Categories
Comics Life

Salt Lake Comic Con 2014

Back when we lived in Utah, we went to Salt Lake Comic Con every year. Our 2014 trip included two of my favorite moments with my daughter, Lark. These were originally posted on different days on Google+, but I’m pulling them into one post here (since G+ is going the way of the dodo).

April 18, 2014

I expect my Parent of the Year award any day now.

April 19, 2014

Comic Con day two (for us; day three of the con). One of the things I love about cons is the surprises — I didn’t expect we’d get to wear a snake.

Categories
Fitness Hiking Peakbagging

Pfeifferhorn

Today my friend Christian and I hiked up Pfeifferhorn (Utah, 11,326 feet), my second elevener and the third-highest peak in the Wasatch range. It’s a 9-mile round trip with quite a bit of elevation gain (about 3,700 feet in 4.5 miles); my ass feels pleasantly kicked.

Pictured below is the sight that greets you when you get your first full look at the summit: the “bridge in the sky,” a knife ridge of jumbled boulders you have to traverse to reach the trail to the summit, and what I called the “wall of death” — the actual summit route, which looked impossible from here.

Neither were as bad as they looked. The boulders were actually a lot of fun, and up close there’s plenty of options to get up the final 600 feet or so. My route took me up the white line roughly in the center, the one that has green scrub just to the left of it.

Categories
Fitness Hiking Peakbagging

First summit over 10,000 feet

When I started hiking again last year, I came up with a plan: Get to the point where I could hike up Utah’s highest mountain, King’s Peak (13,534 feet and a 30-mile backcountry hike), this year. The plan was basically 1) hike up mountains, 2) keep going higher, 3) do some backcountry camping, 4) get in better shape.

I won’t bore you with the fourth one, but I’ve been doing the first one since October, with lots of lessons learned along the way. But I don’t have the expertise to hike up higher peaks in winter, so I waited for this summer to start on the second one in earnest. The tallest peak I summited last year was Mt. Olympus, 9,026 feet.

Today, over the course of a 9-mile hike, I summited my first peak above 10,000 feet: Mt. Raymond, 10,241 feet. It’s got a slightly higher neighbor, Gobblers Knob (10,246 feet), so when I got back to the pass that links them, I summited that one as well.

Prior to these two peaks, the highest I’d ever stood was 10,023 feet, the top of Haleakala in Maui. But I didn’t hike up that — I drove up with my wife, on our honeymoon. It was fun to beat that height!

Next week I’m going to hit number three, a two-day backpacking trip built around summiting Mt. Timpanogos. Mt. Timpanogos is 11,749 feet, which — assuming I make it up and back — will be my highest solo summit, the highest point I’ve ever stood, and the first time I’ve backpacked in about 22 years.

The picture above was taken at the summit of Mt. Raymond, looking west. (It’s a lot better than the tired selfie I took atop Gobblers, because I wasn’t as bushed and I didn’t take this one.)

Categories
Fitness Hiking Peakbagging

Getting to the top is optional

My mom snapped this while we were out hiking a couple of weeks ago, and I don’t think I’ve ever looked more badass than I do right here — pink water bottle and all. (If you know me in real life, you know there’s nothing badass about me whatsoever, but the camera adds 10 pounds of badassery.)

Ironically, it was taken during a hike up Grandeur Peak when we didn’t make it to the summit: After hiking through two feet of fresh powder for an hour towards the top, we hit a dodgy spot just 20 vertical feet from the summit and turned back. Twenty feet!

That was an educational experience, to say the least; I thought I knew this mountain pretty well, but the depth of the snow up top was a complete surprise. I hope to be hiking up mountains for years to come, eventually rather taller ones, and I suspect that 20′ record will stand for some time.

Categories
Fitness Hiking Peakbagging

Dooly Knob

Here’s Lark at the summit of Dooly Knob (5,278 feet), not the mountain we set out to climb. We couldn’t make it up Frary Peak, and turned around when we hit a snowy patch that neither of us felt comfortable attempting. It was a good lesson, and we had a great trip.

I decided Frary Peak would make a good first-summit-since-I-started-peakbagging, and a good hike for my daughter (age 4). While I got a lot right, I somehow missed that it was 3.5 miles one way, not RT. D’oh! Given that I was doing it with my daughter on my shoulders as much as possible, that was a big difference — and longer than I’ve hiked in one whack in about 20 years.

We started seeing snow around the 2 mile marker, and compacted snow on the trail around 2.5. At about 2.75 we hit one of the steepest spots, which looked like it went up to the false summit (radio tower). With compacted snow and a long drop to the left, neither of us felt comfortable continuing; we were scared we’d fall. Solo I might have tried it, particularly as I’d have been less tired, but being responsible for Lark as well I knew turning back was the right choice.

It was disappointing, sure, but we still had a great time. On the way back, we had time to summit Dooly Knob instead, a much easier hike that we completed with no problem. All told, 6.5 miles in 4 hours, 6 of it with Lark on my back. I was bushed.

I would love to have made it up Frary, but in retrospect I learned a lot from not making it, and from the trip itself. It makes a good benchmark for my own abilities, and hers at this age, and will help me decide what I need to do and learn before trying it again — and climbing other mountains in the future.