Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Running Freedom

Two years ago, I started running as a way to deal with stress, often taking to backcountry trails at night. Immersing myself within the serenity of darkness, I’d often arrive at the end of my run without much memory of what I’d just accomplished. I'm hopelessly addicted to the laser focus required of night runs. It lets my mind go to amazing places. It’s during these times that ideas flow and the dreaming-of-things-into-reality takes place. Somehow it transforms me with a glow of newness. I call this state “running freedom”. In a sense, it’s a physical mechanism to release me from the bounds of this five senses world while remaining in it.

Last night, we ran in the mountains under the brilliant moonlight. Wearing my new shoes with fresh spikes made the outing extra fun as we cruised on top of crunchy snow and over scramblie rock sections!

On the way home we witnessed a fat fox running across the road, clamping a big fluffy bunny in its mouth. Running freedom.

What makes you feel free?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

B. Creative

B. Creative

Say what you mean, mean what you say
Be creative each day
Listen the Beauty of worlds unknown
Clown around: work, play, home

Love Passion, starts the heart
Where are you in this art
Do you see the inside swirls
Or, are you one who never twirls

Know that Magic everywhere
Spider buttons, dot your hair
Dream creative, magic fire
Laser laughter in the choir

Sculpture, rhythm, design and more
Lense it baby, atop the door

Viewers, voyeurs, va-va-voom
Docuventures, from Whom

Spinning, dancers
Pueblo dwellers
Spoony sculpture tethers

The Fabric Lab
For some, not all
Bright lights always call

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Trip Report: Ypsilon Mountain Attempt

Trip stats from Lawn Lake Trailhead to my turnaround point on Donner Ridge.
~11+ miles RT
3,710-elevation gain

With a goal of climbing Ypsilon Mountain in autumn, I chose today for an attempt on this beautiful peak. The Donner Ridge looked interesting so that was my route today.

Departing the Lawn Lake Trailhead at 7:20 am under wispy clouds and a 30 F temperature, I took a casual pace heading up the trail, reaching the junction at 7:52am.

Swirling through the trees, the trail was dry until the descent to Ypsilon Lake. Stopping here for a light snack, I reflected on the past year and all the time spent in the field; solo, with clients, and with good friends. It has been an amazing year so far!

Not knowing if there would be a trail above Ypsilon Lake, I surveyed the terrain and then picked a line and started to climb straight up. This is one of my most favorite things to do – to climb upward exploring the unknown. Traveling easily up, up, up one can choose to keep the grade at class 3 or choose something harder. From the looks of things, this area of the mountain must certainly be a huge “shed-fest” in the spring.

Once on the ridge proper, the clouds thickened, the wind kicked up and the Ypsilon summit transformed into a sinister sentry. Looking over at Longs Peak, the clouds were hovering over that summit as well. Pausing for a few moments at 12,250 feet it was only 10:35am – I looked over at the four aces on Blitzen Ridge. They were snow-free.

Today’s weather forecast called for some snow later in the day, but given the winds, dark clouds, and severe consequences from a fall from this ridge, I decided to turn around.

Quickly descending to Ypsilon Lake, it was there that I saw the first people of the day. They were a lovely couple and I stopped to chat with them for a bit. For some reason I was in an extremely social mood, so I stopped and spoke with all the people on I saw while descending back to the trailhead. I reached my car at 1:35pm.

Ypsilon is a beautiful mountain with two notable ridge routes: Donner and Blitzen. Make no mistake; it is one freaking big-ass peak! Another fun day in the park.

Click here for pics

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Trip Report: Mt Meeker via Dreamweaver

Here's a Trip Report from a climb I did earlier this year. We had hoped to do Dreamweaver, again, this weekend but this warm stretch of weather has us considering other options.

Trip Report: Mt Meeker 13,911 feet via Dreamweaver
May 20, 2007
11.1 miles round trip, descent via the Loft
4,511 ft vertical gain
Class 4-5.4, Steep Snow/Ice

This Rocky Mountain climb is worthy of its reputation as a fun, moderate mixed route. Spring is often prime season to cruise up. It's also climbable late in the year depending on conditions.

For this trip I met my climbing partner at the Longs Peak trailhead at 4:30 am. The trail held some intermittent patches of packed snow, but was mostly clear all the way to Chasm View.

Longs Peak stands as a stately sentry watching over the Chasm valley. We took our time to soak in the magnificent scenery and alpine splendor on our way over to the base of the Dreamweaver couloir.

After a brief break to gear up, we began our climb at 7:30 am. Not knowing what we might encounter I decided to take one rope, a few cams, and 2 axes for each of us. Feeling right at home on the white neve, we immediately began blasting up the steep pitch. We marveled at the perfect conditions and continued on up.

At the first constriction we decided to place an anchor and then motored over some 5th class rock. It lasted less than 10 feet then eased off. My climbing partner and I continued our ascent, being sure to look out behind us beyond our safe cocoon – the mighty and beautiful Dreamweaver couloir. With views of the Flying Buttress, my imagination ran wild, tricking my eyes into seeing friendly rock faces keeping watch as we gently wandered up the slope.

At one constriction, the couloir narrows to about three feet in width and thrusts sharply upward into steep ice-covered rock. After swinging our tools and cramponing a bit, we were up over the second crux onward to the last mixed section.

Before we knew it we were on the summit. How did that happen so quickly? The climb was so much fun! Relaxing on top of Mt Meeker, we watched as high dark clouds blew around.

The standard descent is the Loft and if conditions are right, one can glissade the bottom portion. All in all a great day in the mountains.

Click here for trip pics

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Pay it Forward

Since Daylight Saving Time ended today, we decided to commemorate that occasion by working on our inventions. (and if someone ever invents a way to actually “save time” – that’s gonna be a phenomenal day indeed!)

Wow….so much has happened since my earlier blog post on inventing. Thanks to Julia Rhodes, President of KleenSlate concepts who contacted me and offered words of encouragement along with useful advice. She worked with her son on her inventions, which are now found in Office Depot and Staples.

Julia “Paid it Forward” by doing this good deed for me. In a society where moms have endless opportunities – it was exciting to receive support from a successful inventor.

Contrary to popular belief, moms work hard, are responsible, intelligent, creative and active inventors. We not only have to be role models for our children, we have to be strong role models for ourselves. Julia’s suggestions were just what Alison and I needed to take our project to the next level.

Visit Julia’s web site at http://www.kleenslate.com

Happy inventing….cheers ~jilly
PS. I have been experimenting lately with my blog posts. According to the visitor log, the topic of inventing is as popular as my trip reports. Would you like to see a separate blog dedicated to athletic/mountaineering topics and then another one covering other topics?