We got a significant little snowfall here in Colorado, USA. Lisa and I are in Albuquerque New Mexico, of all places. During the drive south to here, through the majestic San Juan mountains, we noted that recent heavy storms nicely whitened things above about 12,500 feet. Anything more than a dusting snowfall at those elevations during August is not common, but it happens and gets skiers excited.
And what are we doing in the land of enchantment? We’re getting our Global Entry passport stuff taken care of to ease international travel. You have to do an in-person interview, and this was the only place we could get it done in a reasonable time frame. I hope this thing is worth the epic drive, stay tuned.
We’re salvaging the trip by bunking in a classic motel on the old Route 66, next to Old Town Albuquerque. A little touristy, but hey, it’s fun to run around with a camera and join the throng now and then.
Readers in far lands who may not be familiar with our famed Route 66, wiki here, come drive or motorcycle it some day! Total Americana. August is beautiful.
It is quality amusement to watch the Europeans compete for the fastest climb of Mont Blanc out of Chamonix. The Ueli just Uelied it — with a coffee break at a hut. Check.
WildSnow supporter Backcountry Access is going after prime user generated content. They want stories of “Un-epic Adventures,” those times that things went right instead of wrong in your ski touring. Help them out, get some swag, start your writing career. More here. ALSO, for the month of September BCA is running a sweet contest. Details below:
Enter to for a chance to win a two (2) BC LinkTM Radios when you sign up for BCA News. MSRP $299.90 value. All fields required to complete entry below. (yes, we need your phone so we can contact you if you win!) New registrations received by September 30, 2016 will be eligible to win. Winner will be selected by October 15, 2016 and contacted by email and phone by October 31, 2016. You agree to opt-in and to receive BCA email by entering this contest. See BCA contest rules
As far as I’m concerned this is the big one, the kahuna that’ll change the world as we know it. Ready to double the range of your e-bike? Ready for your backcountry electronics to get lighter and stay powered longer? According to MIT a vastly improved lithium battery is just around the corner, with at least some retail happening as early as a year from now. Report in the MIT news. Tesla just made a minimal improvement to their batteries that they made a big deal about, but this MIT thing is actually the big deal as far as I can tell. Electrical engineer readers, comments?
Back home in the Aspen area, we’ve been predicting for a while that the sheer volume of people recreating in the high country would eventually trigger a surge in mountain rescue activity. Eventually, this will lead to something like Chamonix where nearly every day the SAR helicopters and teams are out swooping about. A portent happened recently, when Mountain Rescue Aspen had two technical missions in the same day. The victims are ok, but it sounds like they need a lesson in taking our mountains more seriously. Or did they already get schooled?
I’ve written previously about my feelings that the “14er bagger” culture in Colorado seems to comprise various attitudes that are not conducive to mountain safety. Being poorly prepared and unskilled as to route finding seem to top the list, yet again, I’d say it’s more a problem of overall attitude; in thinking our more difficult peaks are mere hikes, when in reality they’re often complex journeys through hazardous terrain. More, a rope could be useful on peaks such as Pyramid and the Maroons, but is generally not used due to loose rock that doesn’t provide reliable anchors and showers climbers with projectiles when dislodged by your cord. In other parts of the world, such terrain would most often be professionally guided for all but super experienced. Not so the tradition in Colorado. The situation will be something to watch. (Note in the newspaper article that at least one of the rescued groups was communicating with satellite texting device.)
Department of Website Design: Many of you have noticed we have a simple “clean” fast loading website with “polite” advertising. We’ve sacrificed revenue to deliver that, but we’re glad to do so. On the other hand, it’s been frustrating to see websites seemingly rewarded for obnoxious pop-up and take-over advertising. Well, no more. Beginning in January, Google will apparently hit such websites with a search ranking penalty. Often this is more talk than action by Google, as they never say exactly how much of a ranking reduction the obnoxious sites will receive — and it’s often imperceptible to other than to the rocket scientists who obsess on this sort of thing. Let’s just hope for the sake of the internet they really do punish those websites you can hardly even read due to poorly implemented advertising.
Department of mountain town housing: I’ve said it before, in my opinion the housing “crunch” in mountain towns is a BS construct that could be almost instantly solved with a few signatures from the commissars to amend zoning and land use codes that favor commercial space and large homes over efficient attached apartments, tiny houses, and even camping on raw land, or, should I even use the dreaded and politically incorrect phrase “mobile homes?”. I try to share good journalism on this issue as it’s dear to my heart, here is another report. From the big city, but it applies.
Bringing it directly back to ski touring, how do you get fit for a winter of human powered vert? No mystery. Main thing is good cardio. Trail running combines your heart workout with balance and aesthetics, and perhaps even a quad workout on the down if you’re knees are down for it. Nice article here about one of our local contest winners up on the trails.
Lastly, since I’m a travel blogger at the moment why not shout out the good breakfast place? Sitting here blogging like I’m made for it (at least after a double espresso and an omelet) in Central Grill Coffee House, Albuquerque. Quality.