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Monday, December 28, 2009

Plan B 4.0 - Mobilizing to Save Civilization

Lester Brown, founder and President of Earth Policy Institute, has been described by the Washington Post as "one of the world's most influential thinkers" and as "the guru of the global environmental movement" by The Telegraph of Calcutta.  The author of numerous books, including Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization where he develops a vision for an environmentally sustainable economy, chapters, articles, etc., he helped pioneer the concept of environmentally sustainable development. Plan B is a worldwide mobilization to stabilize population and stabilize climate.  Plan B replaces the fossil-fuel-based, automobile-centered, throwaway economy with a new economic model powered by abundant sources of renewable energy: primarily wind, solar, and geothermal.  For more on Plan B, click on the title for a link to the Earth Policy Institute, or scroll to the top of my blog and click on the tab.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Blizzard 2009, Storm of the Decade

Starting on Friday, around 3:00 pm in the afternoon, a tempestuous snow storm rolled in and has since then blanketed much of the eastern US.  While this may not be the storm of the century, it is certainly the storm of the decade.  Meteorologists have been comparing the storm to the blizzard of 1996.  In some parts of the nation, single day snowfall records were set.  Areas like Philadelphia experienced the second-heaviest snowfall on record with 23 inches.  The DC metro area reported its largest snowfall since 1885!  In Fayetteville we experienced knee-high deep snow, and the Beckley Airport reported a snow depth of 21 inches from the storm.  To see look at some interesting stats, click on the title for a link to Wikipedia "North American Blizzard of 2009."

Snowed in!

Using the trail networks to get around town.

Wolf Creek, view from upper Wolf Creek bridge.

View from Erin's (& Lydia's) front porch

Life on the farm ain't easy.

I hope this wasn't a sign of how the day would turn out...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

IMBA Trail Building Workshop

Last week (Nov. 20th) I had the opportunity to attend a trail building workshop put on by the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA). The workshop was intended for New River Gorge National Park Service employees (NRG NPS), but other individuals invested within the biking community were asked to attend. Friday we had 4 hours of classroom instruction, and then we took our new skills to the trail. We worked on the Hawk's Nest connector trail, which links the Ansted rails-to-trail system with the NRG trail system. The NRG NPS has also purchased two new tracts of land (Craig's Branch & Garden Grounds), which will have stacked looped trail systems for single track mountain biking. If you want to learn more follow this link and scroll to the bottom of the page http://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkId=259&projectId=28775&documentID=30522.

Trail building workshop attendees

Adam Stephens and Justin Storm building trails

Building the new Hawk's Nest Connector Trail

Monday, November 16, 2009

NRAC "Re-Vegetation" Project

A big fundraiser at the New River Rendezvous this year was the re-vegetation project. Here is a little history. Kenny Parker, long time climber and part owner of WaterStone Outdoors, was approached with a proposition. "If we (climbing community) can raise $2500 by the last day of the Rendezvous, we get to shave your head." The kicker, La Sportiva would match the $2500 and $5000 would go towards planting native fauna (Tulip Poplar, Black Birch, and Rhododendron) at two of the New River Gorge's most heavily used crags, the Bridge and Junkyard. We easily raised the money, and shaving Kenny's head was quite a spectacle Saturday evening during the Rendezvous. Fast Forward. This past weekend, with the support and collaboration of the National Park Service and several volunteers, we successfully completed the re-vegetation project goals at the Bridge and Junkyard. Below are some pictures from the volunteer-work implemented at the Bridge Buttress. ( NRAC = New River Alliance of Climbers)

Gene rallying the volunteers.

Local Arborist, Everett Hendrixon, "Art is trees" (Hico, WV) supplying the native species

John Perez (NPS Wildlife Biolgist) and Gene Kistler talking over design.

NRAC Volunteers getting it done!

Tulip Poplar, Black Birch, and Rhododendrons.

Wood fiber matting to prevent erosion.

Working on planting in a small rock island.

Johnny P. the stone mason

Tying in split rail fencing to create an enclosure around our newly planted trees.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Rocktober Peak Foliage

For 11 months out of the year climbers patiently await the month of "Rocktober". Historically the month of October produces some of the best climate for climbing, temperate, dry weather. But this year it has produced one of the soggiest Octobers I can remember. Below I was able to capture some of the beautiful dry days. This coming weekend will be the first without rain!

View from the Summerlee Site

Enjoying the view from "Two Bag Face"

Summersville Lake after Gauley Season

Sunset at the Confluence Retreat

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Making it happen...

Sometimes making things happen in Fayetteville doesn't come easy. Sometimes you just have to get out there and do it yourself. Upon moving here in late March, I have become actively involved with three organizations: Plateau Action Network (PAN), New River Alliance of Climbers (NRAC), and the Fayetteville Freeride Park. This past weekend I put in close to 30 hours of volunteer work, and was able to contribute to all three groups. Recently (for PAN) I have been working on erosion control at an acid mine drainage site located off of Summerlee Rd. (headwaters of the Wolf Creek Watershed). Organizing labor for these types of projects can be tricky, but a few individuals made it happen. This past week a huge crew completely re-bolted 5 sport routes at the White Wall (Kaymoor) and replaced top anchors on 3 trad routes (I put some shiny new gear on Moon Child Posse). And just today, we unloaded a 52' trailer of wood for the Freeride Park. The wood will go towards constructing a perimeter fence around the park. All said and done, it feels good to volunteer and help beautify Fayetteville!

Big Rig bringing in the wood delivery

Staging fence post

Brian on top of his hay mound at Summerlee

Concerned citizens volunteering
Yep, I stuffed my element with hay.

Preliminary erosion control work.

This is a deep cut, and will require a dozer and fill dirt to fix.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Hound Ears

The opportunity to attend Hound Ears arose, and soon I was packing my bags. Kurt Smith (Evolve, Sterling, Metolius Rep) just recently went through knee surgery, and it was up to Elaina (his wife) to fulfill event sponsor duties. I figured this would be a great chance to help out, and get a once a year pass into Hound Ears (It is a posh, gated community, closed to the public, except for this climbing competition held every year). It has been 4 years since my last visit to Boone, NC, and I was excited to catch up and hang out with old friends (Especially the chance to run into Dave Woods and Mike Petch, former Clevelanders). Saturday the weather turned out to be perfect, and it didn't take long to shred my tips (about 3 hours). It was great climbing with the Athens crew, something that doesn't happen often enough. I look forward to catching up with all of you dirt bags again at the season finale in Chattanooga!

Evolve shoe demo fleet

Vince, representing NRG mountain guides

Overlook from the top of Hound Ears

Vince with the eye of the tiger on "Woody's V3"

Dan climbing, forgot the name, someone help me out here.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Super Sketchy Sloppy Seconds at Snowshoe

Friday morning, despite a rainy forecast, Adam and I headed up to Snowshoe Mountain Bike Park. Conditions were grim, fog, rain, and a rainy forecast all day. We got to the mountain and decided to test the trails, and the first adjective that came to mind "Super Sketchy Sloppy Seconds." ( For those who hang around me long enough will inevitably come across the alliteration that sometimes spews from my mouth, known as Levisms). After our first run we met a couple from Louisville (Matt and Tamara) that were stoked to be on the mountain. They were pretty much locals, and Tamara ended up being our "guide" for the rest of the day. We embraced the mud, sessioned some trails, and made some new friends along the way.

We managed to fit 3 bikes into the back of the Element

Adam and I getting ready to drop in.

Already covered in mud after the first run.

My goggles were useless after the 2nd run

The Dirt Bean in Marlington, an excellent place to catch some dinner on the way home.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cannondale Demos

During my shoulder rehabilitation I've been trying to cut out high impact sports and I have had the opportunity to test out some new demos from our local bike shop, Marathon Bikes. Over the last few weeks I have taken out the Synapse Carbon 5 (Roadbike) and the 2009 29'er. It was great to get back to something you love just as much as climbing or any other passion. I have also been able to put more time into the freeride park, which is slowly but steadily coming along. The last big hump we need to hurdle is installing a perimeter fence, but getting local city workers scheduled in is more difficult when your needs are low on the totem pole. After the fence goes in, its building time: jumps, berms, drops, wall rides, etc!

Synapse Carbon 5

2010 29'er

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Lower Wolf Creek

Below are some photos taken after an amazing hike up Lower Wolf Creek. Wolf Creek drops close to 900 ft. off the plateau region near Fayetteville, through beautiful cascading step-pools, until it reaches its final destination, the Lower New River.

Yep, I crossed that one.