Sunday, January 31, 2010

Days 44, 45, 46, Sherpa's back!

So as a break from skiing on Thursday Jake and I went up to the GWI and had the place all to ourselves. Jake decided that the first ice he ever climbed should be solo, so he went for it, with two tools of different lengths and not necessarily suited to vertical ice. Jake is smart. Friday, led to an exhausting lap up Flagstaff and then on Saturday, this happened:

Sam, Greg, Dave, and I went down to Provo Canyon to check out Stairway to Heaven. It was beautiful, but due to a tight timeline, we only had time for the first three pitches. The problem you see, was that we had to have enough daylight for some of this:

We had all piled into Greg's truck with Dave's dog for a trip down to Sam's cabin. Little Hermano and I ran laps in the Aspens till it was dark and then did one more. In the morning, I went with Greg and Dave for an early run and then Sam popped out of the house for some more tree skiing and hiking over huge logs to get to the good stuff.

The Inouye's are a gracious bunch and all the land in all the pictures really is a private playground.

Greg and Dave psyched for a little sled assisted skiing:

Moral of the story? Utah's probably more fun than wherever you guys are.  The days will likely slow down until then as tomorrow it's back to the classroom, everyday, all day.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


That's a TAM for each run today. Went up Willows again to further explore the area and look at a big slide in one of the Monitor Bowels. Started out feeling tired after skiing, running, and climbing yesterday but felt stronger as the morning went on. TAM? His heavy set up and having to work every day was wearing him out but he'll always put his head down and keep on slogging.

We ended up getting in a little over 4,000 feet for the morning, mostly on runs like this:

Walked a ridge line to check out a huge slide that took out this whole bowel.

USA was the exit and TAM looked majestic in his red shirt on the way there.

Last shot of the way home.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day 42, Inouye family secret stash

Picked up Sam at 7:30 and headed up to a not so popular trailhead but didn't quite make it. That damn Charger couldn't make it up the final approach so we booted it up the road for an 1/8 of a mile past a couple fancy Mormon homes. We weaved our way through the brush and pines and along ridge lines for 4,200 feet at a modest pace looking at lines to be skied another day.

The wind had stirred things up a bit, coating the trees with a rime like shell, but also making the snow heavy, leading to some sloppy skiing on my part. Not a bad way to spend the rounding or cubicles.

On the way down we passed the crown of the avalanche that Sam witnessed yesterday. A member of his party ski cut a 36 degree slope which fractured at least a foot deep and looked about an hundred feet across running a few hundred feet. Here's Sam skiing the slide path and a close up of the crown.

It'll keep getting better once we get more snow, but considering the trailhead is at 5,500 ft, it's pretty good already. However, if you're not an Inouye or specially invited...stay away from the family playground.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Day 41, Avalanche hunting in Willow, Monitors, USA

Got up early this morning, Jessie early. Met a Tanner look-a-like at the BCC park and ride and jumped in his car since the Charger continues to try and sabotage me in the snow. Skinned up across the road from Solitude to take a look. Dug a pit just under the ridge (you know JD and Lars, where we skied that second run on Lars' last day here) and found nicely consolidated snow with no weaknesses down at least 4 feet. That's probably because the death trap is down a couple more feet, just off the ground. Anyway, proceeded to ski down through the trees and then put in a skinner up the slide path of this guy:

Pretty impressive. Lars, learn to respect The Lanche. Skinned along the ridge till finding a low angle shot to the West. Came back up again putting in the track and hiked along the ridge to the East toward USA Bowel. On the way, the Tanner look-a-like wanted to stomp some cornices so we roped up and I gave him a hip belay standing about 30 feet back from the edge. He stomped his way over and managed to drop a couple small blocks that just sloughed down the slope. USA was the exit and was full of fast dense powder.

Sorry guys, no pics today. Ski pics that is. Forgot the camera...stupid Sherpa. Use your little imaginations.

But, here are a couple for fun. Yep, Lars, you've never been there. Warren D has. Mike D has. So have we. You must be a PB.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Day 40, Porter Fork

Today was about just going for a little stroll. A mellow walk with a new group ended up leading to some nice turns in an area I'd never been to before. Whereas yesterday there was an aura of invincibility, today, there was an abundance of pussyfooting. Probably for the better as the danger today was high with pockets of extreme.

The snow? At least a foot of very low density powder provided face shots once we finally found some terrain deemed skiable.

Happy Sherpa

And Jason, ready for this? Babes in the least one of which you should recognize.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Day 39, Samurai sighting

Another 18" on top of the near week long dump has again made the avy forcasters wary enough to issue a high danger rating. Didn't stop the Samurai and his crew from getting out.

Nor did it stop these guys (a bunch of yahoos, presumably from the OR show).

Today was quite a change of pace from the mainly sluggish tours thus far. The Samurai and buddy BG are likely the fastest guys in Utah and were toying with us today as another friend was having a difficult time with his gloves, food, hydration system, and transitions. His torment was my relief as the pace was set at an "enduro" level just to keep warm. That however, turned out to be difficult while waiting in the wind and snow.

Cut a bit short by "family duties," the day was nonetheless pretty spectacular.

Little Brother feeling right at home as he is the winter sherpa

Friday, January 22, 2010

Tremper says, "Don't do it."

From the UAC website:

Friday, January 22, 2010

Created at 11:25 am
Forecaster: Bruce Tremper


Dangerous avalanche conditions are occuring or are imminent. Backcountry travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended.
I have issued an avalanche warning for all the mountains of Utah. Very strong winds overnight combined with 8-12 inches of dense graupel continue to overload our fragile snowpack. Snow and winds should continue today with significant snow on Saturday. In northern Utah, avalanche danger is likely CONSIDERABLE this morning and will likely rise to HIGH later today. Southern Utah remains at HIGH. Skiers and boarders who want to recreate on steep slopes should go to the resorts today and through the weekend, where ski patrollers routinely knock down avalanches with explosives each morning before the public arrives. Snowmobilers should stay on groomed trails or recreate in gentler terrain.

Tremper says don't go so I didn't. Thought about Alta after 3 but I'm gonna go get my new Yakima Sky Box then head down to PG to take little sister out to dinner and listen to Kyler call me Jason all night. I think I could use a rest day anyway. Maybe tomorrow I'll go for 10,000. Later PBs.

Oh, and check out the Wasatch Winter Follies video at the sherapa site.

Lastly, pic of the day. Hopefully not a portent of things to come for this young lad.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Day 37, bluebird solitude

28" in upper BCC according to the UAC. Combine that with a considerable rating on the danger rose and no one to hike with, Sam's wicked little voice was more than enough to convince me to cheat a little today. Hopefully the pics relate the snow quality to those stuck in Denver and Indianapolis. B-scale rating?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Reflections on 2009 and goals for '10

2009 was a good year. A prolific year. Jessie and I are now in our second year in our little cottage, I'm practically done with med school, and she's working toward a fellowship. Inspired by little brother Sam, I started ski mountaineering and reflexively, so did Jason and Tanner. Oh, so did Lars. Big check marks were the Y, Superior, Box Elder, Timp E. Ridge, Argenta, Middle Teton SW Couloir, Shasta, and Lassen Peak. See if you can match the pics.

TAM on a summit

TAM skinning toward a summit

A Super Couloir?

A couple of samurais booting toward a classic Utah summit

A viking on something silvery

Actually a fake samurai in his favorite range

The sleeping maiden

Lucas, Jeremy and TAM

So good was the skiing that it took a while to get into the mood to go climbing. Partly, I felt like school would ruin the year and with JD being in IN, partners for the big stuff seemed lacking. Soon however, they were coming out of the woodwork. Even random samurais like Tahn, a Vietnamese science teacher from Fresno, wanted to get in over their heads on stuff like the Nose. So thanks to all the P's out there who helped make last years climbing season the best to date. Specifically, little brother, DD, Graham, Jake, JD, Tahn, Zack, Lucas, Lars, Carmen, and Greg. A few more pics of the year are below.

Oh, and I'd be remiss if I didn't take a second and give a special thanks to lil JD for being such a good sport. Thanks babe.

So those were some highlights from last year. Now it's time to look forward to 2010. The main goal that I'm working on is to ski 100 days this year, and by this year I guess I mean the 09/10 ski season. So for the next 64 times I get out, I'm at least going to post a pic so Lars can go bonkers on the B-scale. Oh, another goal is to ski all the easy stuff from the Chuting Gallery, hopefully under Sam's watchful eye. That's it for now...

Day 36, Gaurdsman Pass skin trouble

This morning I was backing out of a gas station on my way to pick up Greg when I smashed into a support pole next to the pump. MOTHER EFFER! I even saw it before I started backing up. I really could have used that $500 deductible on something more fun. Anyway, after a trip to the body shop and a call to the insurance agent, Greg and I went out for a little jaunt up Gaurdsman's. We beat the slednecks and other skiers and ended up breaking trail from the parking area to the top of peak 10420. Too much powder along the low angle ridge? Maybe for the Havocs, since I could barely get going fast enough to make turns. We found better turning in the trees and even took some snow the the face a few times. Once down at the little shack, we regrouped to take another lap when Greg's tail clip snapped off, his skin got snowy, refused to function and prematurely ended our day.