Archive for August, 2006

From Russia With Love

After recovering from yesterday’s hike to and from Titcomb basin; with cold beverages and a dinner including Pinedale-raised garlic mashed potatoes; we contemplated the next Cheeseburger summit in Wyoming. Nothing too strenuous, just an excuse for another Summit Cheeseburger. After consultation with a several maps of the local area we decided that Cora Butte, Mount Airy, and Trapper’s Point were all possibilities. In preparation, we had asked Kirk to stock up on Cheesburgering supplies. With a packet of buffalo ground meat from Montana, onion rolls from Faler’s General Store in Pinedale, Havarti cheese, and garlic, we were prepared.

This was not just any garlic but a descendant of a bulb brought back from the the former Soviet Union; St. Petersburg to be exact. Reputed to be developed by the KGB (Killer Garlic Bulb?) during the Cold War, it has been propagated by, and shared with, a number of avid gardeners in Salt Lake City. The garlic cloves used in today’s Cheeseburger were raised in Pinedale, Wyoming at 7,200 ft. elevation.

The 1 lb. of burger meat was supplemented with 3 cloves of minced garlic, and after cooking, the burgers were lovingly blanketed by a layer of Havarti cheese and ultimately sandwiched between two soft onion rolls. To maximize the freshness of the experience, condiments, incluidng katsup, mustard and mayo, were withheld until we reached our destination.

Our intended summit for the day was Cora Butte. But a short drive to the small town of Cora provided a view of the small peak but no road leading anywhere near it could be easily found. Next we tried to track down Mount Airy but again we had no luck finding an easily navigable road to the peak. On to plan C.

Trapper’s Point overlooks the a portion of the Green River that was the site of 6 of the 16 Rendezvous held between 1824-1840. The Rendezvous was an annual event in which trappers, traveler, and Indians gathered to trade pelts and skins, supplies, as well as other goods.

Trapper’s Point is also notable in that it lies on a major wildlife migration route for pronghorn antelope, mule deer and other wildlife. This 160 mile long route connects their summer range in and around Teton National Park and their winter grounds in southwest Wyoming. At Trapper’s Point this migration route is shrunk to a width of just a half mile by the Green and New Fork rivers and homes, a highway and dirt roads. This bottleneck has been a concern because of its effect on migration of wildlife.

We found Trapper’s Point with no problem and walked the quarter mile or so to the summit. The garlic Cheeseburgers were accessorized with condiments to no avail – they tasted like garlic and nothing else. Well, 2 of the 2,000 or so ‘peaks’ in Wyoming have have been Cheeseburger summited for a completion rate of 0.1%. Yeah.

A warm Summit Cheeseburger welcome to Kirk! Remember, the first one’s the hardest.

Kirk, Patrick, Paul – August 27, 2006 / Trapper’s Point, Sublette County, Wyoming (7,317 ft.)

The You might even be able to smell the Garlic The Place The Dining Table

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August 31, 2006 at 8:30 pm 1 comment

The Weather is the Weather….

Panorama from Photographers Point

For our annual Wind Rivers hike we initially planned on a loop starting and ending at the Green River Lakes trailhead taking in an ascent of Greeley Point via Porcupine Pass (see post). The roster for this hike had been whittled down to Patrick and Paul (Nils’ mom wouldn’t let him go), so we decided to plan a different hike and save the Porcupine Pass Loop for another year. The new, improved plan was to start from the Elkhart Park trailhead Friday afternoon, making our way to, and camping at, Island Lake that evening. The next morning we would hike up Titcomb Basin and ascend Bonney Pass. A left at the pass would take us to the summit of Miriam Peak (13,080 ft.). After eating a Cheeseburger we would turn around, return to the camp at Island Lake, pack up, and hike out by sunset. At least that is what we planned.

After a 4+ hour drive from Salt Lake City to Pinedale, Wyoming via Evanston, Kemmerer, LaBarge, Big Piney, and Marbleton we were ready for lunch. Our old standby had closed and become a Chinese-American restaurant – anything-American food is scary, so we drove on to the Sugar Shack for, what else – a Cheeseburger; Patrick had a Philly cheesesteak sandwich. Tasty.

About 1 pm we arrived at the Elkhart Park trailhead. We wanted to get to the far side of Island Lake today so that next morning we might have an easy time of hiking up Titcomb Basin to Miriam Peak. We followed the Pole Creek trail towards Photographers Point. The hiking is mostly through Douglas Fir and Lodgepole Pine forest with a few open meadows here and there providing unobstructed views of the distant range. By the time we got to Photographers Point, we were worried about the weather. A light, misty rain and distant thunder was a warning of what was ahead for us. Without taking in the view we marched past Photographers Point towards Eklund Lake. The rain was picking up and by the time we passed Barbara Lake it started hailing. In a hollow just short of Hobbes Lake we pulled out the tent and waited out the storm while munching on beef jerky and trail mix. But the storm lasted only 1 hour and we could finish the hike to Island Lake with no problem. In a stiff, cold wind we set up camp on a knoll overlooking Island Lake.

At 2:30 that night we looked out of the tent to see a skyful of stars, including a great view of the Milky Way (not the candy bar). But by sunrise it had clouded over again. We abandoned our goal of Miriam Peak but decided to hike up Titcomb Basin anyways, to take in the scenery. We set off, without burgers, for what was to be a pleasant, brief, walk-about in Titcomb Basin. The clouds loomed low above the basin floor masking the peaks above us.

It was high mountain country in late summer, so almost any type of weather was possible, and we both had enough backpacking experience to know to be prepared for almost anything. Well, two out of those three were true! Then it started snowing! Between the two of us, we could have clothed one person properly. Paul had the jacket and gloves … but he was wearing cotton shorts. Patrick had pants .. and well, that was about it for him. Now in our defense, it did not start snowing until we reached the far end of Timcomb Basin and it did not start with snow. It rained first, then hailed, then snowed. So we were set-up! Upon returning to our packs and uncovering them from the snow, we hastily packed-up our remaining items and attempted to get on the outward bound trail as quickly as possible. A Snickers bar, which was consumed with great urgency, cracked with each bite. Neither of us could manage our fingers well enough to open a Zip-lock bag without the aid of our teeth. The snow was that sort of snow that could fall for hours. We contemplated hiding-out in the tent. The thought last about half a second. The way the snow was falling, that seemed like a bad idea. It really felt like we were in for it. Our boots were full of ice cold water. Did we mention we were cold? We put our heads down and started the trek out. One of us must have done something right in the not TOO distant past, because within a hour, just as we climbing to the pass to Little Seneca Lake the snow petered out, the sky lightened, and the blue sky began to appear. We stopped to turn around and were rewarded with some of most beautiful views either of us have ever seen. As we watched, the clouds thinned and rolled up and over Fremont, Sacagawea, Helen, and Jackson Peaks.

With a beautiful, sunny, 50 degree day we could hike back from Titcomb Basin in relative comfort. It appeared that the storm had scared away most hikers, so we had the trail to ourselves, by and large.

Almost everybody that has hiked much in the Winds has passed by Photographer’s Point on the way to Island Lake, Pole Creek Lakes, Jean Lakes, or anywhere else in the central part of the range. The view from the rocks bordering the trail as it makes a turn towards Eklund Lake is amazing – you can see peaks ranging from Glover to the north to Bald Mountain towards the south with Fremont, Helen, Henderson, and Arrowhead in between. But there are views, and there are views. A short hike DOWNHILL skirts along a small cliff area until you reach a small mound of rock jutting out into space. It’ll be obvious. This is the real Photographer’s Point – a place worthy of a Cheeseburger; and check out the view! We arrived in time for a late lunch. The burgers had been packed with about a pound of dry ice to keep them frozen for the duration of the hike. That morning we ditched the remaining dry ice and allowed the burgers to thaw. The buns had been stored in a tupperware-type container and Patrick had remembered to bring packets of mayonaisse, ketchup, and mustard.

All in all, despite the weather, it was a great hike. We talked about another hike next year – camping in Titcomb Basin with day hikes up Miriam and Dinwoody Peaks, the Butress, and maybe Fremont Peak. Bring your Cheeseburgers!

Patrick, Paul – August 26, 2006 / Photographer’s Point, Sublette County, Wyoming (10,056 ft.)

Storm Clouds Mount Lester Looking at Indian Pass End of the Storm

August 28, 2006 at 9:55 pm 1 comment

Pincian Hill in the Villa Borghese

Sorry for the belated post – I’ll use jet lag as an excuse for not telling you about the ascent of the Pincio, or the Pincian Hill as it was known in ancient Rome. Sunday morning (August 13th) began with the buffet breakfast at the hotel. I grabbed an extra raisin roll to use as a bun with the patties I had cooked back in Fossaccesia Marina (see previous Italian post).

The family got out the stroller, loaded up toys, and proceeded to the nearby Villa Borghese. The Villa Borghese is a large, over 200 acres, English-style garden in the Northern section of Rome. The Pincio lies on the southern side of the Villa Borghese.

The trek up the Pincio was solid Class I; a stroller can be reasonably navigated up the 1-2% slopes. From the summit we were rewarded with tremendous views of St. Peter’s and the entire Vatican (see photos below). In addition we could look across the Tiber River to see the Janiculum Hill on the other side, and reflect on yesterday’s ascent of its sharply angular profile. But the hard part was still to come. I pulled out the week-old cheeseburger patty, placed it on the raisin roll, and began the arduous task of eating the “gladiator” Cheeseburger. Caesar would have given the thumbs down to this Cheeseburger.

Now, people have asserted that the Roman Hills were not legitimate ascents of summits – after all, they’re just hills! Well, I’ll ask them to take a closer look at the rules; it’s all summits that are marked on maps that we’re after. I hope that this might inspire folks to go after other city summits, like Bunker Hill in Boston, Capitol Hill in Washington D.C, Mount Adams in Cincinnati, Mount Sutro in San Francisco, and so on.

– Paul

Approach to the Pincio PICT2346 PICT2345 PICT2344

August 23, 2006 at 8:19 am 1 comment

Walking up Mount Walker – A Quest for Olympic Penninsula Glory (the First Washington State Summit)

After an arduous journey of many miles and few replenishments we dropped John, William, and Mitch at the YMCA summer camp for troubled teenage youths. After confiscating a switchblade, a set of brass knuckles and a gross of bottle rockets, we determined that the lads were ready to interact with their summer camp brethren. With a moist cheek and a heavy heart we slowed the vehicle to 5-10 miles per hour and wished John and Mitch well as they exited the moving car while utilizing the time proven drop and roll technique. After a brief foray into the Twana Roadhouse in Quilcene, Washington to pick up 3 glorious Cheeseburgers we continued our quest. The backbone of each Cheeseburger was 1/3 of a pound of proud American beef. We then customized each Cheeseburger into: an Everything Cheeseburger for John Henry, a Deluxe Cheddar Cheeseburger for Mark and a Swiss Mushroom Cheeseburger for Leslie. Paige being of a like mind to Georges, chose to refrain from the Cheeseburger and enjoy a repast of GoGurt and Bottled Water.

It has been suggested that the peak of Mount Walker is completely attainable by vehicle, however this is a dangerous lie. Ignore the naysayers and syncophants, summiteers should be sternly warned that the road peters out approximately 20-30 feet before the true summit of 2804 feet is attained. Without a proper girding of the loins, this peak will remain unclimbed.

A hearty Cheeseburger welcome to Mark and Leslie. An honorary Cheeseburger welcome to Paige!

Mark, Leslie and John

August 14, 2006 at 11:58 pm 1 comment

Rome – The City of Seven Hills

Rome was founded on seven hills – the Capitoline, Palatine, Celium, Aventine, Quirinal, Viminal, and Esquiline. From among these hills the ancient Romans administered a vast empire stretching from Britain to Africa, from Spain to the Middle East. The modern day visitor to Rome sees many reminders of the splendour of the Roman Empire including the Coloseum, the Forum, Circus Maximus and the Pantheon. It was in these hills that an underhanded attack on the Summit Cheeseburger leadership was avenged.

As they say, Rome was not built in a day, and its peaks are not scaled without proper preparation. This began with a dash from the Rome airport to the Adriatic town of Fossaccesia Marina for acclimitization to both low altitude and high espresso levels. Periodic ascents of the road up to Santa Maria Imbaro provided additional exposure to a range of elevations. Our loins were further girded by a visit to Ravenna – the mosaic capital of the world. The wonderful Santa Maria in Foris bed and breakfast provided a jumping off point for visits of the Basilica di San Vitale, Mausoleo di Galla Placidia, Domus dei Tappeti di Pietra, and the Basilica di Sant’Appollinare Nuovo. All contained outstanding examples of fifth and sixth century mosaic work but the Basilica di San Vitale was stunning – mosaics on the walls, floors, and ceilings were breathtaking.

After too much pasta, too much cappacino, and too much proscuitto we made our way to Rome. After visits to the Trevi fountain and the Pantheon, we undertook the arduous climb up the 124 steps of Santa Maria in Aracoeli. Why? To get to the top of the Capitoline Hill, eat a Cheeseburger, and claim the first non-US peak for the Summit Cheeseburger effort. With this accomplishment in hand, we proceeded through the ruins of the Roman Forum to attack the Palantine Hill. Success! Two of the Seven Hills of Ancient Rome in one day. The only casualty was Paul’s stomach.

The next day the blizzard of Cheeseburger summitting continued. After visiting the Vatican we crossed the Tiber to begin the long, winding ascent of the Janiculum Hill. While not one of the original seven hills of Rome, it commands a tremendous panorama of Rome and the Vatican.

Photos and additional details will be provided upon my return to a fully functioning computer

Paul / Capitoline, Palatine, Janiculum Hills.

Roman Cheeseburger Ascending the Capitoline Hill PICT2339 Pantheon

August 14, 2006 at 4:32 am 2 comments

A New Face and Two More Peaks!

This post was to be grand .. “Two More Peaks ..” nearly a complete defeat of Paul the previous leader. Then, yesterday morning, before having the time to write this, I received an e-mail from Italy …. “please post”. See ABOVE! Three HILLS from Paul. I had planned to be within 1 Cheeseburger. My plans were foiled, and Paul was back in the lead. John’s reign had been short lived. The good news, of course, Summit Cheeseburger had gone international! Enough about Paul’s hikes (or cab rides, or pub crawls or whatever).

Sunday’s hike to the TOP of the Snowbird was fantastic. What a hike. What a workout! Alan joined me for the first time. He has had far greater experience hiking in and around the Wasatch, so I was happy that I had picked a hike that he had not done. It was a typical early morning start — 6 am Sunday. We were on the trail headed up to Hidden peak by 7 am. We took the Peruvian Gulch trail to the base of the North ridge beneath the Tram. We climbed the side of the ridge to the crest and then followed the ridge-line all the to the top of Hidden Peak. We were enjoying a bagel on top of Hidden peak by about 8:30 am. Then the fun began and the clock slowed.

We set out along the East ridge to the shoulder of the twins. The ridge-line was an easy hike … for a spell. Not long into the ridge-line, Alan and I split. His comfort level climbing among the rocks was greater than mine (read: I was a nancy-boy). The occasional 20 ft vertical drop drove me to the skirt the ridge line. I descended the south side of the ridge into Mineral Basin and looped up at the shoulder to meet up with Alan. The south sloop was a bear. It was steep, lose, with a fair smattering of thistle. The scramble back up to the ridge involved “climbing” the ground foliage like a rope ladder. Thank goodness many of the roots grew deep! Alan waited for me as I “reascended” the ridge. From the shoulder to the top it was very steep and a tough “push”, but safe. After enjoying brunch’s first course on the Summit of the East peak we jumped over the West twin to complete the double. We enjoyed some of the best views I have seen in the Wasatch.

During the decent along the ridge, we bumped into the Snowbird employee that John and I meet the previous week. The one who had let us aboard the Hijacked Tram. He did not have Midas this time, but instead led some Exec/CEO type on a private hiker to the top of the twins.

We welcome Alan and congraguate late him on his double! He will be a huge asset. Cheeseburgers can go places with this guy!

Alan and Patrick

Mineral Basin -- off the East ridge American Forks Twin Peaks ... a nice place for a cheeseburger brunch Hidden Peak East Twin from West Twin

August 13, 2006 at 4:40 pm Leave a comment

O Captain My captain…..

While Paul is off vacationing and spending time with his “family”, the remaining executive members of the summitcheese leadership team remain fervently committed to the movement and continue to further the cause by conquering peak after peak after peak. Based upon this weekend’s experience, it would seem that a huge weight has been lifted. To quote the Greatest, we’ll be “floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee”… or something like that.

Paul had built a sizable cheeseburger lead as was apparent from the slack he had taken in on the belt of his lumbar pack! But with his absence … opportunity knocks. This weekend we made our first move. The team left for the Little Cottonwood Canyon at 6am Sunday morning. Starbucks hadn’t opened yet so John volunteered to provide the morning JO’; THANK YOU JOHN! We departed the Cecret Trail-head by about 7am. The Plan: Sugarloaf, Mount Baldy and Hidden Peak. We also planned to scout Devil’s Castle and American Forks Twin Peaks. If we succeed it would be the second, consecutive, three-cheeseburger weekend.

Now neither of us had fully recovered from the previous weekend’s 3-cheeseburger picnic on the Fearsome Foursome (see post); we knew this was not going to be trivial. To help us survive this weekend’s breakfast buffet. I decided to make it a little more interesting. We each packed three cheeseburger tastes from around the globe — “The All American”, “The Swiss Family Bacon BBQ Burger” and “The Mexican”… OK so I am reaching with the Swiss reference … it is my post. Recipes will be provided below. I had decided that the peaks needed to be more daunting than the menu. I think John will agree, the variety and tastes were a welcome addition to the hike. “The Mexican” was my favorite. Burger and portion sizes were carefully controlled. This was also key. More details to come.

The hike was perfect and it benefited from some great luck. Upon reaching Cecret Lake, we head up a trail that lead us through the scree and rocks to the saddle between Devils Castle and Sugarloaf. We explored the route to Devil’s; it does not look trivial; perhaps another day. After the first round of burgers (John opted to open the hike with “The Mexican”; I started with “The Swiss Family Bacon BBQ Burger” — I had to, it had bacon). After a brief stop we traveled northwest along the ridge-line to Mt. Baldy which separates Alta from Snowbird. We enjoyed our second burgers and soaked up the view. We continued down and back up the ridge to the last peak on the tour — Hidden Peak. We had both saved “The All American” for the triumphant conclusion. Upon the completion of the hike, Paul had reliquished the yellow (think cheese of course!) jersey.

The hike went so well that we reached Hidden Peak before 10am. We had planned to save our knees and take the Snowbird tram down, but it was not due to run until 11am. Fortunate event #1: a Snowbird rescue worker and is rescue dog, Midas, came along. He pried open the doors of the Tram and let us on. He explained that the tram would start up about 10:30 and take us down. It was just what they did to start the day. We shared the “Hijacked” tram with a couple others who came along for the ride. Event #2: Upon reaching the bottom, a couple of tram commpadres offered us a ride in their 745 BMW to the entrance of the Albion Basin dirt road. Event #3: Just moments after we exited the beammer and after John had suggested that the compadres check out our website (we have to get business cards made!) an Alta Shuttle pulled over and offered us a ride the rest of the way back to the trail head. We completed the loop in luxury and with luck. Pictures to follow .. this is where it would really help to have Paul around!

Cheesburger-eating, trash-talking, John and Patrick

Three amigos View of American Fork Twins From the top pf Sugarloaf Mt Baldy from Hidden Peak

August 6, 2006 at 5:17 pm 2 comments

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The Mission

To encourage, enable, and document the consumption of a Cheeseburger on every summit on earth.
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