Project Dierkes

Shoshone Falls in the winter. When climbing at The Prow, you are towering above the falls and the reservoir below.

Shoshone Falls in the winter. When climbing at The Prow, you are towering above the falls and the reservoir below.

Pat in the crux of Sanitary Landfill (5.10b) at The Alcove.

Pat in the crux of Sanitary Landfill (5.10b) at The Alcove.

It’s kinda like Project American Fork… but not as cool. After an intro into the Dierkes climbing scene last fall, I wanted to set a goal to challenge myself at our winter crag and decided to try to climb every route in the Alcove from Warm n’ Fuzzy (5.10b) on the left to Shotgun Wedding (5.10c) at the far right, a total of 33 routes many of which check in at solid 5.12. We soon realized that we would need to go to other sectors as well, usually to warm-up, before heading to The Alcove for the afternoon. Not one to like to do the same climb over and over while other new lines await exploring we started hopping around from crag to crag, sampling the various sectors. Before too long we had climbed quite a few, and began to enjoy checking into the hidden and harder-to-get-to crags.

Jeremy making short work of Overtime (5.11c/d) at The North Shore. This one is height dependent for sure. If you are under 5'9'' it's likely more in the 5.12 range.

Jeremy making short work of Overtime (5.11c/d) at The North Shore. This one is height dependent for sure. If you are under 5’9” it’s likely more in the 5.12 range.

As the thaw began last spring we found ourselves again headed to Dierkes for the weekends. Anxious to get back into shape after a cold January and early February we spent several days getting mileage in. We climbed anything and everything: short, tall, mixed, sport, trad, slab and choss. As the routes went down we hatched a new plan. Why stop at the Alcove? A new goal was born to climb every route. Dierkes has (from my rough count) 119 routes spread across 11 sectors. Add in the ~200 boulder problems and there are over 300 fun climbs here; short and tall, V0 to V-Hard.

120203 dried up

Robyn tied in for some pitches at the Hidden Crag.

Robyn tied in for some pitches at the Hidden Crag.

The lower roof crux of Soloflex 5.12c in The Alcove.

The lower roof crux of Soloflex 5.12c in The Alcove.

The season at Dierkes this year was a bit sporadic for us, and we never quite got there as many times as we wanted to. Nonetheless we still managed to tick several more routes before a hamstring injury and a move to Colorado for the winter cut us short. All said we climbed 114 of the 119 routes in the last year. Not bad! The only routes that remain are three moderate gear lines at the Tall Wall, a bouldery 5.13a called Circus Trick at the North Shore and a 5.12c I have yet to try called Evil D in the Alcove. As for bouldering, we haven’t kept track quite as closely, but there are certainly some harder problems to turn our attention to once the roped climbs dry up. With Robyn’s family in Rupert, it’s only a matter of time until we return to get our chance to close out the crag.

Dierkes, although most well known for the Alcove, actually has several sectors with a nice variety of angles and rock. The routes at The Prow are blocky, long and adventurous. The Alcove is thuggy and featured on steep three-dimensional rock. The Skunk Crag has some amazing hueco features while the Hidden Cliff has possibly the best quality rock.  Here are some highlights from the year:

Biggest Challenge: Soloflex (5.12c), The Alcove. Soloflex presented quite a challenge last fall and I barely squeaked it out before a cold snap. With an overhang crux down low and then a powerful sequence involving an undercling and desperate ring lock up high, this route, of all the routes at Dierkes took me the most work. Oh, and don’t fall after pulling the crux, that would be absolutely terrifying.

Most Bolts: 51 (5.10b), The Prow. A great route, but borrow your friends draws.  And his friends draws..

Scariest: Orangutan (5.10a, Gear), The North Shore. This is likely because I am a sissy when it comes to gear lines, but you only get a behind-the-head and blind placed small cam before pulling a slippery crux only 10 feet off the deck. And then there is no anchor.. Soooo yeah.

Dirtiest: Where God Changed His Oil (5.11b), The Alcove. Here are the notes from my guidebook on that day. “F*#&ing crazy. Dirt and choss.”

Most Potential: Thighmaster (5.11d), The Alcove. Although this route is still super dirty, there are some awesome moves and cool pockets. Just prepare to be really pumped since all the holds you grab are covered in sand.

Classics at the Grade: Bonnie Bionic (5.13a), Pink Slip (5.12c), Ziplock (5.11b), Hexology (5.10a Gear), Dude (5.9), Over the Falls #1 (5.8).

Poopiest: Bonnie Bionic (5.13a), The Alcove. You crawl into what could only have be the nest of a pterodactyl. I never want to meet the bird that created that pile. Fun route though..

Under-rated: Gorilla Man (5.11d), Tall Cliffs. This climb is awesome!! I had hardly ever heard of people climbing at the Tall Cliffs at all, so it was a huge surprise that Gorilla Man would be as excellent as it is. Super sequential slapping up a huge protruding noodle. Great challenge.

Ben clipping it up on the beautiful Air-ete (5.10a) at the North Shore.

Ben clipping it up on the beautiful Air-ete (5.10a) at the North Shore.

Getting pumped on Black Thing (5.11c) at The Alcove.

Getting pumped on Black Thing (5.11c) at The Alcove.

A few of the classic 5.10's at the Hidden Crag.

A few of the classic 5.10′s at the Hidden Crag.

Check out this cool video our friend Ian put together from a couple climbs we did this last weekend!

Dierkes Lake Mission from Ian Cavanaugh on Vimeo.

Dierkes Lake will always hold a special spot in our climbing history. After being diagnosed with Type-1 Diabetes two years ago, it was a month later at Dierkes during a Christmas visit to Rupert that I first had enough strength to touch rock again. Dierkes was the crag that I climbed my first 5.13, and the crag that Robyn took home 1st at the Clean and Crank! While Dierkes isn’t known as the prettiest crag, we were always surprised by it’s subtle beauty. If you haven’t seen the sun go down from the Tall Cliffs, do yourself a favor and get out there. In the end we didn’t quite get to all the routes, but I sure am glad we have an excuse to return.

Life Plan Version 4.3.7 Engage!

Sometimes real life has more twists and turns than seems logical or even possible at all. So when I received a call Friday morning from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) offering me a full time avalanche forecasting job based from their Boulder, Colorado office the first word out my mouth was “What?!..” followed by a stunned silence as I contemplated whether I was hallucinating or not.

The Flatirons.

The Flatirons.

“We don’t even need a beer to decide this one do we!?” Robyn asked as I told her the news. We sat on either end of the phone unbelievably excited letting out the occasional maniacal laugh. A week ago we made the decision to move to Crested Butte. The Crested Butte Avalanche Center (CBAC) offered me a part time position as a forecaster and I was already in talks with other local businesses as we tried to piece together how we could make it work financially.

Downtown Boulder, CO

Downtown Boulder, CO

“Well you’re going to take it aren’t you?!” Simon exclaimed as I told him the big news. He laughed out loud when I told him, well aware of the crazy hiring season I had already endured. Of course I was going to take it. We would be crazy not to! I have long looked up to the professionalism of the CAIC and while we were excited to give Crested Butte a go, the full time forecasting experience, opportunities for Robyn and oh yeah.. the world class climbing, were just a bit too much of a pull.

Pearl Street - Downtown Boulder, CO

Pearl Street – Downtown Boulder, CO

As we drove another load of household items to Rupert, I got a phone call from Blase, who relocated to Carbondale to work as a forecaster for the CAIC this season. “WHAT! I was reading an email from Ethan (Greene) about hiring a new forecaster in the Boulder Office, saw your name and couldn’t even finish! That’s so awesome!!” Blase is a good friend and neighbor from just a couple houses down in Hailey, and now we will be forecasting together this winter! Bonus!

More of downtown

More of downtown

And so it’s a done deal, Robyn and I are moving to Boulder! Life plan version 4.3.7 engage!

 

I hope they have this stuff in Colorado

When we have a big decision to make, we always consult the bastard. A pitcher of this guy helped us move to Valdez. The bastard has spoken.

When we have a big decision to make, we always consult the bastard. A pitcher of this guy helped us move to Valdez. The bastard has spoken!

It’s been an amazing year here in Hailey, Idaho highlighted by several trips to reconnect with family and friends. We climbed, hiked and camped. We brewed, learned and explored. We found an awesome house, and met amazing people. In a way it was no surprise really. Idaho attracts and retains great people. It’s with mixed emotions that we set out on a new adventure, but we have never looked back on one of these moments with regret. After spending the last 5 years focused on avalanche forecasting I have finally been given an opportunity to make my passion a paid profession. In a complex web of events, I recently accepted a job as an Avalanche Forecaster at the Crested Butte Avalanche Center in Crested Butte, Colorado! To round out the work for the season, I will also be spot guiding and teaching for Crested Butte Mountain Guides.

We have never been to Crested Butte, but by all accounts it appears we will be living in a postcard. The place looks beautiful, and perched at 8,800 ft in the center of the Rockies, it offers four distinct seasons and plenty of new places to explore.

A view of town.

A view of town.

Powder day. Looks like I will be picking up a bit of guiding work with the Crested Butte Mountain Guides this winter.

Historic downtown. Originally a coal mining community.

2000_876_CB_skierpowder_1400x876

Going to be doing this a LOT more this winter.

Here is a cool video from a local film crew out testing their new camera. They simply drove around the area for the day and captured some amazing scenes in and around Crested Butte.

One Day in Crested Butte | MSP Cinetruck from MSP Films on Vimeo.

The transition to Crested Butte will happen in a flash. The general hiring for forecasters this year was greatly slowed by the government shutdown and the ripple effect through the community has been that of a stutter-start. So in an accelerated fashion I was offered the position last Thursday, and in just two weeks I will be living in the bus and attending training sessions and fundraisers for my new positions in Crested Butte! If you are anywhere between here, Salt Lake City and Crested Butte and want to catch me, I will be moving through shortly after Thanksgiving. My mom and Robyn will follow the same route in mid December, and by the time they get there I will have hopefully nailed down a place for us to stay the winter.

The prospect of working in the mountains again is seriously energizing and I can’t wait to dig in. After teaching an avalanche awareness class with Blase and JP last winter I knew I couldn’t ignore it. The satisfaction, passion and pride I felt as an instructor was worth more than the modest pay at the end of the day. Worth even more than that were the smiles and handshakes of people, thankful for a great class even months after it had ended. While leaving Idaho won’t be easy, it will always be home. And as for now, opportunity is knocking and adventure calls, and we’re listening.

Castle Rocks, Idaho.

After work every Thursday, we fall in to a methodical routine of sorting, organizing and packing weekend gear into our trusty rig, Trixie. We’re committed to weekend getaways and are so familiar with the process, it’s become habitual. Ideally, we’d pack up Vincent and take him on these fine weekend adventures, but the old guy has been experiencing some minor hiccups – just to be safe, we opt for lower clearance and tent camping.
Castle Rock - Idaho

Castle Rock – Idaho

A recent visit from Art, the eccentric mechanic out of Hailey, inspired us to get Vincent back out on the road, for a longer trip than his usual-around-the-town stroll. Art’s confidence persuaded us that Vincent could make the three-hour haul to one of Idaho’s beautiful State Parks: Castle Rocks. Instead of loading Trixie to the gills, we wiped the dust out and neatly packed our old pal for his first outing since our week-long trip to St. George last March.
We stopped in Rupert for the night to visit my family. Chicken fajitas and craft brews satiated our growling bellies. No Blazer game to hoop and holler at; however, watching BSU lose to BYU was a great treat, too.
The weather, although a bit windy early on Sunday was absolutely perfect.

The weather, although a bit windy early on Sunday was absolutely perfect.

Coffee in hand, we moseyed south to meet up with our good friends, JP and Michele, and their new addition, Galena-pup. These two are fiery-outdoorsy-folk. Their passion for recreational activities is contagious.
Michele and Robyn sharing a cozy belay ledge.

Michele and Robyn sharing a cozy belay ledge.

The warm sunshine and perfect temperatures kept us cozy all weekend. We scrambled up some amazing rock features on perfect granite. Not having spent much time at Castle, we were pleasantly surprised by the involved multi-pitch lines and long single-pitch routes. A notable favorite and not-to-be-missed if you are visiting the area: Shock and Awe, a candidate for the best 5.10 sport line I have ever climbed. This route started off with big, hueco-like features followed by a 20-foot section of crimps and balance moves, ending on perfect jugs to the anchors. I can see now how it got it’s name..

JP and Michele headed up the west side of Castle Rock on a perfect fall afternoon.

JP and Michele headed up the west side of Castle Rock on a perfect fall afternoon.

HS D2 R3 on the west side of Castle.

HS D2 R3 on the west side of Castle.

Michele, near the top of the south side of Castle Rock just as the sun was setting.

Michele, near the top of the south side of Castle Rock just as the sun was setting.

JP heading up a classic 5.7 multi-pitch to start the day on Sunday.

JP heading up a classic 5.7 multi-pitch to start the day on Sunday.

Ethan getting ready to head for the summit and back before nightfall on Castle Rock.

Ethan getting ready to head for the summit and back before nightfall on Castle Rock.

The landscape is encapsulating, too. Juniper, sage, cacti, delicate wildflowers and large-wrinkly-granite domes overstimulate the senses. What else can I say about the weekend, except that it was beyond. Campfire stories, thousands of stars and a chilly night’s sleep only made it sweeter.

Spiced Chai Apple-Pear Jam

Picked right from their trees, I had a bucket load of the cutest little pears and apples in my kitchen, patiently waiting for me to cook something tasty and creative.

jam

Hot from the pot – Aren’t they cute?

With our cozy abode to myself, I peeled, simmered and mushed up a pot of spiced chai apple-pear jam. The aroma that came from the large pot was incredible. I could taste every spoonful of cinnamon and nutmeg.

I will admit though, the best part about the process was eagerly waiting for the lids to pop, confirming the seal. This quiet little pop made me giggle every time. Ha!

Idaho Comps, Cranks & Clean-Ups

As we settle into our home here in Idaho the climbing season has come full circle. A year ago we were just getting into the swing of our fall and winter climbing spots like Dierkes Lake, The Channel and The Caves. This year we made it a goal to immerse ourselves in Idaho’s tight knit community by attending and supporting the local competitions, festivals and clean-up days. On our list were the Pocatello Pump, The Idaho Mountain Festival, and the Dierkes Clean and Crank

Hitek signage. Pokey Pump this-a-way.

Hitek signage. Pokey Pump this-a-way.

Lots and lots of pre-placed top-ropes all with a point value associated with them. The first day we were given 3 hours to complete as many as we could. The leaders of each category after day 1 advanced to the lead climbing competition the next day.

Lots and lots of pre-placed top-ropes all with a point value associated with them. The first day we were given 3 hours to complete as many as we could. The leaders of each category after day 1 advanced to the lead climbing competition the next day.

Jesse and Robyn just prior to the award ceremony  in idyllic Ross Park.

Jesse and Robyn just prior to the award ceremony in idyllic Ross Park.

Southeast Idaho Climbers Coalition getting people registered for the Access Fund.

Southeast Idaho Climbers Coalition getting people registered for the Access Fund.

The swag table! If your number is called you run up and grab a prize of your choice. Everyone was called at least once!

The swag table! If your number is called you run up and grab a prize of your choice. Everyone was called at least once!

Handcrafted Pocatello Pump mugs went out to the winners of each category. They are way cool!

Handcrafted Pocatello Pump mugs went out to the winners of each category. They are way cool!

Jesse's son bringing home the bling in one of the most memorable moments of the weekend!

Jesse’s son bringing home the bling in one of the most memorable moments of the weekend!

Much unlike the organized sports of my youth, when climbing we were our own coaches, cheerleaders and medics. Aside from ordering a new pair of climbing shoes every now and again we were self-contained – the crags and boulders of the woods were our proving grounds.

Recently, as Robyn and I began to assemble our new group of core climbers I realized that despite our autonomous beginnings, we were and always have been a part of a greater whole; a thriving albeit somewhat underground community of enthusiastic climbers. Without the volunteers, trail builders, pioneers, access advocates, festivals and support of conscientious climbing companies the climbs we have enjoyed would not have been accessible to us. What a thought! Immediately we felt compelled to participate, support the festivals, the kids, and the companies that are the future of climbing.

A big thanks to even MORE volunteer efforts to bring us the Clean and Crank for the 3rd year and many more to come.

A big thanks to even MORE volunteer efforts to bring us the Clean and Crank for the 3rd year and many more to come.

A map and legend for the 180 boulder problems to choose from during the comp!

A map and legend for the 180 boulder problems to choose from during the Dierkes Clean and Crank.

Ian and Conrad stoked on the day.

Ian and Conrad stoked on the day.

Gathering before the horn blew for the start of the afternoon bouldering comp.

Gathering before the horn blew for the start of the afternoon bouldering comp.

Trash, trash, and more trash! You wouldn't have guessed we could haul this much outta the surroundings of Dierkes Lake in just a few hours! One of our contributions was a traffic pylon left on a ledge mid route at The Prow.

Trash, trash, and more trash! You wouldn’t have guessed we could haul this much outta the surroundings of Dierkes Lake in just a few hours! One of our contributions was a traffic pylon left on a ledge mid route at The Prow.

It's always dangerous to get these two together..

It’s always dangerous to get these two together..

Hanging at the swag giveaway after the Clean and Crank. Again, everyone walked away with cool prizes!

Hanging at the swag giveaway after the Clean and Crank. Again, everyone walked away with cool prizes!

Conrad keeping a lookout over his pile of free chalk. I think there are 6 bags in that shirt.

Conrad keeping a lookout over his pile of free chalk. I think there are 6 bags in that shirt.

This family hit the jackpot!

This family hit the jackpot!

The Results: Lots of competitors and and lots of fun for all levels.

The Results: Lots of competitors and and lots of fun for all levels.

Morning clinics at the Idaho Mountain Festival. A chilly morning but Castle Rocks were GLOWING!

Morning clinics at the Idaho Mountain Festival. A chilly morning but Castle Rocks were GLOWING!

Rob Pizem teaching his entertaining anchor clinic.

Rob Pizem teaching his entertaining anchor clinic.

A beautiful morning in the mountains of Idaho.

A beautiful morning in the mountains of Idaho.

Morning boulder clinic with the Asana crew.

Morning boulder clinic with the Asana crew.

This warms your heart a bit doesn't it? Sharing the stoke with the next generation.

This warms your heart a bit doesn’t it? Sharing the stoke with the next generation.

Paul Robinson hucking some morning moves, although he was much more interested in what the afternoon would bring.

Paul Robinson hucking some morning moves, although he was much more interested in what the afternoon would bring.

Pads and problems everywhere! Big thanks to the Asana crew, they were mega psyched and super nice.

Pads and problems everywhere! Big thanks to the Asana crew, they were mega psyched and super nice.

Beau Stuart hucking for (and sticking) a rad move for a cool variation.

Beau Stuart hucking for (and sticking) a rad move for a cool variation.

This is why you do yoga folks.

This is why you do yoga folks.

It was cold and a bit crumbly but man it was pretty fun too.

It was cold and a bit crumbly but man it was pretty fun too.

Paul Robinson working War Path (v14).

Paul Robinson working War Path (v14). He would later claim the fourth ascent. This is the hardest problem in Idaho.

Beau in the middle of something stanky. Or something about Africa.. Or.. Well it was sick that's all.

Beau in the middle of something stanky. Or something about Africa.. Or.. Well it was sick that’s all.

This year has set the bar and we plan to continue to make an effort to participate in these events every year. Through it all we have been inspired to volunteer more, we have been filled with pride after clean-up days and we have broken through to a new level of psych in a whole new climbing arena: bouldering.

Thanks to all the volunteers and organizers, spotters, belayers, and new friends we made along the way.  Because of you we now have our own little project to attend to. This afternoon all the replacement gear for The Caves was ordered, an initiative that Robyn and I started along with Tom Smartt back in August. By November this climbing area will be completely overhauled sporting a new trail, landings, belay stances and gear. We couldn’t be more excited for the next few weekends as we make this dream a reality and we couldn’t have done it without the motivation and backing we received from this great community of climbers.

FINished

It seems hard to believe, but our season at The Fins has come to an end. Fall has arrived with an abruptness that has turned us back to lowland basalt and our winter climbing routine. This season at The Fins was quite productive but certainly left us wanting a bit more; but I guess that’s a good thing. Around here the climbing style, rock, and character changes with the seasons. We endlessly hope to squeeze in one more weekend before heat, wind, or snow pushes us back the other direction.

Robyn and I both sent our hardest routes ever this summer at The Fins and the progress we experienced was addicting, but if we want to progress next year we need to get stronger. After a taste of bouldering at the Idaho Mountain Festival last weekend, new goals and motivations are starting to creep in. Maybe we need another bouldering pad… Back at Dierkes, our dead vertical limestone skills will need to morph back to heel-hooks and hand-jams and in the mountains the snow and cold nights are reminding us that winter is about to take hold.

Chillin among the Balsam Root on a beautiful day in early June.

Chillin among the Balsamroot on a beautiful day in early June.

Ben sending his hardest of the season. Clips from the Bong (5.12b/c) time for SUBS!

Ben sending his hardest of the season. Clips from the Bong (5.12b/c) – time for SUBS!

The Lower Camp. This is an obvious fork in the road just after you enter the mouth of the canyon. A nice flat and grassy camp with room for several vehicles. Not a great choice in the heat of the summer but a great shoulder season camp.

The Lower Camp. This is an obvious fork in the road just after you enter the mouth of the canyon. A nice flat and grassy camp with room for several vehicles. Not a great choice in the heat of the summer but a perfect shoulder season camp.

Robyn working Clips From the Bong (5.12b/c).

Robyn working Clips From the Bong (5.12b/c).

Warming down on the Warm-Up Wall. Everyone should climb the 5.7 on the left hand side.

Warming down on the Warm-Up Wall. Everyone should climb the 5.7 on the left hand side.

The fun starts early on Pure Rock Fury (5.13a). This climb has a lot of moves for the height, a full value 13a with several crux sequences.

The fun starts early on Pure Rock Fury (5.13a). This climb has a lot of moves for its length, a full value 13a with several crux sequences.

The dreaded mono-undercling on Pure Rock Fury (5.13a). I was able to sneak two fingers in (shallow) without tape. I liked this even though it was harder because I feared a foot slip with a single sinker mono. In the end you really should tape your finger and then you have no choice but to plug in and hope your foot doesn't pop.

The dreaded mono-undercling on Pure Rock Fury (5.13a). I was able to sneak two fingers in (shallow) without tape. I liked this even though it was harder because I feared a foot slip with a single sinker mono. In the end you really should tape your finger and then you have no choice but to plug in and hope your foot doesn’t pop.

Lock off the mono undercling and reach for some nothings. It isn't quite over after this, but you are through the worst of it. Pure Rock Fury (5.13a).

Lock off the mono undercling and reach for some nothings. It isn’t quite over after this, but you are through the worst of it. Pure Rock Fury (5.13a).

Kim on Martini a classic (5.12a) on the lower section of the Discovery Wall.

Kim on Martini a classic (5.12a) on the lower section of the Discovery Wall.

Starting into the lower boulder crux of Bushido (5.13b). Crimp like hell on a small polished crimp and uncork to a right hand mono before a nice pocket to clip from.

Starting into the lower boulder crux of Bushido (5.13b). Crimp like hell on a small polished crimp and uncork to a right hand mono before a nice pocket to clip from.

Ben on Mothership (5.12c). By all accounts, this route utilizes a MANDATORY pinky mono. Can't say for myself, but this route looks rad. Shared anchor with Bushido which comes in from the double pods on the left.

Ben on Mothership (5.12c). By all accounts, this route utilizes a MANDATORY pinky mono. Can’t say for myself, but this route looks rad. Shared anchor with Bushido which comes in from the double pods on the left.

Mid summer storm approaching.

Mid summer storm approaching.

A thin boulder problem meets you early on. If you are burly this is the crux, if you are techy the long deadpoint is the crux, if you are a boulderer you might loose your cool as you traverse into Mothership for the shared finish. Bushido is a must climb at the grade.

A thin boulder problem meets you early on. If you are burly this is the crux, if you are techy the long deadpoint is the crux, you could also lose your cool as you traverse into Mothership for the shared finish. Bushido is a must climb at the grade.

Traversing out from the double pod on Bushido (5.13b), Mothership in the foreground.

Traversing out from the double pod on Bushido (5.13b), Mothership in the foreground.

Balsam Root and other wild flowers blanket The Fins' Eastern aspects well into July.

Balsamroot and other wild flowers blanket The Fins’ Eastern aspects well into July.

Robyn sending her hardest route of the season, and of her life! Clips From the Bong (5.12b/c) at the Upper Headwall. Off to Arco to celebrate!

Robyn sending her hardest route of the season, and of her life! Clips From the Bong (5.12b/c) at the Upper Headwall. Off to Arco to celebrate!

Late June and the Balsam root is starting to fade.

Late June and the Balsamroot is starting to fade.

Beautiful Upper Headwall. Amazing routes, 5 min from camp.

Beautiful Upper Headwall. Amazing routes, 5 min from camp.

Ben on the tricky crux upper half of Clips from the Bong (5.12b/c)

Ben on the tricky crux upper-half of Clips from the Bong (5.12b/c)

All summer, if anyone in our group sends their hardest redpoint, flash or onsight of the year we head to Arco for dinner! Celebrating Ben's send of Clips from the Bong at the Sub Shop in Arco. They seriously have huge awesome subs, and a rotating "Special Beer".

All summer, if anyone in our group sends their hardest redpoint, flash or onsight of the year we head to Arco for dinner! Celebrating Ben’s send of Clips from the Bong at the Sub Shop in Arco. They have seriously huge awesome subs, and a rotating “Special Beer”.

The "Special Beer". We cleaned them out.

The “Special Beer”. We cleaned them out.

Summer Solstice, Full Moon, Ben's Bday weekend! From the Fins you can see the Grand Teton on a clear morning!

Summer Solstice, Full Moon, Ben’s Bday weekend! From the Fins you can see the Grand Teton on a clear morning!

Mid-Canyon camp. Also the way (4WD) to get back to the  second row of fins behind the current climbing area. This camp is good early and late season for small groups. We walked up to the upper head wall on the road from here once.. Not recommended - it took 2.5 hours in the heat!

Mid-Canyon camp. Also the way (4WD) to get back to the second row of fins behind the current climbing area. This camp is good early and late season for small groups. We walked up to the upper head wall on the road from here once.. Not recommended – it took 2.5 hours in the heat!

Pat teaching us all why he sends so hard.

Pat teaching us all why he sends so hard.

Camping at the Upper Head Wall is great even if thats all you go for. Shade trees protect you from early sun and passing thunderstorms and the view is hard to beat.

Camping at the Upper Head Wall is great even if thats all you go for. Shade trees protect you from early sun and passing thunderstorms and the view is hard to beat.

Jonathan Siegrist and many others from near and far put in more great routes this season. More to do, and even more to aspire to, The Fins looks to keep on giving next year. Thanks to everyone with which we shared belays, rides, and stories by the fire. See you next season!

Our Year in Hailey.

The Wood River Valley is home to some of the quaintest, coziest towns in Idaho. The people are animated, outdoorsy and friendly. Music, beer, bike, ski, wagon and sheep festivals are always coming and going, and the folks just love their thematic holidays. I’d say, the Big Wood area has been the perfect fit for us this past year. We’ve had some incredible adventures, exploring the jagged mountain ranges, climbing really unique rock, hiking and running cool trails, skiing, camping, spending more time with great family and friends, and learning: I just can’t get over those desert blooms – succulents, fireweed, cacti, sage and more.

Here are a few snapshots that make us smile, bring up the best stories, and leave us craving more wild adventures (and delicious food) with the people that mean the most to us: friends, family and each other.

130803_PikaCamp_72

Hiking in the Sawtooth Mountains. Such an incredible place.

eboulder

Bouldering in Dr. Seuss land.

grandma sky

Cheers to you, Grandma.

130802_PikaCamp_18-1024x682

Those Sawtooths sure are pretty!

130609_CurryDirtyThirty_57-1024x682

Rafting Idaho: Curry’s Dirty Thirty!

robfins

Rob’s hardest send to date: Clips from the Bong, 12b/c.

IMG_5121

Galena Lodge! Looking forward to spending more time there this winter!

Going for a stroll down main street in Hailey, ID.

Going for a stroll down main street in Hailey, ID.

Sweet potato and onion salad. This dish was experimental and it happens to be one of my new favorites!

Sweet potato and onion salad. This dish was experimental and it happens to be one of my new favorites!

Team clips on the summit halfway through a looooong 18 hour day!

Team Clips!

Crumbly peanut butter and chocolate chip bar. So good.

Crumbly peanut butter and chocolate chip bar. So good.

We will be back. Tensleep has LOTS of good climbing and a great easy camping scene. Hope to see the same people and canyons this time next year!

This year, we got to climb an incredible amount with our great friend, Benny!

The prize. Double-wide IPA from Boulevard Brewing Company.

The prize. Double-wide IPA from Boulevard Brewing Company.

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with side salad!

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with side salad!

Shorty power.

Shorty power.

The day after our first substantial snowfall.. and Snowcap arrives on the shelves. Damn they are good!

The day after our first substantial snowfall.. and Snowcap arrives on the shelves. Damn they are good!

A cool book with lots recipes. Our class followed one for Raw Whole Goat Milk Ricotta.

A cool book with lots recipes. Our class followed one for Raw Whole Goat Milk Ricotta.

Went home and made pizza of our own! Potato, pepper, onions and egg plant with a curry sauce base.

Went home and made pizza! Potato, pepper, onions and egg plant with a curry sauce base.

HUNDREDS of them.

HUNDREDS of them.

:: Our cute mini pumpkins! Happy October!

Our cute mini pumpkins! Happy October!

:: Another fine dinner salad!

Another fine dinner salad!

:: a great way to start any new dinner project :: coffee!

A great way to start any new dinner project :: coffee!

Our mini porch is perfect for morning coffee and early sun. Its been down in the low 40's here already overnight.

Our mini porch is perfect for morning coffee and early sun. Its been down in the low 40′s here already overnight.

Robyn took all these pictures. She was just so damn excited.

Our first day in our apartment! Robyn was just so damn excited.

The first magnet we put on the fridge. Guess who!?

The first magnet we put on the fridge. Guess who!?

130918_FarmerMarket_00

Fall is here!

130918_FarmerMarket_03

handsome E.

130919_FarmerMarket_07

Hailey’s Farmer’s Market.

130919_FarmerMarket_14

Homemade nachos. yum.

130919_FarmerMarket_10

Sunflowers at the Farmer’s Market. These cuties are my favorite!

130919_FarmerMarket_12

Oh yeahhh!

130919_FarmerMarket_11

More flowers at the market.

A great shot from Rob of the stream leaving our camp overlooking the Jawbone.

A great shot from Rob of the stream leaving our camp overlooking the Jawbone.

Cheers, and many more to come.

Cheers, and many more to come.

Tulips from the front yard.

Tulips from the front yard.

bread

Homemade Artisan Bread.

beer2

Great memories at the Powerhouse.

130427_DadVisit_10

PS comes to visit!

Podium. Ethan, Terry, Simon and Blase.

Podium. Ethan, Terry, Simon and Blase.

130127 apple mosaic tart with caramel

Pretty and delicious: apple mosaic tart with caramel.

Jerrod and Robyn on their way to the summit of The Mushroom, a nice accessible run off Galena Summit. I couldn't believe how warm it was. T-shirts in mid- January?

Jerrod and Robyn on their way to the summit of The Mushroom, a nice, accessible run off Galena Summit.

Not that we needed more confirmation that Burmese Mountain Dogs are cool as hell!

Not that we needed more confirmation that Burmese Mountain Dogs are cool as hell!

121122-coffee-beans-1024x683

Sippin’ on tasty coffee at Zaney’s.

The sun was pouring in the large windows as we melted into the chairs.

The sun was pouring in the large windows as we melted into the chairs.

After a 1 hour drive over Trail Creek Summit we popped out into the sun. The Lost River Range and Mt Borah in the distance.

Vincent taking in the view. The Lost River Range and Mt Borah in the distance.

RobWarmUp-1024x682

love-hate relationship. Tubin’ in Idaho.

efins

Ethan makin’ quick work of Pure Rock Fury, 13a/b.

130801_PikaCamp_00-1024x682

Awesome hike, wonderful people, lovin’ Idaho!

Sippin on a growler of Last Chair Stout from Sawtooth Brewing Company. Chillin in front of our place in Hailey. The steps to the left lead to our little hideout above the garage.

Sippin’ on a growler of Last Chair Stout from Sawtooth Brewing Company. Chillin’ in front of our place in Hailey. The steps to the left lead to our little hideout above the garage.

This past year has certainly been an extraordinary one. We’ve treasured every part of it and are so grateful to have shared bits of it with most of you. Thank you, all. Cheers!

Autumn at Tubbs’.

Tubbs Berry Farm was the perfect place to spend the first day of Autumn. We frolicked through prickly vines, danced over tiny and boulder-sized pumpkins, and begged the feisty, little goats to nibble on animal treats from our hands.

130921_PumpkinPatch_12

tasty goat treats. yum yum.

130921_PumpkinPatch_04

Ethan happy about his choice of pumpkin.

130921_PumpkinPatch_03

Michele and JP lovin’ the patch!

130921_PumpkinPatch_08

Psyched about our pumpkins!

130921_PumpkinPatch_02

cute little buggers.

130921_PumpkinPatch_06

a nice variety. two of these beauties will be carved out and filled to the top with Wagon Tipper Ale!

130921_PumpkinPatch_07

Robyn-sized pumpkin!

The hazy afternoon was a perfect welcome to fall. The only treats missing: a hay ride and a delicately-made vanilla latte with a tiny dash of nutmeg.

130921_PumpkinPatch_10

They love their tasty treats!

130921_PumpkinPatch_05

Ethan trying to find that ‘perfect’ pumpkin.

130921_PumpkinPatch_00

Tubbs’ patch.

130921_PumpkinPatch_01

Only $4!

Wagon Tipper Ale

Every carboy or bottle of homebrew has a story. It’s written by the passionate, dedicated individuals of the craft. Those individuals are in tune with the delicate intricacies of the brewing process, the taste, smell and color of their beer, and the complexity. They love the challenge of brewing their own beer and they crave the sweet, bubbling sounds of fermentation. Here in Hailey, we love brew days. We enjoy the entire process and preparation of them; the cleaning, boiling, sparging, more cleaning and sampling. Brew days are exciting and we always look forward to them.

This past week, we brewed our very first frosty pumpkin beverage, dubbing it: Wagon Tipper Ale. Unlike HellFer Stout, a nice recipe from Northern Brewer guided us through the brewing process. We slightly modified the recipe by adding Libby’s Canned Pumpkin Puree (both regular and pumpkin pie flavored) and a dash of Vermont’s finest maple syrup. Aside from the extra additions, we followed it pretty diligently.

Brew Day: Equations, temperatures, notes and love.

Brew Day: Equations, temperatures, notes and love.

E hard at work, checking temperatures and makin' final calculations before brewing begins.

E hard at work checking temperatures and makin’ final calculations before brewing begins.

The harvest gods kept an eye on us throughout the evening. We missed temperatures by a few degrees and nailed them, too. We chatted a bunch, brainstorming new beer ideas and future adventures, and we sampled our other homebrews: Vision Quest and HellFer Stout. All the while and so cocoon-like, pumpkin and hops took over the garage, filling it with the incredibly sweet and intoxicating smells of fall…

A zesty combo: maple syrup and cluster hops.

A zesty combo: maple syrup and cluster hops.

Just over four minutes before we add Hopunion and Land of Joseph to the boil.

Just over four minutes before we add Hopunion and Land of Joseph to the boil.

Rob is psyched! Clarifying the beer, one small pot at a time.

Rob is psyched! Clarifying the beer, one small pot at a time.

Brew night and homemade pizza = awesome!

Brew night and homemade pizza = awesome!

Now, we have this seasonal beverage bubbling away. We check up on it daily. Just shy of Halloween, this tasty treat will soon be ready to carbonate and serve. We plan to host a Harvest Party (costumes preferred), tap this fine beverage from pumpkins, and enjoy the great company of friends. You’re all invited. Details to come soon.