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San Juan Mountains Weather Forecast~~Thursday, December 11, 2014~~10:00



Enjoy the last few days of warm, sunny December because a strong Pacific trough that is presently drenching California and the Pac. NW will be moving into Colorado on SW flow beginning Saturday.  We have high cirrus clouds streaming into the area today/Friday and by Saturday afternoon the weakening storm that contains plenty of moisture will arrive from the west.

The high pressure ridge currently over us will be pushed east by the upper-level trough then closed low circulation will form at the bottom of the trough and move over northern Arizona & New Mexico.  Windy conditions and cooling temperatures accompany the Saturday storm.  Snow should begin in the San Juans Saturday evening then spread north into the central and northern mountains.  The storm will be short lived (mostly over by Sunday evening) and because of weak dynamics will not be a big snow producer.  3-6″ and maybe a bit more on higher terrain.

A weak ridge of high pressure will build Monday and Tuesday then by Wednesday potentially another low-pressure trough with snow moves into Colorado.







Dick Cheney On Senate Torture Investigation: ‘The Report Is Full Of Crap’ ~~~ Any surprise? ~~~


“The report is full of crap.”

That’s what former Vice President Dick Cheney told Fox News in an interview about a Senate investigation that found the Central Intelligence Agency used brutal techniques to interrogate terrorism suspects and then misled lawmakers, the White House and Congress about what they were doing.

Cheney was combative and unrepentant, saying both he and President George Bush knew full well the techniques being used on detainees. Bush, he said, was an “integral part of the program” and “had to approve it before we went through with it.”


Raft Guide Fined for Dumping Garbage in Grand Canyon Said refuse “would provide food for the fish”


Outside Mag………“The last time I saw Nels was in Green River, UT, at Ray’s Diner having a burger. I wonder if he’s been feeding the fishes all these years.”  Billy Roos


U.S. judge in Flagstaff ordered an Alaska man to pay $1,500 for routinely dumping trash in the Colorado River and illegally collecting firewood during a 12-day rafting trip through Grand Canyon National Park earlier this year.

The man, 75-year-old Nels Nicholas Niemi, is also on the hook for nearly $1,000 in court costs, bringing the total penalty to about $2,500. Niemi was leading a noncommercial rafting trip and was well aware of the rules of the river, Arizona officials say. Niemi told one of the rafting participants that the trash he dumped “would provide food for the fish,” reports the Arizona Republic. The penalties against him are a reminder that the rules of the park “will be vigorously enforced,” said U.S. Attorney John Leonardo in a statement.

Arizona officials say Niemi was employed by a commercial expedition company that advertised itself as a proponent of the “Leave No Trace” principle, but declined to name the company.

There were more than 97,600 noncommercial users of the Colorado River last year, according to the National Park Service. Enforcing rules against trash dumping in national parks is generally “pretty hard,” Grand Canyon National Park Law Enforcement Specialist Laura Van Inwagen told the Arizona Republic.

America’s Desert Cities Dry & Die

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Los Angeles traffic is worse than usual as hordes of parched citizens evacuate a concrete tomb that once supported millions of lives. Savvy entrepreneurs are selling bottled water from wheeled coolers for $40 a piece. Windshields are caked with desert dust and cars are overheating. The city is nearly engulfed by wildfires. People swarm slowly moving cars after they abandon their own on the road, because the gas stations have gone dry from overuse. Children eat canned food; it’s all they have left.


America is unlikely to let a city slip into that sort of dystopic future. But some of our Western cities are on a dangerous path to losing access to water. And the results could be devastating to the future of those communities if they don’t fundamentally alter how they manage their resources.

No one expected Los Angeles, Phoenix, Las Vegas, or the cities of West Texas to sustain the kind of population they do now when the cities were founded. The towns made sense at the time: rivers, lakes, and natural springs provided enough water to support a small population. As the towns grew, they learned to cast their nets out to further water supplies. In the early 1900s, residents of the Owens Valley area of California bombed the brand new Los Angeles Aqueduct with dynamite in protest of the city taking water from their farmland. Today, governed by a complex legal agreement between seven states, the Colorado River alone brings water to Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tucson, San Diego, and many others. We’ve grown used to dry cities finding water where they can—for now.

With some scientists saying California could be in the midst of a 35-year megadrought, and other parts of the southwest feeling the same strain, desert cities in America will have to cope with more water scarcity, projected climate-change-induced temperature increases of up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit and a continuing growth in population. Some estimates put the population of the Greater Phoenix area at around 28 million by the year 2050, from its current population of about 4 million. That’s a lot of extra water. There are several ways to combat these problems and change the ways desert cities exist.

~~~  READ MORE  ~~~

postcard from Aunt Addie


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Kiitellä Project: Audi Birds of Prey World Cup Medals

Kiitella_BCWC2014_TedLigety_650Ted Ligety wearing Kiitella‘s gold medal after winning his 5th straight Giant Slalom at the Audi Birds of Prey World Cup – this past weekend at Beaver Creek.


Kiitellä project: The North Face Never Stop Exploring Award


Kiitella‘s custom NSE double-sided award – designed to hang in a storefront window.

AUSTIN, Texas – December 4, 2014 – The North Face has named Northern California Fleet Feet Aptos the winner of The North Face 2014 Running Specialty Never Stop Exploring Award, recognizing the specialty running store that demonstrates the most dedication to encouraging and enabling outdoor exploration within the community. Full SNEWS Article


~ recently sent from a friend’s fortune cookie ~


  ~  Good news or not?  ~

Off Belay Magazine, June 1977~~Thank you Peter Shelton





Dr. Peter Hackett @ the Himalayan Rescue Association’s Trekkers Aid Post in Pheriche Nepal.  1977

“you’re either on the bus or you’re off the bus…” Ken Kesey


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Well we were all on the bus (in the back) looking for the 60’s, somewhere outside of Boulder~12/6/14.  In the doorway collecting fares Andy Wilson, Wally Berg, window seats, Billy Roos & J. Roberts

A Letter To Ed Abbey ~ Dick Dorworth ~ Mountain Gazette



Recently found in one of my journals…

May 21, 1989

Aspen, Colorado



Dear Ed Abbey:
Just a few hours ago I returned from a fine three day trip to Moab and its environs, some of your favorite desert land. I’ve been thinking quite a lot about you, your work, your thought, what you meant to me and others and many things about—you—since you died two months ago. That’s not really unusual. I thought a lot about you, and of you, over the years. I even got to tell you something about it in the few exchanges of letters we had several years ago. I’m glad I initiated that exchange and told you how much you helped me and that I was able to recognize and appreciate it. I am grateful that you took the time to reply. I’m sorry we never met and had the chance to get to know each other. I suspect we would not have been in agreement on all things, but I always felt we would have liked each other quite a lot.
What is unusual is that I didn’t know until driving back to Aspen this afternoon that I was going to write this.
I went to Moab on the night of the 18th with my friend Marilyn, who is reading The Monkey Wrench Gang, her first Abbey book, which I gave her a couple of weeks ago. She’s a very sexy woman and a great traveling companion and I thought she could use some time in the vast, open desert that you loved and wrote about so well. She’s a divorce case, and you and I know that one all too well, and we both know how a perspective of wide open spaces can be healing to the perspective of the inner spaces. We slept by the Colorado River at Big Bend and the moon was bright.
The morning of the 19th Marilyn and my young climbing friend Joel and I hiked up to Castleton Tower. Joel and I climbed the North Chimney and it was a beautiful climb on a lovely day. The 19th is my youngest son Jason’s birthday. He was 18 and in California and though you are gone and I am going Jason is still coming, and I often wonder about the sort and quality of life that will be his. After the climb Joel, Marilyn and I went to the Pizza Hut in Moab for the salad bar and garlic bread after showering under the leak in the water pipe just off the Castle Valley Road. When we got back to the camp at Big Bend the Mormons had invaded. About 200 BYU students, the rudest, most brain dead, spiritless people sort of alive on earth. The same thing happened to us last year and I wrote a column about them that I called “Locusts in the Desert.” I wish you could have read it. I think you would have laughed and I certainly owe you a few of those. We broke camp and slept on a road near the bridge over the Colorado just north of town. We could hear the trucks and other traffic and it was not a restful night.
Still, we got up early and made it to the May 20th sunrise memorial for Ed Abbey held north of town up a dirt road. I don’t have to tell you what went on there. You were there. I’d never heard of Terry Tempest Williams before, but she is very impressive and her love for you and grief at losing you were powerful reminders of the durability, fragility and uniqueness of each human. She drew up to the surface some deep grief and sorrows and lost loves of my own. She reminded us of the importance of keeping in touch with one another, with those we love and care about. She got that from you and passed it on to us at a memorial gathering for you. Keep in touch.
Ken Slight and Doug Peacock must have been wonderful friends for you to have. They were lucky men to be your friends and they knew it. You were lucky too, and I bet you knew it.
Dave Foreman says Earth First the same way Adolph Hitler said “Lebensraum.” Germany First. I met Foreman a few summers ago up Trail Creek outside Sun Valley in Idaho at an Earth First gathering. He was talking about how his friend Ed Abbey might show up for the meeting, but I didn’t believe him and you never showed up. I don’t know if Foreman and you were friends. I don’t think Earth First represents your spirit or thoughts, but Foreman tried to make of the memorial service for you a rallying call for Earth First. I did not like it, a discordant note to a fitting morning in memory of Ed Abbey. But maybe any proper and loving memorial to you needs to include a discordant note. A part of you enjoyed the fart in polite company. Foreman filled that role, but he smells bad to me.
Ann Zwinger was sweet and bright.
Wendell Berry, like you, is a man of honesty and integrity. He is a model and great artist.
Barry Lopez said it best and I think you would have approved. He has been out and about in the world, listening, observing and talking to people. He said, “The news is heavy, but we are heavier.”
My friend, Burnie Arndt, was there, stopping by on his way back from California where he had buried his sister. After the memorial he said that a lot of feelings were still real close to the surface and the morning was hard for him. Humans can only take so much grief and pain, as you know. I haven’t lost anyone lately, but I had to wipe tears from my eyes and hold back many more (for reasons that are for another writing another time) and the memorial for Ed Abbey was hard, poignant and moving for me as well.
While driving back to Colorado today Marilyn asked me why the memorial service for you touched me so deeply. I didn’t know until she asked me but I knew when she did, and I told her I have a lot of old sorrows that are still in there, and Ed Abbey was a bigger influence and closer to my thought and heart and work than I had realized. I didn’t really feel your death and how much I have lost in your passing until the gathering of your friends and admirers north of Moab yesterday. I know you understand the interconnectedness of all love, all joy, all sorrow. You were a big man, Ed Abbey. Thanks for what I will miss. Thanks for what remains.
Go in peace.

Martin Litton dies at 97; passionate wilderness conservationist


As a boy growing up in the 1920s, when California’s population was less than 5 million, Martin Litton would hike cross-country from his Inglewood home to the beach. Sometimes he accompanied his veterinarian father on his rounds to the ranch that later became Los Angeles International Airport.

Litton spent summers camping with his family in Yosemite National Park. As a teen, he and a friend rented a burro, for 75 cents a day, and climbed Mt. Whitney. On that 12-day trip into the wilderness, they never saw another person.

“That was the thing that changed my life,” Litton would recall decades later.

Litton, 97, a legendary Colorado River guide and fierce wilderness advocate involved in some of the 20th century’s biggest conservation battles, died Sunday of age-related causes at his home in Portola Valley, Calif.

A pilot, oarsman, writer and photographer, Litton was above all a passionate defender of the wild. He was an environmental purist who disdained compromise, a master of what a contemporary called “articulate outrage.”

He played a pivotal role in keeping dams out of his beloved Grand Canyon and a ski resort out of the southern Sierra’s majestic Mineral King Valley. He was a leading force in the establishment of Redwood National Park and fought a bitter, losing fight against the construction of a nuclear power plant in Diablo Canyon on the California coast.

The preeminent conservationist David Brower called Litton his conscience. “When I would waver in various conservation battles, he would put a little starch in my backbone by reminding me that we should not be trying to dicker and maneuver,” Brower said. “I guess I got some of my extremism from Martin Litton, and I’m grateful for it.”

Litton was as unyielding to age as he was to those who would destroy the wild. He continued to crusade, pilot his vintage Cessna, row a dory through the Grand Canyon and enjoy a good martini past his 90th birthday. With a powerful voice and strong features wreathed in a white beard and soaring eyebrows, he remained a commanding presence.

“He was no nonsense, fearless, would always speak truth to power,” Bruce Hamilton, deputy executive director of the Sierra Club, said Monday. “He had a way with words, a way with photographs, just a way of shaming people into doing the right thing.”

Litton served on the board of the Sierra Club from 1964 to 1972. As an ally of executive director Brower, he challenged the organization’s gentlemanly old guard, persuading — some would say bullying — the board into reversing its position and opposing the Mineral King development. He made sure the club didn’t acquiesce to government proposals to erect two dams on the Colorado in the Grand Canyon.

“If I hadn’t done what I did, I think it’s very likely at least one of those dams would have been put in the canyon. I was the only one screaming about them,” Litton said in a 2011 interview with the Los Angeles Times.

~~~  READ MORE  ~~~

Martin Litton, Devoted Conservationist, Dies

Litton spent his life preserving wilderness. Whether it was keeping dams from the Colorado River or a ski resort in the southern Sierra to preserving the redwoods, he refused to compromise.

~~   LISTEN   ~~

Mike Moore ~ Mountain Gazette co-founder dead ~ Thank you Dick Dorworth


Susan Walp


Michael Moore, 73, a magazine and book editor who helped to found both the Mountain Gazette in Colorado and Steerforth Press in Vermont, died at his home in Washington, Vermont on November 20, 2014 from complications of small cell lung cancer that had spread to his brain.

Moore, whose lifelong passion was good writing, turned a small skiing magazine edited in the basement of a Denver office building into the Gazette in the late 1960s and ran it for nearly ten years. Despite the Gazette’s frequent inability to pay writers on time, if at all, western writers like Edward Abbey, John Nichols, Dick Dorworth and many others were eager to be edited and published by Moore. The magazine, a mix of writing about the mountains, the environment, and alternative lifestyles, was admired for its originality and irreverent spirit, and also for Moore’s innovative design, with bold covers featuring black and white full bleed photos and spare interior layouts. By the time of the demise of the print version in 1979, the magazine had built a loyal and enthusiastic following. Surviving issues of the original Gazette retain their value and frequently are sold on eBay for twenty dollars or more.

In 1993 Moore was one of four founding partners and editors of Steerforth Press in South Royalton, Vermont, where he continued as editor-in-chief for ten years. Among the many books he saw into print were the diaries of the novelist Dawn Powell, which the New York Times Book Review called “one of the outstanding literary finds of the last quarter-century,” and My Two Wars, a memoir by Moritz Thomsen, described by the Washington Post as “one of the best American writers of the century.”

Moore was born in Beebe, Arkansas in 1941 but spent his childhood in Colorado Springs, where the family moved after the Second World War. There he learned to play golf at The Broadmoor in the shadow of Pike’s Peak. He won The Broadmoor’s junior club championship before enrolling at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he became the golf team’s top-ranked player and entertained thoughts of turning pro. He told friends later in life that dream died when a freshman golfer named Hale Irwin knocked him off the top spot his senior year and taught him the difference, as he described it, between a good golfer and a great one. Irwin went on to have a Hall of Fame career on the PGA tour.

After graduating as a political science major in 1963, he did graduate work in the same field for a time. After leaving the Mountain Gazette in the late 1970s, Moore worked as an editor at Outside magazine in San Francisco, and then moved to New York for tours with Esquire and Rolling Stone. In the mid-1980s, Moore moved to Vermont with his partner, the painter, Susan Walp, whom he had met in Denver. A few years later he met his Steerforth Partners Chip Fleischer, Alan Lelchuk and Tom Powers.

For the last decade of his life Moore was semi-retired, living in Washington, VT where he and Susan were avid gardeners. He remained active with Steerforth Press after it moved to Hanover, New Hampshire, where it continues to publish books, and he resumed playing golf. It was his belief that his golf game reached its highest level during his years at Northfield (Vermont) Country Club, where he played in all weathers and won the senior club championship eight times.

Best known as an editor who was loyal to his writers and devoted long hours to working on their manuscripts, Moore was also an able writer. Modest about his work, he rarely showed it to anyone else. In recent years he told friends, not quite entirely truthfully, that he had quit reading and now only watched films, which he then described in brief notes that were careful, crisp, sharp and often funny. Over many years he also worked on a personal memoir of his life called The Puffer’s Notes, about which he said so little that not even close friends knew if the title referred to his long refusal to give up smoking.

In addition to his wife Susan, Moore is survived by two daughters from his first marriage, Margaret Hillary Moore of New York City and Courtney Cleary of Wardsboro, Vermont. He also is survived by his mother, Eunice Moore of Colorado Springs, a brother Malcolm Moore of Crestone, Colorado, and a grandson, Devin Moore-Gray of Wardsboro.

Storm Brings Much-Needed Rain To Southern California


Rain has been falling on Southern California.

That’s news because the region is now into its fourth year of drought — the worst in centuries — so when the skies finally opened up on Tuesday, the world took notice.

The New York Times reports:

“No matter that the storm was supposed to last only one day: The simple, if unfamiliar, act of grasping for umbrellas, turning on windshield wipers and jumping over puddles set off a combination of celebration and chaos.
” ‘I just love it,’ said Ed Shaw, 64, a contractor in Los Angeles, who was enjoying what on the East Coast might be known as a snow day. ‘It’s at the top of the list of the things we need.’ “
The Los Angeles Register is less kind in its assessment, saying the storm is bringing rain and big mud but “small relief.”

The 2 inches or so that are expected to finish falling today have already prompted warnings of mudslides and led to evacuation orders, but the rain will get the area only “a small step closer to average,” the paper reports.

The Los Angeles Times welcomed the “drop in the [drought] bucket” with an editorial that told its readers to enjoy the rain — but to also think about the city’s future.

“If we plan and invest wisely now, local rains in future years can become a bigger part of our hedge against water shortages,” the editorial board writes.

CBS News notes that the rain snarled traffic and forced a voluntary evacuation in Orange County. The network reports:

“Residents worked together to evacuate large animals, and those who chose not to evacuate were gathering in the tiny town’s lone cafe to wait out the rain and keep warm.
” ‘We have to take this seriously because we don’t know what’s going to happen,’ longtime resident Connie Nelson said. ‘We’ll just deal with it as it comes. We take care of people up here.’ “

Files Said To Contradict ‘In Cold Blood’ May See Light Of Day


Not long after the publication of In Cold Blood, the book was adapted into film. Here, Truman Capote (left) stands beside Scott Wilson (center) and Robert Blake, the actors who played convicted killers Dick Hickock and Perry Smith, respectively.


Truman Capote’s masterpiece of true-crime literature may not be all that true, according to a man who just won the legal right to try to prove it. The Associated Press reports that Ronald Nye, the son of a Kansas law enforcement agent who investigated the 1959 killings at the heart of Capote’s In Cold Blood, has gotten a court’s permission to publish his father’s findings — which Nye says contradict Capote’s story.

Those findings have earned new life due to a contradiction of a different sort. The judge who blocked publication of the files in the first place has now reversed his decision in a 2012 case brought by the Kansas attorney general’s office. The AP writes that Shawnee County District Judge Larry Hendricks “ruled Nye’s First Amendment right to publish the material outweigh the government’s interest in maintaining the confidentiality of its investigative records.”

As for the files themselves, the news service reports that they will likely find their way into a book to be written by Nye and author Gary McAvoy.

“Our belief is that there is no other reason [Kansas] would want the materials we have suppressed were it not for the information we found in them,” McAvoy told the AP. “That information connects to other research I’ve done and supports a pretty compelling new theory — one that I am reluctant to even discuss at this point.”


Django learning mindfulness & patience @ 6 months


San Juan Mountains Weather Forecast~~Tuesday, December 2, 2014~~14:23




High clouds floating through today from a closed low off the California coast that is spinning warm air  into western Colorado  and carrying impressive moisture on SW flow..  But with weak storm dynamics (low vorticity/vertical instability), warm temps & mostly orographics for moisture production the snow line will be fairly high in the northern forecast area (9,000′) & the lower valleys seeing a rain/snow mix. The series of 3 storms will stick around through the weekend with various possibilities depending on the model of choice you want to believe.

The three models I follow are not in agreement about anything from timing to amts. of moisture so I’m guessing tonight through Friday the first two storm episodes could bring 4-8″ of snow to the higher elevations of the San Juans on SW facing slopes and less as you move north.

The third storm system probably hitting by Saturday afternoon through Monday is a Pacific trough moving from the Great Basin into western Colorado. The models are in total disagreement on what, where and how much. One model has NW flow bringing a quick shot of snow/rain and the European model puts a closed low over the 4-corners Sunday morning loaded with moisture. I quote my friends at the Grand Junction NWS: “Significant uncertainty remains in the forecast for this coming weekend and the beginning of next week.” Stay Tuned…




Climate Roundup of Fall 2014 and Winter-Spring 2015 Outlook by our favorite Weather Man ~ Joe Ramey


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TOP Grooming Repor’ 11/29/14~12:00


Just to let everyone know that “one who drives the polaris” is back…apologies for the absence. Ran around the meadow a few times this morning…definitely skiable if you need (or want) the practice….should be good midday and later (4pm) for a while. North 40 ain’t worth it thanks to the thanksgiving meltdown….time for another storm…