Monday, December 20, 2010

Mt. Hood Backcountry Turns

I spent a great weekend searching out turns in the backcountry around Mt. Hood this weekend!  Here' s a little footage to inspire your next tour!  Go get some.

Pocket Creek December 2010 from Chris Winter on Vimeo.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Desert Diaries - Epinepherine to Big Sur

After a great day skiing the Mt. Hood backcountry, I finally have the time and motivation to finish up the report on our month-long road trip through the desert southwest.  I’ve been home almost three weeks, and new memories of Cascade powder turns have started to push aside slightly older memories of sandstone walls.  Before the trip began, I knew in the back of my mind that we would be returning to Portland just as the ski season was ramping up, thinking that the anticipation of fresh snow might help my re-entry into the day-to-day.  Well, sure enough, it’s snow time!  So I better finish up the report on our trip so I can move on to colder and fluffier pursuits.

After six days at Indian Creek, we drove back to Moab to reload.  Our original plan was to head back to the Creek for two more days of climbing, but over breakfast at the Wake’N’Bake we pulled up a forecast, which called for cold, wet weather.  Vegas, on the other hand, looked sunny and warm.  Sin City here we come!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Desert Diaries - Indian Creek

You only get one first time.  In the midst of that new experience, the doors swing wide open and you suddenly perceive a new reality, new opportunities, and just maybe a new part of your life thereafter.  The rush can never be duplicated, but each time you return to your new found pastime, you try to recreate the unmatched eye opening feeling of having a life-long veil lifted off of your head.  Those moments, the feelings, the sensations, the little details, stick with you for the rest of your life, and if you’re lucky you get to experience that rush at least a few times before you move on.  If you build it up too much ahead of time, searching out that high, you might just be disappointed.  But when you take things as they come, those rare fleeting moments catch you by surprise and create memories that sustain and inspire you for the rest of your life.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Desert Diaries - Cochise Stronghold

Kristin and I just wrapped up a great week in Cochise Stronghold in Southern Arizona.  We spent two days in the Eastern Stronghold, clipping bolts and stretching out my ribs.  We then took a rest day, drove over a mountain pass, and descended into the Western Stronghold, where we spent two more days climbing multi-pitch routes in and around the Sheepshead.  I'm basically climbing pain free, and we got in some excellent routes.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Desert Diaries - Moab to Sedona

After a few days of exploring Moab, we have migrated south to the great state of Arizona and are now happily holed up in Sedona, surrounded by another amazing landscape and more sandstone spires.  We were chased from our desert paradise by two irresistible forces.  First, Mother Nature herself, who unleashed a furious rainstorm reminiscent of our home in the Pacific Northwest.  We rode out one day of rain by squatting in the public library and drinking beer in the local brewery.  But with more weather expected over the next week, the sandstone was likely to remain wet into the foreseeable future, and we decided to search out better weather down South.  Second, an injury.

Friday, October 22, 2010

First Installment of the Desert Diaries

The Summit of Ancient Art
On a rainy rest day, we found time to process some photos and check in from the road in Moab, UT.  We've had two and half days of excellent climbing and are only getting our feet wet.

So far the desert has not disappointed - a Tuesday afternoon of cragging on Wall Street, Wednesday on Ancient Art and then Thursday in Long Canyon.  We're adjusting to the climbing style in the SW, learning a thing or two on the stout cracks and soft rock of the towers.  From here, we'll likely head to Indian Creek in search of sunny fall days and Wingate splitters.   

Hope you enjoy the pictures! 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Glacier National Park Teaser

Kristin and I spent an amazing week earlier this month exploring Glacier National Park with my mom.  With too many stories and too many photos, we've had a hell of a time sorting through all the content and getting something posted about the trip.

Instead of waiting until its all organized, we decided to post a little teaser - a short clip of Mom preparing for her assault on Mt. Stanton.  The peak rises 4500' above Lake McDonald on the western edge of the park, and we figured it would make a great little hike on the second day of the trip.   

We won't give it away, but we will say that Mom kicked some serious butt.  Did she summit?  Did she bonk?  Did we lose her on the descent? You'll have to tune back in to find out what happened!  Reality TV at its finest.  

Labor Day 2010 - Springbok Arete Backpacking Trip

Labor Day weekend - the end of a wet and soggy summer - I tried to squeeze in one last mountain trip.  Faced with yet another mediocre forecast, Doug and I played the denial game and convinced ourselves we just had to be there because you never know what you'll get.  30%, 40%, 50% chance of rain.  It's all the same really ... isn't it?  How are we going to know what its like unless we go and find out?     

Ridiculing the stupid weather men, convinced they predict a 30-50% chance of rain every single day just so they're always right, we packed up our gear and headed to the Anderson River range in SW British Columbia.  The objective - Springbok Arete on Les Cornes.  If you're going to fail miserably, you might as well fail on a big objective.

Monday, September 20, 2010

El Potrero Chico Reprise

Back in March, Kristin and I escaped the dreary weather of the Pacific Northwest in search of Mexican limestone in El Potrero Chico.  We stumbled upon some amazing climbing, but we also met a memorable collection of personalities and characters.  One of the great people we got to know in Mexico, John Kelley, just published an article on his impressions of EPC and the unique community of climbers we found while we were there.  Check it out.  Nice work John!  

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Big Win in the Ninth Circuit on Logging Roads and Stormwater

The Ninth Circuit just issued a long-awaited opinion in a case we've been working on for several years. We brought the case against the Oregon Department of Forestry for discharging sediment pollution from logging roads into salmon rivers in the Tillamook State Forest. ODF has long argued they were exempt from the Clean Water Act's permitting requirement - basically leaving the pollution unregulated - but the Ninth Circuit disagreed.  Check it out.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Phish at the Greek Theater

This whole Phish thing is a little ridiculous, I'll be the first to admit, but how can I pass up the opportunity to hang with a half dozen college-era friends at the Greek Theater in Berkely, California?!  I mean come on!  I only get this opportunity once every ... what .... uhhh ... hmmm ... 3 or 4 months?  How could I miss it?

Towards the end of the third show, a nice girl dancing next to me turns and says, "they have to play 2001 right here, don't they?  They just HAVE to!"  And then they segued sweetly into this.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Shooting the Bugaboos!

Snowpatch Spire and the Howsers

Late last month, I spent a week in the Bugaboos in Southeastern British Columbia, my fourth trip to the range in the last eight years.  I can't seem to get enough of this place.  Since I returned to Portland, I've been focused on activities other than climbing (mostly work and ... ahem ... Phish at the Greek Theater).  I haven't had time for a proper trip report, and I honestly don't think I'll get around to doing one, so I'll give a little narrative through some pics I shot during the week. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Beacon Rock is Open for Business

Guy Pinjuv on Blownout, 5.10a

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Squampton! - Rock On to the Squamish Buttress

Ah the life of a climber in Portland - driving, driving and more driving in search of granite. Every summer, Kristin and I make at least one northerly pilgrimage to Squamish, BC in search of long routes laced with beautiful cracks. Set high above Howe Sound, the granite walls of the Chief offer some of the best multi-pitch trad climbing in the Pacific Northwest. Coastal rain forest eventually gives way to clean granite cracks unearthed from layers of moss and dirt by generations of dedicated climbers. Several hundred feet up the wall, all alone with you and your partner, you can enjoy sweeping views of old-growth forest, salmon streams, waterfalls and alpine ridges topped by snow-capped peaks and the queen of the area - Mt. Garibaldi. This places keeps drawing us back year after year.
From Rock On to the Squamish Buttress

Monday, June 28, 2010

Prusik Peak - Solid Gold

Weeks and weeks of crappy weather delayed the start of the alpine climbing season this year. I waited patiently for much of that time, hanging out at the crags, in the gym, at the bar, on my bike, hoping for a stable weather window and some dry rock in the high country. Earlier this month, a weekend of lowland rock climbing in Squamish was again thwarted by mother nature. We retreated to Tieton on the east side of the Cascade crest and promptly got dowsed by yet another rain storm. I climbed in a downpour in Hells Canyon. I greased my way up wet basalt at the Ozone. My patience was wearing thin.

A high pressure system finally started to move on shore over the past week, and the stars looked like they might align. Nate scored a hard-to-come by permit for the Enchantments and was looking for a couple of tag alongs. The moon was going to be full. All I needed was an objective and a partner.

The permit was for the Snow Lakes region, home to the fabled Prusik Peak. Here's a shot from a 2006 trip to the area.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Hells Canyon Trip Report ... sssshhh ... don't tell anyone.

In 2000, just as I was learning how to climb, I took a backpacking trip to Hells Canyon with Kristin and my friends Eli and Jason. Jason had just moved to Portland from New York state, and Eli flew in from New York City for a visit. I had lived in Portland for only a little more than a year. We drove in from the Oregon side, up and over endless steep hills of sagebrush and eventually down into the canyon and the banks of the Snake River. That trip left a strong impression on us west coast newbies, surrounded by what felt at the time like a frontier wilderness. I recently dug out some old photos, and we look like tiny little creatures in a vast foreign landscape. At the time we felt the same way and couldn't believe we had stumbled upon such a little talked about natural wonder.

From Hells Canyon 2010

Monday, May 17, 2010

Mushrooms, Cracks and Bolts

Skipping out early on Friday afternoon, Kristin and I picked up Moira and headed east on I84 towards Leavenworth looking forward to a couple of days of climbing. This was our first trip of the year to Der Bavarian Crackville, and we were definitely feeling the anticipation of climbing on granite for the first time in several months.

We woke up on Saturday morning at about 5 am and left for Snow Creek Wall. Kristin had never climbed Outer Space, so that was the main objective for the weekend. The last time we hung out with Doug and Moira, we tried the same route and got a late start, getting stuck behind several slow parties at Two Tree Ledge. After rapping off, we started up Champagne, only to get lost high up on the wall wondering where the hell the route went. That led to a late night of rappelling in the dark, which we were hoping to avoid this time around.

The early start helped, and we were racking up around 8-ish.
Snow Creek Wall was looking good on the hike in.

From Leavenworth May 2010

Monday, April 26, 2010

Tieton Temptations

I was lucky enough to spend my weekend in the lovely Tieton River valley with Nate, Stephanie and Melanie. The flowers are just starting to bloom as spring creeps up from the shrub steppe into the forest. We spent Saturday at The Bend, shivering through a cool morning and then basking in the afternoon light. We climbed several of the cracks on the West Side, including Salmon Song, Treatment Bound, Sugar Kicks and Ambient Domain.

The highlight was definitely shooting Stephanie on lead on Hallowed Ground, 5.9.

From Tieton - April 2010

Sunday, April 4, 2010

El Potero Chico TR

Its been a few weeks since Kristin and I returned from El Potrero Chico, and hardly an hour has gone by that I haven't thought back on this amazing trip. Two-thousand foot walls of limestone, 700 routes, 15-minute approaches, $8 bottles of tequila, $5 camping, and $1 36-ounce beers. The numbers all add up!

From El Potrero Chico

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Trout Creek

I spent a day out at Trout Creek last weekend. The light never really cooperated because of some haze. I got a couple of decent shots, but the colors of the stone set against the sky don't really pop like they usually do up there during the late afternoon. I love this place but the next day I always feel like I got spit out of a meatgrinder.

We're off the Potrero Chico tonight! Sun, bolts and limestone.

From Trout Creek

Saturday, March 13, 2010


I just discovered, which is an on-line mapping tool that tracks your bike rides. Let's see how it works. Here's the ride I took this afternoon:

Friday, March 5, 2010


The Roseland Theater
Portland, Oregon
February 27, 2010

Halloween weekend 1998, I found myself in Las Vegas surrounded by a bunch of freaky kids who traveled from all corners of the country to see Phish dress up in a musical costume. I can't remember who came up with the idea, but I flew down there with my buddies Jason and Gene from Portland and landed a room in the giant neon green MGM Grand.

On Halloween night, Phish dressed up in the Velvet Undeground's Loaded and the Oh Sweet Nuthin just about blew my mind (check it out). The show let out but the party wasn't over. We had tickets to this up and coming young funk band from New Orleans that was supposed to play until dawn. Galactic brought the heat, and since then I've been catching them off and on when I can, mostly down in New Orleans for Jazz Fest. 12 years later and they're still at it, having become a main stay in the New Orleans scene. Collaborating with the young guns and the old timers, they've bridged the generations and updated the cajun funk sound for the 21st century.

Check out some footage from last year.

Last weekend Galactic rolled through town on a tour that will pretty much land them in New Orleans just on time for Jazz Fest. Kristin and I decided at the last minute to check them out, and we're glad we did.

The show was good, but if you compare the first two clips you can tell they were feeling the crowd more in their hometown venue. We still enjoyed our little taste of Nawlins here in Portland, and we're looking forward to a little more cajun love later this Spring. Will you be there?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Video of the Mt. Hood Ski Descent

My buddy Matt Bedrin pulled together this little video of our most excellent day on Mt. Hood. Enjoy, and check out his exploits at

Friday, February 19, 2010

Mt. Hood Summit and Ski Descent

The winter-long pattern of warm rain and crappy skiing conditions relented this week as a high pressure system moved into the area. I made the executive decision to take a mental health day and cut out for a climb and ski descent of Mt. Hood. I called my buddy, Matt Bedrin, who's trying to become the first person to climb and ski the highest 40 volcanoes in Cascadia, so I knew he'd be game for a last minute, mid-week outing.

We geared up and left the car at 2 am, only seconds before the first and only yard sale of the day. Walking across the parking lot, Matt hit a pocket of black ice and went down hard. My brain barely had time to think "be careful" before I hit the ground a split second later. With bruised egos, scraped elbows and a groggy heads, we picked up our stuff and started the slog up the Palmer.

From Mt. Hood Ski Descent

We prepped for a battle, as the wind was blowing 20-30 mph from Timberline Lodge all the way up to the top of the Palmer, making for some cold, dark skinning conditions.

From Mt. Hood Ski Descent

With an east wind, we were able to find a little shelter near the lift shack at the top of the Palmer, and we stopped to fuel up. The cold set in pretty quick, so we geared back up and started moving after a quick rest. 15-20 minutes later, just as we were warming back up, the wind dropped to a dead calm. At first I thought it was a brief lull, but from there on out we were treated to excellent, calm skies.

We got to the Hogsback as the sun rose and stared up at the blank canvass of a mountain, wiped clean by the snows earlier in the week.

From Mt. Hood Ski Descent

From Mt. Hood Ski Descent

From Mt. Hood Ski Descent

From Mt. Hood Ski Descent

From Mt. Hood Ski Descent

From Mt. Hood Ski Descent

From Mt. Hood Ski Descent

From the Hogback, we punched in a boot track up towards the Old Chute.

From Mt. Hood Ski Descent

From Mt. Hood Ski Descent

From Mt. Hood Ski Descent

From Mt. Hood Ski Descent

We had the whole mountain to ourselves and were treated to amazing views of the Cascades and surrounding foothills - mid-winter solitude at its best.

From Mt. Hood Ski Descent

5000' of vertical was just too temping, and we eventually bid farewell to the summit and started the ski descent. The upper section was survival sideslipping, but we eventually found the goods on the steep slopes of the Old Chute and then the Hogsback. Great turns in a beautiful setting.

From Mt. Hood Ski Descent

From Mt. Hood Ski Descent

From there we got some photo ops at Illumination Rock and then charged the ripper corduroy back to the Lodge. Great Day!

From Mt. Hood Ski Descent

From Mt. Hood Ski Descent

From Mt. Hood Ski Descent

Good luck to Matt on the Cascadia 40!

From Mt. Hood Ski Descent