Leading at the Edge

Last weekend I got to join a hoard of incoming MBA and MS students up in the mountains for some team-building and leadership exercises.  At first glance this looked like a weekend of holding hands and talking about our feelings but I was freshly surprised by the programs they ran us through.  The Nature Place, a camp founded by 10th Mountain Division Vet Sandy Sanborn, was host to our group of 60ish eager new grad students.  We spent the weekend in small teams completing orienteering tasks, climbing high ropes courses and assisting in a mock earthquake emergency rescue operation.  My small team consisted of a multinational  crew from Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, China and the US.  (Our team name was "Team Bang" which means "Team Awesome" in Chinese.)  In all, the people who ran the show did an awesome job integrating team lessons into some pretty exciting activities that most of the guests would never dreamed of attempting.  The pictures below show us working together through a pretty challenging weekend.
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-Tyler Grubb

Sh*t for Brains Couloir

Location: Just East of A-Basin Ski Area
Elevation: 11,000 at bottom, 13,000 at top
This was the first snowboard-mountaineering type climb I have done that required the use of crampons and ice axe to reach a sweet descent and I’ve gotta say…I’m hooked.  The lines that you can reach by climbing are far more appealing and challenging then the everyday mellow black   diamonds at the    bottom of Breckenridge.  Andrew, Jon, Chris and Joe accompanied me on an early rising morning to attempt this quick up and down and to the bar kind of day at A-Basin.  After leaving Denver at 6 AM we hit some pretty inclement weather up in the mountains in the form of cold sleet/rain with some pretty poor visibility.  We got to the parking lot and snagged a front row spot on the A-Basin’s world renowned beach and geared up for the climb.  It wasn’t until half way up the approach when I started post-holing into some pretty deep snow in the trees that I realized how stupid I was for not grabbing my snowshoes at 5:45 when I ran out my door.  I was pretty wiped after walking/crawling to the bottom  of the steep chute but adrenaline took over as we looked up on some sweet terrain while we threw our crampons for the steep (45-50 degree) stuff.  A nice boot pack from someone’s previous climb led us to the top where we strapped up and ripped down some pretty scrappy snow.  All in all a good morning and some good practice for the Bell Cord Couloir in a couple weeks.
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-Tyler Grubb

Epic Snow up on Berthoud Pass

I got a chance to make it up to Berthoud Pass for a few backcountry runs today after our plans to climb and ski Torrey's Peak were scrapped due to inclement weather (-14 wind chill temps in the forecast). We got lucky over on the pass though and had sunshine with sprinklings of snow all day. Jon, Chris, Andrew, Colin and I trekked up the hill to find some epic snow stashes waiting to be ripped up. They all sped forward on skins while I struggled behind in snowshoes. Every time I go into the backcountry I get one step closer to buying a splitboard as I get more and more frustrated with tramping around deep snow in snowshoes with a heavy load on my back.

 I did get a chance to wear my new REI Shuksan hard shell which provides amazing protection against wind and wet snow.
One last pic of Jon shredding some gnar-shmellows...
 We got pretty lucky on our third hike up after we all heard (and felt) an ominous "Whoomp" as a crack formed across a 100 yard aspect that we were all crossing.  The two foot deep crack had us all pissing our pants as we delicately tip-toed across the snowfield into the safety of the trees.  Definitely a reminder that the mountain is king.

Otherwise an epic day up on the pass.

-Tyler Grubb