Monday, July 23, 2018

Skiing K2

I picked these photos off the ADVENTURE JOURNAL website, no summit shots yet, but I assume with his Go-Pro we will see some shortly. 

No details yet BUT skiing down K2 seems incomprehensible!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Lucy and U.S. Biathlon Team

Lucy got to train three days this week with the big dogs ... Tuesday was a time trial, Wednesday was a four hour hike up Dix, today was a run-shoot combination, and the women are re-loading their clips after zeroing their rifles.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

A red-eye and back in the ‘Dacks

A long travel day from Guatemala City to Lake Placid, but despite jet-lag and lack of sleep I had a nice easy run with Stash.

Monday, July 16, 2018

A small but active volcano in Guatemala

We hiked up Pacaya last evening to see the lava erupting down the mountain. In general, Pacaya eruptions are Strombolian and not very violent. The peak is 8,374 feet high, much smaller than many others in Guatemala that are almost 4000m high.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Alpine oil paintings

When William and I were climbing on the Riffelhorn, we ran into a plein air painter named Mark F. Lodge.  This Brit spends his summers painting in Zermatt and other Swiss mountains.  His large oils are well out of my price range, however the smaller canvases, watercolors, and prints would make handsome additions to the Fossil Cabin. 

Take a look at his website ...

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Fascinating spreadsheet ... going fast in the mountains

Turning 66 ...

Another wonderful year behind me: Selden and I moved into our house, I became a grandpa, decided to retire on June 30, 2019, hired a great person to run the school program, got to watch many of Lucy's ski races, and despite sore knees continue to be able to run and ski.

As always, presents on my birthday gravitate toward books:

- The Maverick Mountaineer: George Ingle Finch, the wild colonial boy who took on the British Alpine establishment
- North: finding my way while running the Appalachian Trail
- Deena Kastor's Let Your Mind Run
- Art of Freedom: the life and climbs of Voytek Kurtyka
- as well as an audio copy of The Monkey Wrench Gang for my next long plane ride.

Friday, July 13, 2018

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: from Anatoli Boukreev

 I am starting to read Bernadette McDonald's the Art Of Freedom: the life and climbs of Voytek Kurtyka and this Boukreev quote was from the introduction:

"Mountains are not stadiums were I satisfy my ambition to achieve, they are cathedrals where I practice my religion."

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Back in the Adirondacks

A busy week before I head to Guatemala for an NCS admissions trip. It is great to be back on familiar stomping grounds, and to have quiet dinners with Lucy and Selden.

I have managed short and easy jogs on the Olympic trails with my dog Stash.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Lucy working on her biathlon

Yesterday, and today, Lucy was working out with some of the Olympians. Head Coach Armin Auchentaller is at the scope. Susan Dunklee a silver medalist in the 2017 world championships is in yellow; Clare Egan who is ranked in the top 30 in the world is in grey; Maddie Phanuef at 23 years old was the youngest biathlete on the US team last year is in red.

Riccardo Cassin ... a hard man if there ever was one

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Medals for the Zermatt marathon

To say that I have outgrown athletic medals is an understatement. Having been a successful three sport athlete in high school, captain of a highly successful lacrosse team in college, and decades as a competitive runner, Nordic racer, and for a time, a competitive karate practitioner; I have massive amounts of hardware ... and of course, T-shirts and other memorabilia.

I have ceased to collect or care about those baubles.

However, this race has such a cool take on this tradition. There are 38 individual 4000m peaks that can be climbed from Zermatt. In order of height, each year this race strikes a commemorative medal of a different peak ... this year ... the Dent Blanche.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Epic travel day

An airport bivy, followed by a full day of travel (two planes, a bus, a train, and 2.5 hours driving) did not do much for my tight legs.

Six hours of sleep and I am back at my desk. It was a great trip though.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Spectacular morning flying home ...

The Swiss alps are impressive. I hope to be back next summer for the Tour du Mont Blanc which passes through France, Switzerland, and Italy.  This was even more welcome after the unpleasant bivy in the Zurich airport last night.

Zermatt Half Marathon

A beautiful day, a well run race, and a challenging course.

The 21k had just under 5000 vertical gain as well as some technical downhills. My goals were to not go out fast, work the uphills, and finish under four hours. I finished in 3:59:40, I did not go out too fast, and up until 16k I was working the hills pretty well and felt on course for a 3:30 or 3:40. My calves started cramping and I feel like I fell totally apart in the last 2k, although the splits had me maintaining my position.

This race put me over 20,000+ total vertical for this trip. Definitely the 12 biggest days since the Tahoe Rim at the end of last summer.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Sub alpine flowers of Zermatt

Sam did a great job collecting photos of the plants in the 7500' - 9000' elevations on our treks.

Zermatt is flooding with trail runners

Less than 24 hours to go, and lots of excitement equally mixed with trepidation ... pretty steep running!

QUOTE OF THE WEEK ... in Zermatt it’s wise to remember

Edward Whymper said it succinctly and spot on, and one stroll through the Zermatt cemetery confirms this passage.

  "Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; look well to each step; and from the beginning think what may be the end."

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Zermatt: what was I thinking?

Finished 11 days of hiking and climbing and all that is left is 21k of trail running with 2000 feet of climbing.

Just picked up bibs and other race miscellany.  My legs are not exactly feeling fresh, hopefully another 36 hours of rest will set me straight.

Running laps on the Riffelhorn

William finishing his fifth lap on a 5.2-5.6 slab. Just an easy day with the trail race Saturday. Today and tomorrow will be all about stretching, catching up on work emails, reading, maybe drinking some wine, and relaxing.

Then the flurry of 21k uphill, trains, planes, driving, furious work, and then an admissions trip to Guatemala.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018


A tiny hamlet above Zermatt, originally a Summer residence for a family and their herd. Now, mostly delightful traditional buildings serving fantastic local food. However, the hay storage structures remain, built on stilts, which are capped by flat stones to keep mice out.

The alps are rich in Christian imagery ...

Every tiny town, even just a summer herding community has their dedicated chapel. Crosses adorn most mountains even smaller peaks like the Platthorn, and it is the rare hiking trail without a memorial cross or three.

Probably would make for a good coffee table book, as they are often in spectacular places.

The Zermatt goat herd

Given the late winter, yesterday was the first day the herd was brought through town up to their pasture in Spiss. With a probable nod to the book HEIDI, and her friend Peter, the goat general, Zermatt goat herders a local children. The herd is composed of Valais black necks. Tourist love this twice a day parade of goats.

That said, Zermatt was always a farm village, and making goat cheese was always a traditional staple. However, these days the town is more about skiing, high end hotels, fancy shops, and guiding the Matterhorn.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Fortifying the body for the 6000 foot descent ...

At the Trift hut after the first 2500 foot descent I had a meringue dish and then Hugo's famed apple torte with whipped cream. After another 1500 feet we stopped at the Edelweiss hut and I had carrot cake with spectacular frosting. Finally, after another2000 foot descent we collected our extra gear from left luggage at the train station. We then had a beer to fortify ourselves for the uphill walk at the end of town where the youth hostel is.

I am thoroughly trashed ... heading out to get some food and watch England play Colombia.

Another long day

Climbed Platterhorn from the hut and back in under six hours, but a two hour knee crushing descent remains to get to Zermatt.

Monday, July 2, 2018

OMG ... biking the Trift Gorge!

This party of three biked over from Schönbielhütte and stopped for an apple tart before heading down the gorge. In addition to the trail being quite narrow, there were serious drop offs ... it blew my mind.

Back at the Trift Hotel

Trying not to shoot our wad before the race, we changed plans ... Mettelhorn and Platthorn, and then Castor from the Klein Matterhorn.

After a 5k hike and 2500' with heavy packs it was time for Hugo's apple tart just out of the oven. Hugo is in charge of the hut, but before he retired he guided 90 Matterhorn ascents, not to mention other peaks.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Not as scary as ...

the Midi tram, but still impressive and a bit higher. We were on the Klein Matterhorn lift yesterday and will be on it today, as we head up the Breithorn.

Zermatt: An easy day

Heading down from the Gandegg hut - our favorite - there was some talk of a polar bear swim. Brrrr, we all decided it was too cold.