Circumstances brought the Basecamper crew to southern Nevada at the beginning of February for a tour of deplorableness, ghost town, abandoned mining claims, outrageous art installations, and natural hot springs. Several stops were also made at casinos to use wifi and respond to your inquires for vehicles. I know I'm bad at gambling--so I don't. Ninja Jeff can work remotely, so I was busy exploring and generating content for you guys during business hours.
While Jeff worked, I checked out Rhyolite, five miles or so west of Beatty, Nevada. Very pleasant in February--I imagine hot as hell most of the year.
Bottle house. Clearly resilient after a century of baking in the desert sun and still standing. Wind storms have damaged other mining ruins and art installations in the area.
"Nobody's Safe" -- good advice? Having grown up in a major metropolitan area in the midwest, still learning how to process paranoia in the desert west.
End of the road. Fortunately, there was a cut off right back to the main drag to Beatty just before this wash. Picture provided for dramatic effect. This was a really enjoyable afternoon exploring desolate terrain just east of a major National Park, with about zero red tape. Having spent nine years living in the rural Great Basin, the sage desert will always have a special place in my heart. More fun to come five miles north at the Beatty Hot Springs and Spicer Mountain Ranch mountain biking area.
Not to spill the beans or anything but there's a bunch of really cool shit to see and do out in the north eastern corner of Utah. Especially if you're into super hard limestone sport climbing, art installations, exploring abandoned mining claims, or visiting a micro nation. Or just driving around on well maintained country roads and staring into the sun. Letting your dogs run around off leash. Road soda and target practice. You know...my favorite Utah stuff. It's overlooked and under appreciated. Sure Zion, Bryce, Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef are amazing. But there's more to see and do. You should peel back a layer of the onion and check it out.
As much as I'd like to, I can't tell you where the super hard, wickedly overhanging, badass limestone sport climbing is. I mean, I know where it is. Doesn't really matter because unless you pull 5.14--which I don't--it's just a cool cave. Suffice it to say, it's out there, somewhere northwest of Wendover before the Great Salt Lake. It's not on Mountain Project and the people who developed it have done a good job of keeping their private stash--well, private.
Easy to find, even in the middle of nowhere, the Sun Tunnels. Four concrete tubes cleverly arranged to provide maximum celestial views and a cool place to park and camp. We ran across a nice couple from the east coast. She was doing research for a graduate degree at Harvard. He was decompressing from tours in Afghanistan in the USMC. Never know who you might run into out in the "des". Fire was built, meals were made, brews were shared.
NEXT UP-figure out where the hell Zaqistan is. Having spent nine years more or less living by myself in the west desert, I feel pretty confident navigating backroads with a topo and obscure directions. So with one missed turn, some 6x glass, and a little retracking, we arrived at the micro nation of Zaqistan.
Appropriately timed after the election of DJT, we considered applying for a passport. Just looking to keep our options open. Entry and exit were smooth. Population density was low. And several miles west, there is potential for good climbing. From Salt Lake City, expect a four hour drive if you know where you're going. Moab might have more to do, but there are certainly fewer asshole visitors from Denver. In the spirit of art and giving, Jen donated the above passport entry stamp.
(Dog observing Zaqistani gaurdian)
After a fine lunch prepared out of the back of the red van, our flagship dog hauler and exploration vehicle, we packed up and drove to the Spiral Jetty. By the time we arrived, it was too late and dark to take worthwhile photos. There are plenty out there if you're curious. The water level was low and the sand was soft. The rocks were poking out.
Happy New Year and in 2017 and beyond, consider visiting the lesser known treasures in Utah, Wyoming, and Nevada. If you need ideas, feel free to ask.
View from the top of Judd Canyon, Simpson Mountains, Utah. All sorts of bright sage colors, water in the creek, snakes soaking up the high noon warmth. A dynamic time in the deser
Spring storms have brought fresh snow to the central Wasatch Mountains and there is plenty of soft snow to be found at the upper elevations with good timing. It's hard to decide whether to backcountry ski, mountain bike, or climb. Or maybe all three in the same day for the energetic outdoor enthusiast. Can't beat this view from the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon with a storm casting shadows up canyon and bluebird in the Salt Lake Valley.
My friend Chris breaking trail towards the summit of Patsy Marley. This was one of the rare moments of our tour when visibility was better than pea soup. Our intention was to session lines in Wolverine Cirque. Visibility was poor, winds were high and we decided to leave it for another day. Discretion is the better part of valor...anyone?
Here's to Brandon Seymore and Lauren Hollens (Seymore) for tying the knot. May long lives of happiness and powder days characterize their guiding lives. Dane and I will be holding down the fort in the Wasatch, a half hour late to everything, including our own weddings and funerals.
A skiff off fresh snow, stable avalanche conditions, and recent successes on bigger lines lured us away from the roadside attractions to the central Wasatch. There's only so much low hanging fruit to go around.
When you go whale hunting, sometimes you get washed up in the surf. The final 50 feet of snow covered rock slabs blocked our passage to the summit.
For Dr. B, marriage and exciting opportunities in the Sierra and Cascades await. The Basecampers hope to visit.
I learned something new yesterday: PCMR measures snow from a study plot way in the back of the resort by Jupiter Peak. Which explains how they can post 11" on the internet without a speck of fresh down at the Payday chair.