
El Camino Del DiabloSouthwest, AZ
Southwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 10 2014
sbkelley
Hiking19.00 Miles 4,920 AEG
Hiking19.00 Miles
4,920 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
What a landscape: what a place. The Camino really is the Sonoran Desert at its finest, and I'm exceptionally glad to have spent a few days and nights here this time. The hiking stats above are simply accumulation of three day hikes (outlined by Ken), and he described them all quite well. Great group to head out there with.

The Tinajas Altas mountains are a stunning range. Great backdrop at which to camp, very cool to see some of the namesakes in the canyons, and even though we didn't make the peak that we initially wanted, we found a great spot nonetheless. The Sea of Cortez, the International Border, MX Highway 2: all are plainly visible from these ragged tops.

Tule Camp was great, very comfortable with its picnic tables and grills! The trek north to Cabeza Prieta Peak was wonderful, and that peak is deceptively ragged. Christmas Pass camp is more similar to the spot at Tinajas Altas, and a short scramble above camp affords great views of the area.

The winter light in this place is amazing, but I do not envy those that pass through this area in the warmer months. The silence is wonderful, the isolation refreshing. Just a few Border Patrol agents that we saw, but all they ever wanted to see was the bottoms of our shoes, to pass along to the trackers in the area. Most of the time, we just exchanged waves as we passed each other.
Culture
Culture
Campsite Windmill
_____________________
Nov 16 2013
sbkelley
avatar

 Guides 6
 Routes 11
 Photos 1,377
 Triplogs 184

35 male
 Joined Mar 29 2007
 Reno, NV
Cactus to CloudsBig Bear - Jacinto, CA
Big Bear - Jacinto, CA
Hiking avatar Nov 16 2013
sbkelley
Hiking28.00 Miles 11,230 AEG
Hiking28.00 Miles   14 Hrs   40 Mns   1.91 mph
11,230 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
desert_boonie
This was the fourth - and likely final - time up the Skyline Trail, but what a way to finish! Ken had concocted the idea of eschewing the tram on the descent and just returning to the car the old-fashioned way: hiking back down the Skyline instead of riding the tram. Now that was a new twist, and I couldn't resist the challenge.

My friend Eric joined us, and the three of us left the Museum around 4:00 a.m. Plenty of other groups heading up ahead of us, which was a little surprising given the forecast (40% chance of snow up high with 40 mph winds...that never appeared). I set a steady pace as we made our way up. Made it to the tram in 5 hrs, had a quick break at the ranger station, and then Ken led us on his promised Short Cut. This route left the main trail right where the Tamarack Valley drainage and just follows this up to the forested plateau above. It's steeper than the trail to Long Valley, but saves some distance and avoids the longs switchbacks to and past Wellsmans Divide. Very nice in here, too, with scattered campsites, nice meadows, and plenty of deer browsing. Soon enough, we met the main trail again on the oak-covered slope right beneath the summit, and 7 hours after leaving Palm Springs, we stood on top and enjoyed some brews out of the wind.

The descent took a toll, but was actually a nice way to end the day. Watching the moon rise over the Coachella Valley as we descended through the desert was great, and soon after, we could hear the parties and club music from as high up as 3000': a funny juxtaposition with our haggardness in the last hour. Off to Village Pub we went for food and brews!
Named place
Named place
San Jacinto Peak
Meteorology
Meteorology
Sun Sunrise
_____________________
Oct 19 2013
sbkelley
avatar

 Guides 6
 Routes 11
 Photos 1,377
 Triplogs 184

35 male
 Joined Mar 29 2007
 Reno, NV
Bluff Spring Mountain SummitPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 19 2013
sbkelley
Hiking7.80 Miles 1,752 AEG
Hiking7.80 Miles   5 Hrs   30 Mns   1.42 mph
1,752 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Good one! Fall arrived enough to consider this rugged little hike. Peralta TH was busy, but after turning immediately onto Bluff Springs Trail, we maybe saw 5 people all day.

We ended up climbing a ramp a little to the west of the Ely-Anderson Trail - looked a fun, direct push and it was. A couple small cliff bands near the top, but easy climbing. That summit plateau was amazing, and such a contrast to the rest of the mountain below. Cool breeze made for nice conditions for a summit brew, and the last person to sign the log was trekkin_gecko back in April.

The descent off the NW side was a little more spicy, but views of Weavers Needle staring you in the face are a bonus. There are some scattered cairns here and there, but it's pretty obvious where to descend: just follow the path of least resistance! Terrapin trail was a little bit overgrown with catclaw (gross...), but in pretty good shape. Some stagnant pools in Barks Canyon along the Bluff Springs trail, too, holdouts from the last rains.
_____________________
Jun 07 2013
sbkelley
avatar

 Guides 6
 Routes 11
 Photos 1,377
 Triplogs 184

35 male
 Joined Mar 29 2007
 Reno, NV
Denali (Mt McKinley) West Buttress, AK 
Denali (Mt McKinley) West Buttress, AK
 
Hike & Climb avatar Jun 07 2013
sbkelley
Hike & Climb52.00 Miles 21,000 AEG
Hike & Climb52.00 Miles16 Days         
21,000 ft AEG110 LBS Pack
VII  • 4th
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
The following is a collection of journal excerpts and memories from my recent climb of Denali (sometimes known as Mt McKinley) in Alaska, along its West Buttress route, from May 22nd to June 7th, 2013. One thing that must be said: it's a complete misnomer that living in Arizona leaves you at a disadvantage for a trip like this. I don't need to tell anyone here about this state's varied beauty and environmental extremes, but just know that those things can give you an advantage that others on Denali will not have.
----------------
Afternoon sunlight bleached the surrounding peaks. Down low, a blanket of clouds covered the Alaskan Plain, but up here, all was clear. A light wind brushed my face as I waited for Kyle - the lead man on my rope - to have his moment of celebration above. Shawn, Ryan, and Caroline cheered off to the left as Kyle made it. That's when it hit me that we were going to do this. Involuntarily, tears formed as I tried to breathe in the air at 20,300'. A couple minutes later, the rope was set and it was my turn. Shaking some ice from my face, it was time to move...thee steps, two steps...top of North America. Much work remained, but it was a moment I'll never forget.

Day 1 - Anchorage to Denali Base Camp (7200'). Our unguided team consists of 7. Myself, plus 5 climbers from the Denver, CO area (Kelly Greaser, Shawn Keil, Kyle Knutson, Ryan Kushner, Caroline Moore), and JD Schlandt from TN. Seven climbers and their gear for a Denali climb overwhelm most vehicle storage capacities! After a brief mix-up with Go Purple Shuttles in Anchorage that involved two unfortunate climbers from CA having to wait for another van, we pass through Wasilla for groceries and drive to Talkeetna. The landscape is still in late winter/early spring. Snow on the ground, no leaves on the trees, grey clouds. We meet with the rangers in Talkeetna for our orientation. The team is quite and contemplative...I think we realize what we're getting into now. On the way out of the office, JD steps wrong off the sidewalk and sprains his ankle - such a disappointing blow to our team! We go to the clinic and he gets crutches, though we all agree to at least fly to the glacier together and see how he feels tomorrow. The flight in is incredible, and we land on the Kahiltna, unloading gear. This is real now.

Day 2 - Denali base camp (7200') to Camp 1 (7800'). We stay in camp today, rigging sleds and getting ready for a night departure. Though it's still pretty early in the season to worry about crevasse danger, why take the risk? Rigging to go is a full-time job. 110 lbs of gear have to get split between a backpack and a sled somehow. JD decides not to try the mountain with his injury and elects to go home on the next flight. I'm bitterly disappointed, and it casts a pall over the whole team. We depart camp around 8 pm, all straining under the weight. Down 600' to the base of Heartbreak Hill, and then onto the Kahiltna itself. A steady pace sees us into Camp 1 at 1 a.m....still light out. We pass a large group of tents with a Mexican flag in the center. We move in snowshoes and trekking poles today since the grade is so shallow, and will keep this system until 11,200'.

Day 3 - Camp 1 (7800') to Camp 2 (9500'). Awake to clear skies and a hot day! Shawn pulls out the phone and plays "Damn it feels good to be a gangsta" (you know the tune from Office Space, trust me). That turns into a morning tradition for us for the whole trip. Keeps you loose, you know. Denali looms 13,000' over camp - incredible! Staying out of the sun is key today, in between the never-ending camp chores of melting snow for water, forcing down calories, drying and adjusting gear. We leave camp late again and make our way steadily up Ski Hill to 9500' camp. When the sun sets, it gets quite cold, and we rush to put up camp and get warm. That's just reality on Denali: when the sun's out, it's incredibly hot. Otherwise, it's brutally cold. No middle ground.

Day 4 - Camp 2 (9500') to Camp 3 (11,200'). Morning is sunny and warm again, but now we shift to a day movement schedule since we're getting higher. A team of three (2 from Sweden, Karl and Frederic, and 1 from Quebec, Jan) are in camp with us. We'd spend much of the rest of the trip with these fine gentlemen. The international community of aspect of Denali is truly unique and incredible. Many are after the Seven Summits, it's true, but not all. I feel stronger today than at any point so far. The sled and the 100+ lbs no longer feels horrible and Camp 3 appears soon after you leave the main Kahiltna.

Day 5 - Cache day - Camp 3 (11,200') to 13,500'. Today, we shed the full loads, and carried 50lbs of gear in backpacks up moderately steep Motorcycle Hill. We change into crampons today. A couple spicy crevasses along the way. Step gently and pay attention. The weather is still warm, sunny, and windless (this is Denali, right?!). Squirrel Hill passes quickly, as we avoid some blue ice. Windy Corner does not live up to its name today, and we traverse across the treacherous sidehill to the cache site at 13,500'. Someone had left a nice open cache hole for us - nice! We bury the food, fuel, and some gear for the upper mountain and head down. Kyle, Ryan, and Kelly are faster on descents, so we adjust ropes and I move onto the back of Shawn and Caroline's rope. Nice to have the old crew back together again. We enjoy the descent to Camp 3, and take many pictures. What an amazing place.

Day 6 - Camp 3 (11,200') to Camp 4 (14,200'). This day hurt. No sugar-coating that. Pulling the sleds - even at half weight - up Motorcycle and Squirrel Hill is hard work. Kelly's crampon pops apart on a traverse around Squirrel Hill. Tense moments there. All better, we move to Windy Corner where the wind has made an appearance. It gets very cold until we get around the Corner. The treacherous sidehill goes ok, as we all help each other get across the narrow traverse. From there, we enter the basin where 14 camp is. We get in fairly late, and have to build a campsite. Hard work! When the sun goes behind the mountain, the temperature plummets. Into the tents we dive.

Days 7 & 8 - Rest day at 14,200' and carry to 16,700'. The rest day felt good for everyone. We walk to the Edge of the World, but otherwise, we recover. Snow showers in the afternoon as we practice ascending fixed lines and passing running belays. On cache day, Kyle and I shattered our previous altitude record of 14,500' early on. We feel strong all day, though, and the sun warms the Headwall. Long line of people on the fixed lines, which are 45-50 degrees with a couple big crevasses down low. Whiteout rolls in on the fixed lines, but not too cold. Once on the ridge, there are many steep and exposed stretches, with fixed protection. A climbing team ahead has taken the carabiners out of the anchors, though, so we pool our resources and get our two rope teams to Washburn's Thumb. Two Polish teams and a French team try to pass us while they're descending - bad form and dangerous. Tense moments. The West Buttress ridge is spectacular, but very exposed. By now, it's 4:15 and we think about descending and caching here. Ryan and Kyle, always eager, want to push all the way to High Camp at 17,200', so the rest of us descend, having water ready for them by the time they arrive after sunset.

Day 9 & 10 - Rest day at 14,200' and move to High Camp (17,200'). Things get interesting now. A planned rest day on Day 9 is put in jeopardy by a changing weather forecast. Low pressure system moving in by the end of Day 10, which may linger for a week. Kyle and Ryan advocate packing up camp and moving to High Camp, attempting to beat the storm to the top. I don't like the idea of racing storms on Denali, and we have 12 more days of provisions - I'd prefer to be patient and wait for another window without rushing. Kelly, Caroline, and Shawn agree, but Kyle and Ryan (the two strongest in our group who can move faster) decide to try. On Day 9, they move to 17,200', hoping to summit on Dayy 10. We talk to climbing rangers in 14k camp after they leave, and a guide from RMI, who suggest moving up to 17,200' tomorrow and waiting out this storm, which isn't predicted to be strong by Denali standards. Lows around -10 and winds up to 35-40 mph with a little precip, at least at the 17,200' level.

On Day 10, we move along with our Swedish/Canadian friends and the RMI group. That's all, though, as everyone else stays put in 14,200' camp. Conditions are ok (whiteout on fixed lines again), and hauling a 50 lb pack on this terrain at this altitude is tough work. Snow showers strengthen considerably as we near camp. Karl, Frederick, and Jan have moved ahead and arrive at camp first. They pitch their tent behind a fortified wall, offering room for us four, too. We gratefully agree, and while two of us set up the 4-man tent, the rest of the team helps them build a fortified wall around all sides of camp. It looks like a fortress, maybe 4' tall. With the winds and snow predicted, this will give us some protection. Kyle and Ryan, meanwhile, are caught in the storm just shy of the summit above, and have to retreat in some "interesting" conditions. We - and the NPS rangers - are happy and relieved to see them come back to camp late that night.

Day 11 - Weather day at 17,200' camp. Snow falls and the winds whip at camp. Tents without fortified walls have snow drifts inside the vestibules. Nobody going to the summit today. Kyle and Ryan are wiped out from their summit bid. We get word that weather may improve tomorrow (and especially Wednesday), so we try and rest and recover at 17,200' camp, which is a chore. The body just doesn't work too well that high. Sleep comes fitfully, and you have to force food down. Nighttime lows are -10 to -5.

Day 12 - Summit attempt. The RMI group of 12 moves out in the morning, waiting for a little sunlight on the infamous Autobahn. We discuss as a team, but the four of us decide to try for the top while Kyle and Ryan recover. Karl, Frederic, and Jan decide to go, too. Conditions on the Autobahn are ok, but it's definitely a 'heads-up' zone. Protection is plentiful, but clipping takes time. It's time well-spent. At Denali Pass (18,300'), the winds are very strong and the summit above is no better We decide to turn back. Hard to do that within 2000' of the top, but with a better weather day coming tomorrow and the potential to get the whole team of 6 to the top on the same day, we retreat. When a 26-time Denali veteran guide turns back, too, it's probably a good idea to follow suit. Their group has problems coming down the Autobahn, and we are stuck waiting for nearly an hour. Near the bottom, one of the clients took a small fall, but the rope was clipped in. Back in camp, it looks like 4 of the clients were told that their trip was over. Kyle and Ryan are happy to see us come back and the team is reunited.

Day 13 - Summit day High Camp (17,200') to Denali summit (20,320'). Though the NPS forecast wasn't good, every single person in 17k camp tries for the summit today, save for the few RMI clients who stayed in camp. Even the NPS rangers (and one sherpa!) decide to go. Good signs. Progress much faster up the Autobahn today - we are at Denali Pass in 2 hours. Brief break there, and we move past Zebra Rocks. At 18,500', I feel the altitude's effect at last, but the steady pace keeps on. We break at the Polo Fields around 19,300'. Temps are just below 0, but winds aren't bad, and the sun is out. We can see the upper mountain. Forcing food and water down, we put on a few more layers and move across the flat Football Field at 19,500'. Are we going to do this? Pig Hill appears, and is a brutal obstacle this high. We see the RMI and NPS groups just in front of us now. At last, we hit the summit ridge, and have to wait for the RMI group to descent. It's steep and exposed with fixed protection. We get our turn, and within 30 minutes, make the final steps to the summit of North America at just after 6 pm local time. Plenty of photos, of course, and a few minutes for brief phone calls home on the satellite phone. Our Swedish and Canadian friends arrive next, and round out the perfect record of climbers from 17k to the top that day! At the Football Field, we switch up ropes again for the descent, and I move into the back of Shawn and Caroline's rope. Descent goes great, and we're back shortly before 11 pm (sun is still up!)

Days 14 & 15 - Descent to Denali Base Camp (17,200' to 7,200'). This was actually one solid 39 hour push home. One of my hardest days ever in the mountains. High pressure settling back in, so many, many groups moving from 14k to 17k today. We had to pull off a wait a couple times. Descending the fixed lines got harder, as the crevasses had opened up, requiring some quasi-rappelling. Tough with a full pack on! By mid afternoon, we were back at 14k camp, where we retrieved our cache of supplies. At this point, it was night travel only on the lower glacier, according to an NPS ranger. Apparently, some other groups had punched through some snow bridges and gone into crevasses. We talked it over and decided to try and get out tonight. Stuffing down as many calories as we could, we packed up and starting moving just after sunset. Progress was slow and frustrating. People's sleds (especially mine) kept tipping and controlling them on the descent was hard work. With enough work and cursing, we got down Motorcycle Hill to the gentle grades of the lower glacier. Then it was just a Death March - no other way to describe it. The sun set around midnight, and it started rising again 1.5 hours later. Early in the morning on the lower glacier, though, the snow bridges were firm and we had no problems. Heartbreak Hill was just a killer, but we were at last back at the airstrip around 10:30 a.m. Within 45 minutes, a plane from Talkeetna Air Taxi arrived, our gear was loaded, and we were off. The Alaskan countryside had changed considerably. Now, leaves were out, flowers bloomed, and the air was warm. It felt like heaven stepping off that plane! We ate and drank at length in Talkeetna all day and night, meeting some incredible climbers in town.
Culture
Culture
Benchmark
Named place
Named place
Mount Foraker
Meteorology
Meteorology
Glacier Lenticular Cloud Sunset
_____________________
May 11 2013
sbkelley
avatar

 Guides 6
 Routes 11
 Photos 1,377
 Triplogs 184

35 male
 Joined Mar 29 2007
 Reno, NV
Old Baldy Trail #372 to Wrightson SummitTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar May 11 2013
sbkelley
Hiking10.40 Miles 4,000 AEG
Hiking10.40 Miles   6 Hrs   30 Mns   1.60 mph
4,000 ft AEG50 LBS Pack
 no routesno photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Hauled the 50 lb pack up the Old Baldy Trail with my friend Abeer yesterday. I always forget how nice of an area this is, and how 4,000' of elevation gain can just fly by sometimes. Couldn't have asked for more perfect weather, and it was actually pretty chilly up top. The aspens are just starting to leaf out up high, reminding you that spring has yet to come to areas of the state, even though our thermometers are inching toward the century mark.

Gazing out across that incredible vista up top through scattered clouds, it struck me: time will soon tell how well the AZ mountains have trained me for the challenges of climbing Denali, but it's been a blast travelling across the state this spring and getting myself in the best hiking shape I've ever seen, not to mention the wonderful company along the way. Got to see everything from sub-zero wind chills to 90 degree desert slogs: how much more could you ask for? :)
_____________________
May 05 2013
sbkelley
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 Guides 6
 Routes 11
 Photos 1,377
 Triplogs 184

35 male
 Joined Mar 29 2007
 Reno, NV
Humphreys Summit Trail #151Flagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar May 05 2013
sbkelley
Hiking10.25 Miles 3,313 AEG
Hiking10.25 Miles   8 Hrs   30 Mns   1.21 mph
3,313 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
A Cinco de Mayo trip! The day after the warm hike to Cope Butte in the Grand Canyon, we came to the true training I needed for my soon-upcoming Denali trip. Today, it was Ben and Tanya joining me for the whole trip, while Richard and Alana turned back due to icy trail conditions around 10,500'.

The weather wasn't ideal, but that probably is better Denali-simulation than a bluebird day, right? The lower part of the trail is pretty clear and spring is underway, but snow hits the tread in earnest around 10,000' and stays consistently snow-packed (except on the open south-facing parts) all the way to treeline. It's icy, and a little slippery, but with some care and caution, the three of us made it ok. None of us had spikes or yak-tracks: I had my crampons in the pack, but never felt the need to use them. Many did turn back on this day, though, because of discomfort with the trail.

Just before the saddle, the trail fades under snow drifts for good, but it's obvious where to go. We went up good snow slopes to the Agassiz-Humphreys saddle. And while the snow cleared from the route above treeline, the weather did not. A snow squall blew in, and a nice horizontal blizzard greeted us. It lasted about 10 minutes, and made things pretty cold for a time, but we had plenty of layers. We set a good steady pace, the weather cleared, and we warmed up well with nice (for here) conditions all the way to the top. Tanya pulled ahead of me and my heavy pack, along with Ben and his lack of sleep. Progress was good though, and the summit was ours just after noon. Huddled in the windbreak on top, we soaked in the view and recharged. Temps were maybe just over freezing, but with the wind blowing, it was definitely not warm.

The descent of this trail always seems to drag, but since the day never really got warm, post-holing was thankfully not an issue. We were quite happy to see the ski run at the bottom again soaked in that filtered afternoon light, though. What a weekend and quite the variety.
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May 04 2013
sbkelley
avatar

 Guides 6
 Routes 11
 Photos 1,377
 Triplogs 184

35 male
 Joined Mar 29 2007
 Reno, NV
Cope ButteNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Hiking avatar May 04 2013
sbkelley
Hiking11.00 Miles 3,200 AEG
Hiking11.00 Miles
3,200 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
Well, this was one for the ages...

I had originally penciled this weekend in as a Grand Canyon/Humphreys back-to-back...and that ended up being true, just not in the fashion I originally planned. My friend Eric was thumbing through Tomasi's Grand Canyon summits select, and this pile of fun diverted the eye away from the busy Corridor Trails and onto something new. You can see Cope Butte quite clearly from the Abyss overlook and Pima and Mohave Points, among others.

We left Hermit's Rest at 7:30 am, and enjoyed shade for almost the entire descent. The quiet and often-gentle Hermit Trail provided a great break from the bustle to the east. We just saw a few parties backpacking out in the morning cool. The traverse across the Supai, as always, took a loooonnng time, but at last, we came to the Cathedral Stairs and came face-to-face with the goal. My heart jumped in my throat. Nothing about this looked like a good idea. While Cope Butte is a nice sight while hiking the serene Hermit Trail, it took on new meaning now. You could see the route quite clearly, but you could also see the exposure.

"Don't fall..."

We left the Hermit Trail just before the long switchback under the Butte, and scrambled up the Redwall talus to the small obvious notch to the Butte's south. An impossible turret blocks ridgeline progress, so we traversed for about 200 ft before starting up a couple 3rd class chimneys. Then, we turned right and faced the crux, a 30' Class 4, exposed shallow "chimney" climb. With loose holds sprinkled here and there among solid ledges for extra fun! I elected to leave my pack here (and my camera), to help with balance, but Richard and Eric kept their smaller cameras as we ascended. Past here, the difficulty eases, but the exposure does not. We scrambled on solid ramps up to the ridgeline proper, where I saw Eric grinning. When you see that, trouble awaits :) A Class 3 scramble up a very narrow ridgeline is the last major obstacle, and while the climbing isn't hard, multiple hundreds of feet of open air greet your corneas if you choose to look down toward either Monument or Hermit Creeks. Eric encouraged us with: "Don't fall left...or right....just don't fall." Followed by, as he was leading, "I'm not really sure what's holding this last rock up here." on the very narrow, airy ridge. Onward.

The narrow spine never got more than a foot or two wide until near the summit, and at this point, the angle of the ridge was very gentle. At last arriving at Cope Butte's top was exhilarating. This perch offered unobstructed views up and down-Canyon, and the Rim loomed far above. To add to the moment, a couple California Condors sailed lazily over our heads. Wow. I had yet to see one of these large birds, and to do so at that moment was incredible. Watching rafters run Hermit Rapid was a bonus prize, and we could hear the whoops of joy from a couple parties as they entered the rapid. What else could you ask for? Richard snapped a group shot of us on top. Back we went as the sun began to really warm the day.

The pull of safety, beer, food, and home called us back down the ridgeline, which was an exercise in calm focus. The crux was exciting on the descent, as Eric pulled out his very own handhold to keep, staring quizzically at his new "prize". Good thing he was stable at the time. I shimmied down next, followed by Richard. We were all relieved to finally be back at the notch, then to the Hermit Trail. Our prize for success? A ~3000' climb out in the afternoon sun! It went well, though, as we lounged in the shade at some key locations. What a day, guys, and it was off to Flagstaff for round 2 for the weekend.
_____________________
Apr 06 2013
sbkelley
avatar

 Guides 6
 Routes 11
 Photos 1,377
 Triplogs 184

35 male
 Joined Mar 29 2007
 Reno, NV
Baboquivari - Western ApproachTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Climbing avatar Apr 06 2013
sbkelley
Climbing8.50 Miles 4,254 AEG
Climbing8.50 Miles   10 Hrs      0.85 mph
4,254 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Ah, Baboquivari: one of our state's finest mountains. On this trip, we brought a relatively large group of 6: 2 of which (eric and richard) were to split off and climb the SE Arete, while the other 4 of us were to ascend the Ladder Pitch. The plan was to meet on the summit, descend the Ladder Pitch, and hike down together.

We drove in Friday night, and when I parked at the campsite, I noticed the CR-V was riding pretty low in the back. Flat tire! (well, almost...but it was completely flat by the time we got out). One extra chore to take care of: ah well, just added to the adventure. But there was more! Right as we laid down for an early night, a truck rolled into camp and the two inside knew Richard, Eric, and Alana from previous trips. Small world.

When we awoke in the morning, Richard and Eric took off before us to get a headstart on the Arete, while the other two outside our group - Joe and Devin - asked if they could use our rope and have us belay them up the pitch. Training for Denali means that I'm required to carry heavy packs these days, so they lucked out :) At 7 a.m., off our group of four went (Ken, Tanya, Alana, and I) while the other two followed later. We hiked up the beautiful trail and made it to the pitch in about 3 hours. Sidenote: the forest fire burn is extensive on the west approach and that upper forest is heavily charred.

I have to confess: I'd never truly led a full pitch before, but this one was a great starter. It's not difficult, though protection is spotty: I used 2 quick draws on the pitch. I climbed up to the anchor bolts up top and talked through building the anchor with Alana and Ken below. It was actually pretty chilly there in the shade, and I found a nice spot to belay, which was good, since I ended up belaying five people to the top!! Most of our team were pretty chilled, having to stand still for awhile while waiting their turn to climb. The two others had caught up by the time our last climber (Ken) was about to go, so the transition was seamless. All did great on the climb, and we reconvened to finish together.

By this time, Eric and Richard had summitted and scrambled down to check on us. All 8 were now together as we made our way to Babo's expansive summit. Gifts to I'itoi were plentiful, and swallows buzzed our heads. We lounged for awhile, finally leaving by 2 p.m. to start the descent. Joe set up the rappel, and we all made it to the base of the Ladder pitch by 3:30 p.m. That meant the chances of finishing in the dark were slim - nice! Ken and I hoofed it back quickly so that I could start changing the flat a.s.a.p while the rest of the group could enjoy the sunny, breezy, and flower-heavy descent. By 5:00 p.m., Ken and I had the flat changed and cold beers in hand, as we gazed up at beautiful Babo. What a day and great work by the whole team! Now I need to get that SE Arete done...
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Mar 31 2013
sbkelley
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 Guides 6
 Routes 11
 Photos 1,377
 Triplogs 184

35 male
 Joined Mar 29 2007
 Reno, NV
Mount Glenn via Northeast RidgeTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 31 2013
sbkelley
Hiking5.27 Miles 2,992 AEG
Hiking5.27 Miles   5 Hrs   40 Mns   0.93 mph
2,992 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Was all geared up for a battle of a day with Glenn, but she didn't end up being too much trouble.

Tanya and I camped out on road 4378 on Saturday night, enjoying the cool perfect evening. Sunrise at 6 am had us stirring and off for an early start. We got on the NE ridge as soon as we could, staying away from the trees and brush. That ridgewalk is pretty amazing - just follow it to the top and take in the views! I won't say there's a "trail" on this route, but there's intermittent cairns and well-enough traveled routes in areas that route-finding is not a problem.

Perhaps our predecessors have done a fine job clearing the brush and branches away from the final few hundred feet :) Thanks guys! We found progress through here pretty easy, though. The forest floor is open and clear, and although visibility can get restricted at times, you won't encounter any walls of horrendous shrubbery, if you stay patient and follow the path of least resistance. Just stay near the ridge and enjoy the cool shade. Views from the top are great. Nice to finally see the Dragoons up close. A bit warm on the way down, though, wouldn't do this one much past this time of year.
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Mar 12 2013
sbkelley
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 Guides 6
 Routes 11
 Photos 1,377
 Triplogs 184

35 male
 Joined Mar 29 2007
 Reno, NV
Apache Peaks - Tonto NFGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 12 2013
sbkelley
Hiking6.00 Miles 2,350 AEG
Hiking6.00 Miles   5 Hrs   30 Mns   1.09 mph
2,350 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Started on the corral on the west side of the peak(s), heading up the road in the cool, breezy morning. Found an old mining road in the Richmond Basin that led up to about 5700' near an old propsect. Steep going from there, dodging brush, which put us under the rocky cliffband that you can see from below. The rock is nice and solid, and a weakness in the cliff presented itself soon enough. After that, you're about 600' and .5 mile short. The terrain is generally easy but the brush got thick in a couple spots. It's central AZ after all....

What a clear day and a panoramic view. Can see from the White Mountains to Table Top, and from the Mogollon Rim to the Catalinas, Rincons, and Pinalenos.
Named place
Named place
Apache Peaks
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Mar 10 2013
sbkelley
avatar

 Guides 6
 Routes 11
 Photos 1,377
 Triplogs 184

35 male
 Joined Mar 29 2007
 Reno, NV
Boulder Canyon Trail #103Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 10 2013
sbkelley
Hiking8.00 Miles 1,900 AEG
Hiking8.00 Miles   8 Hrs      1.00 mph
1,900 ft AEG
 no routes
Partners none no partners
Made a nice loop - out the Boulder Canyon trail from Canyon Lake, where we were greeted with a flowing La Barge Creek! Cool, never seen that before, and it was flowing strong. Headed over to Boulder Creek, hiking/wading up until the Battleship saddle trail, heading up. So green up there! Dropped into La Barge, and of course had to explore the very lower part of the Box. Good scrambling up there and even waterfalls. Waded back down La Barge Creek to the Boulder Canyon trail again and hiked out. Wildflowers are just starting and it's very green out there right now.
Fauna
Fauna
Dog
Named place
Named place
La Barge Creek

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Boulder Creek at #103 / #236 Jct Heavy flow Heavy flow
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Mar 02 2013
sbkelley
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 Guides 6
 Routes 11
 Photos 1,377
 Triplogs 184

35 male
 Joined Mar 29 2007
 Reno, NV
Window PeakTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hike & Climb avatar Mar 02 2013
sbkelley
Hike & Climb13.60 Miles 5,262 AEG
Hike & Climb13.60 Miles
5,262 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Ah, the Catalinas....it had been too long. This is a spectacular hike - one of the finest I've seen in the state. It was a bit warm (already??) down low, but the creek was flowing well, and was doing so from its source to the desert floor. Which made it extra sweet to be kicking steps into snow near the Window later on.

The trail, while relentless in its ascent, is in good shape the entire way. A number of people were on the trail down lower, who mainly were heading to the pools after the first big climb. Past that, hiking in the oak, juniper, and grass-covered slopes was very pleasant. Gaining the main ridge of the Catalinas affords good photo ops in every direction, but the best views are the ones seen sitting underneath the Window. Just amazing. Couldn't stop there, though, as the summit called. One steep push put us in an oak grove between some pillars that looked very difficult, but right at the last second, an easy route appears, and the stunning view is yours. We went back to the sunny Window and had lunch. Got back as the sun was setting and it was off to Thunder Canyon brewing...
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Feb 17 2013
sbkelley
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 Guides 6
 Routes 11
 Photos 1,377
 Triplogs 184

35 male
 Joined Mar 29 2007
 Reno, NV
North Peak Trail #24Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 17 2013
sbkelley
Hiking7.00 Miles 3,400 AEG
Hiking7.00 Miles   6 Hrs   10 Mns   1.14 mph
3,400 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
For whatever reason, I tend to look past the Mazatzals more often than I should, so I've been making more an effort to explore them in the past year. The Willow Fire scar doesn't help, but the sweeping views and occasional pine forest patches do. Today, we went to a new area, and I was impressed. Water was flowing strong at the Mineral Creek trailhead, and stayed with us a couple hundred feet up the first steep climb. The wind was blowing hard today, but the air was crystal-clear. High above, we could see snowy North Peak, realizing we'd be in for a good adventure.

The trail is steep and relentless, but keep looking back and looking around: it's worth it. We spied the obvious north ridgeline to the summit, leaving the trail, and the open terrain was covered in a few inches of snow throughout the entire climb. That was fine, but hidden loose rocks, cacti, and catclaw under the snow meant we were on a bit of a minefield. Some rock steps near the summit were interesting. It's further up there than it looks, too.

Not much traffic on this one, but the panoramic view to the north of Rim Country and beyond is awesome. Humphreys Peak shone white like a beacon...hmmm...next weekend it is!
Named place
Named place
North Peak

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Mineral Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
_____________________
Feb 09 2013
sbkelley
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 Guides 6
 Routes 11
 Photos 1,377
 Triplogs 184

35 male
 Joined Mar 29 2007
 Reno, NV
Maricopa Mountains 3272Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 09 2013
sbkelley
Hiking10.50 Miles 1,900 AEG
Hiking10.50 Miles   6 Hrs   30 Mns   1.62 mph
1,900 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
Tmkelley
Came in off of I-8 on road 8030. CR-V got in to the wilderness boundary just fine, where we donned packs and headed off east in the flats on the old road for a good ways. Nothing like long-distance road-walking... Got to a small pass, which led us to the major wash just south of the mountain. Here lies one of the largest saguaro forests I've ever seen - amazing country. We spied a ridge on the southwest side of the mountain and followed it up (and sometimes down) to the summit. Incredible day - after all these trips to the Maricopas, it was nice to lounge and drink a beer on the high point.
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average hiking speed 1.28 mph
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