24 November 2009Comments are off for this post.

Mt. Silverheels (maybe)

Silverheels Tree

Will and I set out on Saturday with the intent of climbing Mt. Silverheels. Between confusing directions, and lots of roads ending with dead-end private property gates, we never found the trail-head. We had a general idea about where we needed to go. So, we looked at the our map, surveyed the area, and took off cross country through some willows towards the mountain that seemed most likely to get us on the ridge we were looking for.

There wasn't much snow at lower elevations, so bushwhacking through the aspens and willows was much easier than it might have been. However, any effort saved in the aspens and willows was quickly spent moving straight up the mountain in increasingly soft, deep snow over ice and frozen scree. After topping out, we contoured through a high basin past former mining cabins and worked our way onto a mostly windblown ridge. From there it was just a few false summits to the top. There was a nearby, higher, mountain, so we suspect that it was actually Silverheels and we were just on one of the high points around it.

By this point it was getting to be late, so we quickly descended back along the ridge. With a better idea of where the car was in relation to where we were, we took a more direct descent down some very steep terrain, hustled through the willows, and arrived back at the car just as the sun was setting.

To complete the day we stopped at Coney Island in Bailey for a couple of hot dogs. Aside from the novelty of eating a hot dog, in a hot dog-shaped building, there's little to recommend about eating at Coney Island, and we probably won't be stopping there again.

[svgallery name="Silverheels"]

15 October 2009Comments are off for this post.

Annapurna Circuit Packing List

Before leaving for the trip I had some trouble finding good information about what was actually necessary for this trek. The packing lists really varied, with one including some items that definitely aren't necessary (ice axe and crampons), and others seeming incomplete.

A lot of this is going to vary from person to person, but the following should be a good start. Temperatures can vary from the high 80s to the low 10s, and rain or snow are both possible. The bags I carry tend to be heavier than average. My things were normally fairly light, but I carried some things for the group like the first aid kit, clothes, food and extra water.

For a full list of Nepal posts, hit the tag cloud on the side, or this link.

If you are thinking about traveling to Nepal, check out this article by Andrew Hyde. It gives a different than usual, and in my opinion accurate description of what travel there is like.


  • Socks x3 - Wool, not cotton.
  • Shoes x1 - Broken in! The trail is pretty good for the most part, so I recommend approach shoes. Boots are unnecessary.
  • Flipflops x1 - Great for wearing in the evening, and good to have for the shower as well.
  • Pants x2 - Nylon hiking pants will do you fine.
  • Short sleeve shirt x1 - Capilene.
  • Long sleeve shirt x1 - Capilene.
  • Underwear x1 - Patagonia, I only wore them in the evening after taking off the compression shorts.
  • Compression shorts x2 - Minimize chafing. Not everyone needs them, but my chubby thighs do.
  • Fleece/down jacket x1 - Nice for the lodges and the day going over the pass.
  • Shell jacket x1
  • Shell pants x1 - Optional.
  • Sun hat x1 - I wore a baseball cap, but the floppy hats are nice too.
  • Warm hat x1 - Mine is wool lined with fleece - awesome.
  • Gloves x1 - Nothing too warm, a set of fleece ones should be fine.
  • Handkerchief - can be used as a dust filter.


  • Big pack - Will be carried by your porter. We brought my 110L pack and were able to fit all of my things, Dara's things, and the porters pack into it.
  • Day pack - Depends what you want to carry during the day. I filled a 50L bag, but others got by with much smaller ones. *
  • Sleeping bag - For the most part it doesn't get all that cold at night. A 20 degree bag should be fine for most people. If you can't stay warm with that, most of the lodges have heavy blankets to use.
  • Thermarest pillow - A luxury
  • Headlamp - The power will go out, if there is any to start with.
  • AA Batteries - Fit my headlamp and camera flash.
  • Water purification** - The group should have two types.
  • First Aid Kit***
  • Knife
  • Carabiners - Good for hanging extra items off packs, or strapping packs together
  • Camelbak
  • 1L bottle - For water purification.
  • Trekking poles - If you like using them. If you do use them, take a complete pair, and not just a single pole.

Toiletry Items:

  • Sunblock
  • Chapstick
  • Hand cream
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Floss
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Bar of soap in travel case - Can be used for washing clothes also.
  • Shampoo
  • Toilet paper - We started with 3 rolls, but bought more along the way


  • Watch
  • Cards
  • Book
  • Trek map
  • Writing materials
  • Camera
  • Camera batteries - at least two, three is better
  • Camera charger
  • Camera memory cards - lots
  • Snacks - nonperishable items that won't melt are best
  • Cord - Always useful.
  • Clothes pins - Not all of the lodges have good places to dry things, can be used with cord for makeshift line.
  • Ear plugs - Teahouse walls are thin and people snore.

* In my daypack I carried:
- 100 oz camelbak
- 1 or 2 1L Nalgene bottles
- Water purification drops
- Shell
- Long sleeve shirt
- Hat and gloves (on the pass day)
- First aid kit
- Sunblock
- Map
- Book
- Rocks
- Camera batteries, memory cards, flash and charger

** There are lots of options for water purification.

  • MSR Sweetwater: My favorite. A bottle costs about ten dollars, treats 300L of water, kills just about everything possible, leaves only a faint aftertaste, works in ten minutes, and can be used to treat large quantities of water quickly. May upset some people's stomachs, so best to test before leaving home.
  • Steripen: Uses ultraviolet light to purify water. So it tastes about as good as possible. However, it can only treat one liter of water at a time (that cannot be cloudy), is dependent on electricity, is expensive, and I'm not convinced of its durability. Melissa and Franz had one that was held together with tape, and the guy at REI said they'd had some problems with them.
  • MSR Miox: I don't have any experience with this. Uses a salt solution to kill everything. Can treat large quantities of water, and has minimal taste. It takes a long time (four hours) to fully treat water, is dependent on electricity, and can be hard to find in stock.
  • Iodine: Will kill most, but not all things, leaves an aftertaste if you don't have the neutralizer, and takes four hours to reach full effectiveness.
  • Filter: Not recommended. They can't get all the little baddies.

*** First Aid Kit Contained:

  • Tape
  • Bandages
  • Bandaids
  • Bacitracin
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Liquid bandaids
  • Moleskin
  • Safety pins
  • Tweezers
  • Nail clippers
  • Scissors
  • Ibuprofen
  • Diamox - prescription
  • Cipro - prescription
  • Imodium
  • Suture kit
  • Firstaid book - added functionality as additional reading material

16 June 2009Comments are off for this post.

Camping on Guanella Pass

This weekend Dara and I went camping with Will and Franziska and their dog, Lucy, up on Guanella Pass. Well, not on the pass itself, this time they took us to one of their newly found favorite camping places. We were meeting another friend in Idaho Springs for lunch on the way up, so Will gave us directions to meet them up there.

As seems to be usual, Beaujo's took forever to get us our food. A little over an hour for a couple of pizzas, but they tasted much better than last time, so I won't complain too much.

After that we drove through Georgetown and up Guanella Pass. Guanella Pass was pretty rough. Definitely the worst condition I've seen it in in the years I've been going up there. From there I won't say much because it's supposed to be secret because it's great, and if lots of other people go in, they'll trash it like the other campsites up there, and it won't be great anymore. Also, the directions would likely just get somebody lost. There were something along the lines of park in the lot, walk perpendicular to the road to the lot to the left until you go over a steep hill and into a valley, then walk up the valley till you see us.

It was a fairly quick walk in with some thunder and a little bit of snow. Towards evening the clouds cleared and we had a pretty great sunset and the stars were able to come out. We cooked chicken sausages and red peppers for dinner and had a little wine and Dale's Pale Ale (beer in a can that doesn't suck). Will and I ran around in the willows at sunset grabbing some pictures. Dara and Franziska stayed in camp talking, probably relieved that they didn't have to put up with our craziness. Then we hung around the camp fire until bed time.

Sunday morning I woke to a sniffing sound outside the tent. In my addled waking state, my first thought was "bear!" because all of our food had been left just outside the tent underneath a poncho. Fortunately instead of having my fingers torn off when I lifted the rain fly, I just got a little lick from Lucy. Dara wasn't feeling well, so instead of heading up one of the nearby mountains as planned, we packed everything in and headed back to Boulder. Which was just as well because we were able to easily miss all of the usual Sunday afternoon traffic.

[svgallery name="GuanellaCamp"]