Tahoe ski bachelor party, Tigger on Skis

March 24, 2010

Check out the videos:      

Went to a bachelor party out in Tahoe, third ski trip this season, 15 ski days or something ridiculous like that for me this season.  I was impressed by the Tahoe area – apparently they get a ton more snow than Colorado or Utah – though it is generally heavier.  Myself and one other guy got there early on Friday morning and did a hike up Mt Waterhouse and skied down – in a raging blizzard, chains were required to get up the pass.  They don’t require chains for passenger vehicles in Colorado, and I think studs may be illegal – chews up the road too much.  If I’m wrong they don’t enforce it like in California where they pull you over and force you to chain up, have 4wd, or turn around.  No chains no goThe hike up was about an hour and forty-five minutes. And it was worth every minute – one of the greatest runs of my life, if not the greatest. Huge deep untracked powder, giant trees perfectly spaced, big poofy boulder fields, knee to thigh deep bottomless powder.  Spectacular.  Met up with ten-twelve terrific guys at a big home that night, Read the rest of this entry »


Thirteen Attempt 14er Mount Belford, Six Summit

October 22, 2009
True Adventures headed to Colorado for a long weekend, Thursday through Monday in mid October 2009.  I took fourteen people from True Adventures out with me.  We met at church the weekend before and I asked how many had experience with mountaineering or winter camping.  Right around zero people raised their hands.  So we were off on a crash course on winter camping and the mountains and altitude!  I taught them as much as I could that day and over a series of emails during the ensuing week.  People were able to either purchase what they needed or rent it from REI or borrow from friends.  I love the first part of a trip – buying gear and packing is half the fun.  We all flew into Denver and managed to get cars and all meet up in Leadville where we spent the night at the Alps motel, quite clean and reasonably priced.  The next morning we woke up and distributed food – all $270 worth from Costco!  We had plenty.  Off to the trailhead for the Missouri basin route up Mounts Missouri, Belford, and Oxford. 
On the trail up into Missouri Basin

On the trail up into Missouri Basin

We hiked up the very steep first section of the trail about two hours, the girls leading the charge to our campsite where we took a break and set up camp near an old dilapidated log cabin around noon.  After a lunch of pb&j’s on pita we all packed up our daypacks and headed further up the valley, quickly getting above treeline and into a stunning valley with a fresh blanket of pristine white snow.  Read the rest of this entry »

Road Trip! Chicago to Colorado for 2.5 weeks :)

February 24, 2009

Heading west tomorrow!  Packing up my Blazer with all my winter toys – snowshoes, alpine skis, telemark skis and skins, snowboard, hiking boots, sleeping pad and bag.  Lots of time to have fun in the mountains, gotta have the proper equipment.  It’s 1000 miles exactly from Chicago to Denver, about 15-16 hours.  I’ll leave in the afternoon, put down 6-10 hours, crash in the car or a cheap hotel, get up and drive to Aspen to meet the family and extended family for three fun days.   Then the following weekend a place in Frisco, stay with a buddy in Vail a few nights, maybe do for a few nights, maybe spend a night in a backcountry hut, see some friends in Denver, other friends in Golden and the Bundy’s in Fort Collins, last weekend with Brinks’ and their in-laws in Vail, Lisa flys out to join me for a few days and drive back with me.  Looking forward to it.  See I have this season ski pass, I HAVE to get my money’s worth 😉 

It’s pretty stressful to travel like this – lots of things to be done, work to worry about, all this stuff to pack.  It’s hard work to break out of the everyday momentum.  Was thinking about that today.   But so worth it – makes a life more exciting and interesting in my opinion.  And it gives me life – gets me fired up.  I really love the mountains.

Chicago to Denver road trip map

Chicago to Denver road trip map

Hustle Up the Hancock 2009

February 23, 2009

I raced in the Hustle Up The Hancock on Sunday.  It’s a race up 94 floors to the top of the Hancock building.  I really enjoyed it – similar to mountain climbing.  They start a racer every eight seconds from 7am to about one in the afternoon.  The stairs didn’t really get that crowded, but I had to pass people every so often, which takes extra energy as you generally have to pass them on the outside, and need to take the stairs two at a time to get enough speed during the half-flight of stairs before the turn.  I did it as a team member through Lakeshore Athletic Club where I work part-time as a climbing instructor (and they sponsored part of the race).   They actually have water stations in the stairwell.  Timing chips on your shoe and the whole deal.  Very cool experience.  I hadn’t counted on the hand rail being such a help – I pulled myself up, probably 20-30% of my weight with my arms – mostly left arm.   I began running them two at a time but all my training was on the stair machine, and I did them one at a time in training so went to single steps – still made good time, besting my goal of 18 minutes, coming in at 17 minutes, 30 seconds.   Below are some videos I took with my Blackberry on the way up – gives a feel for it.

Apparently a fellow with a double lung transplant does the race each year – one of the happiest men around I’m told.  As would most of us be I suspect, were we given a new lease on life and been blessed with that forced appreciation of every minute and day on this earth.

I went to a free carbo-loading dinner the night before the race generously sponsored by the Signature room on the 95th floor of the Hancock and met the fellow who runs the race, terrific fellow and very committed to the Respiratory Lung Association of Metro Chicago whom the event benefits.

A couple points to note.  My friend owns the company that sells Better Whey of Life yogurt -it’s delicious low sugar all natural yogurt with 15-17 grams of whey protein in it.  I ate one before the race and two after.  I had right around zero soreness the day after the race and none two days after.  I did eat a bunch of other good food but I wonder if there’s a connection…

Hustle Up The Hancock Medal 2009

Hustle Up The Hancock Medal 2009

2008 What a Year in Adventure-ness

December 30, 2008

Reflecting on the adventurous aspects of 2008…  One of the best ever for me second only to 2000 when I travelled the world for 6.5 months.  This year I was so fortunate.  Five foreign countries, two new mountains climbed, fourth Chicago to Mackinac sailing race, surfing, skiing…  I must list all the adventures and trips I was lucky enough to participate in this past year, and be so grateful for the opportunities I was blessed with.

  1. Elwha Trail hike in the Olympic Mountains West of Seattle with four good buddies.
  2. The 100th running of the Chicago to Mackinac Sailing race, on a J120 named Valkyrie, placed well in our class, finished in around 55 hours.
  3. Cruised the North Channel of Lake Huron on a 38 foot Ericson sailboat owned by my parents with a highlight being Topaz lake.
  4. Nantucket Massachusetts for several days with my oldest friend Spencer and his family, driving on the beach, catching bluefish from the shore, enjoying old friends, meeting my namesake, Cormac Thomas Carney
  5. Upstate New York at my girlfriend’s grandparents’ “camp”, waterskiing, kayaking, mountain biking, swimming.
  6. Climbing the highest point in New York State, Mt Marcy, ticking off the 12th state high point on my quest to do all 50 of them.
  7. Jamaica for work, Kingston.
  8. Cayman Islands to visit my cousin Megan for a few days.
  9. Jazzfest in New Orleans for a bachelor party
  10. Numerous mountain biking excursions around Chicago
  11. Numerous sailing parties on my boat, a 28 foot Ericson christened the Imjatse after a Nepalese mountain I climbed.
  12. Rock climbing in Red River gorge, Kentucky
  13. Rock climbing at Mississppi Palisades twice
  14. Summiting Mt Belford, a 14,000 foot mountain in Colorado, then sleeping in a bivy sack on its flanks overnight in about 15 degrees.
  15. Pilgrimage to the original Chipotle in Denver
  16. 35 person white water rafting trip sponsored by the adventure ministry I run at church, running class III and IV rapids.
  17. Kayaking the Vermilion River in very high, fast water.
  18. Costa Rica!  Staying at my friend’s resort, surfing, jungle hikes, four-wheeling.
  19. Talon’s Challenge at Vail, skiing thirteen black and double black runs in a single day with a reward of a free beer and a free hat.
  20. Skiing at Aspen with the family
  21. Moving my friend’s sailboat 200 miles down the intracoastal waterway from Norfolk to Beaufort NC, just my father and I.
  22. Two winter attempts of Mt Humphries, the tallest mountain in Arizona, each a failure, but getting closer and I lived to climb another day.
  23. Thanksgiving in Boston
  24. Ten person caving trip that I led through Buckner’s cave in Southern Indiana.
  25. Ski trip to Wausau Wisconsin and Granite Peak Resort.
  26. Raced the Cohasset Triathlon
  27. 40+ person sea kayaking trip led by my group

What a wonderful year, with lots of love and great relationships started, nourished, and deepened during all these adventures and trips. 

I have to give a lot of credit for this year to Tim  Ferriss, author of The Four Hour Workweek for his writings and inspiration to live like this – thanks much Tim and all the best to everybody in 2009.  I always wanted to live like this but never knew anybody who did – I didn’t think it was really possible until I read Tim’s stuff and embarked upon the adventure.  Inspirational.  This year has been the best to date for my business, relationships, and adventures and experiences.  I hope for an even better 2009 and hope for the same for everybody.  I have to copy some of Tim’s stuff from a mentor of his here  – good food for thought:

“While many are wringing their hands, I recall the 1970s when we were suffering from an oil shock causing long lines at gas stations, rationing, and 55 MPH speed limits on Federal highways, a recession, very little venture capital ($50 million per year into VC firms), and, what President Jimmy Carter (wearing a sweater while addressing the Nation on TV because he had turned down the heat in the White House) called a “malaise”. It was during those times that two kids without any real college education, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, started companies that did pretty well. Opportunities abound in bad times as well as good times. In fact, the opportunities are often greater when the conventional wisdom is that everything is going into the toilet.

Well…we’re nearing the end of another great year, and, despite what we read about the outlook for 2009, we can look forward to a New Year filled with opportunities as well as stimulating challenges.”

Hustle up the Hancock

December 18, 2008

How cool is that race?  Up 94 floors to the top of the Hancock Center in Chicago. 

The Hancock Building in Chicago

The Hancock Building in Chicago

2700 or so entrants, staggered starts every 8 seconds.  Have heard great things about it but have never done it.  As a mountaineer it’s something I may be pretty good at or may find myself wheezing and puffing at floor 18.  We shall see.  Training on the stairmaster then will do some stairs at my office building – but tough to find somewhere open with as many floors as the Hancock – not too many options!  Aon, Sears, Hancock, Trump.   Goal is to get to level 20 for 25 minutes on the stairmaster before the race.  That may be aggressive.  Other goal is to do it in better than 17 minutes.  Puts me in the top third of my age group.  We shall see!  Pretty excited.  The gym where I work is sponsoring us, Lakeshore Athletic Club.  100 foot high climbing wall at Lakeshore Athletic clubI teach rock climbing there part-time, one day a week for two hours.  100 foot high wall, amazing. 

100 foot high climbing wall at Lakeshore Athletic club
The climbing wall at Lakeshore Athletic Club where I work

The climbing wall at Lakeshore Athletic Club where I work

It’s fun, free membership, pro-deals on climbing and outdoor gear, and a whopping 50 cents over minimum wage or something like that.  It’s fun, I love it.  Been at it for 8 years or so.  Also keeps me climbing.

Summitted Mount Belford in Colorado

November 5, 2008
Jeff Lemaster in front of Mount Belford

Jeff Lemaster in front of Mount Belford


Mt Missouri from Elkhead basin

Made it to the top of Mount Belford! Great climb, cold but with blue skies, very pretty, amazing valley and pretty mountain. I was pretty tired by the top but felt so good. I love the mountains and get such a high when I’m in the rockies. Was so fired up the whole time. I used to live out the for about five years and grew to love all different mountain activites. We actually spent the night at 11,300 feet after climbing the mountain.  We camped on about a 30 degree slope, each of us in a bivy sack.  Every time I would roll over I’d slide down a foot or so, so had to get up every so often and drag my sleeping gear up.  We went to bed when it was dark, about 6, and laid there until about 7 the next day – long night.  Clear, many stars, spectacular.  Saw people hiking by at what must have been 4am.

We did 4600 feet of elevation over only 3.7 miles – tell me that isn’t steep!  Got a very late start so weren’t able to do the doble of Mt Oxford too – but truth be told I’m not sure I could have handled it.  It was an  extra 1400 feet of elevation gain, and another couple miles – I was pretty shot by the time I got to camp, and the following morning was pretty painful on my knees as it was.  At the top of every fourteener and most every major mountain and many minor ones for that matter, is a summit log.