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..
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
Team “Clips” successfully summited the Grand Teton in one LOOONG 18 hour push car-to-car. I wanna lie and tell you it was a piece of cake, and I wanna lie and tell you I didn’t have a splitting headache once over 12,000ft, but I can’t. I can tell you though, that we had an incredible weekend full of crazy twists and turns, family drama, new friends, new personal altitude bests, killer pizza, and far to many vest and leather shoe combos than were comfortable for a late night pizza joint. We made plans and changed plans and then changed them again. Went to bed at 11:30PM and were up again at 2:30AM. We hiked the first 4 hours in complete darkness and emerged into a stunning granite walled canyon littered with boulders dotted with flowers and sliced in two by an icy stream. We got lost. We took wrong turns and then corrected. We made adjustments, looked out for each other and thrived on team motivation and mutual naivety.
These photos reveal how most of Idaho and the Sawtooth Mountains feel: raw, wild, and comforting. Most of the time, our surroundings looked like a playground for even the tiniest of creatures. Giant rock slabs and granite boulders, jagged peaks, grassy patches and vibrant wildflowers, and dusty trails – all simple, but priceless details – details worth treasuring.
Those quiet moments of breathless awe reaching our creekside campsite, the feeling of being completely encapsulated by jagged mountain peaks, alpine meadows and lakes, and adorable pikas scrambling about. The excitement of sleeping in each morning and the consequent appreciation of nap time. Fresh mountain air, coffee in the warm sunshine, and breakfast on our rocky porch. Afternoons spent lounging, fishing and daydreaming…
Apart from clinging to these special memories, I think we allowed ourselves to savor every single moment, where laughing occurred often and we slept well every night.
We hiked a lot – sometimes to see another lake or to look around the next corner. Sometimes we just listened to the little baby birds sing and trout jump from the water. And sometimes, we marveled at how small we felt in the vastness of the terrain.
The weekend spent with MK and PS was magical. We devoured good food, made and shared incredible memories, and enjoyed every bit of raw, wild, and comforting Idaho.
It’s August 8th. Guess what? I can’t stop thinking about fall and all of the good things that come with it. The beautiful skies and crisp temperatures, the leaves changing in color – bright yellows, reds, lime greens, browns – and of course, some of the tastiest beverages out there: pumpkin spice ales, pumpkin stouts, and deliciously creamy-hoppy-pumpkin pales. You name it, I get excited.
I get so giddy and absolutely treasure the season and these tasty beverages. I think E is in agreement with me: we need to brew a batch soon. I can almost taste the terrific flavors now… Oohhhh, man.
So, until we can craft our own recipe and clever beer name, here are two of my favorite seasonals:
What are your thoughts? Do you like pumpkin beers? Do you have a favorite? Any recipe suggestions for us?