Thursday, June 28, 2007

Stuart's Arete

A few weeks ago I was able to climb one of my favorite routes with a fellow climber who doesn't get out much. Stuarts Arete is a three pitch climb in Big Cottonwood Canyon that fit our agenda for the day perfectly. Its rated 5.6 in the guide book, but the third pitch is a stellar 80' knife blade arete with one bolt and no gear! You never really feel like your sketched out on the last pitch, but the excitement factors is definitely there. There are tons of routes in Big that are fun and enjoyable. Maybe the reason I climb there more than anywhere else is because the rock reminds me of the sandstone back in the south - where I honed my climbing skills.

Jason, obviously pleased

The right side of the formation falls away drastically into Big Cottonwood Canyon.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Heber 6/23/07

The whole gang showed up on Saturday for a potentially great XC day, with possibly Evanston Wyoming and beyond a goal. Greg, Cody, Jeff O, Steve and myself found ourselves at the top of Heber launch around noon with drivers Dorthy and Chickadee in tow. As we were setting up, high level cirrus clouds began spreading out, thwarting our chances for good thermal production. However, one by one we committed to the air sustaining two to three hundred feet above launch in ridge lift - very few thermals. It wasn't until an hour after launch the high clouds began dissipating and we began climbing out in moderate broken thermals. Cody, Jeff and Greg got the first good thermal. I watched from below as the crew circled higher and higher, drifting back behind launch. As Steve and I were working the leftovers, I heard Cody on the radio. He and the others were at eleven five and heading over the back toward the 40 -I80 junction. Steve and I managed to eke out ten five, and headed over the back. Only a mile behind launch, Steve and I found a great thermal that took us within gliding range of Park City. Steve continued to work the lower part of the thermal and managed another 20 minutes in the air before landing just southeast of town. I was able to hang on in the better part of the lift and managed eleven and some change. Greg and Cody had Wanship on glide. With a bit of an altitude edge I decided to make Chalk Creek my next waypoint along the route. Jeff was satisfied with making the junction his goal, making a shorter day of it and earning brownie points with his wife.

The route to Evanston from Heber is a complex line that requires an intelligent strategy. Fortunately I was able to cash in on some great info, thanks to Steve's willingness to share some of his knowledge of the route. My track continued 10 miles past Chalk Creek and just short of Evanston by fifteen miles. I landed in a small flat field by I80, full of cows. A whopping 39 miles. Cody followed close behind me, landing in Chalk Creek for a twenty nine miler. Greg decided to cut his losses and backtrack a bit, landing at the junction (by his truck).

It was one of the quickest retrieves thanks to Dorothy. At seven pm we were at Greg's house in Park City enjoying a great evening of food and friends.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

From Iran with Love

Two weeks ago My daughter Melissa and her husband Hamid visited us. Melissa and Hamid are film makers and reside in New York. Recently their work has taken them to Hamid's home country of Iran where they shot footage for their new documentary about a wayward girls school. It's interesting to hear Hamid's perspective of life in Iran. Sounds very similar to our country's youth regarding the administration here in the homeland.

Anyway, we had a great time hiking and hanging out.

Melissa and Hamid have several films of interest. However, their newest full feature film, "Day Break" is a great little indie film thats worth searching out and watching. You can find information about Day Break and more At - 13k -.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Three Amigos and Dorothy

Some flights are permanently etched in my memory. Enduring memories that are easily pulled up for daydreams and such. This past Saturday's flight was definitely one of those.

Cody, Greg and I met at the Short Divide at noon. Cody brought his wife Dorothy to serve as driver for the crew. Steve Rathbun showed up around the same time with his driver, code name - Chickadee. We arrived at launch and began setting up. The wind was strong with embedded powerful thermals. We knew from the abundance of dust devils in the valley below, it would be a interesting day. All set up and ready to go, Cody was first to suit up and head for launch. As he was picking up his glider, he somehow torqued his leg the wrong way and totally disattached his MCL. He was positive of the extent of the damage, a year earlier he sustained the same damage to his other knee requiring surgery. Bent over in pain, Cody hobbled about for a few moments insisting we duct tape his knee so that he might continue with his launch. Ten minutes later he was in the air. Greg and I soon followed and within thirty minutes we were all at around 11,500 ft and heading over the back. Within ten minutes of heading out, we were low and seriously looking for lift.

About 1,200 ft agl we began turning in light lift that seemed to be everywhere. The beautiful patchwork of hayfields were yielding the heat they had stored up in the early afternoon. In the strong south wind, we all three circled lazily for miles gaining only several hundred feet. We drifted toward a very flat range of mountains with a narrow pass that had no good landing zones. I was tempted to fly west toward a highway that ran north, which had plenty of adjacent fields for landing. I noticed Cody thermaling in the foothills of the flat range, so I ventured north toward him and found significant lift that turned into strong lift, strong enough to attempt crossing the flat range. Cody, Greg and I were soon high over the range and heading into Grace Valley. With abundant lift we crossed Grace Valley and over the next range of mountains. We then headed out over the town of Soda Springs . Not long after I was set up for a non-eventful one step landing. Cody landed several miles further and Greg landed in Grace Valley. 60+ and 35+ miles respectively. Thanks to Dorothy, we were soon having the turf and surf special at a local restaurant.

An hour after landing, a gust front blew through leaving a great rainbow

Waiting for Dorothy

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Nashville - "beat goes on"

One of my ongoing projects is assembling a compilation of songs I have written, and releasing a CD in the near future. The songs I am working on are mainly older tunes that never were recorded - with a few new songs thrown into the mix.

I flew out to Nashville last month and did a bit of work on the project. John Willis, known for his recent work on Kenny Chesney's new CD, played guitar on four songs. One of my old friends Phil Keaggy did some great guitar work on two songs and Gene and Susan Miller sang background on a couple of tracks. I was so fortunate to have one of my favorite female vocalists, Missy Hale, sing a duet with me on a song I wrote many moons ago.

John, in the creative mode

I was so impressed with Johns new Pro Tools studio, and blown away by his guitar collection. His performances on the tracks were so fresh and creative.

John's new digs

Gene and Susan Miller. Gene is currently touring with Kenny Logins as well as Peter Cetera of Chicago. Susan is a session vocalist in Nashville.

My sis Judy, one of my loyal fans