Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Castle Dome, failed attempt

There aren't too many things around Yuma on my to do list that I haven't been able to do yet. Castle Dome is one of them. Castle Dome is the highest point in Yuma County. From Yuma it looks like it would be hard to summit due to its sheer sides facing Yuma.

The "back side" is less sheer, and can be hiked.

We decided to drive in the night before and camp at the base of the wash. Unfortunately shortly after we passed Castle Dome mine one of our four vehicles experienced not one, but two flats. Luckily one of the other vehicles was able to loan a spare, and we got two tires changed out in the dark.

Early the next morning we made breakfast and broke camp. By the time we broke camp, one older hiker had already started up the trail and another hiking group arrived.

We started off right behind that group. We were moving faster than they were and passed them up. This was our first mistake. The only one of our group who had done the hike stayed back at camp, leaving us with only vague directions.

We missed our turn up the wash, marked on the below map as missed turn. We headed up the next wash when the trail seemed to go cold. It was hard hiking up loose and steep rocks that lead to a ridge line that did not connect with Castle Dome.
Top of the ridge looking away from Castle Dome


Joshua Tree, Thanksgiving weekend

Joshua Tree has been on my hit list for a while. I bought a climbing book for J Tree even before I got back to the US. It is also a convenient "midway" point to camp between Yuma and San Diego.

Thanksgiving seemed like as good of a time as any to head out there. Cool fall weather in the desert. One of the reason for going was getting some last footage for Lele Kawa's Literally Living the Dream movie.

Unfortunately since I was the only rock climber in the group I didn't get to put the climbing book or gear to use. My hopes to use this trip to draw my friends into the world of rock climbing did not pan out. The best I was able to get was a little bit of scrambling and some easy bouldering, in addition to some hiking.

In addition to scrambling we did get to do some long boarding. There was even some long boarding at night that resulted in some good looking photos.

Our only attempt of the weekend at slack lining did not go so well. No makes.

We also stopped at Keys View to take in the valley.

One of the most enjoyable parts of the weekend were the nights spent around the camp fire.


Pilot's Knob, CA

A new hike in Yuma, for me. Nexgen Yuma and Meetup put together a hike up Pilot's Knob, a hill in California right at the point where California, Arizona and Mexico all meet. This hike is similar to the "goat trail" up Telegraph Pass minus the approach hike. It is a little under a mile in distance and a little over 600 feet in elevation gained.

Once at the summit you are rewarded with a panoramic view that includes Yuma, Algodones, Picacho, Felicity and the Imperial Sand Dunes
 "Center of the World" Felicity, CA
Algodones, Mexico


On Las Vegas and Snowboarding

I feel that with the exception of the hardcore fans of Vegas, everyone else shares a love hate relationship with the city. In this small area of the world you can do just about anything. The hate comes from the cost of this convenience, both financial and facing the crowds. I feel that overall I like Vegas, despite my hate of crowds and the pain I feel in my wallet when its time to leave. Its good seem to outweigh the bad. Where else could you gorge yourself at a buffet, before skiing, rock climb on your way back to the city, where you enjoy dinner from a Michelin Star chef, shoot machine guns spanning the last 100 years and then watch the most talented fighters in the world beat each other for sport? Nowhere that I know of.

I'm sure there are very few people who consider Vegas to be a ski town, but less than an hour from downtown they have a small resort that is pretty decent. Situated above 8,500 feet on mount Charleston, it actually receives a fair amount of real snow. At the time I went on Christmas Eve it had received more snow than any of the Souther California or Arizona resorts that are within a weekends trip away from me.

As long as you avoided the bunny hill, there were no lift lines and nicely groomed slopes. The bunny hill was crowded, barely steep enough to slide on, and full of tourist form all over the world. They didn't have nearly as many terrain features as Big Bear had, but there were a few jumps and sliders scattered along one of the runs.

With a new GoPro arrangement and a little editing I put together the video below.