print on shoji screen
Django patiently waits
of man cave
late April snow & dust
Corona storm board
Clearing Autumn Skies by Kuo Hsi
A main feature of Taoism is it’s profound naturalism. Nature should not be exploited and abused. It should be befriended, not conquered. The belief in nature deeply affected Taoist art, beginning with its architecture. Taoist temples do not stand out from the landscape. They are nestled against the hills, back under the trees, blending in with the environment. they teach that human beings, too, are at their best when they are in harmony with their surroudings. It is no accident that the greatest periods of Chinese art have coincided with the upsurges of Taoist influence. Before reaching for their brushes, painters would go to nature and lose themselves in it, to become, say, the bamboo that they would paint. They would sit for half a day or fourteen years before putting a brush stroke on rice paper.
Bamboo by Zhu Wei
I drank from many different bottles of pisco over 40 years before I painted my first pisco still life.
February storm ends-
prayer flags wave in
February ?’s still linger,
sounds of the past drifting back-
still here now….
gracias Matt Wylie y Greg Harms
cold December morning
early December storm
Patagonia Catalogue Field Report
Featured in our Fall 2004 catalog
My work involves forecasting avalanches on a highway in southwest Colorado. Once you begin the life, it’s not easy to go back and learn from another. There’s just no time. I recently revisited an old ‘60s favorite, Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book, and he stressed that re-education is a necessary and important life process. I decide it’s time for re-education.
Saturday, July 5, 2003. I arrive in Chile to study under master snow-viewer, very old friend and avalanche forecaster for Ski Portillo, Señor Frank Coffey. An unusual six percent, low-density storm is my companion on arrival. Frank and the patrol go to work. One shot into the main gully above the plateau triggers a large slab avalanche that is heading uncomfortably toward us. Henry Purcell, the owner, suggests we cover up. We bend over in unison to take our punishment from a large powder cloud.
Frank descends into the Gargantita cliffs to retrieve a dud and triggers a meter-deep slab. He’s stuck on a 40-degree slope. A line is dropped and he climbs back to the land of the living. What’s the “sage wisdom,” I wonder to myself. “Experience is a series of nonfatal errors,” I conclude. In darkness, Coffey and I walk to La Posada for counseling. Six centimeters-an-hour stellar dendrites fall as we enter the warmth of the refugio for lomo pobre and pisco sours.
Monday, July 7, 2003. Seventy-six centimeters of wet, 14-percent-density snow falls from a morose sky. An inverted storm! It’s snowing eight centimeters an hour and things are starting to get ugly. A break allows us to get the avalanche work started. “Most of the control work is done by the storm,” Frank says. I hear avalanches running on both sides of the valley.
Tuesday, July 8, 2003. A storm stalls over the Andes with dying winds in its low-pressure spin. It’s snowing four centimeters an hour, with decreasing density. We’ve gotten over 200 centimeters in three days. I anticipate widespread slab avalanche activity, but there is little evidence. I don’t understand what’s happening. A half-meter of delicate snowflakes followed by 14 percent high-density snow with wind. The storm dies with goose feathers. Should I throw out everything I’ve learned? I think of Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book.
Thursday, July 10, 2003. Sitting on my pack high on a ridge above Portillo, I spot Frank as he digs the first of many snow pits to prepare for heli-ski clients. Silence surrounds me as condors circle above, looking for fresh meat. I descend to inspect the pit and pucker as I stare at three centimeters of weak graupel lying between two slab layers. Frank smiles. “A little paranoid?” he says. “The two meters that dropped here was a pretty big shock to the snowpack. There are rounds mixed with the graupel, good bonding and warm snow/air temps.”
My life experience in a cold/unstable Colorado snowpack has jaded me. My mind drifts back to the Little Red Book. We ski one at a time from the cliff bands to the landing zone. A series of fine powder turns all the way to the valley bottom. Encantado!
About the Author
Jerry Roberts is an itinerant adventurer, mountaineer and guide. He also is an avalanche forecaster for a highway in southwest Colorado and pursues winter snow in the southern hemisphere as a snow safety consultant for the Chilean mining industry. For a diversion from his real life, he sails his motorcycle south.
Gentleman’s Mental Health Sabbatical
no yogurt, no stretching-
pisco sours, Amado novel, mountain wandering
Tornillos con Cabeza de Estrella Garantia Por Vida
May solar eclipse
moon’s portrait on shoji screen
old plaster wall
My name is Dax. I am a poetic soul and for this week’s Pet Colum I decided to share a Haiku that I have always enjoyed. It makes light of our (dogs) occasional unpleasantries and highlights are positive qualities – the ones that make the unpleasant ones easily bearable. I added the end part – hope you like it.
I lie belly-up
In the sunshine, happier than
You ever will be.
Today I sniffed
Many dog behinds – I celebrate
By kissing your face.
I’m riding in the backseat of a vintage 1948 Buick RoadMaster running late for a flight at the Santiago airport. My head rings with a Pisco buzz, the result of a four hour lunch at the El Perón with an old friend. We reviewed lies and good times that we’ve shared while skiing the Rockies and Andes and in other adventures. In my mind I compare the old ride, belching out fumes and rattling down the highway to my old friend, Señor Tim Lane. Both genuine, classic originals…..
‘RED MOUNTAIN PASS – CHIEF OURAY HIGHWAY: A History of Forecasting and Mitigation.’-Jerry Roberts-The Avalanche Review
Gary King photo
The Avalanche Review, February & April 2009
It’s anybody’s guess why forecasters do this job. It could be the smell of powder, throwing 50 pound shots from the helicopter, watching hard slab failure release energy over several alpine basins at once, or maybe just the company you keep.
Whatever the reasons, you get hooked on the excitement and the challenges of the job. It requires a lot of field experience (series of non-fatal errors), collection of empirical evidence, listening to your inner voice (intuition), and distilling all of the variables to reduce uncertainties until you can finally make a decision that you can live with. There are many truths to be learned. It’s no big mystery; you pay attention and do your work because you don’t want to be a victim of your own bad planning. It helps to be comfortable in the world of uncertainties.
‘Snow & Avalanche Forecasting Education-Prescott College’–Jerry Roberts–The Avalanche Review, December 2002
The idea was birthed over a bottle of good pisco on a stormy January night in the early 80′s in Chattanooga, Colorado, just below Red Mountain Pass. Tim Lane was persuading David Lovejoy, jefe of Outdoor Education at Prescott College that he needed to give his winter mountaineering students, who were camped just outside the cabin door, something more substantial than a pinche three day search and rescue course.
The pisco was about finished when Lovejoy agreed that the college might be interested in a more structured avalanche program and if we were interested in developing one, a formal proposal should be sent. Surprisingly the proposal got written on the old typer and was shipped off into the Arizona desert. Over 25 years later the program is still alive…. ….