Monday, March 10, 2014

March-Week 2

Saturday March 8 - new zone, exploration, High and low















So me days remind me just how incredible it all is. Breakfast and Coffee at 5. Load up the sled and leave the house at 515. Park and start walking at 645. Sunlight hits the trees at 704. Drop into the next basin at 710. Blown away by sunrise at 712. Find imminently fresh wolf tracks at 719. Follow them until they double back and make me wonder who is following who... time unknown... Gain ridge-line looking down into incredible steep ski terrain at 745

The search for anything resembling solo ski terrain, puts me atop a 1000 ft tree run. Entrance somewhere around 40 degrees, mellows within 30-40 feet to 35 degrees of perfect burn trees. Tether to stout tree with 8mm cord and drop down to dig a pit - 8 am.  Reasonable results and 8 inches of great powder. Climb back up and tie in to the end of the tether just short enough to keep me out of the trees if I guess wrong on the stability.  One giant 12 ft jump turn onto the most likely trigger point. Nothing. Untie and leave the tether. 830 AM

Blissful and conservative skiing for a thousand feet of cold sun drenched perfection!

Skin track out is easy and I pass many committing lines. 920 am skins are off and I am looking down my next line - the most conservative I can find.

This one would be a bit faster than the last. It feels good to look down something steep and fast again. No way to go slow here. The top would slough fast and I know it.  I feel confident but  it has been been awhile, and that's what I think as I slide the first 10 feet. Nerves. Then i flipped a switch as the slope rolls over 50 degrees. Total focus. Seven turns and 600 ft later I am hollaring uncontrollably.

Skin Back to the top to retrieve the tether from the first run 1020. Ski back towards the sled 600 ft mellow burn trees in great powder down. 500 ft up, 600 more down of the same awesome burn trees.

Home to Sun and 60 degree at 1230. Whats next? Fishing.

Yup.

Sunday - Rain up  pretty high. Chilled to the bone and nothing that could be called skiing. Saw something resembling falling snow at 6600 ft then it turned back to rain. Least motivation ever. Considerable wet slide danger between us and good skiing. Turned around. Least successful day skiing in past 10 years.

March Week 1 - In like a... Grumble

Saturday March 1

Backyard with Jess, Travis and Jamie

High in the low teens today. A crust was immediately apparent under a few inches of new snow on the short approach. A few clues put us on the north east aspect where we found consistent fast and really fun skiing. Four runs totaled around 4000 feet of great skiing.

Sunday

Back again. What a difference a day makes... not in a good way. The forecast called for a high of 27 at 6400 ft. Hmmm... felt more like 45. We ventured to the back of the small drainage and topped out at 7800 ft. The top 1200 feet of skiing were great bouncy powder in fun low angle burn trees. The remaining wallow down to the skin track was sticky mashed potato crap. Usually I'm not so negative after 1200 ft of great skiing but I managed to completely shear off the walk mode toggle on my left ski by catching a stout stick under the snow. The binding is now limited to ski mode and I am limited to only moderate enthusiasm for the next run which was good for only about 300 ft. The remaining 700 ft were characterized by snow glopping to my ski pole baskets so heavily that each pole plant landed behind boot center. Grumble grumble grumble. 3100 feet Grumble.