Mountainbeering in Owyhee (not Hawaii)


It’s Spring Break! So why not go get lost in the deserts and mountains of Idaho for a while? That’s what people do for spring break… right?

I spent today hiking in the mountains and canyons of Leslie Gulch in the Owyhee wilderness. The warmer hike with cool rock formations is Juniper Gulch. The snowy hike in the Mountains is Steamboat Ridge.

I decided to enjoy an Initial Point IPA brewed by Slanted Rock Brewing Co. out of Meridian, ID. Too bad you can only get it around here, because it’s delicious!

Enjoy a few pics and videos:






Watch out. That's my sexy face.

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Burma, Cucumbers and Beers, oh my!

Last month I met up with 5 friends in Myanmar for 2 weeks of backpacking, exploring, hiking, bike riding and merriment. The country was INCREDIBLE. The people were some of the most friendly I’ve ever encountered and the food was really really really really good!

We spent a few days at Inle Lake adventuring around and I would not let us leave Myanmar without a proper Mountainbeering adventure. We found a shop that offered a 2-day trek, passing over 5 mountains and ending at a monastery at the top of the 5th peak. 2 guides, 4 meals, a place to sleep, and an incredible journey all for the fair price of about $10 USD (crazy, right?)


Above: our two guides…the young guy’s nickname is Cucumber, a smiley college student who loves sexy ladies, animals, and peace. The older fella smoked about 200 cigars on the trip, didn’t speak English, but might be one of the coolest dudes I have ever met.

Anyway, we got turned around in the dense forest at one point and lost the trail we intended on hiking. To compensate the older guide decided it to be a good idea to make a new trail, going STRAIGHT UP. At the end of this audible, we were all covered in mud, bloody, exhausted and starving…but spirits were high!



We finally made it up to the monastery, after a solid 6-7 hours. We washed up and grabbed a few beers in the local village for sunset.


We spent the night on the floor of the monastery, woke up to a great breakfast and made the trek back down into town. Awesome experience.

If you ever find yourself in Inle Lake in Myanmar, go the The Golden Peacock and find our buddy, Cucumber, he will take care of whatever you need.

Congrats, Cucumber, on being the first ever Burmese Mountainbeer-er! You’re the best!


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A river, a few good friends, and a couple of dogs


I really appreciated the last Mountainbeering adventure I went on this weekend. We weren’t on top of any mountains. We didn’t climb any multi-pitch routes. We didn’t even see any iconic landmarks. It was just a couple of friends hiking with their dogs along the Secesh River in Idaho.

In total, it was about 16 miles one way and took us six and a half hours. Here’s a really general map of the hike that I put together – Secesh River Hike, Chinook Campground to Lick Creek Rd.

Not every adventure needs to be majestic as fuck to be a good adventure. Thanks for supplying the Sockeye Dagger Falls IPA, Ben!

Ice crystals growing out of the ground. Anyone know why?

Ice crystals growing out of the ground. Anyone know why?







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Mountainbeering Mt. Shasta

Shasta Panorama

Climbing Mt. Shasta via the Clear Creek Trailhead in late summer is absolutely stunning. There are gorgeous views of waterfalls and canyons, and all you can see is vast wilderness stretching to the end of the horizon as you ascend the tallest mountain for hundreds of miles… It’s also super shitty. The trail is just shit… Like, a giant-bag-of-flaming-dinosaur-poo shit. Am I accurately portraying my feelings here? Envision climbing a 7,000 foot steep-as-hell sand dune. One of my friend’s described it as trying to climb “up” the “down” escalator. That’s what it’s like climbing Mt. Shasta via the Clear Creek Trailhead in late summer.


I had read a few less-than-favorable reviews of the trail in the summer time, but Shasta has been on my list for quite some time now, and I was moving to Idaho for grad school. This was pretty much my last chance to give the mountain a shot. At first glance, the route sounds pretty easy. It’s 5 miles up, and 5 miles back. Shouldn’t be too bad. But then you throw in a few more statistics, like starting at 6,800 feet and climbing to 14,179 feet, and things get a little more dicey. An elevation gain of over 7,000 feet in 5 miles makes for a tough day, but I was geared up and ready for it. What I wasn’t prepared for was the endless amounts of sand and small scree. Each step was twice as hard on a sandy, slippery, steep slope. Add in the altitude factor, and things get pretty bad by the time you reach 12,000 feet or so.

Hosting a gun show at about 12,000 feet to help keep spirits up.

Hosting a gun show at about 12,000 feet to help keep spirits up.

Having a gun show to help keep spirits up at around 12,000 feet.

Having a gun show to help keep spirits up at around 12,000 feet.

After 7 hours of hiking, we were at about 13,500 feet, and the peak was at our fingertips, but I’ve had enough training and experience to make the call that we were at our turnaround point. We were tired, we had headaches, we were scrambling up what I like to refer to as Death Rocks, and we had another 5 hours or so of hiking before getting back to the trailhead. So, we almost made it to the top, but as a good friend told me recently, “Be safe, have fun, reach the summit… In that order.” We were safe, we had a ton of fun, and even though we didn’t summit, it was an absolutely amazing experience.

That's some steep Death Rocks action.

That’s some steep Death Rocks action.

Yeah, that's steep

Yeah, that’s steep

One of my favorite beers to bring along on Mountainbeering adventures has turned out to be 21st Amendment’s Back in Black, a black IPA. It’s delicious, it’s in a can, and it holds up well to warmer temps, so it’s a great one to bring along on long hikes.

Not quite the summit, but a good spot for a picture nonetheless.

Not quite the summit, but a good spot for a picture nonetheless.



In the early summer when there are still substantial snowfields, This would have been a different story. With crampons, snowshoes and some glissading or skiing action, a person could reach the summit and cruise back down the mountain in much less time.

This was by far the most difficult hike I’ve ever done. What’s the toughest hike you’ve ever been on? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. I’m also happy to answer questions or give some more details about the hike in the comments or by email.

Keep adventuring and go enjoy a good beer!

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Grizzly Flats and Charcoal Grade – The Devil’s Tramping Ground

Aviator Brewing Company's Devil's Tramping Ground

Aviator Brewing Company’s Devil’s Tramping Ground

Devil’s Tramping Ground Tripel by Aviator Brewing Company. A hell of a beer (get it) to have along for a mountain bike ride up Charcoal Grade in Steven’s Creek County Park. Turning the ride into a loop through Long Ridge Open Space Preserve and back down Grizzly Flats Rd was the right thing to do.

By the taste of this beer, I never would have guessed that it’s 9.2%, but by the time you finish, there’s no doubt that Devil’s Tramping Ground will quickly get you into a delicious world of trouble. I’d describe it as kind of light, a bit sweet, with a surprising spicy, fruity quality. One of the more refreshing tripels I’ve had, which is great for outdoor activities.

As for the ride, it was a lot of fun with good views and changing terrain, but not very technically difficult. There were definitely some strenuous parts though – Charcoal Grade is so steep that bikes are not allowed to ride in the downhill direction. I went at the beginning of April, which provided some gorgeous wildflowers. The route I chose was about 12 miles (I started at Steven’s Canyon Rd). Check out Bay Area Mountain Bike Rides for a great overview of most of the ride with various maps to peruse in case you’d like to give it a try too –

Check out the wildflowers. Mostly Lupine and Fillaree:

Charcoal Grade is so steep that only uphill traffic is allowed:


Gorgeous views with rolling hills once you get close to Skyline:


Don’t worry, there are some wooded single track areas too:



Not quite a lifetime achievement ride, but definitely worth doing if you have the time.

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Beers and Peaks in New Mexico

I follow a few different groups on a website called, which is kind of a conglomeration of website links, pictures,videos, stories, and experiences that allows users to “upvote” them if they think the link is good. The best part is that you can find a subreddit on almost any topic. As an intrepid Mountainbeer-er, I am attracted to very specific types of subreddits such as – Beerporn (a collection of pictures of beer), Hiking (pictures and stories from people’s hikes), Bicycling (everything you could ever want to know about anything remotely related to a bike), etc.

Sometimes my worlds magically align, and I’ll come across great pictures of people Mountainbeering without even knowing it. Recently, user Noisyriver posted some pictures from hiking around Ruidoso, NM. It really brought me back a few years to my days of living in Santa Fe, teaching Environmental Education, and hiking the lofty New Mexican peaks. Noisyriver has graciously allowed me to wallow in nostalgia a bit longer by letting me share his pictures on Mountainbeering.

Cow Mountain, Ruiboso, NM with a Happy Camper IPA from Santa Fe Brewing Co:

Happy Camper IPA by Santa Fe Brewing Company

Happy Camper IPA by Santa Fe Brewing Company

Lookout Peak, Ruidoso, NM with a Red Chair by Deschutes Brewing Co.

Red Chair by Deschutes Brewing Co

Red Chair by Deschutes Brewing Co

Thanks, Noisyriver, and keep up the good work!

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World Naked Bike Ride – San Francisco, 2013

Taking a break from the naked bike ride near the Palace of Fine Arts

Taking a break from the naked bike ride near the Palace of Fine Arts

This weekend, a few Mountainbeer-ers decided to attend the World Naked Bike Ride in San Francisco on March 9th. It’s a protest that first started 4 years ago, directed towards saving the planet and stopping big oil, which is all well and good, but mostly I wanted to get down to my skivvies and go for a bike ride.

The ride was supposed to start at noon, but the invite also mentioned that body painting would start at 11am, and who doesn’t want to get in on some body paint! When we got there at 11, all we saw were two mostly naked dudes and about 15 photographers. After waiting around for something to happen, we took matters into our own hands and finally decided to bust out our craft supplies and start painting each other at around 11:45. I guess this is what the other participants were waiting for as well. Suddenly we found ourselves surrounded by naked cyclists and a mob of photographers. The mob of photographers then attracted every tourist within a mile radius who, in turn, snapped endless amounts of pictures. I guess that’s good exposure for the protest aspect, but considering there was easily a 3 to 1 ratio of cameras to bicycles, it was a bit annoying to be so incredibly outnumbered by the looky-loo’s who wanted a free show.

How many cameras can you spot?

How many cameras can you find in this picture?

How many cameras can you find in this picture?

This is just a very small sample of the photographers

This is just a very small sample of the photographers

But that’s enough ranting. Overall, it was a ton of fun, it was a gorgeous day, people were in high spirits, and I would gladly attend again. World Naked Bike Ride volunteers host several rides throughout the year all over the world, and the big ride is in June which I’m assuming will be even better with more cyclists.

Enjoy a few more pics from throughout the day!

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A great ride for our Great Lakes friends! “Beer, Bikes and Beer. Ride your ass off – laugh your ass off.”

...Faster than Last

164 days until the 2013 edition of the Windy 500 rolls…

This year, we’ve added a new twist: those in the know will know.

Why should you ride your bike 500 miles in 4 days?  Here are 9 reasons:

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Mountains, Beer, and Safe Sax

Mountains, beer, and safe sax

Just a fun picture from Vladimir Kopylov near the summit of Mt. Ushba in the Caucasus Mountains. He’s been Mountainbeering for years on the other side of the world. The Caucasus Mountains lie between the Caspian and Black Seas near the border of Georgia and Russia.

When he’s not being one of the most awesome people I’ve ever come across, Vladimir also runs a tour company and has absolutely amazing pictures over at… wait, that still makes him one of the most awesome people I’ve ever come across. I may have just found a new addition for my bucket list.

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Beercade: The Last Barfighter

Since we’re all aware that Mountainbeering is a big fan of word mashups (brutiful), I bring you the Beercade. Thank you Big Boss Brewing Company. Where can I play one of these!?

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