Balance Bar 24 Hour Adventure Race Boston

Dave, Doug and Jeff decided paddling around Boston Harbor, biking through Wompatuck State Park, climbing in the Quincy Quarries and hiking the Blue Hills Reservation would be a good way to spend a day.

We had a bunch start in kayaks behind the Federal Courthouse in Boston Harbor

From there we paddled across Boston Harbor to Nantasket. We grabbed some pizza and switched into biking gear. Then it was 20 miles of biking down to and through Wompatuck State Park.

Then it was back in the kayaks, paddling across Boston Harbor to Wollaston Beach, up Black’s Creek to a transition point.

Then we were on foot running/walking to the Quincy Quarries. There we had a rappel down the K Face in the Quarry. Next was a zip line from the Q Face to the M Face. At this point the sun was setting and we had 30 miles of hiking through the Blue Hills Reservation. Just to keep us awake, it started raining. We saw a few teams huddle up under emergency blankets.

Back to Wollaston Beach and the kayak. We paddled to Thompson Islans, paused for a cruise ship to cross our route and paddled back to the finish line at the Federal Court House on Fan Pier.

A short 25 hours.

Here is a story about another team we met during the race:

Here is an interactive map of the race route (Or, at least as much as I can remember of the route. You pan, zoom and click on the markings for more information.):

View Balance Bar 24 Boston Adventure Race Route in a larger map

Climbing Mount Whitney via the Mountaineer’s Route

Mt. Whitney, at 14,495 feet is the highest peak in the lower 48 states. It is also the most sought after peak in North America. During the summer months it is normal to find several hundred hikers ascending the peak on any given day via the Mt. Whitney Trail.

In the spring, Mt. Whitney is a different mountain. It becomes a climber’s challenge. Our route of ascent was the Mountaineer’s Route on the east side of the mountain. What is a third class loose rock gully in the summer becomes a snow climb on terrain up to 45°.

Jeff and I had George Dunn guide us up the mountain. Unfortunately, after making it up the gully the conditions prevented us from making the last few hundred feet to the summit.

Camp One, by Lower Boy Scout Lake:

Our kitchen at Camp One:

The view from Camp One:

Camp Two, by the East Face of Mount Whitney:

The view from Camp Two with Lone Pine in the background:

Jeff climbing up the gully:

Me, George and Jeff just below the summit:

We climbed up there:

To just about there:

The Climb of Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier is the highest mountain in the northwest United States, towering in the backdrop of Seattle and Tacoma. I decided to climb it. Well, actually Jeff decided to climb it and convinced me to also climb it.

After dislocating my elbow in the months leading up to the climb and losing my luggage and climbing gear just before the climb, I finally made it to the mountain.

The climb starts at Paradise (5,400 feet). We hiked with our gear up to Camp Muir (10,600 feet) which about 4.5 miles and takes most of the day. We set up our tents just below Camp Muir.

The second day was glacier training, self-rescue and mountaineering training on Cowlitz Glacier.

Then at midnight, we wake early to head up to Cathedral Gap to our first rest stop.

The view from Paradise Lodge

Jeff and Connie resting on the Muir Snowfield

Ed resting on the Muir Snowfield

After hiking up the snowfields, we set up camp: Rainier: Camp Muir.

Ed learning to ice climb

Other climbing teams passing behind our camp at Muir

The view from our tent

A climbing team coming up from Cathedral Gap to the first rest stop

Another climbing team coming into the first rest stop on the Ingraham Glacier

Coming out on top of the Ingraham Glacier

Ed at the second rest stop, with Mount Adams in the background

Phil pulling one of guys out of a steam vent at the summit

In the summit crater (I am the pumpkin on the left.)

Thanks to the Guides at RMI


and our head guide: Phil Ershler

Snowboarding Tuckerman Ravine

After years of thinking about it, we finally decided to snowboard Tuckerman Ravine.

We got lucky and turned out to be a beautiful April day, with a bluebird sky. It was downright balmy, especially in the bowl itself with all of the sunlight being reflected off the snow. But, the temperature dropped very quickly when the sun went down behind the ridge.

We hiked for several hours up the Tuckerman Ravine Trail to get to the bowl. We had a late start so we only managed to get in one snowboard. Several hours of hard work for one run.

It was worth it.

Reading the avalanche danger sign
Jeff and Connie, starting the hike up
Nattie and Connie, getting close to Tucks
Jeff and Connie, getting closer
Jeff and Connie, entering the bowl
Lunch rocks and the line of hikers climbing up the slope
Jeff and Connie strapping on their snowboards
Jeff riding down the Headwall
Yes, this guy chose to ski naked

Keystone

We spent our third day in Colorado at Keystone, after spending time at Breckenridge and Vail.

Keystone was the lesser of the three resorts. It consists of a several mountains in a row. The entrance is at the first mountain. Then you need to go up and down over the other mountains to get to the good stuff at the back of the resort.

The conditions were not very good that day because of a strong wind. It did leave some great conditions in the trees.

Pete, Dave, Steve, me and Jeff:

Jeff after a fall in the trees:

Jeff, me, Dave, Pete and Steve at the top of the Outback Bowl at Keystone:

Vail

After spending our first day in Colorado at Breckenridge, we decided to spend our second day at Vail. It was just a short drive down I-70.

At first, we were a little disappointed. Sure it was big. But it was mostly just wider trails than I was used to back east.

Then we followed the signs to the bowls.

That changed everything. Thousands of acres of wide open terrain.

Me, Dave and Jeff at the top of China Bowl:

Breckenridge

This was a boy’s trip out west.

Jeff, Dave, Pete, Steve and me.

Actually, it was my first time riding my snowboard on the big mountains. We rented a place in Breckenridge and spent out first day exploring the mountain.

We also spent a day at Vail and a day at Keystone.

The view from the place we were staying:

Jeff and me at the base of the mountain:

Me, grabbing some air:

1997 Colorado