Ouray Ice

Ouray Ice Climbing
Climbing in the Ouray Ice Park.

Yesterday a sparkling new Sony A900 24mp SLR camera arrived via Fedex, with a few lenses, so today I figured I’d go take it for a spin. What better place to go on a cloudy day than the Ouray Ice Park, just a few blocks from my house? See a few more photos below.

Ouray Ice Climbing
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Ouray Ice Park

You may have noticed that I haven’t been posting much recently. Indeed, I haven’t been DOING much recently, except sitting at the computer day and night for over a week straight, building websites. But it’s been good, because the weather has been so disturbingly warm and spring-like for the last few weeks that the snowboarding hasn’t been too tempting. So I’ve gotten a lot of work done, finished a couple long overdue websites, and am finally caught up and on schedule again. I still have some very busy months ahead of me, with over 10 websites queued up already. Nevertheless, I’ve been realistic with my scheduling, so I will be able to get out more regularly for some backpacking and photography again. And hopefully some more snowboarding if it ever snows again…

The last month has been so warm it is worrisome. Sure the warmth is nice… in APRIL!!! Wearing t-shirts in Ouray in February is not nice, it is disconcerting, especially when it’s like this for weeks on end. We can only hope that this is just Colorado weather wackiness, and not a deeper problem with global warming. Meanwhile, the snowpack is turning to mush, and the ice in the ice park looked positively soggy today. WINTER, WHERE ARE YOU? COME BACK!

Dead Cricket Gulch*

Backcountry Snowboarding
Parker McAbery snowboards down the guts of a big gulch.

Today four of us did an exploratory hike up to about 12,400′ on a high windy ridgeline. We ended up riding a pretty heavy duty 2400′ line that we had scoped out from across the valley yesterday. The last two days have been a lot of fun, exploring new terrain and learning more and more about every nook and cranny of these mountains (sometimes the hard way).

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Sunny Days

Colorado backcountry hiking

[+] Another sunny blue-sky day in Colorado. We got out for an early run this morning, and tried out a new line (for me at least). Great line, but the snow is getting a bit hammered by now (by the sun and other skiers). It’s been a strange last few weeks weatherwise… one good storm, lots of sun, and it has felt more like spring than summer. Where did winter go? Come back, winter!

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Return of the Pow

Jack slashes some powder
[+] Rider: me. Photo by Jonathan Esper.

In my last post I was worried about the rain in Ouray. No matter. Up higher the mountains got smothered with snow, and today fellow photographer Jonathan Esper and I took our splitboards out to harvest some of the powder. After several weeks of clear warm weather, it felt great to ride ~20″ of fresh fluff.

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Raining in January

Today it’s been raining in Ouray. I know crazy weather is common in Colorado, but RAIN IN JANUARY? That’s just wrong. The good news is that the latest avy observers are reporting that it is snowing up high, and the wet snow is bonding well to the old surface. I hope it gets colder soon.