Author Archives: Brian Sweeney

About Brian Sweeney

Computer programmer, blogger and home-brew software developer with a penchant for back-country adventures, old metal, black coffee and micro-brew.

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Ouzel Backpacking

It occurred to us  the other day, that for some reason we haven’t been backpacking once yet in Colorado!  Clearly this was unacceptable, so Kelly picked out a nice warm-up outing so we could get our backpacking legs under us for the season.  We booked a spot at Ouzel Lake, which has an upper and lower site.   The lower spots were filled so we settled for the upper sites.  The upper site is a tad farther from the trail-head, though in either case the whole walk would have been roughly 10 miles round trip.  Would have been…

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Flash! Thunder!

Similarly spectacular, but an order of magnitude more perilous, hike number two is in the books for Brian and Kelly in Colorado: Season 2.  Objective hazards don’t really eat at me all that much.  A long climb in no-fall terrain, for example is cut and dry: be careful and don’t fall.  Or storm skiing in the backcountry: stay off the steep slopes or anything attached to a steep slope.  Risk mitigated.  It’s the stuff that you really have no control over – no effective means of mitigation – that freaks me out.

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The Loch

Hinge season in Colorado Rockies!  Honestly, I usually have a tough time with the end of winter, but between the great hiking conditions and steep skiing opportunities, there’s not much to complain about.

A couple weeks ago Kelly and I shot up to RMNP for a casual hike out to the Loch.  You depart from the Glacier Gorge trailhead off of Bear Lake road and follow a moderately ascending trail past numerous stunning vistas. Herein lies the magic of hiking in these parts: in New England (what I’m used to, and my point of reference for much mountain-sport), grand and sweeping views are usually only had at the top of a mountain. Out here, with the relatively thin foliage and close proximity to treeline, you quickly find yourself in the realm of the breathtaking. Thus, a casual stroll uphill terminating nowhere near the summit of anything can easily result in scenes worthy of Ansel Adams’ attention. It’s almost too easy!

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Notchtop Couloir

After over a year of ogling, I’ve finally managed to tick off a big line in Colorado.  Various recon trips, scenic car rides, and guide books had stoked my fervor to get after some burly skiing, and with Kelly’s encouragement to go do something crazy without her, I started poking around on the internet looking for a backcountry shred crew.

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