Posts Tagged: Backcountry

Arches & Canyonlands

25 minutes to read — 5140 words

Arches & Canyonlands
For his 60th birthday, my father, who has always loved hiking, mountaineering, and the outdoors, decided he wanted to go on an adventure with his family. He settled on rafting the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon as his expedition of choice. Unfortunately, Grand Canyon trips tend to fill up as early as two years in advance, and we weren’t able to book one. Instead, we decided to raft the Colorado through Cataract Canyon.

Chair 10 to Silver Lake

4 minutes to read — 644 words

Chair 10 to Silver Lake
The winter of 2013 started off well for skiers on the West Coast. A wet November dumped plenty of snow to get some skiing in over Thanksgiving, and an even better December made conditions around the holiday season and New Year’s excellent. Unfortunately, those first two months of the season were followed by the driest January on record and an equally uninspiring first half of February. When I went to Kirkwood over Presidents Day weekend, it hadn’t snowed much at all in almost six weeks.

Tragedy Springs Road

2 minutes to read — 338 words

Tragedy Springs Road
The winter retreat for the Stanford Outdoor Education Program instructors was a back country skiing trip off of Highway 88 near Kirkwood Mountain Resort. We left campus early on a beautiful Saturday morning. Despite a flat tire in Jackson, we managed to make it to Tragedy Springs Road, of which only the first hundred feet or so had been plowed. We parked in the plowed area and distributed group gear and food.

Arroyo Seco Canyoneering

4 minutes to read — 770 words

Arroyo Seco Canyoneering
Every quarter, the instructors of the Stanford Outdoor Education Program (OEP) go on a retreat to refine skills and plan trips and lessons. For our Spring 2008 retreat, we took advantage of a spell of hot weather to brave the cold, swift waters of Arroyo Seco, a gorgeous canyon east of Big Sur. Not only is Arroyo Seco beautiful, but it’s much closer to campus than the Sierras, so it made for a short and easy drive.

Trinity Alps

3 minutes to read — 554 words

Trinity Alps
Tucked in the northwest corner of California, the Trinity Alps are a small but spectacular mountain range. The Trinities have been on my list of places to visit for a few years now, so I was excited for an opportunity to explore them. I joined a group planning to snowshoe up the Canyon Creek Trail to the Canyon Creek Lakes, an eight mile hike with 3,500 feet of elevation gain. The goal was to get as far as possible up the trail, given the storm forecast for the weekend.

Wrangell Mountains Part Two

9 minutes to read — 1705 words

Wrangell Mountains Part Two
After the first two weeks of my trip to Alaska in the summer of 2007 (see Wrangell Mountains Part One for stories from those two weeks), I began designing my field study for the second segment of the program. Along with a group of three other students, I decided to study the issues involved in safe bear-human coexistence, including identifying bear habitat to help backcountry travelers avoid or at least be conscious of it, and researching methods for storing bear attractants in the backcountry.

Root Glacier Ice Climbing

4 minutes to read — 684 words

Root Glacier Ice Climbing
I spent two months in Alaska during the summer of 2007 through an environmental sciences field study program. On our day off, we decided to go ice climbing on the Root Glacier, one of the two major glaciers in the area. We took a shuttle to Kennecott, an old mining town that sits above the glacier. Our guides were two women, Elizabeth and Betsy. They outfitted us with gear: plastic mountaineering boots, helmets, and crampons, and together we hiked a mile and a half down to the glacier.

Wrangell Mountains Part One

5 minutes to read — 1045 words

Wrangell Mountains Part One
If you follow the archipelago of southeastern Alaska north to the Gulf, the first mountain range after the coast is the Chugach. Stay on the far eastern edge of Alaska and continue north forty miles. There lie the Wrangell Mountains, a stretch of peaks forged by ice and fire, carved by glaciers, forced upward by the crashing of tectonic plates, and scorched by volcanoes. In 1980, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve was created.

Emigrant Wilderness

5 minutes to read — 933 words

Emigrant Wilderness
The final trip of my Advanced Wilderness Skills class this quarter was a student-led backpacking trip to the Emigrant Wilderness. I’d never visited the Emigrant Wilderness, but it was described to me as a larger, less-crowded Desolation Wilderness. I knew the Desolation Wilderness to be a gorgeous area, so I was excited to explore Emigrant. We left campus at around 7:00 PM on the evening of Friday June 1. The drive along Highway 108 was long.

The Bitterroot Mountains

6 minutes to read — 1249 words

The Bitterroot Mountains
Straddling the Montana-Idaho border, the Bitterroots are a remote but spectacularly beautiful mountain range in the Northern Rockies. It was among these rugged peaks that Lewis and Clark crossed the Continental Divide in the early nineteenth century. The summer after my sophomore year in high school, I spent a month in Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana on a wilderness leadership training program. The trip included an unforgettable nine day, sixty-five mile backpacking trip across the Bitterroots, much of which would turn out to be off the trail.