I had seen Yosemite from the air before, twice even, but had yet to set foot in this famous park. The last weekend in March provided an excellent opportunity to do so and also to meet up with Ryan (formerly of Cville, now of the Bay Area). Ryan snagged a camp site in the Valley and I drove up after work on Friday 29 March to meet them. The drive was nice (especially once I got out of LA!) and I was able to enjoy some nice scenery before it got dark.
I arrived first, set up camp, and waited for their arrival.
An hour or two later Ryan plus two friends (Steve and Nick) arrived and set up their tents. After a quick discussion of hiking possibilties, we settled on the Upper Yosemite Falls trail and called it a night.
A little over a week ago I was sitting in a meeting room in Villars-sur-Ollon, Switzerland for the 43rd Saas Fee Course, on “Star formation in galaxy evolution: connecting numerical models to reality”. This 6 day school covered techinques related to computer simulations as well as the relevant physics for how stars form. The icing on the cake was the location: the heart of the Alps.
The week I left for the school on star formation (look for a future post wrapping that up) I woke up early to hike Echo Mountain, just North of Pasadena. It was a beautiful morning and I was rewarded with a photo worth sharing:
More photos of the hike can be found on flickr.
It has been a little too long since I wrote about astronomy (a post about my goings on at Caltech will be coming soon) .. but, as you read this I am on my way to Villars-sur-Ollon to participate in this year’s Saas-Fee course on Star Formation in Galaxy Evolution. This school will include lectures by experts in simulating various aspects of galaxy evolution. The schedule appears to be quite intense and will cover the major topics in our understanding of how galaxies evolve as the Universe ages. Though, there will be some down-time to enjoy the surrounding area (ahem, “to go skiing”).
This meeting comes at a great time for me, as my PhD thesis is aimed at constraining simulations and our understanding of the physics involved in galaxy evolution by comparing the simulations with data. As if there was any doubt, I am clearly not alone in this interest.
It will be awesome to spend the next week learning more about simulations and how I can improve my research. I expect to be consumed by science (and skiing) over the next week, but there will be full recap afterwards!
One of my ambitions for my time in California is to climb Mt. Whitney, the highest mountain in the 48 contiguous US. An ascent during the winter or via a technical rock climbing route would be icing on the cake.
Almost a month ago, I was excited to see an email on the Caltech Alpine Club’s email list with details on an informational meeting for a winter climb of Mt. Whitney. After packing in with over 30 other excited Caltech and JPL folks to get the scoop and decide on weekends, we set a training weekend on Mt. Baldy (the highest mountain the San Gabriels) and a targeted weekend for the attempt on Whitney.
This past weekend was the training event: two one-night climbs of Mt. Baldy. I opted for the Friday-Saturday option, which meant driving to the trailhead after work and hiking up to camp. The moon wouldn’t rise until after 10pm so the trek upward was done by headlamp.