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Monday, June 17, 2019

Weekly Post: The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get by Robert Glenn Ketchum

by Robert Glenn Ketchum


Growing up my parents had a home near Sun Valley, Idaho. It was there that I learned to ski. Over many years I befriended members of the Decker Flats Climbing and Frisbee Club, with whom I had both life, and art-forming outdoor experiences. I had my camera, and these are my adventures.  Enjoy!!  ~Robert Glenn Ketchum



Monday, June 17, 2019

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #163: DFCFC, #163:  I am hopeful the hazy clouds (last post) suggest some warming, but as we regroup at our snow cave, the temperature is going down sharply once again. Out of our skis and, into our puffy layers, we do dinner and watch the evening show. After food, a little exercise always works to get my heat restarted, so I go for a hike with my camera to see whatever is offered up. The easiest, previously established path for that is, up along the rock exposed ridge above our encampment that overlooks both the Hyndman-Old Hyndman-Cobb  we are in, and also the basin between Duncan Ridge-Hyndman, whose skyline and “ribs’” are defined by these ragged, upthrust walls (above). The hazy clouds linger, but now I realize, this is not an incoming change in the weather, but rather ice crystals in the freezing air, as the temperature keeps dropping.The lowering sun paints the crystal haze and the landscape with a brief warm glow, as twilight starts to fall. My food glow is still coming on though, so I climb a little higher.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Monday, June 10, 2019

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #162: DFCFC, #162:  Most of us do some skiing around the basin to stay active and warm in the sub-zero conditions, which is dropping further rapidly as the afternoon grows late. I am taking pictures of our encampment basin, but also keeping on eye on Chris Dupont, who is doing an ascent along a trail Gordon Williams broke snow, in his descent earlier in the day. Just before the more distant basin roll, where Gordon stands in post #160, Chris leaves the rocks, and traverses out across a huge, open slope to the left. Framed within the upper basin beneath Old Hyndman, and poised ON the slopes of Hyndman summit, he too, as Gordon before, stands motionless for a great deal of time, definitely having a “The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get,” moment, then he steps into this, doubling, literally down, on the fun! I notice something else as well,..hazy clouds floating through the sky. Perhaps there will be some warming, and the stunning cold-and-clear is ending,..or not!

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Monday, June 3, 2019

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #161: DFCFC, #161:  While we eat a leisurely hi-carb lunch, sub-zero “sunbath,” do yoga, wax our skis for the next tour out, and photograph, Gordon Williams has taken a VERY dramatic tour, that brings him along a ridge with dramatic overviews of the Old Hyndman-Cobb wall. When he finally arrives back in camp, he “highly recommends,” the tour he has just taken, and while the rest of us will ski around in our basin, once again today, Chris DuPont has another idea. Fueled on food, and warm layers of clothing, he recognizes, Gordon’s descent line gives, not-only a stunning perspective, but ACCESS to something else - a late-afternoon shot at repeating his twilight downhill run, on the slopes at the foot of Hyndman, above our snow cave-hotel encampment. As he toured the basin above camp, just this morning, this new quest is a serious amount of work. Here, on approach to Gordon’s crossing descent tracks, he is framed by the ice-encrusted, ragged faces that comprise the wall between Old Hyndman summit, and Cobb Peak. Chris is now about to turn left and have his own, "The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get,” experience.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Monday, May 27, 2019

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #160: DFCFC, #160:  After lunch on the benches of our snow cave-hotel, Gordon Williams is doing a little solo tour UP! We are all watching and taking pictures because of the dynamic scale and stature of the Hyndman-Old Hyndman-Cobb basin where we are encamped. As he ascends, I realize that he hopes to round a windblown ridge of rock and snow, placing him MUCH closer to Old Hyndman-Cobb’s stunning connected wall of frosted, sub-zero rock. While I am still trying to change my POV and keep him in sight, he reaches the rock/snow ridge, and rounds the corner. There is some navigable snow, but he eventually descends a bit, to a very windswept dome, where takes his skis off, and stands like this, before the summit of Old Hyndman. “The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get!” He stands there for SO long, literally without moving a muscle, I wonder if he has been frozen in place, but eventually he steps back into his skis, and continues to descend along the dome on the right, that will take him back into fully snow-covered slopes, leading into our basin’s encampment.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Monday, May 20, 2019

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #159: DFCFC, #159:  Gordon Williams has opted for an afternoon solo ski to a high point, to have look at the summits around us, and an overview of our entire Hyndman-Cobb basin. Most of us are still in our encampment, finishing lunch and getting gear together for an afternoon tour, but it is hard to keep our eyes off of his dramatic ascent across the base slopes of Hyndman. His traverse line soon carries him well above the tracks left from Chris Dupont’s previous ascent/descent of these slopes (previous post, and #151). Even though Gordon is now in some very extreme territory, he is relatively safe from danger of avalanche. Following his climb, Jennifer finally asks the inevitable question, “Where is Gordy going?” Pondering that question, it is clear to me what he intends. From where he is, he can look back and upwards to see Hyndman, and that is Cobb Peak in front of him in this image, but from his POV, Old Hyndman is still out-of-view, and Gordon wants to see it all. Knowing that, I determine he is headed for the rocks, in hopes he can navigate around the corner which will give him the full, 360˙ reveal. I also realize that from where I am, I will loose site of him, so I strap on my skis, grab my camera and big lenses, and take a little ski out on my own into the basin, so that I can keep him in site, even if he does go around the corner of the rocky ridge.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Monday, May 13, 2019

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #158: DFCFC, #158:  What Gordon Williams was surveying before having lunch with our group, was what he was thinking about doing after the meal - taking a personal tour of the basin and summits from the highest advantage point that he could reach safely on skis. Chris Dupont took a similar tour this morning to a different location (post #156) and he had a great ski, but also saw a sobering avalanche. All of this information is shared while we eat, and none of it seems to deter Gordon, so once the meal is finished, he is off. He has not really told us where he is going, but there are only so many slopes that are actually safe. I have some sense of what he is about to do, so I settle in with my big telephoto lens to enjoy the show. Gordon begins his climbing traverse immediately after leaving camp, and his line carries him across the base slope of Hyndman (above), which Chris had skied the previous evening (note Chris’ tracks above Gordon). Gordon, however, did not come to express his parallel skiing skills. He is pursuing the DFC&FC mantra, “The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get,” and he is heading for a much “higher” place. Those of us still in camp and watching this, love the spectacle of scale, and while we continue to snack away, and gear up for our own afternoon ski-around, it is hard to take our eyes off of his ascent.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Monday, May 6, 2019

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #157: DFCFC, #157:  Gordon Williams took my partner, Vicki Golden, and our friend, Jennifer, for a morning tour of the Old Hyndman-Cobb basin, not only to have a look around, but it is Jennifer’s first time skiing cross-country (as opposed to her excellent downhill) and Gordon wants to make sure she gets comfortable with the technique. The wind has packed the surface snow very hard, so there is little powder to push through, and it makes for EXCELLENT touring conditions. As he and I expected, Jennifer adapts immediately, and as they return to our encampment, I can see the joy of the experience on Jennifer’s face. I take this shot when they come back to our snow cave for lunch, and besides the ecstatic smile on Jennifer, there are other things worth noting here. First, I love the gear! This is pre-Patagonia so what you see are gaiters, wool knickers, shells, ski sweaters, and down parkas. It is also still well below zero, but we have all adjusted to the point that activity actually makes us hot. Jennifer has taken off her parka, and Gordon is skiing in his base-layer turtleneck, with his sleeves rolled up. We are going to each lunch before launching on any afternoon adventures, but I can tell Gordon is already pondering what he will do for the rest of the day, and at this moment, he is studying that possibility.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Monday, April 29, 2019

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #156: DFCFC, #156:  The basin between Hyndman and Duncan Ridge hangs above our camp, and Chris Dupont has decided to spend part of this day exploring there. Basically, pursuing shots I hope might be used by POWDER magazine, I am trying to get some images of him skiing in the basin that will show the drama and scale of where we are. I have climbed into the rocks above our snow cave-hotel, and am looking down at him while he tours. I shout to him to ski into this position, a GREAT perspective of the ragged profile of Duncan Ridge. At the moment of this picture, however, we both hear a LOUD rumble, and turn to see the entire wall at the head of the basin, break off in an large avalanche, actually still moving in this image. We are sufficiently far away to not be threatened, but the event is certainly sobering, and Chris begins his retreat to camp to join the others for lunch.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Monday, April 22, 2019

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #155: DFCFC, #155:  Gordon takes my partner, Vicki Golden, and our friend Jennifer on a tour of the Hyndman-Old Hyndman-Cobb (to the right) basin, below our encampment. As you will see in future posts, the views are dramatic. Chris Dupont goes in the opposite direction, climbing the slopes of Hyndman, to explore the basin between Hyndman and Duncan Ridge. Both of these trips offer me photographic possibilities, so I opt to stay out of my skis and in camp, so that I can use the footpaths we have created to move between my spread-out subject matter. Jennifer has no problem with the heel-free skiing, and LOVES being in such a spectacular environment, so this crew has a wonderful morning and are now headed back for some lunch. To follow Chris’s adventure, I climb back up into the rocks, where I established footpath on the previous evening (posts #152-153), and from that vantage, I can see him as he crests the rise he is climbing, and skis into the basin.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Monday, April 15, 2019

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #154: DFCFC, #154:  We linger outside our snow cave-hotel into the twilight watching the alpenglow light show (previous posts), enhanced by the stunning cold and clear weather. We are all wearing layer-upon-layer of wool, down, and shells, so even at -15˙, we are all comfortable,..then the “breeze” picks up. The wind chill takes less than 10-minutes to drive us all inside, where with candles resting in spoons stuck in the walls, sleeping bags, and some modest libations, we find ourselves quite cozy. The party lasts for a bit, but we are all tired, so candles out. As I drift off in the warmth of the sleeping bag, I can hear the wind really gusting and am glad to be so well-sheltered. I am sleeping closest to the exit portal of our cave, and in the middle of the night, I hear Jennifer get up to go out to the bathroom,..but too much time goes by, and she does not return, so I go after her. I find her hypothermic, with her pants down, and cold enough, she cannot get them back up. I correct that, get her back in the cave, and then Gordon and I warm her up. Once that drama is over, everyone goes back to sleep well. The morning dawns stellar clear, and an excellent breakfast is had by all, as we slowly strip off our layers. With conditions like this, it is clearly my day to fulfill any shots for POWDER magazine, so I am going to be VERY busy, because everyone has different plans. Mila is going to stay in camp and do an extended yoga routine. Chris wants to explore the adjacent high valley, and Gordon offers to take “the girls” on an exploratory tour ski, as this will be Jennifer’s first time skiing cross-country. Above you see the merry adventurers as they prepare to launch.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Monday, April 8, 2019

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #153: DFCFC, #153:  At the point of turnaround in my evening rock climb behind our encampment, I am treated to an encompassing view of Cobb Peak (last post), towering above the basin within which we will be spending the next three days skiing and exploring. I am climbing among rock outcrops that descend from the upper slopes of the summit of Hyndman. They are navigable because they have been blown free of snow by high winds. Thankfully it is not windy now, as that would be life threatening, but it is f#%*ing cold at -15˙. Because we are all out of camp and moving about after a huge dinner, we are generating heat and staying warm, but soon it will be best to retire inside our “toasty” snow cave system. Since my climb up, it has grown much darker, and I think the show of alpenglow and late light is long past, until I stop to catch my breathe, and look upslope at Hyndman summit towering above me in the dark. Dramatic as it is without the special effects, one last reward of the evening, for practicing the DFC&FC mantra, “The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get,” - a last, distant ray of sun lights up the ice-encrusted summit ridge. We have not even been here 24hrs. and all these things have happened! What will tomorrow bring?

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Monday, April 1, 2019

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #152: DFCFC, #152:  Chris and Mila are downhill skiing above camp, others have just glided out across the rolling hills from our camp. With my fire-branded hand, right hand, seared from grabbing a hot pot without my gloves, I do not feel like grasping a ski pole at the moment, but I have been able to operate my cameras, so I take a hike, and establish one of the “walking” paths that will lead out of camp. Our snow cave berm is a rock moraine when exposed, and above our campsite, the winds have swept the ridge snow bare. It is easily accessible from camp, and then very simple to navigate as it climbs above our site, offering views as you get higher, of the large valley on the other side that sits at the foot of slopes descending from Duncan Ridge. I finally reach a point of both verticality and darkness that marks my turn-around, and in turning around, the Pioneers offer up this fading twilight view of Cobb Peak, proving once again the truth of the DFC&FC mantra, “The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get."

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Monday, March 25, 2019

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #151: DFCFC, #151:  After a good dinner and a spectacular display of alpenglow on the summits, we all square camp away to find ourselves in a stunningly cold and beautiful twilight. It is still relatively early in the evening, and bright enough to see easily, so the best way to stay warm and get the food that we just ate, circulating, is to to move around and generate body heat. Chris Dupont and his girlfriend, Mila, cannot wait for the next day to ski, and I know he wants to put first tracks on Hyndman anyway, so it is not surprising, they put their skis on a begin a long steady climb above the camp. Chris is an excellent skier, who has experienced helicopter skiing in the backcountry, but he has seldom been in heel-free-binding skis, like the ones we are all using here. Perhaps he also wants to establish how they handle, so it is up onto the slope above us, and then in the shadow of twilight, Chris lights up the first official run of our adventure.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Monday, March 18, 2019

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #150: DFCFC, #150:  The last two posts show the view of the Old Hyndman-Cobb Peak panorama that our dining bench faces. Off to the left of our encampment, however, this looms prominently above us,..Hyndman Peak. From our POV, it is QUITE impressive. I should also point out the pale “lines” in the snow at the middle-bottom of this shot. Those are ski tracks. Chris DuPont and his girlfriend, Mila, could not wait for tomorrow to arrive to say they skied Hyndman, so between the finishing of the snow cave, and the start of dinner, they climb up the slope into a basin above us, and shred some great parallel in a descent back to camp. Chris is a very good skier, but has never done anything quite like this, so he is pretty jacked up, and REALLY excited about tomorrow. Our other guest, Jennifer, has settled into life in camp, and seems to be warm, comfortable and less shocked about where she is. However, when we get in the snow cave, that shifts a bit. In the cave, we party for awhile, then finally blow out the candles. About ten minutes go by, when I hear Jennifer quietly whispering to Gordon, “Gordy, are we going to die?” To which Gordon responds, she has nothing to worry about, the cave is safe and warm. He also suggests, she might stay warmer, if she moves more closely towards him, which she does. Nice! I on the other hand (pun intended), I deal with my burned palm by thrusting it out of my sleeping bag and onto the ice floor of the cave, when ever the throbbing wakes me up. Eventually, we all sleep surprisingly well, especially considering it is now -15˙ outside.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Monday, March 11, 2019

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #149: DFCFC, #149:  I worry that burning and blistering my right hand on a hot pot handle will impact my use of the camera, AND my use of ski poles, so I am really upset I have done this to myself on the first day of the trip. As painful as it is, I get relief when the pain builds by sticking my hand into the snow bank. This cold-packing is actually a technique now used on burn victims, but I did not know that at the time, I just wanted the pain to stop. Thankfully, doing this prevented me from being too impaired, and I was able to work my camera and get some amazing shots of the fading twilight, on some of the most impressive summits in Idaho. Above, is Cobb Peak. The previous post, Old Hyndman, is connected to Cobb by the ridge running off to the left of frame. The walkway we have created in camp also leads to some specific trails in the snow. I create several just to reach photographic POV's. The point of having these trails is to be able to move about without needing your skis. Another trail leads to our little food stash cave, and yet another leads to the designated bathroom area. This is REALLY a neat camp, and there is A LOT of terrain before us, across which we can ski tomorrow.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Monday, March 4, 2019

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #148: DFCFC, #148:  Besides digging out a snow cave in which we would all sleep, we also create a walkway in front of a “bench.” The walkway goes from the snow cave entrance, across the front of the drift, and out to the far, downhill side of our encampment, where we are keeping our skis and gear. Where the path passes in front of the snow cave drift, we also cut shallow “benches” in the outer drift wall, some serve as seats, and one hosts the stoves and serves as the kitchen. Before evening arrives, the cave is finished and we have all moved in, situating our sleeping bags and ensolite pads for the night. The temperature is crashing, falling about 1˙ every 1/2 hour, and we have all broken out our max-gear to prepare for dinner. Longjohns, wool, vests, shells, parkas, and hoods - everyone is bundled and warm while the meal is prepped. I tell this next item as a cautionary tale: while shoveling in the cave, I worked in shirtsleeves and without gloves. Now cooking dinner, I am dressed more warmly, but have NOT put my gloves back on. I am not worried about frostbite, because I am working the stove, but I carelessly pick up a huge pot of boiling water and do not realize the handle is blazing, until it is too late. I sear the skin in the palm of my right hand, much like being branded. It becomes extremely painful quickly, and not knowing exactly what to do next, I choose to do what doctors now tell me was a “perfect” response - I stick my burned hand into the drift of snow. I get some relief from the pain, and we continue on to have a great dinner. This is the view of Old Hyndman from our dining bench, as the sun, and the temperature both go down.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Monday, February 25, 2019

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #147: DFCFC, #147:  This is the in-camp view of the snow cave setting and progress. Gordon is deep into the growing cave room. My partner, Vicki Golden, is in the entrance pit at the front of the snow cave portal (you can just see her head sticking up). She is pulling snow loads out and passing them off to Chris DuPont (red shirt), who is currently gazing up the spectacular face of Hyndman peak. Our last minute guest, Jennifer, who has NEVER done anything like this before, is in “shock’” sitting on her ensolite, staring at her surroundings, and very likely wondering why she allowed herself to be talked into coming on this trip. From this angle, you can clearly see we are at the foot of a deep drift on the backside of a tall rock berm. Those exposed ridges rising behind the berm are entire valley away. It is now midday, and we are doing well. Gordon and I believe we will have a VERY comfortable cave with a few more hours of work. If you wonder why we are doing this instead of just setting up tents, tonight it will go to -15. You would be freezing in a tent, and if a wind came up, you might die of hypothermia. In a snow cave, you are protected if a wind arises AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, inside the snow cave, the temperature is 31-32˙ - the temp of the surrounding snow. Add some warm bodies and a lot of talking, and you might even get the temp up to 36-38˙ The inside walls then grow damp, but during the night re-freeze, and the resulting interior ice makes the cave sealed, and structurally stronger. A good snow cave is a thing of great beauty,..and FUN!

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Monday, February 18, 2019

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #146: DFCFC, #146:  Deep compressed snow is a very cool (no pun intended) material to work with, and it is carved rather architecturally by precise thrust of a snow shovel. If you have never done this, Gordon Williams is just starting the first “door” in the image above. At the moment, this is just a two person job. Gordon first dug down, creating a snow pit for himself in which to stand while he works. Once deep enough to assure a thick, non-collapsable “ceiling” to the snow cave, he then makes new, horizontal cuts in to the drift. His cuts come out like igloo blocks, and he throws them up onto a tarp. As the tarp fills, one of us drags it off, and dumps it downhill in front of our camp bench. The door is meant to be small and protected from the wind, as this one is. Gordon will eventually place another tarp on the “floor” he has cut, and then by kneeling or laying on it, he will work his way through the door, going more deeply into the drift. Once in a few feet, he will then begin to hollow out an interior room. As the room grows, another person can dig with him, and the rest of the party just ferries the cut snow out on tarps and tosses it down the hill. This takes a good deal of work and engages everyone. Amazingly, even in sub-zero cold, we all get sweaty and take clothes off. Almost everyone is working in shirt sleeves.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Monday, February 11, 2019

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #145: DFCFC, #145:  Our helicopter pilot, Danny Danielson, thinks the impending sub-zero cold a danger to our adventurous group, and that we should rethink our camping plans. However, he has worked with Gordon Williams, and myself several times, and he trusts our judgement, so we stay and he leaves - to be back in 4-days. Now, if we are to survive the night, we must do a good deal of work. This shot gives you a sense of our encampment. The overhanging cornice does not threaten us, as there is a significant valley and berm wall between us and it. The ridge of the berm wall (just uphill from our camp) has been blown bare of snow from high winds, and we are the beneficiaries of that, because that snow has formed a deep drift on this side of the wall. that has been there long enough to set up quite solidly. There is A LOT of snow depth accumulated there, and that is where we will start to dig our snow cave.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Monday, February 4, 2019

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #144:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #144:  While Danny Danielson heads back to the launch site with the copter to ferry the rest of the gear and our 4 other colleagues into our location, the now single-digit temperature (and falling), demands that we abandon out tents and dig a snow cave for protection from the coming sub-zero cold. Gordon and I spend some time finding exactly the right spot, and then dig in. Chris DuPont, and his girlfriend, Mila, are the next to arrive, and they join in immediately, as doing the work keeps everyone warm. Gordon has found a deep, solid drift, nearly at the foot of Hyndman, and safely away from any avalanche danger, and we are now in the process of creating a snow “hotel.” This puppy is going to be MUCH more than just a snow cave. It will have candles supported by spoons stuck in the walls, and each of us will have a sleeping “bench” above the snow floor where the coldest air will pool. Outside, we cut sitting “benches,” and another on which to establish our kitchen. ALL of them face this, as the view - the summit and impressive face of Old Hyndman, and the vertical wall that connects to Cobb (just out-of-sight, to the right). With all gear and passengers delivered, Danny wishes us well, and heads back to Sun Valley, certain that we are as crazy a group as he has ever known. It is always a poignant moment when your support departs, leaving you/your group alone in wilderness, and that was clearly the case this time as well. Especially for Jennifer! Having NEVER done anything like this before, she is in a state of mild shock when the helicopter disappears, and the silence of a VERY cold spring day sets in. This is home for awhile!

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Monday, January 28, 2019

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #143:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #143:  It is early in the morning when we launch our DFC&FC skiing expedition into the Pioneers. The day is extremely cold and clear, and on a full-sun day, the morning temperature is still FALLING, now into the low teens. Our helicopter pilot, Danny Danielson even has trouble getting his copter to start, but eventually it does, and we are off. As this trip plan has been dreamed up by Gordon Williams and I, we go in on the first flight. As we fly in, and rise into higher elevations, the temp goes to single digits, and Danny expresses concern that it is going to be too cold for us to do this. We have tents, but we all agree that with this cold, they will not be enough, so Gordon asks Danny to “hold” once we touch down, and he and I go out with ski poles to probe snow depth, in hopes of finding enough, solid, deep snow, that we can build a snow cave. We do, and so we tell Danny we are opting to stay, and he should return to the launch point and bring the other 4 people, and remaining gear. In the last post, I mentioned, we hoped to add one more person to our group, because there was available room on one of the flights, and another participant would help differ our costs. We ask several of our other DFC&FC friends if they want to join us, but none has the time available, so I take a rare chance with a girl I date, and that Gordon knows. Jennifer flies for Alaska Air, but loves to ski (and skis well), so she keeps an apartment in Sun Valley, where she comes for her breaks. It is the night before our trip, and I am not even sure she is in town, but Gordon and I pay a visit, and find her there. She has NEVER camped, let alone, winter camped. She has never cross-country skied, either. BUT, she is VERY fun, likes/trusts both of us, and says she will do it, if we can find her the necessary gear. We have extra x-country skis galore, and sleeping bags, ensolite, and the rest, can be found at any DFC&FC home, so we round it all up. When we pick Jennifer up the next morning on the way to our launch site, I can tell she is excited, but also thinking, “what the hell have I agreed to?” especially consider the crashing morning temperatures.

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Monday, January 21, 2019

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #142:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #142:  My DFC&FC colleagues and I have now graced the pages of POWDER magazine with our backcountry ski and camping stories, numerous times over several years, and of course, our other friends in Sun Valley have seen those stories. As it appears to me, new projects are going to take me to the East Coast for several years, and I may not get back to do another ski adventure for some time, so Gordon Williams and I set about planning one more epic trip before I depart. Gordon knows of a small lake that sits in a VERY high basin at the foot of Hyndman Peak (at 12,008ft, the tallest summit in the range), and looks directly at the faces of Old Hyndman (11,775ft) and Cobb (11,650ft). We have had a good winter and there is plenty of snow, so now that spring is coming, skiing conditions should only get better. We contact Danny Danielson, once again, a local helicopter pilot with whom we have worked before, and he knows the location we are considering, and is happy to take us there. The helicopter is small, and it will take several trips, so it is going to cost a fair bit of change. I will be joined by my partner, Vicki Golden. Eager friends from Sun Valley, Chris Dupont, and his girlfriend Mila, both ski downhill quite well, and have always wanted to join one of our trips, so I invite them to come along. This pairing leaves an empty seat in one helicopter runs that we would like to fill to help cover costs. I will explain what we do to fill that seat next week, but for now, the morning of the launch dawns cold and clear,..as in REALLY cold and clear. A classic “bottom falling out of the thermometer,” sub-zero cold. Danny even has trouble starting the copter.

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Monday, January 14, 2019

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #141:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #141:  There is no more steep, or dangerous terrain to navigate, on our ski out of Boulder Basin. The stress of traversing the narrow canyon and possible avalanches is gone, and we are now in the trees on a broadening valley floor that will soon give way to some miles of smooth, snow-covered, rolling hills. We are seriously snacked-up, recovering from our tricky descent, and now we get to play. Packs get re-adjusted. Cameras are put away (for the safety of my ribs). Our heels are free, not locked down. This is not downhill skiing, although we are often screaming downhill. We are now skiing in the track-path we collectively cut, skiing in. It is a packed down groove, that has been refilled with a bit of powder snow. Whoever leads is skiing new powder, those behind are skiing a track that is increasingly more groomed, and getting faster with the passing of each skier. Since you are in a track, turns are REALLY awkward because you step-around them using fast, little ski steps. You don’t really make a turn as you do when downhill skiing. No one blows up, although there are some hair-raising moments, and the long run to the car is just amazing! At various places I have kick-glide steps that cover 20-30 yards before I set the other ski. There is a lot of whooping, and more snacks at the car. These DFC&FC trips for stories in POWDER magazine, and the furtherance of my personal work, are just getting better and better. Maybe we should do another?

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Monday, January 7, 2019

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #140:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #140:  The morning starts cold on the day our group skis out of Boulder Basin, but by the time we have reach the narrow, steep part of our descent, the day is warming rapidly, and melting ice and snow are setting of small avalanches everywhere. We are all very cautious to remain under control as we ski, and to limit our group exposure by spreading out. The east side of Boulder Creek canyon is VERY exposed, with towering walls above it. On our side it is steep, but there are trees, and the remains of a road that helps us. We have limited avalanche exposure until we are nearly on the flattening, broadening valley floor, and then there is a slope which, when we encountered it on the way in, we passed across one-at-a-time. Apparently with good reason. This is my partner, Vicki Golden, now approaching that same spot. This slide occurred, thankfully, before our arrival, and the trails you see coming out of the avalanche are those of us skiing in. Now we must drop downslope a bit, and cross the foot of this slide. Those are snow “boulders”, and they are now set like concrete. Once safely around this, we all stop for a snack break, and to prepare for something VERY different for the rest of this ski.

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Monday, December 31, 2018

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #139:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #139:  Here, Jon Davis is surveying his descent approach into the narrowing, steepening canyon of Boulder Creek. Somewhere beneath the snow in that ravine is a good deal of flowing water. The far side of the canyon is way too avalanche exposed to want to be near, and the warming sun is causing small ones to occur regularly, so all proceed with caution in this section of the ski out from Boulder Basin. We all wear Pieps, and we trail avalanche cords behind us. We are no longer skiing as a group either, spreading out as we pass through critical sections of exposure. We are all skiing with frame packs, and that places a lot of weight up high on the body. It is awkward to balance while skiing, and if you fall forward, it becomes a dangerous, pile-driving, face-plant. This is the most difficult part of the day - don’t slide into the creek; don’t hit a tree; don’t set off, or get caught in an avalanche; and most especially, don’t do a pile-driving face-plant, as that might cause all the other don’ts.

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Monday, December 24, 2018

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #138:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #138:  As we leave Boulder Basin, my last look back is humorous because in the blinding sunlight you can see where in the past few days, we have skied hundreds of tracks EVERYWHERE. In front of us is something else, however. As the basin begins its descent, there is a lot of open slope with few trees, and the snow conditions are perfect, as the warming sun is creating spring, “corn” snow conditions. Since none of us yet knows how to telemark, looking down this slope is the moment when we stop to lock down our heels into our bindings, and then we are off on an amazing slide. This is Mark Sheehan out in front in trackless snow and rolling. It is an amazing nearly effortless experience, even with the awkward packs on. There is A LOT of whooping. No one falls, and the ride goes on for quite sometime, before the next section, where the canyon narrows and steepens. The steeper slopes require more strategy, and now there are increasing numbers of trees. Eventually we must navigate past where Boulder Creek has cut a narrow, deep canyon below us, into which you do not want to find yourself inadvertently slipping.
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Monday, December 17, 2018

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #137:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #137:  From the cabin we used as a camp, we cross the basin, coasting smoothly to the base of big walls and chutes. Because the day is warm, avalanches are more likely, so we do not intend to get too close, but, to the right in this image, the canyon steepens and pitches down in a broad slope of snow that is turning to corn as it warms in the sun. The skiing is about to become more serious, so the cameras are going to be locked-down, but before doing that, I make this one last image, “Early Morning Shadow on a Wall,” which becomes another to be included in the 24-print portfolio, “WINTERS: 1970-1980.” For me, this trip has been a VERY productive adventure. I have good material for a story in POWDER magazine, and I have added considerably to my personal B&W work. Actually, the POWDER magazine story is about to get a whole lot better. My next move is an angled descent toward the right of that barren tree, followed by an arcing right turn that brings me out onto the broad slope. After that,...
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Monday, December 10, 2018

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #136:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #136:  The morning of our planned departure from our winter ski-camp in the historic mining ruins of Boulder Basin, dawns bluebird clear. Standing in the sun is actually warm, as you can see. Our crew is in shirtsleeves, and Vicki has on her “spring” shell ski pants. From left to right, the characters are Jon Davis, Gail Sheehan, Vicki, and Mark Sheehan. We are locked and loaded. Snow conditions are perfect. It is all downhill back to the car, miles and miles away from here, and when we chose, we can ski in the established track we packed down when we skied in. There are some places we can also break fresh powder, a few steeper sections that require some navigation, and then an EPIC glide through the forest and foothills back to the highway. The cabin to the right was our camp. We took snow off the roof and piled it around the sides to cut the wind drafting. It was very cozy. The basin has been amazing,..and no we stride and glide.
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Monday, December 3, 2018

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #135:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #135:  After our day of skiing in the hazy, half-light conditions of Boulder Basin, I know I have some great B&W images for the WINTERS body of work I am building. I am also sure I have good pictures for a story in POWDER magazine on color film, but I regret we have not had a sunny day, just to get some “bluebird” sky shots, and to see the summits clearly defined, not lost in clouds. However, the weather does seem to be improving as we retire to our “cabin” for the evening, and on our last walk-about, there are a zillion stars out and the night sky is dazzling. There is no assurance that will last until morning, but it does. This is to be our day to ski out, and it appears that it is breaking sharply colder, and crystal clear. Wow! This might be a fun day. It is downhill all the way back to the car!
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Monday, November 26, 2018

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #134:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #134:  On our day of skiing about Boulder Basin following the snowstorm, the circulating air still contains a lot of vapor and ice crystals, so the sun remains hazy behind a constantly changing light overcast. Because those changes are playing out in very subtle ways on the snowscape before us, I exchange my color film for B&W to further my personal work on my developing series, "WINTERS: 1970-1980.” The light vacillates between being VERY flat, to having subtle shadows, but nothing ever becomes sharply defined. This image, “Drifts and Shadows,” (above) becomes part of the portfolio when I publish, but it is also an excellent example of a landscape with some definition, that slowly dissolves into a featureless white nothingness - the very direction we are skiing - LOL!
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Monday, November 19, 2018


The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #133:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #133:  Exploring Boulder Basin for the sake of the story I have proposed to POWDER magazine, I have been hoping for a sunny day after the storm clears. I have “skiing” pictures that will suite my needs already, but it would be great to get some “bluebird” skies as an icing on the cake. Instead, what follows the stormy weather is a cool, slightly breezy day, as cloud vapor and ice crystals blow about. The sun appears in a hazy glow, occasionally, and the sky has a pale blue pallor ( last post), when you can see color at all. As I have pointed out many times throughout my blogs, sometimes what you want, does not occur, but if you pay attention, other things happen. In this vaporous atmosphere, we all notice as we ski how a subtle change in the lighting makes reading the snow more complicated. All day we vacillate between VERY flat and confusing light, to subtle shadows that give some definition to the landscape ( last post), and occasionally, something even a little brighter. For me, this lighting is a B&W tonal experience, so I change film and do work that is ultimately published as part of the 24-print portfolio, “WINTERS: 1970-1980.” “Snow Collapsing Along a Creek Drainage” (above) becomes one of those images. As a skier’s aside, if you wonder about the danger and difficulties of flat light, were it really flat, you might not be able to detect this roll in the landscape, and skiing into it fast and unexpectedly might break a ski, a leg, or both.
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Monday, November 12, 2018

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #132:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #132:  Above Boulder Basin and the ruins of the old mining town, there are numerous open slopes that ascend to the exposed rock summits, and many seem stabile enough to ski. For whatever it is worth, all of us trail avalanche cords behind us, and we carry Pieps avalanche beacons in our pockets. We also all have snow shovels in our day packs. We have come to have fun, not get buried. The skiing is GREAT, and for me, the views even greater. Best of all, I am getting pictures that will serve both POWDER magazine, and my own personal portfolio of B&W work, “WINTERS: 1970-1980.” At the moment of this image, however, I am about to lock down my heels and “drop-in.” There is a beautiful, long run back down to the basin floor in front of me, and the light is great. I would like to be aggressive about this, but having two Nikons strapped to my chest warrants more caution. Best not to take a header in deep powder. For scale of the terrain we are in, notice the limber pine on the rock outcrop in the lower, middle of the image. THAT is a HUGE tree!
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Monday, November 5, 2018

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #131:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #131:  On our DFC&FC skiing trip into Boulder Basin, I know I am making images that will be useful for a story in POWDER magazine, but now with the sun and clouds interacting in some interesting, and very subtle ways, I see an opportunity to further my personal B&W work that is being accumulated for eventual publishing as the portfolio, “WINTERS: 1970-1980.” Slowly climbing our way above the basin and relic of the mining town, we rise into some considerable expanses of open slopes. Some of the snow-covered terrain has been shaped by wind, and other parts form gullies where water runs beneath the melting snow. At one point, while navigating around several, the sun barely shown through the ice-cloud haze above me, and the gullies became my version of Edward Weston’s sand dunes at Oceano. Edward didn’t get to do an exhilarating ski down after he took his shots, however. That is why I am having SO much fun being part of the NEXT generation of landscape photographers.
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Monday, October 29, 2018

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #130:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #130:  We sleep well and WARM during the night as the old snow-covered cabin, provides good insulation against the cold and any wind that continues to blow. Although it is not clear in the morning, it is clearing. The wind and weather have passed, and the last of the clouds are drifting slowly across the peaks. We have a good breakfast and then everyone rejoices to get into their skis without having to carry a pack. As you can see, Gail (Sheehan) and my partner, Vicki Golden (behind) are all smiley faces about day-tripping and downhill runs. With the sun making attempts to shine through, the flat light from the day before is gone, and now there is a more readable terrain, so we expect to have some fun downhill skiing,..but first we have to go up, to come down. Along the way, the hazy occasional sunlight creates some VERY interesting shadows and lighting conditions, so I do some work on behalf of my growing B&W portfolio, “WINTERS: 1970-1980,” while we slowly traverse the terrain.
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Monday, October 22, 2018

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #129:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #129:  Having found a an old cabin in Boulder City that is both safe, and dry inside is a great score. It will fit all of us to sleep and leave room for a nice “kitchen” as well. We will not have to use our tents, and we will be much warmer doing everything inside, out of the gusting wind. It is to everyone’s relief that we can shed our packs, as you can see, my partner, Vicki Golden, is especially pleased. Gordon Williams is off to the side, busy contriving an “entry slide” to the cabin floor through a window. As the glow of late light gets even brighter, it seems the weather is backing off. We all want to eat, sleep, and rise to SKI! The cabin is VERY cozy inside. Once in, we block the door and window openings with our packs, and between our collective body heat, and the cooking food, the temperature is well above freezing. A fun night is had by all, and while visiting the trees, we actually see stars, so we are very hopeful the morning will deliver clearing skies.
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Monday, October 15, 2018

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #128:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #128:  Rather suddenly, a few ski glides around a cluster of trees, and there it is, the ruins of the historic mining town of Boulder City. The spiteful weather even backs off, and the basin, covered in fresh powder, glows beneath the clouds as evening light begins to fade. We are home,..sort of! We did bring tents, but because it is cold and windy, we are hoping to find a building as a useable shelter, so we have some exploring to do. As you can see, there are numerous structures, some more buried than others, and some so dilapidated as to be dangerous. We are also tired and hungry, so we fan out and scout, eager to find the right location, shed our packs, put on warmer clothes, and eat warm food. We discover some buildings have roofs so damaged there is as much snow inside, as out. Eventually, however, we are rewarded, and although the cabin is deep in a wind hollow, it is dry inside, and accessible through both a door and a window.
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Monday, October 8, 2018

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #127:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #127:  As our intrepid group begins the descent into Boulder Basin from the point of our rest stop, a particularly blustery assault of weather begins. It blows with gusts that pick up snow crystals and blast them painfully into our faces. Those same gusts also push us around because our backpacks are like sails. It snows really hard, in flurries. The trees are creaking and howling, and it has become quite dark, although it is not yet the end of the daylight hours. Fortunately for us, we are going downhill, but even that is tricky because the light is VERY flat. No one wants to do a faceplant in deep, fresh powder, and be buried under their pack. As the basin broadens around us, tree clusters are farther apart, affording us views, one of which we hope will soon reveal the remains of the old mining town, Boulder City.
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Monday, October 1, 2018

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #126:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #126:  It is late in the day, so our “rest” period can only last so long, as it is beginning to get dark. From this point, the historic mining town and the basin are below us, so from here on, the skiing should be pleasant as we will not be struggling to climb. While we shoulder our packs once again, another snow flurry blows over us, and the rugged peaks around the basin dance in-and-out of the passing clouds. It is breathtaking. Tired as we are, we are all very excited. And now for some skiing fun. Most of what lies ahead for us is stride-and-glide, and as you can see, Gail Sheehan has just launched herself. We cannot see any of the buildings in the mining town as yet, but they are off to the left and will come into view soon. The further into our downhill traverse, the more amazing the basin becomes, and although the summits are currently playing hide-and-seek in the clouds, I know if we get a clear day, this adventure is going to be visually amazing, and I will have great pictures for a story in POWDER magazine.
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Monday, September 24, 2018

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #125:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #125:  Finally the 4-wheel drive road our 6-person skiing expedition into Boulder Basin is following, arrives at its highest point and flattens out. This is a good thing because we are all tired from struggling up the last steep section of our ascent. More relaxed now that we are at this point, we stop to have some water and snacks. Jon Davis, Gordon, and I actually take our packs off and do a bit a ski-exploring. The weather has turned for the worse, but it is not especially windy, and snowfall only comes in flurries, so we are all quite comfortable, and slowly recovering as we momentarily relax and revive. The terrain around us, is now quite different. The forest of trees in the canyon has given way to the relatively “open” expanse of Boulder Basin, and all of it is encircled by dramatic, rugged peaks. The evergreen pines are here, but fewer in number, and one of my favorite tress, the limber pine, whose beautiful, twisted trunks make them one of my favorite subjects, have asserted themselves as sculptural forms dotted across the alpine landscape. This one called out to me.
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Monday, September 24, 2018

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #125:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #125:  Finally the 4-wheel drive road our 6-person skiing expedition into Boulder Basin is following, arrives at its highest point and flattens out. This is a good thing because we are all tired from struggling up the last steep section of our ascent. More relaxed now that we are at this point, we stop to have some water and snacks. Jon Davis, Gordon, and I actually take our packs off and do a bit a ski-exploring. The weather has turned for the worse, but it is not especially windy, and snowfall only comes in flurries, so we are all quite comfortable, and slowly recovering as we momentarily relax and revive. The terrain around us, is now quite different. The forest of trees in the canyon has given way to the relatively “open” expanse of Boulder Basin, and all of it is encircled by dramatic, rugged peaks. The evergreen pines are here, but fewer in number, and one of my favorite tress, the limber pine, whose beautiful, twisted trunks make them one of my favorite subjects, have asserted themselves as sculptural forms dotted across the alpine landscape. This one called out to me.
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Monday, September 17, 2018

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #124:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #124:  On our 6-person winter camping trip into Boulder Basin, we have reached the part of the trail that is the steepest. When you look at the map (link provided) you can see that the canyon rises, and curves to left just before it enters Boulder Basin, site of the historic mining town. The basin is actually a small depression, and we arrive at the entrance to the basin by following the summer 4-wheel drive road, up and over a small ridge crest. As we approach that point, the weather also intensifies, and it begins to snow lightly. This is the most difficult part of the trail, as having traction means everything. With the changing weather conditions, our waxed skis are inconsistent, and their is a good deal of slipping, which makes for very hard work. Here you can see Gail Sheehan making an angle adjustment to gain back her forward momentum, and push onward and upward. We are all tired and it is getting late in the day. The weather seems to be getting worse and the wind is picking up. The good news is that we are almost to the crest of the trail, and the climbing will soon stop.
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Monday, September 10, 2018

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #123:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #123:  Our 6-person ski and camping trip into Boulder Basin in the Boulder Mountains, progresses without incident through the morning, as we work our way up through the foothills and into the canyon. Now in the canyon, we are surrounded by trees, but we actually have a “path" to follow. There IS a very rugged 4-wheel-drive road that gets some summer use, which goes all the way into the mining ghost town, where we are headed. It is simple to follow, and keeps us from getting “lost" in the trees. I am skiing on "The Ski” with Ramer bindings, but I am NOT using climbing skins. We of the DFC&FC are truly of the “old school” and prefer to use a host of colored waxes to cause our skis to adhere enough for climbing. Unfortunately, waxes are designed for specific temperatures of snow, so if conditions change, you need to change wax, OR sometimes, you just forge ahead with a little sidestepping as you see my partner, Vicki Golden, doing here. I believe that is Jon Davis below her on the road. We are going UP!
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Monday, September 3, 2018

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #122:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #122:  On our ski approach to Boulder Basin our troupe of 6 winter campers, slowly climb through the rolling foothills that extend from the highway into the range. The weather continues to flow through, and occasionally a light snow filters down, but nothing serious seems to be happening, and we push on. At the top of the last smooth dome of white, before we enter the more forested canyon, the view around us has little detail because the light is so flat. The only features in the landscape below that we can see are our own tracks. We have a short breather for snacks and water, and then we turn towards the canyon entrance and begin our glide amongst the trees. The easiest part of the trip is now behind us, and the work is about to begin.
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Monday, August 27, 2018

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #121:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #121:  The weather continues to deteriorate and the light gets very flat as 6 of us unload our cars and assemble our backpacks for a ski tour and camping trip into Boulder Basin in the Boulder Mountains, north of Ketchum, ID. It is not windy, or particularly cold, however, and once we get in our skis and start moving, it proves to be a reasonably nice day in spite of the changing conditions. Gordon Williams is in the lead here, as we work our way up through the rolling foothills to the point where the canyon narrows and the valley begins to ascend more steeply. For the time being, this is just a steady, modestly uphill cruise.
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Monday, August 20, 2018

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #120:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #120:  Having had our two-post tech talk (last posts), it is now time to put that gear into another field adventure with my DFC&FC associates. Several times we have discussed skiing into the historic, high-altitude, mining town in the Pioneer Mountains, called Boulder Basin. I have never seen the basin, but my DFC&FC colleagues, Gordon Williams and Mark Sheehan have visited in the summer, and they think with the right conditions, we could winter camp comfortably, get in a good deal of free-skiing, and the snow-covered basin would be spectacular for my picture-making purposes. POWDER magazine agrees, which is our excuse to proceed, and thus we are off! The crew for this winter sojourn consists of Gordon, Mark, Mark’s wife at-the-time, Gail, my friend and fellow artist, Jon Davis, and my partner at the time, Vicki Golden. The weather window we choose is in early spring, and weather is coming in as we head north on US Highway #75 from Ketchum to the foot of the Boulders. From the plowed pull-out area where we are allowed to leave cars overnight, the view above is where we are headed - up through rolling foothills, into a brief stretch of forest, then a long stretch of an ever-narrowing canyon, that final opens into an alpine basin surrounded by summits. Let’s do this!
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Monday, August 13, 2018

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #119:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #119:  If you ski, you will love this post. These are many of the skiis I have used over the years, thanks to the management of POWDER magazine, who received it all from manufacturers, and gave it to me to use/test in the field. My first backcountry skis are all-wood Bonna’s with a metal edge, and heel-lock-down capable, cable bindings. I also have an all-wood pair of A.S.N.E.S. that have a simple pin-toe, and hardwood edges on which I cross-country. The rig I will “test” going into Boulder Basin is the set-up on the red ski. The ski is a high performance recreational ski, a TRS “The” Ski. The binding is a Ramer aluminum mountaineering binding with lock down/heel-free capabilities. Now, we will put this new system to work and see what the Boulder Mountains are going to offer us.
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Monday, August 6, 2018

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #118:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #118:  Before I launch with my DFC&FC friends into another Wood River Valley backcountry ski adventure, I will diverge momentarily to talk tech. It is fair to say that as sports have evolved, the tech of gear and clothing has helped it to do so. Mountaineers and adventurers are more comfortable, warmer, and carrying lighter weight than ever before, thanks to companies like Patagonia and North Face  who pioneered new systems to wear. Surfing and snowboarding change design engineering constantly. Skiing certainly does as well. Boots, bindings, skis, poles, and goggles, quite literally, CHANGE EVERY YEAR! Before I ever saw snow,or skied, I remember wandering around in the dark, cavernous attic above the garage at my family home. It was a place my father kept his “stuff” - fishing poles, hunting vests, tackle boxes, and decoys of every bird you could hunt lay everywhere, but most interesting to me were the huge pine skis, bamboo poles, and a pair of old leather boots. In his more youthful days, my father skied at Badger Pass in Yosemite, a small, “local” ski area, that only had a row tow (no lifts), and everyone wore cable-bindings, and did telemark turns. On the left, above, ARE those old boots of my fathers, and they now grace the marble in front of my living room fireplace. Because I am now associated with POWDER magazine and am doing backcountry stories for them, backcountry product manufacturers are sending them A LOT of gear, and I am their only photographer interested in using it. In the half-dozen years I do stories for their pages, I constantly sample gear as well. Boots and bindings are a rapidly evolving industry in both resort skiing and mountaineering. Mountaineers want a boot that is heel-free, so they can climb, and slide-and-glide cross-country, but then when the time comes to do serious downhill, they want the heel to lock down, and the boot to be stiff to support turns and pack weight. I try it all: my lightest rig is longer-than-I-need K2 cross-country skis, with toe-pin bindings only, and a soft shoe - not enough support for backcountry; my maximum rig is Ramer bindings, that can fully lock down a boot heel, but they demand a nearly resort-ski-rigid boot to make them work well. With each adventure, I finally seem to hone-in on the system that best works best for me. I choose a cross-country style ski with a metal edge. I use the Asolo Sport boots above-right, that are comfortably stiff and offer ankle support. These boots incorporate a heavy-duty toe-pin binding only, AND I learn to ski tele mark, which I had seen some years earlier on a shoot at Big Mountain in Montana, but I never considered at that time that I would ski that style myself. I am sure you have heard the old saying, “The more things change, the more they seem to stay the same, .” Well, that is certainly the case here.
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Monday, July 30, 2018

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #117:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #117:  You know, if you have followed this blog, that summer is not the only time members of the DFC&FC come out to play. In fact, winter may be our favorite for adventuring. Our last winter overnight in this post was the story of our trip to repair Pioneer Cabin (posts #68 - #86), so now we are going somewhere else, and into a different mountain range. If you live in the Wood River Valley, you most likely recognize this view and summit profile. It is VERY distinctive. As you drive north from Ketchum/Sun Valley, ID, on State Highway #75, this is your first view (above) of the Boulder Mountains. Their pointy summits and bold, exposed rock faces give them a unique visual presence, such that you recognize them from just about any perspective (as in earlier post #24). Although now protected to some degree, in previous history the Boulders were mined, and the ruins of an abandoned mining town still exists in a high altitude cove amongst the peaks, called Boulder Basin. My friend and DFC&FC colleague, Gordon Williams, has often mentioned that we should ski into it sometime and winter camp, and now that POWDER magazine is publishing the stories I bring them, doing a DFC&FC winter trip into Boulder Basin seems like a great idea.
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Monday, July 23, 2018

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #116:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #116:  When I ceased teaching at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts and Humanities, I printed the best of the B/W images I made while spending summers there, and put them in a boxed portfolio as a gift to the center. Although I have previously shown you either end of the above triptych in this blog (posts #103 & #104), when I presented the portfolio, these images were not in the box, but rather, mounted separately on a large sheet a Arches rag paper. This would be my first multi-panel image as an emerging artist, a signature of my work throughout my career, as I would make many others. “A Day Passes at Kane Lake,” also suggests deeper things to me and my friends who understand what it means to wake up there, play all day in a VERY BIG world, and then return to the shimmering water and warm light, for an afternoon repose, until the stars appear. Thank you, Kane Lake, for the pleasures of my many visits. Thank you DFC&FC friends for sharing this place with me, AND, thank you to all the hamadryads who care for Kane, and for those of us who do as well. All this, of course, being proof that “The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get."
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Monday, July 16, 2018

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #115:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #115:  The hamadryads at Kane Lake usually begin to appear in the warmth of the afternoon, especially when there is good weather. Sometimes they are hard to see or find because they “disappear” amongst the rocks for sunning and swimming. In the case of the DFC&FC, these shy creatures willingly reveal themselves because we have been a “friend-of-the-lake” for many years. Shown here are two of my favorites, and they actually let me photograph them. The one in the lower image, warming on a log after swimming, is one of our favorites because she likes to picnic and drink wine. There is nothing better than great FRESH food and a bottle, or three, of lake-chilled wine to finish the day at lakeshore, after climbing about in the higher basin.
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Monday, July 9, 2018

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #114:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #114:  That high basin, single-day hike above Kane Lake with a brave hamadryad that left the shelter of trees below, was pretty over-the-top (last post). Few people do such a lengthy hike, in a single shot, and our group had fun but one paid the price and ended up at the Mollie Scott Clinic in Sun Valley needing medical help, after we walked out. More typically, the hamadryads appear in the warmth of the afternoon, around the shoreline of Kane, where they swim, dine, and sun. In the late light, Kane sparkles like a jewel and the rocks ashore are warm, so on days when there is no weather to contend with, hamadryads often throw picnics. Because members of the DFC&FC have come to, camped at, and cared for Kane Lake for numerous summers, the hamadryads willingly reveal themselves to us, and best of all, we are often invited to their picnics. In post #106, I show Gordon Williams standing on a high ledge, looking down at Kane Lake. He is in the “spotter’s” position. Often binoculars are used while doing this. Although posing for my shot, he is actually looking to see if any hamadryads have come out below. If it is an afternoon like the one shown above, I guarantee they will appear.
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Monday, July 2, 2018

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #113:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #113:  Jumping into a pond surrounded by snow at this altitude is NOT to be taken lightly. ALL aspects of what you do must be considered. It is SO f*%#ing cold, there is no wading in, so you need to find a spot to dive that is deep enough. You also need to have a DIRECT swimming line to a spot that will allow you a safe exit without cutting your feet on rocks. The reason for this is that after you hit the water, all you can think about is where to get out, and in the rush to cross the pond and climb the bank, you want to have pre-planned exactly what you are going to do, so you don’t get hurt, flailing. The photographer of the last post, Gordon Williams, is now the subject of this one, and shows you exactly what happens, in this swimming “experience.” He has picked his spot, and after the brief dip, he is sprinting around the meadow to warm up,..you see, he has to jump back into the tarn again, because if you want to climb back down to Kane Lake, you have to be on the side from which we started. We did not NOT tell our guests about this eventuality until they reached the far shore - LOL!
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Monday, June 25, 2018

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #112:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #112:  Because there are no trees in this rocky upper basin above Kane Lake in the Pioneer mountains of Idaho, it is seldom visited by hamadryads, who tend to stay around the lake below. Occasionally, however, they can be lured higher, and this is such an occasion. I am in Ketchum-Sun Valley for a show at the Gail Severn Gallery, and Gail has just hired a new gallery assistant. Young, beautiful, just married, and Scandinavian healthy, she mentions she wants to go hiking and really SEE the area, but does not know where to go. If you follow this blog, you know, we of the DFC&FC often do spontaneous things when hamadryads are involved, see post #86. Thus, I immediately offer a hike IF she thinks she is in shape for it. (She looks “in shape.”) My thought is a daytrip into Kane Lake. I have no expectation of getting to the basin above Kane Lake in the same walk-in, as it takes a concerted effort, and demands you be in GREAT condition, especially if you plan to walk back out the same day. However, we started early, and after a good cool, morning stroll, arrived at Kane well before midday. Responding to a suggestion that we climb higher, everyone was onboard ("The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get"), so up we went, into the rocky basin, playing around the boulder, and finally, here, “the ol’ swimmin’ hole” at the end of a long day. As you can see, there is still a good deal of snow at our elevation, but that did NOT deter our desire to “refresh.” Yes, we are ALL going swimming. (Not wishing to embarrass anyone else, I will only identify myself as standing next to the hamadryad.) Photograph © copyright Gordon Williams 2018
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Monday, June 18, 2018

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #111:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #111:  DFC&FC colleague, Chris Puchner is on a free-climb to the summit of Goat Mountain in the Pioneers, and for awhile, we three who have chosen NOT to do the ascent sit by the giant boulder near the top of a basin, and watch as he works his way up. After we loose sight of him, however, the heat of the day begins to bear down on us because all the barren rock in the basin offers little respite. After lunch, some picture-taking, and a few naps, we decide to retreat from the boulder to what Gordon Williams promises is a cooler place. We backtrack along the “path” which we followed into the basin, but at the point we would start down to Kane Lake, we branch to the left instead, following the merging meltwaters as they head towards the plunge of the waterfall. We are on a relatively broad terrace, now more “garden” than rock, and in the midst of it is a “lake.” It is small, and narrow, but furrowed fairly deeply into the middle of a blooming meadow, and flowing with VERY cold water. Gordon suggests that we will wait here for Chris to downclimb as it will be easy for him to see us and reconnect. In the meantime, as relief to the heat of the day, we COULD all go “swimming.” We do. Then, as we are warming and drying ourselves in the late afternoon sun, a wild cry echoes around the walls from above, and Puchner appears at the top of a snowfield directly above us, amidst his descent.
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Monday, June 11, 2018

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #110:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #110:  During several hours of lounging and lunching around the gigantic boulder (frame, left) in the rubble filled basin above Kane Lake, I make this prescient image of the summit of Goat Mountain. Our DFC&FC colleague, Chris Puchner, is free-climbing it at the moment, while three of us sit in the shade, snacking, and watching. In this picture, note the debris field in the snow patch beneath the summit. Many of those are VERY large boulders, some of which have come down SINCE our arrival earlier in the day. Hot weather, melting snow, and water flowing through the cracks of these shattered rock faces is fracturing them even further and sweeping big pieces away. Quite impressive! AND, somewhere on that ridgeline coming in from the right, our friend is presently “hiking.” As Chris is no longer visible, and this basin is so enclosed by stone reflecting the heat, Gordon suggests that while we are waiting for Chris’ return, there is one more thing we have not yet seen, and a hot day like this is just the right time for such a discovery.
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Monday, June 4, 2018

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #109:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #109:  Ah! The perfect place to rock-out. DFC&FC colleagues, Gordon Williams (lost in the shade of the overhang) and Chris Puchner, begin to survey which challenges they might attempt on this day. It is VERY HOT and clear and this boulder rubble-filled basin is like a frying pan. Snow patches around us are melting rapidly, and water from them is gurgling through the small, saturated, mossy gardens that are in between all of the rocks. We started early, and now are here well before noon. The second tallest summit in the Pioneers, Goat Mountain at 11,900ft, is just out-of-frame to the right. After snacks, water, and some discussion, Chris reasons that we have yet to see a cloud, and it would be a good day to summit without risk of weather. He has decided to go for Goat Mountain. Neither myself, my friend, Chris Korody, who is with us at the time, nor Gordon feels up for the task, as it is a LONG way and A LOT of elevation between here and there. Instead, we opt for the “climb-around-the-boulder, stay-in-the-shade, sleep-on-patches-of-meadow, take-pictures, drink-water, eat-A-LOT-of-snacks” mode, and while away the day. Chris now has much work to do, so he shoulders his rope and ice-axe, and is off, using one of the steep snowfields to kick-step a staircase onto the exposed ridge over 1,000ft above. We watch until he disappears amongst the rocks. We have told him we will wait in this basin for his return.
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Monday, May 28, 2018

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #108:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #108:  Having spoken of the gardens and the boulder in the basin (last post), we are not quite there yet. There is still some more of that “The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get” stuff. Although taken on different visits, I was struck by the similarities of these two images, taken as I work my way up. The previous B&W post, became a print in my first portfolio, all images of the Pioneer Mountains and the Sun Valley area (mostly of Kane Lake and it’s surroundings). This color image is another clear, hot day with Gordon Williams (above) and Chris Puchner headed to the boulder to “practice.” What else I see is a beautiful trail of connected ledges and small garden patches unfolding like a staircase, if you believe it to be so. In case you are curious, that spire in the middle is the Salzburger Spitzl, at 11,601ft., the 14th tallest peak in the range. It is hard to tell from this perspective, but looming MUCH larger behind it is Goat Mountain, at 11,913ft., the 2nd tallest summit in the Pioneers. This basin lies at the foot of some impressive faces.
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Monday, May 21, 2018

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #107:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #107:  Above Kane Lake is a relatively bug-free world of rock. After the ascent along the edge of the inflow stream and clambering around ledges, a very stoney basin levels off and plunges deeply into the heart of the peak section. What initially appears to be nothing but boulder rubble, turns out to be small gardens surrounded by rockfall. In fact, rock falls ALL the time, and falling rocks can be heard regularly throughout any visit. When the DFC&FC comes up here to play, there are actually many things to do. The Devils Bedstead and Goat Mountain can be free-climbed from here if you have the skills and nerve. There is considerable snow in the narrow chutes that rise above the basin, and they not only provide flowing water to the valley floor, they are staircases for those that want to follow them up. Near the back of the basin, there is also a bonus - one of the biggest boulders you will ever see. Members of the DFC&FC do not have to summit to be challenged, they can practice virtually any kind of climb on this boulder.
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Monday, May 14, 2018

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #106:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #106:  Summer days in the Pioneer Mountains above Sun Valley, Idaho can be very hot, with thunderstorms building up in the afternoon. As lovely as Kane Lake is at dusk and dawn, during the middle of the day, it can be blazing, and more frequently than not, buggy with persistent mosquitoes. While we of the DFC&FC can certainly be accused of “lying about” the lake, we did so at the end of the day. During the day was an entirely different matter. “The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get,” are the words we leave the tent with in the morning. Breakfast before bugs, and we are off, AND up. Up through the rocks next to one of the incoming streams. Lots of ledges and boulders, but after a bit of effort, Kane Lake takes on a very different appearance, and most of the bugs have been left behind. Here, Gordon Williams is scouting the lakeshore to see if any of the hamadryads have come out.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Monday, May 7, 2018

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #105:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #105:  Lying around on the rocks and ledges of the shore of Kane Lake is not the only location members of the DFC&FC do a lot of lying around. Here, Gordon Williams, who has just come back from a day of climbing above, makes like Ferdinand the Bull, and rests amongst a field flowers. As you can see, Gordon is still festooned with rope and iron, and has not quite made it back to camp yet for the afternoon swim. On many of my visits, Gordon, and fellow DFC&FC colleague, Chris Puchner join us, but my other friends and I just came to hike, and Gordon and Chris came to hone their climbing skills. Although there are plenty of summits surrounding us, you don’t need one to stage a climb. If any of you know climbing history, CAMP 4 in Yosemite is a famous destination, not only because of the big walls nearby, but also because of all the difficult scaleable boulders around the camp area. If you never seen a “climbing” boulder, stay tuned, somewhere up above Kane Lake there is a doozy!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Monday, April 30, 2018

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #104:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #104:  I have always been partial to the evenings at Kane Lake. After what is usually an exhausting day of climbing higher in the rocks and gardens above the lake, getting back to camp on a warm afternoon in the summer is a great luxury. You can lose your gear, most or all of your clothes, and the meadows are soft enough to walk in barefoot. The late afternoon sun causes the lake to shimmer in the breeze, and the little rocky terraces and shelves offer staircases into, and out of the water, with hot flat surfaces to sun on after your swim. Regardless of the warmth of the day, Kane is shockingly cold, which is breathtaking when you first dive in. I happen to like to aftereffect. When I emerge from the cold water, the adrenalin rush has “reset” my system, and as I gaze out across the lake, the late light sets the edges of everything aglow, and I perceive the world with a heightened crystal clarity. One thing is for sure, the Japanese landscape gardeners have definitely been working up here.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Monday, April 23, 2018

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #103:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #103:  A deep blue, and sparkling in the sunlight, Kane Lake sits like a jewel in a perfect setting. The far shore abuts the foot of sheer walls that surround nearly half of the lake, farming the view. The near shore hosts meadows, clusters of trees, a few streams, and room enough for several excellent camp sites. This is looking out of my tent as the sun rises. The shoreline on this side of the lake is especially convoluted with small grassy peninsulas, tiny “garden” islands, and MANY places where you can enter and exit for a swim without tearing your feet up. A good deal of time is spent enjoy early morning and late evening light at lakeside, and after a day of climbing higher, swimming in the late afternoon before dinner is welcome relief. Most hikers see Kane Lake as THE destination, and many of them just walk-in for a day-trip, and do not camp overnight. We of the DFC&FC, on the other hand, enjoy staying overnight to catch the morning and evening light show, BUT we go elsewhere for the rest of the day. Remember, “The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get’” Besides, there are fewer mosquitoes up "there."
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Monday, April 16, 2018

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #102:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #102:  After we ascend the largest of the granite dikes, there is a short walk and rather suddenly, meadows and clusters of trees appear, framing a waterfall whose splashes I can hear echoing around in the rock walls. In a relatively few steps, a shoreline of little mossy islands and zen trees opens, and BEHOLD KANE LAKE! After many visits I have come to believe that what makes Kane special are the contrasts of the setting. The lush, often flowering meadows, the encroaching trees, and the shimmering lake are a wash of vibrant blues and greens that come to a truly abrupt end, at the foot of ragged granite headwalls and debris fields of boulder rubble. Towering above that are larger summits, and whatever snow pack feeds that waterfall. OR, are there other lakes above Kane? Look carefully. Above the waterfall, amongst the rocks. Is there something green there?
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Monday, April 9, 2018

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #101:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #101:  Emerging from the forest canopy as the trail starts to climb, we can see open granite ledges rising steeply around us, and there is quite a bit of boulder rubble at regular intervals. The trail threads through everything, but it is important to watch for the cairns in traversing up and around the steep rock walls. As the canyon rises more abruptly, the granite ledges become large granite dikes that require some serious “stair-climbing” to ascend, but in true DFC&FC tradition of, “The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get,” when you surmount the last dike, the view is inspiring. Catching our breath, Gordon Williams and his wonder dog, Pasha, ponder the valley from whence we have come. As you can see, we are nearly above the treeline, and look at all that granite and those hanging meadows in the background. Now, where is Kane Lake ?
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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