The Great Outdoors

My favorite thing is to move through nature in creative and skillful ways. Being responsible for my own safety is what captivates me, and I’m allured by the promise of being uniquely capable in any situation in the great outdoors.

Click to discover each topic

πŸ“ Both featured images from The Enchantments hike near Leavenworth, Wa. A breathtaking oasis in the hostile alpine Cascades.

My personal winter-time inspiration, that I made into my own personal poster.

All rights to original photographers, this is non-commercial use.

Mountain Biking

Mountain biking is exactly like skiing and surfing. It’s all about balance through gnarly terrain.

Note: Please donate to our trails stems. The Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance is wonderful! https://www.evergreenmtb.org/

My inspiration, Remy Metailler, one of the most skilled riders in the world. He’s absolutely shredding Squamish BC, on the North Shore of Vancouver.

Me in Sedona, AZ.

I ended up in the emergency room later that day. I crashed on some dirt jumps, loose over hard = front wheel washout. So I built a jump training ground in my suburban backyard.

A Condensed Guide to MTB

⭐1️⃣⭐ Download the Trailforks app or use Trailforks.com. This is the single best resource for finding trails using their info-rich map.

Tires

Tires are probably the best cheap(er) upgrade you can make to improve the capabilities of your bike. My advice only applies to Tubeless tires (TR for Tubeless Ready must be written on the sidewall).

I need very different front and rear tires. In the front you must maximize traction, in the rear you want more efficient rolling and large cornering lugs. The rear should also be a beefier casing if you’re someone who takes big hits or ride aggressive downhill.

Front: Maxxis Assegai 2.5″ DH casing MaxxGrip — the heavy duty casing makes my tire hold a line much better, and gives me more stability at high speed. Also the DH casing is insanely reliable — no flats ever! If you don’t want the weight penalty (~1lb extra to go from EXO to DH casing), then just do DH casing in the rear, but it’s nice in the front too if you have the legs for it.

Rear: Maxxis DHR 2.5 DH Maxxtera or Maxxgrip (or 2.4″ or 2.3″ for faster rolling speed). The DH casing is even more important in the rear where big hits will brutalize your rear wheel.

Jumping

Jumping a bike is a whole skill in and of itself. Start small and stay within your abilities or you will get hurt! To learn in a controlled environment, I’ve built my own jumps where I can slowly progress in size.

The construction is extremely straightforward, but finding the perfect curve is an art and a science. These are all quite “steep kickers” that send you high and short (not low and long).

I’d recommend the “pool noodle” technique for coming up with the desired curve. Rookie move is making the jump too steep!! You want a long ramp (mine are all nearly 4ft in length) with a very gradual curve upwards. Rookies make jumps too steep, so when in doubt go low.

The biggest so far has it’s lip just over 3ft tall, and an 8ft gap from lip to landing.
Pro tip: design your jump as a triangle to prevent it from tipping during use!
OSB (Oriented strand board) is the sidewall material, and much cheaper than plywood.

Riding big drops

My technique is to carry enough speed into the drop such that you don’t pull back on the handlebars. Just ride it off smoothly, and keep your weight centered over your wheels. Tires should land simultaneously, or with the front slightly sooner to absorb the impact.

The ~6ft drop on Scorpion trail at Galbraith. Love all the people who dedicated their expertise to building these intricate trails. Plz donate to WA Evergreen Mountain bike alliance.
A really friendly guy offered someone else a tow-in, but only I took him up on it!

Later, someone offered me a cold beer in the middle of my ride. Doesn’t get much better πŸ™‚

πŸ“ Galbraith, Bellingham, WA. Such a well-cared for spot with excellent trail volunteering culture.

Rock Climbing

⭐ Download the Mountain Project app, or use their website mountainproject.com, to find all the (public) best climbs near you.

tbd!

Skiing

my skiing inspiration. printed on a poster in my wall.

Ski goal: big mountain, heli skiing in Alaska. Something as steep as it gets, hopefully with powder.

Mountaineering

Mountaineering goal: navigate the most technical peaks in the North Cascades, e.g. bigger glacier crossings, and 5th class alpine trad climbs.

My First Ascents (two so far)

See Drone Home: my first ascent of the highest unclimbed peak in Colorado using my DRONE to set the ropes in place. Pretty novel and creative way to summit unclimbable peaks.

Approaching peak
Peak 9,854 (as named by the USGS for it’s elevation). We named it Drone Home.

First Ascent: The Blocks in San Rafael Swell, Utah

If you’ve climbed damn near every possible peak in Colorado, what do you do? Turn to first ascents to fill your time. That’s what we did with the help of legendary peak bagger, and close family friend, Dave Goldstein.

The area is filled with Monument Valley-style towers rising out of the desert. Most of the tower is essentially unclimbable with no route up, but of course, there was a natural weakness to be found. Our ascent was primarily a 5.6 or 5.7 hand crack.

Dave Goldstein leads the pitch. The rock is brittle and he had a few holds break away under pressure.

For the descent, we had little choice but to drill (somewhat suspect) bolts into the sandy rock, hence our triple protection.

Unbeatable view from up there. Check out this 360 Photo-Sphere from the summit!

My dad, Randy, rushing to be the first to the top (since the true summit is the top right).

If you ever make it up there, be sure to leave your name in the summit register πŸ˜‰

We stashed gear for some sport climbing of this adjacent tower the next day!


The Classics with a Classic Friend

Hiking the Enchantments with Terrence was amazing. My parents have climbed almost every peak in that range (Prussik is one of the most scenic!). Following in their footsteps is very fulfilling.


Trip Report: Boston Peak and Mt. Sahale

πŸ“ Cascade Pass, North Cascades

This trip report is intended to assist anyone attempting to summit Boston Peak in the North Cascades. Our route was 5th class, 16 miles, 6k ft elevation gain and took 13 hours to complete. Background info (including several fatalities on Boston) found on Summit Post.

The approach

We entered via the Sahale Mountain trail. Cascade pass and the Sahale Arm are simply gorgeous, and the arm offers a comfortable non-switchback ascent (woo!), while also being a unique geological feature.

The Ascent to Sahale is great fun scrambling, with a snow crossing required (ice axe highly recommended).

Today was specific practice on glacier self arrest after a small slip I had recently that made me conscious of glacier training. One of my friends’ friends died in a crevasse this week, he was 25 and a skilled mountaineer. This is real to me. I need to keep training to avoid his same fate, rest in peace good man.

Cascade Pass’s Topo Aurora was simply gorgeous in the morning.

Topo Aurora

“The phenomenon of blue haze that results from the mountains sinking into the atmosphere”

I’d recommend cascade pass at sunrise. That Topo Aurora phenomenon is amazing!

The traverse from Sahale to Boston is best completed STAYING ON TOP OF THE RIDGE. In particular, make sure to take to top line, and DO NOT traverse around the right side as shown below. This point is a little over halfway along the traverse starting at Sahale towards Boston.

View from further away, my back is to the Sahale Summit.

The Climb

The climb itself is fun, especially through the crack section. There are plenty of holds, but it’s steep and exposed. The rock quality is okay, and quite protectable with cams, Tricams and nuts. However, bring helmets since there’s LOTS of loose rock!

Natural Weaknesses: 4 Pitches, a STIFF 5.6, and was very steep at times and during the crack pitch. No existing protection, but there are 3 (or was it just two?) rappel anchors right along this route for the descent. My dad and I named this route Natural Weaknesses because I don’t think it’s an existing route, and we just wanted to mess around and find a fun way up.

We named the route just for fun, hope you enjoy. We didn’t see the purple 4th class route on our way in, we only saw it while returning (of course) so keep an eye out right at the base of the summit.
Boston Summit with my dad. I don’t think Boston sees too much traffic, but there was a nice young guy from Oregon up there who took the photo.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you get out and about in the great outdoors! If you used this guide, send me an email and, if you want, include a photo from your trip at kastanday[_at_]gmail.

Surfing πŸ„β€β™‚οΈ

God I wish I knew how to surf. If you can take me surfing frfr send me an email kastanday[_at_]gmail.

Sailing β›΅

Goal: I’m working on a trip down the Pacific coast, from Seattle to the tip of south America… One stage at a time, with help. This can only happen after a vaccine is available.

Our new-to-us sailboat in Zezuantenejo, Mexico! Taken right as COVID-19 went worldwide, and I flew home one day before the boarder was partially closed (to non-essential travel).

Scuba 🀿

On hold until a vaccine is available. Goes hand-in-hand with our sailing trip down the coast of America’s.

Paragliding πŸͺ‚

Goals: Just learn to cruise by myself, alone from the first flight if possible.


If you think we’d have fun together, email me!
I’ll respond @ kastanday[_at_]gmail

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