Climate and Climbing: The Sprinter’s First Road Trip

lodging on wheels

One of the many glueing-and-clamping segments of the bed project.
Both units finished and ready to move out of the living room.

After much head-scratching, sketching, erasing, sketching again, measuring, measuring again, cutting, and glueing, Mike produced a two-piece bed / storage unit for the main cabin of The Sprinter.

The goal was lightweight yet strong construction: this was accomplished by use of thin plywood and wood glue, with a minimum of screws.

Careful planning produced a bed with room beneath to conveniently fit several of our approximately 5,000 Rubbermaid tubs that we have acquired since moving to Reno. Further accoutrements include a folding bench and more shelving. Also on deck is a kitchen / cabinet / commissary box unit … all stories for another day.

Finished bed and storage, bolted to the walls and floor.

sherpas for hire

Mike had worked hard on design and production of the bed, and it was time to relax and take a road trip. We headed south, and spent two days helping install a climate station in the Sheep Range, just north of Las Vegas.

Enroute, I-80. Convenient, but could they do an in-flight refuel?

This collaborative project aims to establish and maintain two multi-station climate transects at varying elevations within the Sheep Range (southern NV) and the Snake Range (northeast NV), where we went last summer on another fieldwork trip.

Assembling the three-piece instrument tower, which involved filing of fittings and improvised application of lube (Carmex) to slide them together.

The stations collect and transmit basic meteorological data, including temperature, wind speed and direction, precipitation, etc.

Since we couldn’t drive to the site, the eight of us hiked in tools and supplies — about an hour of easy walking up a wash and  a low ridge. In the two days we were there we put up a 25-foot instrument tower, solar panels, and other infrastructure, enjoying sunny days and clear nights.

The webcam on top of the tower is now operational! Enjoy the view here. It’s still in testing mode, however … so if the link doesn’t work, it’s being tinkered with.

Brian, Brad and Carenza install solar panels. These had been brought in by helicopter.
A jackhammer was very helpful for digging soil pits in rock-studded heavy clay.
Union break.
Looking west toward the Spring Mountains.
The Sprinter was a champ on the gravel roads in the Sheep Range. The secret to happy, trouble-free rough-road driving? Keep 'er under 20.

On to red rocks

Windy Peak, at the far southern end of the canyons. Getting ready to head up the wash to do a route on the south face of this peak.

It was time to leave the crew to fine-tune the communications equipment. Since we were so close to the sandstone canyons of Red Rocks, we headed there for a couple of days of climbing before driving home.

The first day was extremely windy. We tried to find something sheltered, and ended up in Black Velvet Canyon on the very popular Frogland. This route is normally crowded, but the 30-40 kt winds must have kept the crowds away — no lines, no waiting.

The next day things had calmed down a lot, so we went to our original destination, Windy Peak (!) on the southern end of the canyons. The route for the day was Jubilant Song, one of the first ever put up at Red Rocks back in the early ‘70s. It was fully worth the stars it got — challenging climbing, a summit, and a lovely well-marked walk-off descent.

Jubilant Song (5.8), south face of Windy Peak. Mike on the exciting 4th pitch traverse under the big roof.
Creosote bush in full bloom, Death Valley. Happy Spring!
Creosote bush in full bloom, Death Valley. Happy Spring!

On the way home we drove through Death Valley, where we spotted spring wildflowers. Leaves were beginning to appear on cottonwoods.

We arrived in Reno to strong gusty winds and snow. Guess it’ll be a while here before spring comes here!

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