Job’s and neighboring peaks loop

For labor day weekend Ann and I revisit a forest road we’d given up on once before with our camper. It seems much better now, and leads us to a great base camp for looping Job’s peak, Job’s sister, and Freel peak. Smoke rolls in pretty thick by the afternoon, but clears again at night.

First view of Job's peak

Job's peak register mailbox

Carson valley

Ann on Job's peak

Unidentified yellow flower

Quartz and smoke

Ridge hiking

Pettingell Peak

I’m posting this a month late, but wanted to make note of this day trip with my friends Pete and Aaron, and Aaron’s friend Jess who joined us for her first mountain hike. Smoke from California had followed me all the way to the Rockies, but didn’t spoil our enjoyment of this peak I’ve admired several times from the Continental Divide Trail.

Trail antics

At Herman lake

Rocky Mountain Parnassus butterfly

Friends on the divide

Smoke to the north

Pete, Aaron, and Jess on Pettingell peak

Descending the north ridge

Giant Ladybug (Anatis lecontei)

Looking back

Matterhorn Peak North Arête

I’m posting this two months after the trip. Gabe and I return to the north face of Matterhorn peak after an aborted attempt two weeks earlier. This time we hike in and bivouac at the little tarn on the approach, one of my favorite spots. The next day we rise early, climb the North Arete 5.7, and hike out – still making for a worthy day of effort. I did this route back in 2002. Though my memory of it didn’t feel reliable, it proved accurate. It’s not the easiest route to find, but is forgiving of errors. We stayed close to the supertopo line this time, but I think the wandering route my partner and I took in 2002 might be more fun.

Moonrise over twin peaks ridge

Gabe's bivy

Matterhorn bivy

Sunrise sawtooth ridge


Vermont’s Camel’s Hump

I’ve been on a bit of a blogging hiatus while working hard on Postmatic, but there have still been good outings, and this is one I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I go to Vermont occasionally to work with my partner Jason and visit family in Burlington. The region is dominated by two peaks, the Camel’s Hump and Mount Mansfield, both of which I’ve looked up at longingly on all my previous visits. This time around Jason invokes his (pre-) Father’s Day wish to do it with me.

The hike does not disappoint, taking us over a nice variety of terrain to the distinctive rock flats on the summit.


Lake Champlain from Camel's Hump

These trails are so different from the hikes I do out west, it almost feels like a different activity altogether. Paths are cut through dense woods, making a “tread” that is much more alive and three-dimensional than I’m used to. Roots, moss, rocks, water, and steep grades combine to create paths that bear little resemblance to a level, dry Sierra trail. The water is especially odd to me. While we bake in extreme drought in Reno, here there is water coming out of every nook and cranny in this landscape. This is evident on the ascent, but it’s the descent that really throws me for a loop. It’s steep and often under flowing water. Jason offers to let me run the long way while he returns to the car and drives around to pick me up. I soon see a sign with a higher mileage than I expected and my feet are so muddy and slippery that I can’t really run at all. I worry that he’ll be waiting for hours, but fortunately the trail slowly dries out enough for me to high step along, though I stub my toe twice doing it.

Camel's Hump over bog

Unidentified caterpillar

Rock veg

In the end Jason and I converge on the trailhead simultaneously, perfect timing.

Petersen Mountain

Just north of Peavine, Petersen Mountain tops a small north-south range that is very close to Reno, yet I’ve ignored it for almost four years. This weekend Matt joined us to see what we’ve been missing, and it turns out to be a really nice hike. The range really has two parallel ridges, and the miniature valley in between feels like a land unto itself, totally isolated from the surrounding world.

Thumbs through

Instant elevation gain



The remains of a shelter inspire Matt to enact a scene from Naked and Afraid.




The peak log reveals only a handful of visitors each year.



Matt on the summit

Summit log exam

New Washoe City to Virginia City Hike

Matt and Kathleen live near Washoe lake, love to hike, and surprised us when they talked about hiking from their house to Virginia City. Matt did it a couple of years ago, and Ann has wanted to do it since we hiked Mount Davidson three years ago. Today we all did it together – a great Nevada hike!

Departing for Virginia City

View check

Us above Washoe lake

At the apex of Jumbo grade are a bunch of towers, and today a pair of golden eagles perched on top.

Golden eagles

Golden eagles

Virginia city was abuzz with motorcycles and weekend visitors, whom we gladly joined for dinner at the Cafe Del Rio.

Kathleen and Matt

Great weather in the Gorge

Our friend Mike and his family couldn’t have picked a better weekend for some climbing in Owen’s River Gorge outside Bishop, California. Unusually warm sunny days provided perfect conditions.

Piñons campsite

Canyon view from elblow room

Canyon moonrise

Lower gorge entrance

River crossing

Hiking out

Our routes: Phoenix 5.7, Iceberg 5.9, PD Time 5.7, Pet Trackers 5.10a, Quail Trail p1 5.10a, Nice Jugs 5.9, Hole in the Wall 5.9, Warning: Laser Beam 5.8, Watch for Rocks 5.8, Boating Prohibited 5.10a, Warning Signs 5.10d

Granite Peak Exploration

We spent last weekend in the desert with our friends Dan, Renee, and Coconut. We started up Granite peak near Gerlach, and while we didn’t make the summit, we enjoyed every minute. This is some amazing country we live in.

We drove up past Pyramid lake and spent a chilly (22°F) night in the Smoke creek desert.

Needle Rocks

Pyramid water walker

Smoke creek Venus

Ann at Smoke Creek

Our outing on Granite peak featured wandering ridges, rock gardens, berry-laden junipers, and rugged canyons.


We gain the ridge

Into rock gardens

Looking over Smoke Creek

Ridgetop spires

More berry than juniper

Renee and Ann


Hiking into the sunset

Rain to 8,662 feet in Lassen National Park

Ann agreed to try snow camping this weekend, and she got to try rain and snow camping! It was more fun than it sounds. It wasn’t raining yet when pitched the tent in the dark Friday evening, there were even stars out. Snow seems to glow faintly at night, and we got set up on it with only minor engineering to make our stakes stay in.

Later Gabe, Aspen, and Ava rolled in. We saw them in the morning.

Kuhlman family say good morning

Aspen and Ava hiked with us to the stinky, boiling pools of the Sulphur Works.

Ann and Aspen at the sulfur works

From there Gabe, Ann, and I climbed past the Ridge lakes to an unnamed peak 8,662. It was still raining lightly on top!

Gabe on Peak 8662

Summit view

Ann finishing the climb

We still managed a fun descent, and returned to camp very wet. The rain only increased overnight, and we hit the road in the morning. A wet trip to be sure, but no regrets.