Forums Trip Reports Recap of the past 6 months (Warning 100 pics)
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  • #575270
    Kyle Miller
    510 Posts

    Well there is so many places that I could start this thread at but I decided to go with one of my favorite lines this entire season. A peak that goes by the name of Bandit in the “Middle of nowhere” North Cascades!

    Yep that line goes and its called the Black Hole Couloir!

    Every time I tour with Ale Capone it is guaranteed to be a adventure!

    4000 Vertical feet of straight fall line!

    I had been waiting for this moment for years!

    Early in the season I came up with a project to ride lines on the 10 highest Peaks in Washington which seemed overwhelming but with a full spring I felt it would be possible, that is until I got a email and great opportunity. Sweetgrass productions was filming a movie called Solitaire and they were wondering if I wanted to go to South America for two months. Without hesitation I said I would be honored. Little did I realize that I was heading down for the months of June and July (which were prime corn season in the PNW) so almost immediately after getting the message I was out in the middle of nowhere attempting these peaks during the months of April and May.

    Mt. Fernow is number 8 at 9,249 feet. Completed on April 15th

    Bonanza Peak is number 6 at 9,511. Completed on April 17th

    Photo by Lowell Skoog

    Mt. Stuart is number is number 7 at 9,415. Completed on April 22nd

    Mt. Goode is number 9 at 9,200. Completed on May 1st

    Mt. Baker is number 4 at 10,781. Completed on May 9th

    Mt. Shuksan is number 10 at 9,131. Completed on May 10th

    Glacier Peak is number 5 at 10,520. Completed on May 19th

    Little Tahoma is number 3 at 11,138. Completed on May 24th

    By the time that I said goodbye to the U.S. I had 8 out of the 10 peaks completed leaving both Rainier and Mt Adams for when I returned back to the states on July 22nd

    Welcome to La Paz Bolivia at a altitude of 12,500 feet in the valley!

    After a few days of acclimatizing we made our way out to Huayna Potosi. This giant 19,974 foot peak is a one hour drive from town. The graves are open so the spirits can roam freely!

    The colossal giant in the distance!

    I was fortunate to partner up with rock star Ski Mountaineer Kim Havell.

    The landscape was like nothing I had ever seen. Looking out among a 15,000 foot plateau and La Paz in the canyon.

    Conditions were bullet proof ice, which made for great climbing but not so great snowboarding.

    Looking down among the Bolivian Andes and the Amazon Fainforest

    This was the view from our basecamp where we stayed for 5 days.

    Once arriving back to La Paz I noticed I had a toothache. It turned out that I needed to get a root canal which put me out for a full week. The whole time I was at the hotel I had this picture above my head to comfort me.

    While I missed out on some amazing stuff I did get to witness the Gran Poder which is the party of the year in town. This parade lasted 16 hours.

    A week later everyone was back and we were off to the next adventure in a small village town called Sajama named after the volcano in the backround which happens to be the highest peak in Bolivia at 21463

    Our focus was the peak on the right Pomerape. The peak to the left is Parinacota.

    The weirdest thing about these volcanoes was there was no streams. Instead of melting these glaciers were evaporating.

    Our home for the next 4 days.

    Climbing at 20,000 feet is brutal but the views are amazing. I was so beat this was the only photo I managed to take.

    Night after night we would get amazing sunsets.

    but before long it was time to say goodbye to everyone. Some people went back to the states, one went to Argentina

    and I went to Lake Titicaca

    According to Inca legend this area was the birthplace of the sun and the moon.

    Looking down at Copacabana on the shores of Lake Titicaca

    My next stop was Cuzco Peru. At one time this was the Inca capital.

    but the Spanish came in and tore down the temples and made churches over them.

    This was the Inca Sun Temple which was made out of gold but all that remains is the foundation.

    Cuzco is now the Catholic capital of South America and I happened to be there on the day of Corpus Cristi otherwise known as the Walking of the Saints.

    From there I took a train through what the Inca referred to as the Sacred Valley to a small town called Aguas Caliente.

    Which was at the base of Machu Picchu

    One can’t help to be blown away by how they built on such steep mountains

    and such AMAZING temples like the temple of the Three Windows

    The Temple of the Sun

    The Temple of the Moon

    and the Temple of the Condor

    While there I climbed the surrounding mountains. Here is a view from Hyanni Picchu

    Machu Picchu mountain

    and the Sun Gate. The switchbacks are the road that take buses by the thousands up everyday.

    I quickly realized the better the stonework the more sacred the area was

    My next stop was Ollantaytambo which was the final stronghold of the Incas versus the Spanish.

    This was the only place where the Inca defeated the Spanish and saved Machu Picchu which was 20 miles downstream.

    My last morning in Peru I watched the sunrise in Cuzco before boarding the plain.

    I landed in Santiago Chile where I had a blast for three days watching the Copa Cup and drinking Pisco Sours with a bunch of rowdy Chileans. Good times!

    Then I was off to Las Lenas Argentina to meet back up with my friends from Sweetgrass.

    When I got there it hadn’t snowed for weeks and the snowpack was nonexistent. Here is Las Lenas peak.

    All the rumors are true, the El Marte Chair is Crazy!

    but we made the most of it and hiked. Once in the highcountry we realized we were just at the foothills of the Andes.

    We hiked day after day until sunset.

    Once Ryland Bell got into town there was rumor of a huge storm coming in but wanting to stretch his feet we did some hiking for turns. Ryland is the man!

    and then the snow arrived!

    Almost three feet of it!

    After that we skinned everywhere. Stoked that the snow dropped somewhat heavy to put down a solid base.

    Finally pow turns in South America

    The wind dictates everything in the Andes where one bowl could be 10 feet deep the next bowl has no snow.

    Here Ryland bootpacks up a steep couloir with a part of Las Lenas in the background.

    Our goal for the trip and my final day was focused on Cerro Martin one of the biggest peak in the area.

    but the peaks beyond that went on forever.

    This was final and by far the best run in South America

    So I said goodbye and boarded a plane home to Seattle.

    Where two days later I focused my attention on Mt. Adams Which is number 2 at 12,276 feet Compleated on July 24th

    Then Mt. Shasta via the Hotlum Wintum route.

    Luckily I was used to hanging out at 14,000 feet.

    Next was Rainier Which is number 1 at 14,410

    Which I summited on August 1st finally completing my Ten Highest Peaks project.

    Then a few days later I went back to Mt. Adams with Jason to celebrate him completing the goal as well.

    On August 13th I took my final turns of the season off the summit of Mt. Baker.

    It was time to put the splitboard away and do some hiking during our traditional “Two Weeks of Summer”

    I explored some areas on the north side of Mt Rainier

    like Grand Park

    and checked out different alpine terrain.

    Trying to camp in areas where I would get a great view of the sunset. Looking down on Puget Sound.

    Looking at Rainier and Spray Park in the foreground.

    The Massive Willis Wall.

    In total the hike was five days half of which I did solo and the other half with my friend Boot.

    My next trip was a 10 hike with another good friend Skier Dan. We started off on the western edge of Glacier Peak Wilderness.

    and passed familiar peaks like Sloan to the right and Kyes which Ale Capone and I had rode the previous year to the left.

    Our first camp was Lake Byrne which since the floods of 2003 is only accessible via a 11 mile hike. Its September 1st and this lake is at 5,500 feet.

    This was the only cloudy day of the trip but luckily Glacier Peaks west side came out for a few minutes.

    This area is now abandoned and all of the bridges are gone. So we carefully made our way to the Pacific Crest Trail

    Looking at the Northeast side of Glacier Peak

    Heading into the Fire Creek Pass area there is some amazing and steep alpine terrain.

    That night we camped up at Fire Creek Pass and watched the sun set to the west.

    Mica Lake still frozen on September 3rd.

    If the area wasn’t so brutal and inaccessible there is amazing terrain out there.

    and that terrain goes on forever.

    If you ever have a chance you MUST check out Dolly Vista. Its one of the most scenic places I have ever been to.

    Here Dan is crossing over Cloudy Pass which is the crest of the Cascades.

    Welcome to Eastern Washington and the Lyman Lakes

    We spent two nights in Stehekin (Thanks Keith) which is the coolest town in the world before saying goodbye. Here Dan is crossing Park Creek Pass.

    After one sketch log cross and 23 miles of hiking down valley we were back to civilization.

    Its been a amazing 6 months and I feel very fortunate to be in the situation I am in. I hope you enjoyed the adventure. and with that here is a sunset shot I took at Mt. Rainier on the night before my summit day.

    Oh and I just got my September Turns putting me up at 107 consecutive months.

    A lot of these adventured were filmed for the upcoming Documentary from Crest productions Called FreeRider

    I would like to thank Jason Hummel,Scott McAlister, Don Bounty, Jessie Rowe, Amar Andalkar, Chris Gallardo, Ben Sturgenowski, Micheal Brown, Kathy Crestensen, Robert Crestensen, Nick Wagner, Everyone at Eddie Bauer/First Ascent, Smith Optics, Will Ritter, The Karakorum Brothers, The Peeps at Venture, Burton, Voile, Chimera, Lib, and Smith

    #642743
    jcm
    34 Posts

    :bow: Incredible and thanks for posting. Your travels are an inspiration. So which splitter is your favorite or does it all depend on conditions?

    #642744
    PedroDelfuego
    758 Posts

    Wow Kyle… WOW! :thumpsup:

    It should be “HowInTheWorld” does Kyle Miller do it?

    #642745
    UPGRAYEDD_2505
    127 Posts

    Nice job. That Black Hole Couloir looks classic.

    Now go watch some TV and drink lot of beer ;).

    #642746
    swanny
    189 Posts

    I want to be Kyle…except for the root canal! :thatrocks:

    #642747
    Rico in AZ
    559 Posts

    Wow. Not much else to say, except simply AMAZING!

    Way to keep it real too.

    #642748
    Kyle Miller
    510 Posts

    @jcmarechal wrote:

    Your travels are an inspiration. So which splitter is your favorite or does it all depend on conditions?

    Thanks man from what I have seen each split has its conditions that it excels in. I may make it down to Hood sometime soon and give peeps the opportunity to try some splits out if people would be interested.

    @PedroDelfuego wrote:

    Wow Kyle… WOW! :thumpsup:

    It should be “HowInTheWorld” does Kyle Miller do it?

    The simple answer is by living my life day to day and just trusting that fate will take me in the right path.

    The long answer is running from debt collectors 😆

    @UPGRAYEDD_2505 wrote:

    Nice job. That Black Hole Couloir looks classic.

    Now go watch some TV and drink lot of beer ;).

    It is for sure a classic. Looks like you have been representing us Cascadians quite well down in the Sierras keep it up and I look forward to your stoke.

    @swanny wrote:

    I want to be Kyle…except for the root canal! :thatrocks:

    Thanks, whats crazy it I had 12 hours of dentist work without painkillers for a total cost of 135 US$

    @ricorides wrote:

    Wow. Not much else to say, except simply AMAZING!

    Way to keep it real too.

    Thanks man things are easier then they were a year ago but contrary to popular belief my diet still consists of Top Ramen :nononno:

    #642749
    numbernine
    104 Posts

    nice work kyle! looking forward to checking out the films!

    #642750
    stoudema
    551 Posts

    Awesome stoke Kyle! It’s hard to contemplate all the work you got done in the past six months but it looks like you’ve been killing it. Looking forward to seeing the movie!

    #642751
    fitit
    343 Posts

    Thank you for taking the time to write such a thorough review of the last several months!

    #642752
    ale_capone
    864 Posts

    Awesome 6 months Kyle!

    Love the culture you added to this report. I’m a huge fan of architecture, and more so, good stone work. Crazy how much skill them guys had, and what they could produce without power tools.

    Looking forward to the Solitude and Freerider premeires.

    #642753
    Killclimbz
    1165 Posts

    Good stuff Kyle! Looking forward to Freerider for sure!

    #642754
    bs.
    246 Posts

    damn! nice work; that’s my kind of summer!

    i’ve been thinking about that “black hole” line ever since ale_capone told me the story back in june.

    i may have missed the PNW premiere of “the art of flight”, but i’m sure not gonna miss solitude or freerider.

    hurry up, winter!!

    #642755
    powderjunkie
    1669 Posts

    totally rad and inspirational Kyle. Keep it up!!

    #642756
    Maxwell Graham
    19 Posts

    You sir, are a huge inspiration. Keep up the good work. I’m up in the Olympics and Cascades all the time (without a splity (poor)). Hopefully I’ll have the chance to talk to you sometime! :headbang:

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