Saturday was about as bad as it gets around here. Lars and I met before any sane person should be awake and started hiking with skis and boots on our backs up Bell's Canyon in the dark. I had forgotten my head lamp and when the wet snow/rain started, I considered heading back to bed. Slipping on the icy trail, stubbing our toes, and getting generally soaked was not our idea of a nice tour. Plus, looking up at the high peaks we couldn't see a damn thing as they were all shrouded in clouds.
Then the snow stopped.
We changed to skis.
We climbed through the lower elevations and the clouds began to clear.
It was cold and still and new snow coated the world.
Now we realized it was about to be about as good as it ever gets around here. A self imposed turn around time of 9 AM (family responsibilities) was looming and I started to urge Lars to get his ass in gear. Normally he is stronger than I am but today he was dragging a bit from poor sleep. My prodding proved needless as we approached the NE face of Lone Peak, his excitement mounted and we exchanged turns putting in the skin track and eventually booter up the couloir.
Partway up the chute, the clouds lifted and it was obvious we were about to have a blessed morning. New safe snow in arguably the prettiest and most wild spot in the Wasatch is pretty special.
About 10 minutes from the summit I told Lars we had to turn around since it was now 9 AM. He seemed crushed and said he would beg forgiveness from my wife if I was late. We weren't ever going to turn around.
On top it was still with sharp morning light but we couldn't linger. There was skiing to be done and kids to wrestle. We down climbed the rocky summit block, donned little skis, and did what we love.
Back at our shoes and thoroughly happy, we jogged down the trail dodging hikers while wearing wide grins and trying not to fall on the icy trail. While we jogged, I looked at my watch and realized that we would likely make it back to the car in less than 5 hours. This is not that fast but as far as I know, Jared Inouye has the fastest recorded ski time on Lone, starting up Big Willow and exiting Bell's before riding a bike back to his car in 5 hrs and 11 mins. It's not a direct comparison but we were a little extra motivated to get back to the car which we did in 4:53.
Our intent wasn't to go super fast today, only to have fun and make the summit in the time we had available. I'd like to see Jason, Tom, Lars, Teague, Jared, or any of you other fast people put on some spandex and use true race gear to see what kind of a time could be done. My guess is that sub 4 hours shouldn't be too hard.
|Starting to look like it's going to be a nice day|
|It's definitely going to be a nice day|
|Above the clouds and psyched (photo by Lars Kjerengtroen)|
|Summit (photo by Lars)|
|From the summit looking south|
|I forgot to bring any food or water so on the summit we shared this diet Mountain Dew that Lars carried|
|It's kinda steep in places but with the soft snow it was pretty nice|
|Photo by Lars|
|We're wimps so we avoided the small cliff at the bottom by skirting skier's right. Photo by Lars|
In other news, while I was at work probably eating fried chicken fingers and cookies, Jason and Tom put in a huge day on the Timpanogos Massiff, skiing the best lines of the three major summits. Total vert was > 15000 feet and they started and ended from my parent's house in Pleasant Grove doing the whole thing entirely on foot or ski. Details here.
Other knick knacks used:
Trab Race Helmet
Outdoor Research Ferossi Jacket
Outdoor Research Transcendent Puffy
Outdoor Research Luminary Gloves and Stormtracker Gloves