Reflecting on the past two weeks, this has been a trip we will never forget. As I wrote in the last post from Mt. Baker, the end of our Volcano Tour has been bittersweet. We had so much fun with so many great partners on so many peaks that we are now in a strange post-expedition funk where the only remedy is continued activity – yoga, climbing, and running have filled the void here in Seattle. Jess and I have some of our favorite Whole Foods recipes from the trip to share w/ you, and of course, we have some wholehearted thanks to give to everyone who helped make this one of the most fun adventures we have ever had.
First off, here is a summary of the route info and data from the Volcano Tour:
For those of you thinking about a similar goal, we have two recommendations: First, definitely build a couple of rest days into your plan. Climbing / skiing days can be long and your body needs to recover so you can keep up the pace. Sleep is crucial, even if you never seem to get enough. Second, make sure you are getting enough calories, and the right kind of calories, to fuel your adventure. The recipes below are a few of our favorites from the trip and were designed by Healthy Eating Specialist Sarah Morgan at Whole Foods Market.
High Protein Waffles:
1 cup rolled oatmeal
1 cup cottage cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp cinnamon
Spray oil for griddle
REPEAT RECIPE FOR MORE WAFFLES/PANCAKES. CAN BE FROZEN FOR LATER USE.
Method: Place ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Spray waffle iron or griddle , spoon batter into iron or griddle and cook until golden brown. Serve with maple syrup, nut butter and fresh fruit.
The Hulk Smoothie:
1 cup spinach
1 cup kale
1 cup orange juice
1 TBSP flax seed
1 banana (frozen or fresh)
1-2 scoops protein powder of choice
1 TBSP Maca Powder
MAKES ONE SMOOTHIE.
Method: Layer blender with orange juice, banana, flaxseed, protein powder, maca powder, spinach, and kale. Blend until smooth and add more orange juice as desired.
During the ‘Ring of Fire’ Tour, we had many lighthearted moments out there on the volcanoes. Here are a few select quotes that always seem to make us laugh:
Mt. Shasta- Super fan: “Is Chris Davenport in here? “ Dav “Yes.” Super Fan: “Can I get a photo? Oh, and is that Daron Rahlves? Can I get a photo with him too?” Dav: “Dude! It’s 3:30 in the morning and Daron is in his underwear.” Super Fan: “So?”
…6 hours later…
“Jess, you may be taking it one volcano at a time. Right now, I’m taking it one step at a time.” -Daron Rahlves.
“This is my favorite volcano so far.” – Jess McMillan (she said that every day)
Mt. Thielsen- “What did you call that repelling technique? The two shits grip?” - Jess “What are you talking about?” - Dav “You said that technique was the two shits grip. I assumed that meant that if it didn’t work, you would have to clean your pants out twice.” – Jess
“This is my first time doing this. Do you think I will be alright?” Random dude we met camping on the summit.
We received the following letter (w/ above photo) in our firstname.lastname@example.org email account in response to the #MYSUMMIT Instagram Photo Contest we have going on right now. It’s too good not to share.
(Names / personal details removed to protect the innocent.)
Dear Spyder and Chris Davenport:
Your coverage of the ‘Ring of Fire’ Volcano Tour - and the ensuing uproar in the wake of the team’s sweep through the Pacific Northwest - has provided endless amusement around here (Washington State) over the past month. Unfortunately, [I don’t have an Apple / Android device], so I am unable to participate in your ‘summit shot’ contest. Nevertheless, I do feel compelled to send you this ‘hero shot’ photo from the summit of Mt. Lassen circa 1975. Posing after ‘bagging a summit’ was as ridiculous then as it is currently in 2012 - so my friend [redacted] and I took tongue-in-cheek photos of each other before the ski descent that day. Please note that I was skiing on a pair of wooden Landsem touring skis with lignostone edges, three-pin bindings and Alfa boots - we had never seen alpine touring gear at this point in time. No Spyder outfits either - those are Clarke Craghopper knickers, a Sierra Designs 60/40 jacket and REI gaiters. The bamboo shaft Chouinard-Frost piolet now hangs on my wall, a pricey collector’s item these days. Oh … and no Land Yacht with Whole Foods smoothies waiting at the bottom - we slept in the back of my Pinto station wagon and ate instant oatmeal.
[My friend] made a prediction sometime in the 70s when we were skiing throughout the Sierras with this paraphernalia - that eventually the backcountry would be filled with skiers … his statement seemed absolutely preposterous at the time. It turns out he was really quite the visionary.
Thanks for writing, [redacted]. We thoroughly enjoyed reading your story.
-Your Friends and Fellow Mountain Enthusiasts at Spyder
Volcano Tour Day 14: Mt. Baker, WA – 10,778' (FINAL DAY!)
The crew admires another “X” on the back of the Land Yacht. 15 Volcanoes in 14 days.
By: Chris Davenport
Written on May 20, 2012
The end of any great journey or vacation is always bittersweet. On one hand, you have a wonderful collection of memories and experiences, but on the other hand you are left wanting more. Now that we have wrapped up our Volcano Tour with yesterday’s ascent and ski of Mt. Baker, we all find ourselves fulfilled, but at the same time wondering what to do today (?). To me, this is the true measure of the success of an adventure. We succeeded on many levels, yet are now as motivated as ever for more.
Our final volcano mission on Mt. Baker was somewhat fortuitous. We drove many hours north after our long one-day ascent of Mt. Rainier on the 17th, and arrived in the Mt. Baker ski area parking lot at midnight. Everyone was truly exhausted. Christy Mahon, who was driving a car with her husband Ted, even pulled over at Chair 1 at Mt. Baker, unable to drive any further. Ted took over and drove the final 100 yards to the parking lot! The next day we had grand plans of doing the long traverse from the ski area to Mt. Baker volcano, but Mother Nature and our own lack of energy stood in the way. We were unable to get out of the Land Yacht before 10 am, and after 4 hours of touring in the clouds on Ptarmigan Ridge with limited views of the volcano, we decided to call it an active rest day and head back to the parking lot to regroup. It’s nice when the weather makes decisions for you (nevermind that this route is super-long and would require a much earlier start).
View of the NW side of Mt. Baker from Ptarmigan Ridge on our five hour “active rest day.”
I’m gonna keep this one short as we’re currently in position to climb Mt. Baker and have very poor internet service. Yesterday was an amazing day on Mt. Rainier. As the highest volcano in the Lower 48, and fifth highest summit in the Lower 48, it presented a fun challenge for the Volcano Tour team. Both Ted and I had climbed and skied it before, and I have been on Rainier with Chris Pondella, but those trips were ‘over-nighters.’ The first time I skied Rainier with Ted, I ran into Sky Sjue, who was skiing it in a single day. From that point on I had wanted to give it a go in a single day as well. So here we were, fit (although tired) after already hiking and skiing thirteen volcanoes in eleven days – parked at the base of Rainier ready to go. There was a little discussion about our options – to camp or not to camp – but everyone agreed it would be much classier and a prouder achievement to send it in a single day. The Volcano Tour has been blessed with so many friends joining us for the peaks. For Rainier, the team was Ted and Christy Mahon, Jess McMillan, Ian Fohrman, Jim Morrison, Christian Pondella, and myself.
Washington’s Mt. Rainier (14,411’), in all of her glory. Photo: Ian Fohrman
Dav placed the first X on Mount Lassen 10 days ago. It was hard to imagine how the trip would evolve with one lonely X. There are now ten X’s on the back of the Land Yacht. I’m proud of every single one of ‘em, too. Each represents not only a volcano skied, but also a unique adventure – an adventure with new friends, challenges, and memories that we will share forever. The Volcano Tour has been the ultimate road trip, and near perfect weather and the many friends who have met us along the way have really been the icing on the cake.
Every volcano has been different, but every morning feels the same – so much the same that it’s starting to feel a lot like Groundhog Day ...
Volcano Tour: Follow Along with Your Mobile Device
For all of you mobile junkies out there who want to follow along with the ‘Ring of Fire’ Volcano Tour, direct your mobile browsers to qr.spyder.com.
We worked with Scaneroo on this site to constantly shuttle updated #VolcanoTour content to your mobile device.
You’ll find Google Maps integration, allowing you to click on each individual volcano and view photo / video content, daily Whole Foods Market menus, and the Spyder Land Yacht’s current location. You’ll also find tour information, and have the opportunity to enter your email address to win a prize package with goodies from tour sponsors.
Wow, what a day! After climbing over 8,400 vertical feet to the 12,281’ summit of Mt. Adams, we were rewarded with yet another gorgeous day on the mountain and incredible spring corn conditions.
Jess McMillan diving down the face of Mt. Adams with Mt. St. Helens (next on the list) in the background.
What is most impressive is that not only have Chris, Jess, and friends been finding these conditions every day, but they have managed to keep up their energy and strength with the massive physical undertaking of the “Ring of Fire” Volcano Tour. By Chris’s estimates they have climbed almost 60,000’ on twelve volcanoes in the nine days the tour has been on the road.
Chris Davenport stares at yet another volcano – Mt. Adams – on May 14th, 2012.
The following string of photos tells the story of the amazing experience Team Volcano Tour (and a bunch of friends) had on Mt. Hood yesterday. From their 3:30am wake up call to their post-ski revelry, we hope you enjoy the chronology of images below.
Guest blogger Asit Rathod checking in from the ‘Ring of Fire’ Volcano Tour and Mount Hood; and what a day it was my friends!
Quote of the day award goes to Jess McMillan during brunch in Hood River…”I’m really happy about being drunk right now” (ed. note: let’s face it everyone, she’s earned it). It’s funny but as we grow older and the years keep adding we start realizing how much life changes but good friends still stay the same.
So I got an email a few weeks back from my old friend Chris Davenport that his merry band of crazies were going to ski the Pacific Northwest ‘Ring of Fire.’ I read the itinerary and thought they’d have a better chance of winning the lottery than staying true to the dates. Well son of a gun, I should have bought that lottery ticket.
We all rendezvoused around 10pm in the parking lot of Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood last night and it was as if time had never passed since our days together almost two decades ago. Yes we are that old. Then out of nowhere, I see a smile that made me smile from within as if I had just seen the Easter Bunny and Santa Clause kung fu fighting each other. Mr. Jim Morrison gave me a hug and that signature smile that was exactly as I remembered it 15+ years ago. I knew a whole lot of awesomeness was about to happen but we had to get some zzzzzz’s. So a big hug, HI-5’s, and ‘sleep well’s’ was all that two old friends could give each other.
Aerial photo of Mt. Jefferson showing our ski line, the beautiful Southwest Face. Photo by Jim Morrison
By: Chris Davenport
Written on May 12, 2012
As I sit here in the Spyder Land Yacht driving north towards tomorrow’s objective, Mt. Hood, I can’t help but reflect on the last eight days and the ten peaks we’ve skied. Both Jess and I have mentioned in our blog posts how cool it is each day to look south and see the mountains we have skied, and then to turn north and see our future. We’re tired – really tired – with tens of thousands of vertical feet in our legs and only one rest day … yet somehow the stoke meter stays pinned.
This trip has been a dream on many levels, but perhaps the greatest gifts have been from Mother Nature herself. The weather has been perfect the entire time, and the corn-snow cycle as good as it gets on these big Cascade volcanoes. What we did in our lives to arrive at this place and be blessed with such gifts is beyond me. I’m just grateful to share these experiences with such amazing people.
I think I have heard Jess say “today was my favorite volcano” at least five or six times so far, and it was loud and clear today on Mt. Jefferson. This massive mountain has no easy access this time of year and was the lowest starting point we have had so far (around 3,100’) so we were looking at a huge day.
Volcano Tour Days 6 & 7: Three Sisters and Mt. Washington
(The east side of North Sister under a half-moon.)
By Chris Davenport
Written on May 11, 2012
Yesterday was our biggest day of the trip so far in terms of distance covered, vertical climbed & skied, and pure effort exerted. Luckily for us we had some great local knowledge. We hooked up with local skier and owner of Three Sisters Backcountry huts Jonas Tarlen through our friend David Marchi; Jonas took us on a grand adventure. Jess and I were ready for a big day, but when it was all over we were definitely whooped!
Aside from losing an hour trying to summit North Sister in icy conditions, we moved quickly all day and finished the almost 18 mi. traverse of over 10,000’ vertical in just under 12 hours. One of the coolest and perhaps most surprising aspects of this day was that during a perfect weather window, and in ideal snow conditions, we didn’t see another soul out there in Central Oregon’s biggest mountains.
Three Sisters Vital stats: The Three Sisters Traverse is comprised of three separate summits: North Sister (10,085’), Middle Sister (10,047’), and South Sister (10,358’).
We skied Mt. Washington this morning (our 9th volcano in 6 days) and are headed to the trailhead for tomorrow’s big day on Mt. Jefferson. Our internet connection has been quite slow during this part of the trip, so I’m going to let the photos (below) tell the story on this one. I think you’ll enjoy…
But not without a final shout-out to Shane, Jonas’ partner at ThreeSistersBackcountry who picked us up on the road in his snow-machine, complete with chocolate milk and beer! Thanks Shane!
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more from Washington and Jefferson.
«You’ll find a bunch of awesome photos of our Three Sisters Odyssey after the jump»
Chris Davenport joined National Geographic Weekend just before the #VolcanoTour began to discuss the journey. Press play above to listen to the interview.
The world’s best skiing is not found at the top of a chairlift. Professional skier Chris Davenport knows this better than anyone, so he gets off the groomed runs… and climbs mountains in his ski boots. He has skied Everest’s Lhotse Face, but this spring is taking it easy by targeting volcanos in the Pacific Northwest, including Mt. Rainier, Mt. Washington and Mt. Shasta. Follow his #VolcanoTour on Twitter.
Ping…Ping…Clank…Ping…Clank. This is what I hear every morning around 4:30am on the ‘Ring of Fire’ Volcano Tour. My eyes slowly open; I can smell the coffee brewing and sense the stoked atmosphere inside the Spyder Land Yacht from Team Volcano Tour as they prepare to climb and ski yet another volcano.
This is a volcano tour – an attempt to ski seventeen volcanoes throughout the Pacific Northwest during the month of May. But this is much more then a ski trip – it truly is a journey (and a mostly unscripted journey at that). Beyond the team’s stated priorities of meeting local skiers and mountaineers, partaking in local activities, and, well, climbing and skiing a ton of vertical feet, it’s an open book.
For those of you who have been following our blog, you know about the team’s experiences on the mountain. As the ‘Captain’ of the Land Yacht, I have a unique perspective of this journey. As ‘Captain’ – and we’re going to use a more expansive definition than a mere driver here – I spend my days holding down the fort as the cleaning crew, the cook, the jester, the DJ, the maintenance tech, and as the navigator. I’m a one-man army up in here.
My day starts when the team rises (no soundproof walls in the Land Yacht). After a quick bite to eat, I watch them exit the rig and then disappear into the woods or up a trail. Then what? I turn into the cleaning machine. For me, a clean home is a happy home! I tie up my apron, put on my rubber gloves, and get to work. I vacuum, do the dishes, set out our “outdoor patio” (artificial grass and lawn chairs – yep, as hilarious as it sounds), and then prep food items for brunch for when the team returns.
We wanted to extend our congrats to Spyder Athlete Jess McMillan, who just signed on with Garmont. As many of you know, Jess has been an absolute rock star on the Volcano Tour, and her lightweight Garmont ski boots are no doubt helping her conquer all of that vert in the Pac NW.
I’m going to keep this post a bit short, mainly because Mt. Bachelor is perhaps the least interesting of all the volcanoes we hope to ski on this journey. So how did we come to ski two volcanoes in one day? Well, the story goes like this… After an awesome morning on Mt. Thielson we drove two hours north to Bend and pulled into the totally sweet Crown Villa RV Resort. This place is so plush and relaxing!
We busted out the grill and fixed up some delicious fish tacos that had been marinating in the fridge for 24 hours in a tequila lime seasoning from Whole Foods Market. During lunch, as our bellies filled up, Daron, Jess and I were all feeling pretty recovered. It was only 2 pm and I said, “Why don’t we get ahead of the curve here and go skin up Bachelor this evening for a sunset ski?” Without hesitation, Daron and Jess were in! We had a plan. That’s the thing I love about this group… everyone is motivated and full of positive energy. So we digested for an hour and then drove up to the West base area at Bachelor for an easy 3400’ skin.
The ski area is closed Monday through Wednesday right now so we had the entire area to ourselves and skinned up a beautiful groomed track.
I wish my words could clearly convey just how much fun we are having on this road trip. From the amazing Spyder Land Yacht and all of its comforts, to the amazing people and their positive energy we have met along the way, to the truly fantastic skiing on our first four volcanoes, it’s been an epic trip by any measure.
Jess, Daron and I continued to ramp up the fun factor today on Mt. Thielson, a dissected shield volcano that lies just north of Crater Lake National Park.
Thielson has many things going for it, but the easy approach, steep upper face, and fun summit rock climb make it a standout. Every peak we have skied on this journey has been special in its own way, but on Thielson it was all about the perfect velvet corn snow. I mean truly perfect! As we skinned the steep upper Southwest Face in the cool morning shade, our thoughts were all about timing, as they tend to be during the spring ski-mountaineering season.
The face was frozen hard, making for some sporty skinning, and the shadow crept up behind us as we ascended. We hoped and prayed that after some time on top Mother Nature would work her magic and the corn would be ripe!
Add it to your list – Mt. McLoughlin is a must-ski! It’s my favorite volcano we have skied so far on the Volcano Tour. I began with low expectations for multiple reasons: the lack of beta about the peak, the road closure, and the exhaustion I felt from skiing Mount Shasta the day before were definitely on the list. But I had – we had – an amazing day. The adventure, the perfect snow, the competition-worthy terrain … it all came together for us on Day 3 of the Volcano Tour.
“Mount McLoughlin is the highest peak in southern Oregon, a beautiful near-symmetrical volcanic cone. Despite being the highest point in a 200-mile stretch of the Cascade Range between the Three Sisters and Mount Shasta, McLoughlin is relatively unknown and often overlooked. The Northeast Bowls of Mount McLoughlin are easily the finest ski descent in Southern Oregon, with a sustained 45-degree pitch in the upper sections and nice open cruising below.” www.skimountaineer.com
McLoughlin was the first volcano to test the team logistically. Doubt was creeping in through the windows of the Land Yacht. Dav, feeling deflated due to the lack of beta said, “We need to be prepared for the possibility that we don’t ski all of the volcanoes. I thought weather would be are biggest hurdle, but logistically McLoughlin might not work out. Maybe we should just head to Theilson?” Luckily, Daron had spent the previous three hours on his GPS and felt confident that he could navigate the forest. The only other deterrent was that the road to the trail head might still be covered in snow. There was only one way to find out!
On May 5th, after Day 1 of the Volcano Tour on Mt. Lassen, we traveled north on Interstate 5 in the Spyder ‘Land Yacht’ with Captain Grant at the wheel, staring at the dramatic, legendary, and towering Mt. Shasta, gleaming in the distance.
(Mt. Shasta is the largest volcano in California and last erupted in 1786.)
We rolled into the town of Mt. Shasta and walked into The Fifth Season Outdoor Store for some local beta on the current conditions from Vinnie and Leif. The weather was great and in their words, conditions were “all time.”
We continued on to the Dunsmuir airport to pick up our buddy Jim Morrison who flew up from Truckee, CA in his plane, a TBM 700, to join us for the Shasta mission. It was very cool to have Jim along that day; he’s a strong climber (and a better skier) and was able to give Dav some company on the way up (as you can imagine, keeping up with Dav can be a little challenging).
(Jim’s view of Shasta during his flight in to meet us.)
Just a quick update on weather for the next 7-10 days…
A weak storm will blow through the northwest Wednesday through midday Thursday. The main effect will be temperatures about 10 degrees cooler and winds about 10mph strong, though you should get through this with no precipitation (the main storm energy is further north of Oregon into BC). Winds shouldn’t be too bad, but of course this can be amplified by the ridgelines. I don’t see much of an impact on the tour, though conditions could be a bit firmer on Wednesday and Thursday. The air should warm a bit and the winds die down by later on Thursday. The forecast pages I linked to in the spreadsheet should be all that you need for the details.
I do see some more weather coming around the 16th-ish, but that’s a ways away, so no use in talking details. Between now and then, the weather looks great except for the cooler air and wind on this Wed & Thu. And even the storm on the 16th could stay far enough north to give you minimal impacts while on Rainier, or at least impacts that you could mitigate by waiting things out by 6-12 hours here or there.
Keep on keepin’ on!
Thanks for the update Joel! So far, Mother Nature has smiled on Team Volcano!