December 25, 2010

Bugaboo Christmas

Christmas in the Bugaboos.

Since we were all so good during the past year, Santa hooked us up with a ride into Rory Creek on Dec 24th.

December 19, 2010

Skiing in the Bugaboos

Dani L and friends getting blasted.

Not much to say that can't be said better with a few pictures. The Bugaboos in winter is a wild looking place. My first time here was in the summer of 1994 when my brother Tony and I came out to climb the spires. He was 17 and I was 20, and it was our first road trip out west. I remember hiking out after the climbs and someone in the parking lot telling us that Jerry Garcia had just died. Man the time goes fast.

The Spires in winter.

Skiing on Grampas in Rory Creek.

They may look like twins but they are not twins.

More of the same.

A fun day on the Pontoons during lodge set-up. Ryan Bavin Photo.

Morning view from the lodge.

Staff donut. Ryan Bavin Photo.

The 2010-11 CMH Bugaboos Team. Ryan Bavin Photo.

December 15, 2010

CMH Bugaboos

First flight of the season.

Arrived at the CMH Bugaboos Lodge a few days ago and have been treated to some fine, silky, fast, and cold smokey snow. Not much to say except amen.

Skiing on Short Final at the Bugaboos.

A good start to the season.

December 12, 2010

Goodbye Desert

Moving Camp in the desert.

Like all things do, my time in the desert has come to an end and I now find myself locked in a cold and snowy Alberta winter. I usually find it ridiculous when I hear other people say this, but I can't believe how fast the time went. Six weeks in the Middle East and if not for the photos, I'd have a hard time believing that it wasn't a dream.

Spent the past two days instructing some mellow ice climbing.The temps weren't too cold and it was a civilized reintroduction to the icy north. Taking off in the morning to CMH Bugaboos to begin the heli ski season. It sounds like the lodge is getting dumped on and I am looking forward to verifying the reports. Won't be back in Canmore until after the New Year...

In the meantime, here are some shots and stories that got published while I was away.

A diddy about skiing some classic K-Country lines last spring. Highline Magazine.

Heli Skiing at the Bobbie Burns last winter. Highline Magazine.

My first Patagonia Catalog shot. This just appeared in the Japan Holiday Favorites Catalog. I took this in 2007 at Ama Dablam Base Camp in Nepal.

Booting up the Groove Tube at Icefall Lodge last spring. MEC is using this for a woman's only newsletter...

Desert sky.

November 16, 2010

Salalah And The Arabian Sea

The Salalah coastline, Oman.

After three straight weeks of work, we finally got a day off thanks to the local holiday Eid. At 6:30 am, we rolled on to the company bus and drove two hours southeast to the port city of Salalah. We had grand aspirations of spending the day roaming around town checking out the local souq, but after a) realizing that everything was closed and b) seeing the beach, we changed our minds.

Anyway, back to the reality of stomping geophones for the next three weeks.

We did manage a quick stop at this archaeological grave site. The 30 meter long cylinder in the background is believed to be the burial site of Jesus's Grand Dad. It's amazing, people really were taller back then.

After checking out the tomb, we got down to serious business at the Crown Plaza Hotel.

Welsted rented this board and caught a few waves in the Arabian Sea.

Hey man, easy on the photos, we gotta keep this break a secret.

A stop on the way home.

Finally, a picture without Welsted.

November 08, 2010

Rock, Sand and Camels

Often joked about but rarely seen. Ian Welsted Photo.

Two weeks in Oman and the desert is still exotic. I'm sure it will be a different story in a month. Working in the middle of nowhere. Well that's not entirely true. In reality, we're sandwiched between Marmul and Salalah. Haven't seen the former since we flew in and won't see the latter until we get the day off for the Muslim Holiday Eid on November 16th. Looking forward to getting out of camp and seeing the local color.

For now, it's just more of the same. Wake up at 5 am and head out in to the desert to spend the day laying out miles and miles of cable across the Jebel. This is the local term for mountains although these mountains are more like mounds. We've taken to calling it moundaneering.

Here are some photos of the camp and our surroundings. It's quite a challenge to get quality shots with all the safety vests and industrial gear. I'd say the Rockies lend themselves a little better to this sort of thing.

A rare Frankincense Tree.

Frankincense is tapped from the very scraggly but hardy Boswellia tree by slashing the bark and allowing the exuded resins to bleed out and harden.

Ben forgot his lunch one day and took off like a bat out of hell for this lizard. I have never seen him move so fast.


A series of trailers otherwise known as home.

At night, the place feels like a distant lunar colony.

Sun rise and sun set are always special times in the desert.

The view from my room.

A few of us did a 30 minute rock ring workout (3 Metolius rock ring programs back-to-back-to -back) the other day and I haven't been able to move my arms since.


The Seismologists. Ian Welsted Photo.

October 30, 2010

Travel to Oman

Emirates 866 from Frankfurt to Dubai.

Well there probably won't be any climbing or mountain style posts in the next month and a half. On Oct 25th, I left Calgary for a 6 week desert-seismic tour in Oman. It may not be the most varied work in the world, but after months of winter and summer guiding, the change of pace is welcome. No cell phone. Not much computer. Barely any music. Just a lot of sand, heat and work. Not a bad way to recharge the batteries and hit the reset button. The last time I did this sort of gig was back in 2006 when I worked seismic in Libya. I find it hard to believe that 4 years have passed since then. But I guess that's how it goes. Time has a special way of crawling by from day to day while racing by from year to year.

Here are some shots from the journey over. Maybe it will make you want to travel...

Leaving Calgary. I know it's hard to believe but the Air Canada flight from Calgary to Frankfurt was 4 hours late.

Cool scenery over the south-east coast of Greenland.

Where the last photo was taken.

A much more civilized flying experience. Frankfurt to Dubai.

Emirates takes the flying experience seriously.

The map showed us flying directly over Baghdad.

On the ground in Dubai and waiting for the last flight to Muscat.

October 25, 2010

Aconcagua Revisited

Hiking to Plaza Argentina on the third day of the expedition. Note the one guy in the photo who stepped out of line to snap his own photo. The nerve.

This article just came out in the Oct / Nov issue of Gripped Magazine. I wrote it after a recent expedition to the peak that was both successful and somewhat comedic. Argentina is one of my favorite places on the planet and I hope to return before too long. Please don't let this story dissuade you!