10K challenge

Our housemate, Hans, set up this great little exercise challenge. Who can be the first one to do 10000 pull-ups, 10000 push ups, 10000 Ab Rollers (this requires one of those wheels with handles. Starting from your knees you roll out to full extension and then back in), and 10000 each of two other exercises? That's 50000 repetitions in all. Hans is maintaining a website with running totals for everyone who is playing.

Although we have little hope of winning, Tom and I have decided to join in just for the challenge of finishing the event. It's great motivation.

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Leconte couloir descent

1000m vertical right in our backyard (sort of)

I've been eyeing the Leconte couloir for quite some time, but I never took the time to hike up and see if it was really skiable. It's hard to get a decent look at it from the bottom, but yesterday I finally strapped my skis on my back and humped up it. It's too steep to easily skin up, so I just kicked steps most of the way up. Once you exit the gully, it flattens out a bit, but by the time I got there I realized that I had forgotten my skins. I continued on to Glacier Point, trudging through snow sometimes up to my thighs, but usually only about shin high. Arriving at Glacier Point, there was not a soul there, which is a big change from the scene in the summer. Very peaceful with beautiful views of Half Dome and the Merced river Valley. Unfortunately, I didn't have the camera with me because Theresa had taken it climbing (I did get a couple shots of the couloir from a distance after I got down).

The snow was terrible. Since it was late in the day, it was mostly overly soft corn snow. It's also pretty rough since the couloir is full of avalanche debris. There are a couple of short sections of about 45 degrees (based on measurements with my inclinometer, which is not exactly a scientific instrument, but probably good to about plus or minus a degree). Mostly, however, there are long sections of 40 degrees and 35 degrees. From base to summit is about 3300 feet and the actual steep skiing part is probably about 2500 feet.

In all, it's a lot less steep and desperate than I expected. Looking from the ground, since part disappears behind a foreground ridge, I was afraid that some parts might require rappels or might be outrageously steep. In point of fact, it's a good descent for a competent skier. Let's say that if you get a bit bored skiing double black diamonds at ski areas, it's probably a good ride. If you're challenged by double black diamonds at ski areas, it's probably going to be a bit much.

Super Slab

While Tom was exploring the Leconte gully, Mary and I were exploring a route in the Serenity Crack area behind the Ahwahnee Hotel in the Valley. This was my first day of rock climbing in months, and I was psyched to do something new that was still well within my ability. It was a perfect day, sunny and warm. The climbing was nice. Hanging out with Mary was great. Plus, Mary remembered the sun screen and lip balm so that I didn't roast during the climb. Like I said, just perfect.

New car

We finally broke down and got a new car after nine years (still keeping the other one though). Living in the country we finally decided we needed two cars. We miss being able to walk most places we want to go (work, groceries, movies, friends houses), but living here obviously has other advantages.

I'm so not a car person that it is really not something I like to put time and money into. That said, I have to admit that it's a nice car by my standards and Theresa is really happy that she won't have to chain up to get to work all the time. This could be a long story, but I think I can boil it down to this. Do not go to the Jeep dealer in Walnut Creek. Definitely go to Diablo Subaru if you are thinking of a Subaru. The folks at Stockton Honda were also real nice.

Neighborhood ski teaser

We finally have some decent photo gallery software to put pictures up in a more presentable way if we ever get around to it. In the meantime, here's a little tease.

We've had some wonderful ski days in the last month. This picture was taken about four miles from the house. It's about a ten-minute drive and then a short skin up. The hill usually only has about 500 vertical feet of good skiing, but it's a fun place to go and take laps.