Happy bday to my friend, photographer, videographer and ski mountaineer extraordinaire @ktmillerphoto. This past winter, KT and I went to Chamonix where we climbed and skied some of the steepest, most technical terrain the world. KT not only held her own, but she managed to film and shoot photos too! Keep an eye for our video webisode this fall, #chamonixoxo and follow Kt's adventures on Instagram. #bigmtndreams #find_away #exploremore
Without challenge, we would never grow strong. Overcoming physical and mental barriers is the key is self discovery, and performance in the mountains. #latergram from a particularly character building walk out through Cascade Canyon after skiing the full SW Couloir in the Middle Teton last spring. Photo: @tetonsandwasatch #bigmtndreams
CG tech tip of the day: practice down climbing. For me, down climbing is mentally challengig because it forces me to look at all the exposure below (eek). But practice makes perfect. It's an essential skill for the aspiring alpinist- especially if you're interested in ridge traverses! Practice in the gym or on TR. Photo: navigating a small cruxy down climbing move on the Matthes Crest in the Sierras. #bigmtndreams
After spending much time pushing myself on harder climbs, it felt so good to move fast over moderate terrain. Today, we simul-climbed 1400' of immaculate golden granite in two long pitches to bring us to the top of Tenaya Peak. I'm calling my trip #sierraspaweekend because this type of alpine climbing feels rejuvenating to my spirit. #bigmtndreams
There's something so gratifying about moving fast and light and covering a lot of ground in a day. Last summer, the ridge traverses of the Wasatch Mountains captured my imagination. Today, I'm packing up for a trip to the High Sierra to explore more spicy, knife edge terrain. So excited! The South Ridge of Superior (pictured here) will always be a source of inspiration and is the perfect training ground to take my skills to other ranges. Photo: @ktmillerphoto #bigmtndreams #exploremore
My two rules of alpine sufferfests: 1) it could be worse 2) just don't think about it. A little blood on the paws after climbing a razor sharp finger crack on a newly established route in Hogum Fork. On our two day outing, we were stoked to accompany the first ascensionist, Mark Evans, to place a bolt to protect the finishing move. #petzlgram @patagonia #bigmtndreams
The most idyllic mountain meadow, deep in the Wasatch. Alpine climbing is all new to me. And often, it feels really hard. But honing my ability to climb steep, technical terrain is some of the best training for ski mountaineering. So I persist, trying to tackle as many pitches as I can, with new lessons at each crux. #bigmtndreams #find_away #exploremore
Embrace your inner dirtbag. I found mine by sleeping in the perfect meadow under the splitter of my dreams, deep in the Wasatch wilderness. Despite the voracious mosquito attacks on every exposed piece of flesh, I managed to wake up and cheerfully climb a newly established route on the wall behind our bivy site. Hope you get in touch with your inner dirtbag this weekend!
When you venture into #wilderness, it's amazing how far away you can feel. Back to Salt Lake City after two days of exploring the alpine climbing in one of the most remote corners of the Wasatch. A lovely sunset greeted us as we came out of the canyon. I love what's in my backyard. #find_away #exploremore #bigmtndreams
#tbt to last summer-on my quest to summit the 20 highest peaks in the Wasatch, I would often go for long ridge traverses to link up several summits at a time. In the first few miles of the Timpanogos traverse, I walked into a tree branch and impaled myself in the forehead. The blood was gushing, but we managed to stop the bleeding with an improvised head bandage made from a bandana and @petzl_official headlamp, and went on to complete the massive linkup. Photo: @tetonsandwasatch #bigmtndreams #find_away #exploremore
Enjoyed tonight's sunset from the top of Superior! My legs are still feeling the road running miles from Ragnar. Anyone have any tips or tricks for muscle recovery? So far I've tried tigers balm, stretch and foam roller, but I'm thinking it's ice bath time. #ragnar @clifbarcompany #clifbarbarians @jaybeyerimaging
Ski mountaineering brings together so many disciplines of mountain sports. You have to have the endurance of an ultra-runner, the mountain sense of a seasoned mountaineer, the technical skills of an ice and rock climber, and the power and precision of a ski racer. Last summer, I worked hard on my fitness and endurance. This summer, my goal is to become a competent rock climber. I’ve been a climber for most of my life, but this summer, I’m working hard to become confident on the sharp end on all types of rock, but especially leading trad. I spent much of May climbing sandstone desert towers around Moab. Lately, I’ve been climbing quartzite in Big Cottonwood, granite in Little Cottonwood and limestone at Hellgate.
Overall, I love climbing! And I love the challenge of placing gear and leading. But sometimes, it can feel so tedious. I love the feeling of moving fast in the mountains. So this past Saturday, I decided to take a break from ropes and do two of the longer alpine climbs in the Wasatch, back to back. All told, it’s over 6,000′ of elevation gain, and around 2,000′ of fifth class terrain. It was a great physical and mental challenge, and I enjoyed doing both these classic routes in one day.
Approaching the West Slabs of Mt. Olympus with Alex Taran. She is a fellow pro skier here in the Wasatch and also the founder of the South American Beacon Project, whose goal is to bring free avalanche education to South American communities. I’ve always been inspired by her projects, and it was great to climb the West Slabs with her.
Continuing up the trail.
I decided to bring a 30 m section of rope just in case we wanted to use it. Better to have it and not need it, than vice versa.
Beginning the scramble up the gully to the base of the West Slabs.
The beginning of the route.
The rock quality is really superb!
Every since I first moved to Salt Lake, I wanted to climb the West Slabs. It was my second time on the route and it’s even more awesome than I remember.
Taking a little break to check out the views.
Continuing the scramble. There are so many different ways you can climb the West Slabs – it’s fun to pick your own adventure.
The views of the city are spectacular.
And then downclimbing… I downclimbed the ridge next to the gully West of the Slabs. I chose to stay on the rock ridge instead of the gully because the gully is full of loose choss, there were other parties rappeling on it, and it’s a pretty moderate downclimb. After the West Slabs, I went and grabbed some lunch, had a drink of water and went right up to the South Ridge of Superior.
Walking by the Gas-X on the approach to the South Ridge of Superior. According to the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT)’s website, “UDOT is making efforts to move away from the use of military artillery for avalanche control. New Gas-X exploder systems have been installed at known avalanche sites.”
Enjoying the cold front.
Beginning the spicy ridge climbing.
Such an awesome time of year in Little Cottonwood, with snow up high and green down low.
Feeling strong on my strong woman challenge!
The last bit of rock to the summit of Superior.
And the walk-off down the ridge, past Little Superior to Cardiff pass and down the trail.
Overall, a fun day climbing in the mountains!
Gear, West Slabs:
Gear, South Ridge:
By the end of the day, my fingertips were a little bloody from gripping all that rock, but I am stoked I completed my Saturday strong woman challenge- doing two classic Wasatch alpine climbs, the West Slabs of Mt Olympus and the South Ridge of Superior, back to back. #hardwoman #training #bigmtndreams thanks to @alex_taran and @tomkernan for joining me.
You can't acquire all the skills to become an alpinist overnight. It takes years of hard work to develop skills and intuition, but every single day spent in the mountains helps. But the truth is, I spend so much time training for mtn climbing because I find it ridiculously fun. #littlecc #bigmtndreams photo: @alexaphoto
They call it Little Cottonwood because it's the little things that matter: route finding, managing rope flow, protecting the second, choosing the right piece at the right time, taking rests, breathing, etc. I'm continually discovering that it's the little things that count in trad leading. #littlethings in #littlecc #bigmtndreams