Mt. Timp via Everest Ridge Route //

Mt. Timp via Everest Ridge Route

(Video at the bottom of this post)

All winter I have been dreaming about climbing Mt. Timp via Everest Ridge Route (as proof check out this post on 12/3/14 when I outlined my plan). Well, if you haven’t heard the west coast, including Utah, didn’t ever really have a winter. Sure we had some snow, but the West facing Everest Ridge Route never really shaped up. There was, for a short time (two weeks) adequate snow coverage, but other commitments kept me off the mountain and I assumed we would get more snow, but snow never came.

mt. timp via Everest ridge route

mt. timp via Everest ridge route

So as the snowless weeks passed I watched  the route turn from minimal snow coverage to no snow coverage. It was depressing watching winter melt before February even came, and the warmth of February felt more like spring sun of May.

Finally I decided I had had enough, I wanted to climb Mt. Timp via the Everest Ridge Route. A couple weeks ago I realized I would have President’s Day off from work so I figured it was as good a time as any. I called up my buddy Josh and asked if he wanted to join in, he of course said yes and also brought along his buddy, Charles. The plan was to shoot up and back as quickly as possible wearing mostly running attire  to pack light and make time on the scree.

We met at the parking lot at 5am, Monday morning ready to take on Mt. Timp via Everest Ridge Route. Charles was wearing shorts and Vibram Five Fingers, apparently Josh has simply said we would be running Timp and he dressed based on that information. Charles is a downright trouper and was ready to go nonetheless. So we departed and made good time up Dry Canyon.

mt. timp via Everest ridge route

mt. timp via Everest ridge route

Pretty soon we had reached the saddle between Big Baldy and the Everest Ridge of Timp. Here the climbing steepened drastically. Upwards we went through small patches of snow until the sun started lighting the sky with warm hues of red and orange. We were now about even with Big Baldy, around 8,000 ft leaving us another 3,000 vertical feet or so to the summit. The climbing was non-technical and easy despite the extreme steepness, scree and occasional snow fields. However, things changed once we hit “The Step.”

I had read about The Step, a rich band just below the summit ridge of class 4 scrambling. The rock is very very fragile and exposed. The original plan for our “winter” climb was to traverse the step. However, because we had decided on running shoes we had not brought along crampons and ice axes to make the traverse which was still covered in snow. This was the first mistake.

mt. timp via Everest ridge route landon faulkner

mt. timp via Everest ridge route

We had underestimated The Step entirely. It is not technical climbing, but it is definitely a class 4 scramble. Through in the crumbling rock and it gets a bit hairy. Here our ascent time was cut immensely. Progress nearly halted as we slowly picked our way up the rock band watching rocks knocked free roll down the steep snowy face to the right of the ridge unhindered for thousands of feet. This was the first part of the climb that felt intimidating and scary.

Just as we reached the top of the step we noticed some clouds beginning to come in, but they looked unthreatening. We continued the last hundred vertical feet or so to the summit ridge and began nonchalantly making our way across the summit ridge. The summit hut was in and out of sight between the gathering clouds, just about 100 vertical feet higher than our current position on the summit ridge. We were excited at the prospect of reaching the summit proper, but were already worried about the descent through The Step.

mt. timp via Everest ridge route

mt. timp via Everest ridge route

The goal was within reach, but the ridge turned super sketch as we proceeded across the knife edge summit ridge on snow and crumbling rock. By this time the snow and clouds had gathered and we could no longer see the summit proper. We stopped to talk it through. We could continue on into the unknown and try and make our way down the Aspen Grove trail and hitchhike down the canyon back home, or turn around and go back the way we came. We sat in the cold, wind and snow talking through the options. The snow was not helping and seeing any distance had become an issue, we had limited traction on the snowy and razor thin ridge in our running shoes, and Charles’ toes had long ago lost feeling; things we were all worried about. We said a quick prayer then decided to forgo the last slight climb to the summit proper.

mt. timp via Everest ridge route

mt. timp via Everest ridge route

I turned and headed down the way we came, slowly picking our way back down The Step. About an hour later we had made it down the step and exhaustion finally hit us. Our nerves from being on constant alert had finally calmed and we were left tired and somewhat loopy as we continued down the Everest Ridge towards our vehicles.

We made it back safe and sound and happy to be at the trailhead once again. This was a climb none of us were eager to repeat anytime soon.

In the coming days it was very apparent Charles had developed frostbite on his toes and feet. He went to the doctor and was treated for his frozen toes, but he assures me that there shouldn’t be any permanent damage, outside of numbness for a number of months to years. That kid is a trooper!

Dabbling in Photography

Dabbling in Photography

Kyra and I recently purchased our first DSLR camera, a Cannon SL1. We had been talking about getting a camera for a number of months and we were stoked to finally have taken the plunge into photography life outside of our iPhones. I have had a blast working to learn a bit about the art of photography and am excited to continue learning and improving.

As I continue to try and improve my skills I’ll be sharing photos from time to time here on my blog. These are more or less a random assortment of my favorites over the last couple of months, mostly portraits. Hope you enjoy.

dabbling in photography paityndabbling in photography fairbanks alaksa paityndabbling in photography kyra faulknerdabbling in photography utah paityndabbling in photography paityn timpanogos

dabbling in photography kyra faulkner and paityn Provo

dabbling in photography kyra faulkner utah

dabbling in photography provo utah kyra faulknerThanks for checking out my new side-hobby. I am excited to continue my dabbling in photography.

 

Kahtoola 25k Snowshoe Race

Kahtoola 25k Snowshoe Race

Last saturday I “ran” my first race of the year, a 25k snowshoe race, the Kathoola Bigfoot Snowshoe Festival 25k snowshoe race. I had originally planned on running the 50k, but in the end my laziness during the winter got the best of me and a shorter distance sounded like a better fit. The Kahtoola Bigfoot Snowshoe Festival actually offered a number of different distances; 50k, marathon, 25k, 10k, and 5k. The 50k and marathon started at 8am and the rest of us short distance runners started at 9am in Midway, Utah. Haven’t heard of Midway? Don’t worry I hadn’t either, but it turns out its a small town northwest of Heber City.

kahtoola 25k snowshoe race

At about 8:30am I joined all of the other runners in the Visitor’s Center of the Wasatch Mountains State Park in Midway. It’s an inviting little visitor’s center which greeted the runners with a burning fire in the fireplace and a number of taxidermy animals and other information. I checked in and got my race number, stretched out a bit, used the restroom and relaxed waiting for the race to begin. A few minutes before 9am I strapped on my snowshoes and headed outside with the rest of the runners toeing the starting line marked by a small Bigfoot statue.

kahtoola bigfoot snowshoe festival

“Ready. Set. Go!” Shouted John, the kind yet rugged race director whose mustache hangs down well below his jaw. I started out slow and comfortable but still found myself in the top 10 after the first 5 miles. The 25k course follows 3 loops, a loop through the golf course next to the visitor’s center, then a mountain loop on single track, then another loop around the golf course.

The snow was thin and soft and the first loop was a bit more tiring than I had planned for, but I was feeling good and trying to take it easy. I was doing a great job sticking to my refueling schedule and taking in calories and water (plus some RedBull at the aid-stations). Despite my sensibilities my minimal experience snowshoe running became apparent. As I began the mountain loop the difference between a 25k on trail vs a 25k on snowshoes was becoming painfully obvious. Much of the climb during the mountain loop I spent hiking rather than actually running. While running in snowshoes is very similar to running without snowshoes there are some distance differences. Mainly the soft snow makes each stride unsteady and difficult.

kahtoola 25k snowshoe race

kahtoola 25k snowshoe race

By the time I reached the top of the mountain loop climb my muscles were feeling some exhaustion as a result. I was excited to begin the descent and planned on making up some time, but just about 100 years into my descent my left calf cramped. The pain shot up and down my leg and I collapsed into the small oak trees along the single track. In my race focused mind for a split second I didn’t realize what had happened and thought my life was coming to an end. I tried my hardest to stretch my calf while wearing snowshoes, a task that is harder than it seems. After about a minute my muscles began to relax and I cautiously continued my descent.

Without any further incident I made it back down the mountain and began my final 5 mile loop of the golf course. By this time, however, the snow was very soft in the midday sun. I reached the last climb that turns back and forth up the golf course and began to hike where I had  run earlier that same day. Once again  I got to the top of the climb and was excited to begin my final descent of the golf course loop and last 2 miles of the course. I began down and almost like clockwork I cramped badly, except this time it was my right calf.

This go-around wasn’t quite as painful, but it did result in me watching two other runners trot past me. I had no idea of which distance they were running and if they were my actual competition, but I was bummed nonetheless.

kahtoola 25k snowshoe race landon faulkner

I hobbled through the last couple of miles and into the homestretch through puddles of melted snow. I crossed the line at 3:52:08 in 4th place out of 15 runners in the 25k distance. I was excited to chow down on a some homemade soup in the lodge and watch some other runners finish before heading home to celebrate Paityn’s 2nd birthday.

However, despite my “top 5″ finish (out of 15 people, not too exceptional) I was a bit bummed. The Kahtoola 25k snowshoe race was a big wakeup call for me. My training had suffered during the colder winter months, something I had vowed not to let happen. I knew that I was not competing or running on a level where I wanted to be. If I wad I would likely have won the race. All in all it was a great race and is a great way to shake of the dust of December and get back to serious training for that actual race season.

Freestyle International World Cup

Earlier this month I had the opportunity of attending the Freestyle International World Cup at Deer Valley, Utah for the Aerials, Moguls and Dual Moguls. I got the invite from Columbia Sportswear as part of their #OmniTen, and was stoked to go.

I was able to take along a plus one, who of course was Kyra, for the trip. Since Deer Valley is only about an hour drive from where we live we drove up Thursday morning to meet the rest of the crew, Tori (from Columbia) and Rebecca (another #OmniTen member) and her husband David. We checked into our room at The Lodges at Deer Valley and settled in for a bit before heading over to the USSA Center of Excellence, a state of art training facility for all the athletes on the US Ski Team. The place was amazing and it was incredible to hear about all the science behind the training that goes on to prepare athletes for competition, and most notably, the olympics. The Center of Excellence is a total breeding ground of amazing athletes and it was incredible to take a walk through.

center of excellence

After the tour we headed to dinner before heading up the Deer Valley Resort slopes to watch the first night of competition; the Aerials. I’ve watched ski competitions like the Aerials and Moguls on the television during the olympics, but this was the first time I’ve ever had the opportunity of being up close and in person. We packed in with hundreds of other people to watch the best in the world compete, including many olympic medalists. The winner of the Aerials event was, Anton Kushnir, who also won the Olympic Gold Medal in 2014. He pulled out the same trick in Deer Valley that won him Gold just a few months previous, a triple backflip with a double twist.

FIS world cup deer valley

The next night featured Moguls and the final night of competition included Dual Moguls. I was most impressed with the insanity and skill of the mogul skiers. They flew down the moguls course, what would likely be be considered a black diamond or double black diamond rated slope, with skis in perfect alignment, knees pumping up at down like expensive shock absorbers, and crazy aerials off the jumps, just to round things off. My favorite was the Dual Moguls. The competition of going head to head with another skier pushed the contenders down the mountainside in an ever increasing pace. It was incredible to watch.

Kyra Faulkner and Landon Faulkner

Deer Valley Utah

The rest of the trip included spending some time in Park City wandering the downtown shops and of course skiing. After strapping my skis on and skiing my first run of the trip I did some math in my head and realized that I hand’t skied in over 10 years. I had grown up skiing, but switched to snowboarding in my late teens. By my early 20’s I had dropped skiing and snowboarding altogether simply because the cost.

After a few runs I felt pretty comfortable cruising down the mountain once again and I hit a few double blue runs. It felt great to be skiing again and although I felt comfortable on my skis I realized that my form and technique were definitely not where they were when I left off a decade earlier. It took some work to keep my skis tight and parallel, but by the end of the week I was skiing with more poise and technical confidence.

#omniten

#Omniten

All of the skiing really pushed in my mind an already growing desire to get an alpine touring set up. The combination of a quick approach on skins, then crampons, mixed with the thrill of an awesome descent sound more and more enticing. Time to break out the piggy bank to start saving my pennies.

The whole trip was a busy one and went by way to quickly. It was an amazing time and I was sad to see it come to a close and to say goodbye to new friends. It’s hard to beat a beautiful weekend in an amazing place filled with awesome friends, great skiing and VIP tickets to the FIS World Cup with Columbia.

BOB Revolution Flex Stroller Review

Common Landon, a stroller review? You’re kidding right? Well, no I’m not kidding. As you know I love running and am constantly working to better my running fitness. As you likely also know I have a two year old with another one on the way. So finding the right stroller that allows me to run and train while still spending some time with Paityn is important. Luckily for me, and for Paityn, I recently had the privilege of working with BOB Gear strollers to test and review the BOB Revolution Flex.

The BOB Revolution Flex is classified as an off-road/on-road fitness stroller. It’s a lightweight but durable stroller with some awesome features aimed at getting every level of runner out on the trail.

landon faulkner bob stroller

Favorite Features:

The BOB Revolution Flex has a number of great features, but lets start out with just a look at a few of my favorite features.

– Swivel/Locking front wheel. This allows for super maneuverability or more stability when locked on rough terrain.

– Adjustable Suspension System. This provides exceptional comfort not only for Paitynm but also for my hands as I’m pushing.

– Polymer Composite Wheels. These puppies are tough and lightweight.

– Foldable and Packable. The BOB Revolution Flex folds in half which makes for easy storage, especially in a small apartment.

bob's revolutions flex stroller

bob's revolutions flex stroller

Overall Performance:

BOB Gear prides itself as being an industry leader and after using the Revolution Flex for a few months on varying terrains it’s easy to see why. From my first run with the BOB Revolution Flex to my most recent run I have been very impressed. The stroller floats easily down pavement and even rolls easily along moderate trails. The suspension helps ease the bumps of more rigorous trail, but I generally steered clear of the more difficult terrain. The BOB Revolution Flex weighs in at 26.2 pounds which coupled with Paityn’s weight of nearly 30 pounds it’s a bit difficult to push on a more rough trail with more elevation gain.

While the BOB Revolution Flex may not be your fix for trail running with a little one, it is perfect for moderate trails with minimal elevation gain and on the road of course. Given how much easier to push the stroller on the road even with the oversized tires I have logged most my miles with the stroller on the road.

It’s important that I note Paityn’s take on the stroller as well. Her favorite feature is the canopy that regardless of time of day or weather she prefers to be pulled down all the way. She enjoys the peak through window that allows her to look up and my sweaty face as we run along together, both enjoying the outdoors. Paityn’s overall take, however, is extremely positive. I cannot tell you how many times she has stood by the stroller pointing and begging “up, up, up!” There’s no doubt, even in her early speech what she means and how she like the BOB Revolution Flex.

bob's revolutions flex stroller

 

bob's revolutions flex stroller

Preferred Changes:

While I love the BOB Revolution Flex my only preferred change would really mean a whole new stroller that would require some significant changes; I’d prefer a super lightweight stroller that would be more suitable for hills. Although I realize that this presents a huge issue for developers who are seeking to maintain my aforementioned favorite features., not to mention Paityn wouldn’t be too stoked on a suspension-less and bumpy ride.

So take my “preferred change” with a grain of salt. The weight of this stroller is relatively low given all of the tradeoffs with necessary and important features.

bob's revolutions flex stroller

bob's revolutions flex stroller

Bottom Line:

My bottom line on the BOB Revolution Flex is that this stroller is awesome. Kyra and I generally just keep the stroller folded up in the back of our Ford Fiesta as we prefer to be on the go and it makes things easy to keep Paityn happy in so doing, did I mention she loves the stroller? So if you are in the market for a stroller to fit your family and running lifestyle I strongly recommend checking out the BOB Revolution Flex and the BOB Gear line in it’s entirety.

bob's revolutions flex stroller

Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2015 Preview

With the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market just days away I’m getting pretty excited, but in a whole different way than last year. If you read my last years preview of the Winter Show you know I attended for a couple of main reasons. The first was to network to find a job in the outdoor industry, and the second reason was to check out all the new gear. I was able to successfully check out a lot of amazing gear and even got to test some gear, but my primary reason for attending never seemed to pay off. Sure, I made a ton of very important contacts, but none led to a job, well, not right away.

When Kyra and I decided to move back to Utah last fall I reached out to one of those contacts, TETON Sports, in SLC. As fate would have it TETON Sports rapid growth had opened up the potential for a new  hire. To make a short story shorter, I got the job and have been employed since August in the best job I have ever worked in my life.

Now, how does this all relate to the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market? Well this year, instead of packing in appointment after appointment I have been busier than ever working to help build out a new showroom at TETON Sports. We moved into a brand new facility shortly before Christmas and have been working slowly to get everything designed, built and set up. However, with a number of things left to do it definitely feels like crunch time.

Outdoor Retailer

That is not to say that I don’t have some appointments set up to preview some new gear, gear I’m pretty excited about. I’ll share more of what gear I’m most stoked to see after the show, but know that I am still no doubt a gear head.

In addition to the normal gear excitement and excitement and frenzy of finishing the showroom, I am pretty amped about a number of seminars. This will be the first show I have attended any of the seminars and I’m excited to learn a bit. I’ll also share which were my favorites after the show.

Sure, this isn’t a very detailed preview, in fact I have previewed any specific thing. This is more of a preview in terms of where my intentions lie this year as opposed to last year at this time. I suppose this post is more an exclamation of gratitude for all of the good that has come into my life since I first began looking to find a career in the outdoor industry and how happy I am today with where I’m at within TETON Sports.

Adventure: Version 2.015

Yesterday I posted my recap of my 2014 adventure related goals. I’m a big believer in goals, especially written goals. I have found the practice of thought out written goals to be unmeasurably beneficial when it comes to success and achievement. So in that spirit I think it’s only fitting to share some of my adventure and running goals for 2015.

Lassen Volcanic National Park Landon Faulkner

1.) Climb Mount Timpanogos via the Everest Ridge Route in Winter.

2.) Run Mount Timpanogos in under 2 hours to the summit.

3.) Run a Snowshoe 50k Race.

4.) Run at least 4 Ultra-Marathons (they’re expensive!).

5.) Run the North Face Challenge 50 Miler in Park City, Utah.

6.) Run King’s Peak (the tallest peak in Utah).

7.) Backpack the Narrows in Zion National Park.

8.) Learn new sports: Cross-Country Skiing and Touring.

9.) Run at least 1500 miles.

10.) Visit Canada (accepting travel fund donations – I kid, I kid (but seriously)).

So there is my adventure goal list for the upcoming year. I’m truly excited for a new year of adventure and excitement. Feel free to join me, or invite me, on any adventures! This is a working goal list that will likely grow as the year grows and I’m always accepting recommendations so please share if you have anything I should add to the list!

Make a great 2015!

Adventure: Version 2.014 Recap

Last year I made a list of adventure and running related goals. Although you likely don’t recall anything on my list I have kept those goals in mind throughout 2014. Some goals I have achieved, others have been left to another day and another adventure. As a matter of recapping and evaluating here are my 2014 goals and my results:

Adventuring

1.) Climb at least one of the 3 highest peaks in Washington

This one didn’t happen. Finances didn’t work out and we moved to Utah part way through the summer making the travel Washington too costly and difficult.

2.) Summit Mount Shasta, California… again

Check! Nailed this one in a single day ascent with a few good buddies. Check out the trip report here.

3.) Qualify for the Tahoe OGUL Peak Emblem Status

This one didn’t happen either. This was my summer plan with Kyra, and we moved just part way into the summer and never got this one checked off.

Landon Faulkner Mount Shasta Summit

Running

1.) Complete my 2nd Half Marathon

Officially, no. I didn’t run an official Half in a sanctioned race this year. I’m not too bent about it though (see below).

2.) Complete my first Marathon

Again, I didn’t officially race a marathon. Granted I ran the distance in training, but I never participated in an official marathon.

3.) Complete my first 50k Trail Run

CheckI got this one done during the Antelope Island 50K. Check out the race report right here.

landon faulkner antelope island 50k

Looking at the list two out of six might seem a bit of a failure, but 2014 has been an incredible year. There are legitimate reasons as to why I didn’t get a few of these goals accomplished and I’m not too concerned with not racing at the shorter distances. I am genuinely excited about all the adventure and opportunities that 2014 brought. I’m looking forward to a whole new set of adventures in 2015!

Joining Columbia’s #OmniTen Team

If you’re active on social media within the outdoor realm in which I personally find myself engaged, you likely have heard at least a little bit about Columbia Sportswear’s #OmniTen team. As a brief #OmniTen history, Columbia started the program in 2012 when they chose 10 influential people active in the outdoor social community. The #OmniTen team was born with a few goals in mind; to get feedback on Columbia products by users, and to provide an innovative and exciting environment for #OmniTen members to test that gear and grow as individuals within the outdoor industry. Since that time Columbia has added to their #OmniTen crew by choosing 10 people, twice a year (for the winter and summer season).

A couple of weeks ago (just before finals) I received some awesome news in the form of an invite from Columbia to join the #OmniTen team. Without hesitation I of course said “YES, YES, YES!” I literally tried to hold back on my excitement over the phone without jumping up and down with excitement. I was quite surprised about the invite and felt very humbled to be asked to join the #OmniTen family.

landon faulkner columbia #omniten

Along with the invite to be a part of the #OmniTen team was an invite to join some of the crew  in Deer Valley, Utah for the USSA World Cup in early January. The invite also extended to Kyra so the two of us will spend an extended weekend in Deer Valley skiing at Deer Valley and watching world class skiers competing in the mogul and ariel events, how awesome is that? A few days later a hoard (literally a mound) of boxes showed up on our doorstep filled with gear for the event for Kyra and me. Man this #OmniTen stuff is rad!

I’ve already had a chance to test some Columbia gear during our Alaskan Christmas vacation; from below zero runs to romping about in the snow I have been insanely impressed with the Turbo Down puffy the most. That jacket it so warm and light, it out preforms all my other puffy’s hands down.

landon Faulkner #omniten alaska

At any rate, I am thrilled to be a part of the adventure known as #OmniTen. Being a part of such an awesome family of adventurers from all over is exciting and humbling all at the same time. Thank you Columbia for you invite, it means the world!

Christmas Surprise in Alaska

With the help of a Christmas Elf (Kyra’s Mom) our little family was able to fly up to Alaska and surprise the rest of Kyra’s family. It feels awesome to be done with the semester and now have some time with family and in Alaska of all places.

As a lover of the cold and of winter I am a little sad that it’s only around 0 degrees here instead of -40, but it’s still pretty awesome! I went for a 5 miles run this morning and was able to watch the sunrise at around 10am.

Ice Beard Landon Faulkner

After getting my beard all iced over during my run we opened some presents and watched Paityn’s excitement over Christmas morning presents. She was most excited about the little bottles of milk and juice for her baby doll.

paityn christmas in AlaskaPaityn Christmas in AlaskaAfter some breakfast/lunch Kyra and I took a couple of photos in our Columbia Sportswear gear (I’ve got a story to tell about Columbia’s #OmniTen that I still need to share, it’s coming soon).

landon faulkner alaksa christmas

landon faulkner and kyra faulkner Alaksa

Now the sun is setting (it’s 2:30pm) and Paityn has worn herself out and is passed out fora bit. The Christmas Tree lights are getting brighter as the day outside gets darker. What a magical place Alaska is and special place to spend Christmas.

Make Adventure