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Lassen Solo Bike and Ski Adventure

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  • Lassen Solo Bike and Ski Adventure

    As many of you know my buddies and I often ski at Lassen National Park when the road to the summit parking lot opens to allow access to Lassen Peak . This year the park opened the park road to bicycles and pedestrians for a vehicle free weekend the weekend before opening the road to vehicles for Memorial Day. I thought this would be an excellent reason to try a bike assisted ascent of Lassen Peak . This involves bicycling from the Visitor center at 6700 feet to the Lassen peak summit parking lot at 8500 feet , a distance of 7 miles , with a 1800 vertical gain carrying all your ski equipment on your back , then leaving the bike in the parking lot and climbing the peak which tops out at close to 10,500 feet or 2000 feet elevation gain . Total elevation gain of 3800 vertical and then getting it all back , skiboarding from the summit ,and then loading all the equipment on your back and doing a screaming 7 mile downhill descent back to the visitor center with no cars on the park road. Couldn't round up any of my buddies .. so did it solo . I did not break any speed records in this adventure ... but I had a great time . The key was just taking my time and not pushing it too hard. I stayed overnight in Red Bluff so I could get a sunrise start at 600am . I was the first bicyclist on the road . 4 guys camped out in the parking lot and were also going to bike up with their ski equipment but they left about 45 minutes after I did ... three guys on split boards and one guy with long skis.

    I round the bend in the deserted road and the distant Lassen Peak comes in to view . I plan to bicycle up there and then hike to the summit ! will I make it?????

    Reach the snow line finally and the morning sun breaks out ..... lots of switch backs here . I am in my lowest 3 gears on my mountain bike , with most of the time spent in the lowest gear ... I guess I am really averaging only 3miles an hour or so and take a few rest breaks along the way , getting my pack off my back .. but basically the effort does not seem to extreme and I am able to enjoy the views. I am bicycling in my DC Gizmo snowboard boots which feel really like tennis shoes just a bit bigger and do well as a mountain bike shoe I have a camel back with water and lots of power bars and my Rockered Condors are happy on my pack .


    I am finally getting near my destination ... This is Lake Helen with Lassen peak behind it . The sign says thin ice.


    Heading up the final stretch of road with Lassen Peak looming ahead .


    And Lake Helen now left down below....



    Lassen comes in to full view ... my goal is the summit ! The sign warns bicyclist of ice on the road


    I finally reach the trailhead to Lassen Peak . at 815 am . 2hours and 15 minutes for the bicycle climb fully loaded with my ski equipment . Well conditioned roadies riding road bikes with no packs do the 7 miles in 40minutes. The four snowboarders and skiers who left after me arrived shortly after I did .. and the bicycle ascent in about an hour and half . The park service has supplied water for bicyclists to resupply their water bottles. I take advantage of the water to refill my camel back for the ascent .


    Here is my gear as I make my transition from bicyclist to skiboarder. The other guys are quite interested in my unusual backcountry rig- RC's with snowboard bindings , ski crampons , skins and snowboard boots. !



    Starting up Lassen Peak



    I see a group of skiers behind me , who are they ? turns out they are a group with nordic ski patrol who the park service allowed to drive their cars up instead of bike up . They are fresh and not tired out like me .. .and soon are ahead of me ...

    I told them I am happy to see them here in case I get into any trouble !
    One of them kindly snaps my picture. The Rockered Condors are equipped with climbing skins and the SBOL modified snowboard bindings which I am using in backcountry mode with ski crampons attached to the supplied extra inserts on the RC. See this thread for an explanation on how I use the binding for climbing .

    IMG_0911_zpscbee8428 by Jack Jue Jr, on FlickrL]

    View up toward the summit of Lassen peak


    View of the surrounding peaks and lake far below from the ascent ridge ..


    As usual the last part of the ascent is on dry trail carrying my RC's on my back . I love hiking in snowboard boots rather then heavy ski boots ! Notice the parking lot way , way down there . that is where I began the climb and left my bicycle.


    Ok finally at the summit . It is 200pm , I left the parking lot at 900 Am An ascent that usually takes me 3-4 hours has taken me a full 5 hours. I am very slow at top feeling dead tired. The bicycle approach did take a lot out of me and I have to stop every few steps to get my breath .
    This is a view of the rocky pinnacle of Lassen Peak and the explanatory signs that the Park service has installed at the summit .


    This is the view of the caldera of the volcano where it last erupted.

    And here are my trusty RC's on my pack at the Summit. The nice Osprey pack allows me to stow them nicely on either side which is great for carrying them hiking and for bicycling. .. Both ski poles including the ice ax tipped pole are three sectional collapsible poles which I stow on the sides of the pack with the RC's for bicycling .
    Time to put them on and get on with the big time descent I have been waiting for all day . I am dropping the big Southeast face of Lassen directly in front of the sign ..



    Obligatory summit selfie !


    It is windy and cold up here , good thing because even at 230pm when I begin my descent the snow is absolutely perfect ,
    Sorry no pictures of my descent . I was hell bent on just dropping the big slope continuously and then transitioning to my bike and heading down . Amazingly my ski descent and then lesiurely transition back to my bicycle mode and then screaming 7 mile non stop downhill descent back to the park visitor center took a mere 1 hour and I was enjoying a beer and chili beans at the visitor center at 330pm !!! I rested and my energy returned on that nice continuous and perfect 3800 vertical combined skiboard and bike descent ...... A perfect end to the backcountry season .
    Boards :
    Blunt Xl, DLP, Spliff, Condor, Rockered Condor , Slingshot, Sherpa, Icelantic Shaman
    Boots
    K2 BFC 100 Grip walk sole , Dynafit CR Radical AT boot, Ride Insano Snowboard boots
    Bindings:
    Zero Pro Non release Binding
    Modified Receptor Backcountry Bindings (Bill Version and Slow Version)
    Spruce Riser with Attack 14 GW /AT binding
    Custom Risers with Fritschi Backcountry Bindings (Jeff Singer version 1, Bill version)
    Rocker and Sbol Soft Boot Bindings.

  • #2
    Awesome tale jjue! Thanks for sharing - and that's some really picturesque terrain that you slogged up then blitzed down!

    Comment


    • #3
      Biking and skiboarding in the same day, now that's what I call perfection.

      Thanks for sharing!
      Skiboards:
      2013 Spruce Sherpas w/Tyrolia Peak 11s
      2015 RVL8 Blunt XLs w/Tyrolia Attack 13s
      2018 Spruce Crossbows w/Tyrolia Peak 11s
      2020 RVL8 Sticky Icky Ickys w/Tyrolia SX 10s


      Boots:
      Salomon X-Pro 80

      Past boards: Salomon Snowblades, Line MNPs 89 & 98 cm, Five-Os, Bullets, Jedis, Spruce 120s, LE 125s, Ospreys
      Summit 110s, Nomads, Jades, RVL8 ALPs, BWPs, KTPs, Tanshos, Rockets, DLPs, Blunts, Condors, RCs, Revolts, Spliffs

      Comment


      • #4
        OMG! And I still have a little trouble with stairs!

        Sent from my LG-V500 using Tapatalk
        Crossbow (go to dream board)
        Most everything else over time.
        Go Android

        Comment


        • #5
          Looks like a great day out. I guess you really have to enjoy the journey up to make endeavors like this worthwhile. This reminds me of Thanksgiving dinner, you spend six hours cooking it and it's gone in fifteen minutes.
          Just these, nothing else !

          Comment


          • #6
            Cycling and skiing on the same run combined - what a great setup! I do miss California.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Bad Wolf View Post
              Looks like a great day out. I guess you really have to enjoy the journey up to make endeavors like this worthwhile. This reminds me of Thanksgiving dinner, you spend six hours cooking it and it's gone in fifteen minutes.
              Yeah , for both cyclists and ski mountaineers .. the ascent is just as important or more important then the descent ... I am not sure what it is but there is a huge satisfaction in tackling a big challenge physically and making it .... I am hugely grateful however for the downhill.... I was so bushed making it to the top .. that cruising all the way back down riding the perfect sun softened snow on my magic Rockered Condors and then letting my bike scream down a beautiful continuous downhill winding road through spectacular scenery without any cars to worry about was a god send to end the adventure ! The bike descent was absolutely the most magical and wonderful bike descent I have ever done !And going downhill on my mountain bike , it didn't feel like I was carrying anything on my back ! One of the cool things about how my RCs and collapsible poles are packed on my pack is how nice and aerodynamic I am for the descent with no huge protruding long skis or snowboard to act as wind resistance. Also don't need to carry my ski boots on my back as my snowboard boots are perfectly serviceable as a downhill mountain bike shoe !

              For more idea of what the road up is like , here is a video of some roadies pushing it uphill a few years ago at max speed up the same road . They did the climb as fast as they could and it took them 40 minutes. My much more leisurely pace took 2 hours and 15 minutes . But then again they were not carrying ski equipment, they were done with their climb at the parking lot and I still had to climb up that big old mountain behind them , ha , ha .. !

              http://youtu.be/o0FD4Ph_IqM



              For an idea about what the ski descent is like here is my video of our trip last year when we descended the same southeast face I did this year . I was much more energetic last year however , having driven my car to the parking lot rather then cycled up the road on my bike ! If you look closely at this video you will see a few summit changes if you compare the video with my summit photos from this year , the National park service has removed the old unused radio repeater beacon that used to top Lassen peak and reflects the sunlight in my video from last year , and have installed new explanatory educational signs at the summit . ps. that old Radio beacon was a big old highly visible thing on the summit that the National Park service has been wanting to remove for years and finally got around to it . The thing has been the butt of jokes for years . I leave it to your imagination as to what it resembled .



              http://vimeo.com/67005525

              Boards :
              Blunt Xl, DLP, Spliff, Condor, Rockered Condor , Slingshot, Sherpa, Icelantic Shaman
              Boots
              K2 BFC 100 Grip walk sole , Dynafit CR Radical AT boot, Ride Insano Snowboard boots
              Bindings:
              Zero Pro Non release Binding
              Modified Receptor Backcountry Bindings (Bill Version and Slow Version)
              Spruce Riser with Attack 14 GW /AT binding
              Custom Risers with Fritschi Backcountry Bindings (Jeff Singer version 1, Bill version)
              Rocker and Sbol Soft Boot Bindings.

              Comment


              • #8
                What a great trip! Thanks for the visuals, and bringing the rest of us along.
                Hopefully next year I'll be able to join you!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Pretty amazing day Jack! Impressive elevation gain and drop! Thanks for sharing.
                  favorite setup: Blunts with SBOL modified Snowjam 540 bindings

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Ski equipment carry on bikes

                    This dual mode adventure has got me researching how other folks have done combined bike and ski trips .
                    My method was just carrying my ski equipment on my pack as one would do hiking as this guy is doing ... one advantage of skiboards is their short length there is are no long skis above your head to create wind resistance.


                    This guy carried his splitboard and boots crosswise on a rear rack and his pack in front , I assume in a basket ..


                    A couple of guys have created ski holder attachments for the rear rack to carry skis on one side upright and a pannier bag on the other for boots....




                    One of my ski buddies has started a new cargo bike company that has extended frame cargo bikes with luggage frames
                    and he has done solo Lassen bike /ski trips himself using his cargo bike ...


                    Here is a system just lashing skis to tube and pack and poles to back rack


                    These guys like I do recommend just bicycling in your ski boots although I do think it is more comfy in snowboard boots then in plastic downhill ski boots !


                    Some folks have used Bob trailers to haul their stuff ...

                    Boards :
                    Blunt Xl, DLP, Spliff, Condor, Rockered Condor , Slingshot, Sherpa, Icelantic Shaman
                    Boots
                    K2 BFC 100 Grip walk sole , Dynafit CR Radical AT boot, Ride Insano Snowboard boots
                    Bindings:
                    Zero Pro Non release Binding
                    Modified Receptor Backcountry Bindings (Bill Version and Slow Version)
                    Spruce Riser with Attack 14 GW /AT binding
                    Custom Risers with Fritschi Backcountry Bindings (Jeff Singer version 1, Bill version)
                    Rocker and Sbol Soft Boot Bindings.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I think I would rather attach the gear to the bike than to myself. Lower CG, generally safer. The trailer idea is cool because it eliminates the issue of physically carrying the weight. If you have the kit in a backpack that is a lot of extra weight for your butt to be driving down into the saddle. Really hard on that contact point.

                      Sent from my LG-V500 using Tapatalk
                      Crossbow (go to dream board)
                      Most everything else over time.
                      Go Android

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by valmorel View Post
                        ....... If you have the kit in a backpack that is a lot of extra weight for your butt to be driving down into the saddle. Really hard on that contact point.

                        Sent from my LG-V500 using Tapatalk
                        Yes quite right Valmorel .. (but not so much my butt but another very important body area )...
                        Same question was asked and answered on another blog and I must admit , that a particular very important part of my anatomy is still rather numb days after the adventure because of the significant added pressure on the nerves to that part .. despite me wearing bike shorts under my ski pants... thank god however sensation is gradually returning !

                        http://www.tetonat.com/2010/04/02/park-ski-bike-tips/

                        tommy romunski
                        Apr 2nd, 2010 at 3:33 pm
                        great post!

                        I’m a bit confused as to why you wouldn’t just throw skis + boots on your pack (aframe style is best) and ride that way?

                        clearly, that’s a lot more weight on your body, not on your bike, but I don’t see the point of rigging your bike to carry all the gear if it’s not necessary.

                        randosteve
                        Apr 2nd, 2010 at 4:33 pm
                        tommy…i don’t know about you, but certain parts on my anatomy don’t really like riding a bike with 30-40 pounds on my back. maybe if you are lance armstrong and have iron-taint…it’s not that bad, but for me, i’d rather take 15 minutes and rig the gear on the bike, than pedal with it on my back,
                        Boards :
                        Blunt Xl, DLP, Spliff, Condor, Rockered Condor , Slingshot, Sherpa, Icelantic Shaman
                        Boots
                        K2 BFC 100 Grip walk sole , Dynafit CR Radical AT boot, Ride Insano Snowboard boots
                        Bindings:
                        Zero Pro Non release Binding
                        Modified Receptor Backcountry Bindings (Bill Version and Slow Version)
                        Spruce Riser with Attack 14 GW /AT binding
                        Custom Risers with Fritschi Backcountry Bindings (Jeff Singer version 1, Bill version)
                        Rocker and Sbol Soft Boot Bindings.

                        Comment

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