Saturday, February 27, 2010

Day 65, White Pine

Met up with Bart and Alex this morning at 7. Tim, Tom, and Mike were along for the ride too. White Pine was the start, with the destination unknown. The large crew kept the pace pretty pedestrian but the weather cooperated to a T, and we ended up with around 7,000 ft of prime touring.

Started by heading up to the ridge above Scottie's, to the top of No Name Bowl, and then along the ridge toward the Twins until we could drop into a Northwest facing tree shot for a couple thousand feet.

Big, beautiful slide paths for another day

First run

Next, we headed up to the shoulder of Lake Peak where an East facing chute beckoned. It looked like a fun scramble to the summit but the group conservatively ignored herd mentality and conservatively decided to enjoy a nice run down to the main drainage in spite of seeing a party of three high on the ridge, and for sure heading for the chute.

Potential scramble

Bart, investigating the chute

Lake Peak from across drainage

The group deciding where to go with Red Baldy in background

So Red Baldy was next. To the summit for lunch with warm temps, no wind, and sun all around. Stunning. Possibly my favorite views in the Wasatch so far.

The run down wasn't bad either. One of the group getting some.

One more short run opposite Red Baldy took us to the flats and then out to the cars.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Day 64, School's Out!

Took a test yesterday and one this morning. Ran out of the building throwing papers into the sky without a care in the world. JD's coming to town and we both have March off. That means a lot of skiing, climbing, and eating. Hell, I even think we'll do some races for fun. Wouldn't be right not to. Now that I'm rocking some ridiculous skinny skis and the sweetest boots around.

Today we headed up Flagstaff under a scorching sun and things go so sweaty that as a joke I went bare chested for awhile. Having nothing on should have been my first clue I forgot my beacon in the car, but the redneck in me happily walked along, amused by the thought of getting a tan while touring. It's not really my fault as Casey was all steezed out in a pearly button shirt, so it felt like we were in the resort when we left the car. Somewhere around the top, and interrupting thoughts of dropping into to Days, I realized it was amateur day and that we should go down and get the beacon. All was well because we were meeting Sam, Roman, and Issac of the Inouye clan anyway.

Up Grizzly with plans to ski Patsy Marley, we were sidetracked by some short but great powder shots.

Uncle Roman was killing it on the teles

Stay tuned...March should be ridiculous.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Day 63, Flagstaff and Upper Days

Como se dice bluebird? Couldn't have been bluer.

Went up by myself this morning hoping to find snow like yesterday. Instead, all the South aspects were crusty and the skin track was super slippery with a coating of surface hoar. Temps were climbing into the 20s, and with the direct sun, I was cooking on the up track to Flagstaff.

Dropped a small cornice into Days, found fantastic powder and...

Looks like it slid yesterday and was almost due North facing. Apparently it's still pretty bad out there according to "DOOM AND GLOOM" Drew from the Utah Avalanche Center.

It was amazing that on a day like this, I was the only one out there. It wasn't until the way down that I saw a couple parties heading up Flagstaff.

Climbing back out of Days to ski some crust back to the car.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Day 62, But, I don't want to go to school

Woke up to crystal blue skies and a cold morning. Casey's ambiguously gendered car told us it was 9 degrees as we took off up toward Cardiff pass. Originally we thought about a shot into Days, or Holy Toledo, but on the way up we saw these yahoos giving a clinic in how not to be a puss.

Thought we might go up there along the Cardiff Chuteletes to sample the conditions ourselves.

What would have been a day of endless, perfect skiing, was cut short by a writing assignment due at noon, that Casey had the audacity to not remind me to do. So here I sit, typing away after just finishing my assignment. Woe unto me.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Days 60 and 61, Very Dumb. Very, Very Dumb.

So I missed a possible chance to do this:

so I could go watch this:

I was running a medical scenario as a volunteer at an adventure race called Med Wars, put on by the EM Division at the U. I got to ski in to the hills behind Kamas and make a couple turns on the way back so I'm gonna count it. Pretty weak, I know.

Then, after picking up Casey and Pete, I discovered in the Alta parking lot that I left my skins in Kamas. Dumb. Resigned to sit in the car to let the others head up Grizzly for at least one run, I was kicking myself for being stupid like Jason. But, it dawned on us that we could go find a booter, and forgo the skins all together. On the way up to Alta, tracks were seen in the Y, so a joke about skiing it turned into a poorly hatched plan and Pete, who hasn't been skiing much this year, was a little nervous staring up the barrel of a 3,300 foot gun.

Creek crossing was ridiculously easy. Even Lars could have done it without getting wet.

We were only able to follow the booter about a third of the time, as previous skiers and some drifting had obscured the tracks.

Nevertheless, the conditions were solid through the first thousand feet or so. Moving higher, just before the second split, there were patches of slabby wind and spindrift and we decided we'd take the "I forgot my skins" consolation prize of the bottom half of the Y in pretty sweet conditions.

It only looks like I'm about to run into the big cliff.

I'm loving the Dynafit skis, the F1s are feeling better but still throw me off balance occasionally.
Pretty fun morning topped off by a run with JD and a quick evening at the Front. Likely, we could have gone higher, but it seems patience is the name of the game these days in the Wasatch. I don't mind waiting. I have another 50+ available days to tickle the tick list.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Day 59, Argenta...sort of

Wanted to stand on a summit today, so we thought we'd skin up Argenta, get on the NW ridge of Kessler, and head up to the summit. Definitely a pretty morning.

We were making good time until we got to the trees at the head of the upper bowl. There had been an avalanche there a week or so ago, and there were definitely less trees than I remember. Check out part of the reason we felt the need to be cautious.
We dug a pit and found surprisingly stable snow without any of the surface hoar or facets that have been reported. Perhaps because we were in a fairly shady area? Anyway, the nasty deep facets remain with about 3-4 feet of well consolidated snow on top.

Up on the ridge, things were less stable and some cracking scared us enough to call it a day. Did a few ski cuts, with no result, and then had great turns back to the car.

Casey loving his locked down heels.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Day 58, Guess where

To the many followers of this blog (2 officially, and maybe 2 more after that): Guess where we skied today and win a prize. You can post your guess in the comments section, but you only get one post per person. You can also guess what the prize will be, but rest assured, it won't be that nice. Hint: it's no where exciting.

I took out the F1s again and had a lot more success. Maybe I'm finding my balance? Nice quick powder didn't hurt the cause.

The set up:

I think Lars should get one too, so then we could be twins.

"Two lap" Casey figuring out that Dynafits are nicer than G3 tele's. Maybe he'll soon be "three lap" Casey?

After skiing, I took a tour of the Water Treatment Plant at the base of BCC as part of our public health class. It was pretty interesting to see the process and machinery used to take the leaves, silt, and bacteria out of the water. The clarity is measured in turbidity units with the acceptable standard being 3.0. They were putting out water that was 0.0125. Nice job SLC public utilities. The point of that story? Don't dump in the water, by the water, or around the water because our water (served to East SLC along the benches) is pretty good.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Day 56, 10K, Skinny Skis and Happy V-Day

Met Jared at the bottom of Big today at 6:15. Little was closed for control work so the plan was to start at Brighton and head over to Little via Twin Lakes Pass. Hiking into Solitude from Brighton on the way to the pass, we felt like we were in a war zone. Multiple shots were fired about 200 hundred feet over our heads and snow was sloughing over our intended path. Not wanting to piss off the patrollers, or die, we turned around to see if we go get there from the base of Millicent.

These guys (Brighton patrollers just out of bounds) blocked the way.

They more or less ordered us out of there so we went down and across the way towards Peak 10420 from Brighton. On the way down that run, Jared hit a rock and compressed the edge on his $30,000 race skis. Big Bummer. By this time, the shooting had slowed so we tried to make a run through Brighton and Solitude again and found ourselves at the top of a nice powder run down toward the lake. Had to ski it. Then had to break trail back up to the pass where it was turning out to be a pretty nice day.

Jared led the way across the top of the slope pictured above and found a little wind loading but crossed without incident. I walked pretty lightly since I weigh more and would have been pissed to have my day ruined there.

Looking down into Wolverine Cirque. Best saved for another day.

Down into Alta, there seemed to be two feet of powder, untouched, down Patsy Marley. Would have been even better except I was all over the place on Jared's skinny skis and floppy boots. It's all about the up. It's all about the up. It's all about the up.

We headed over to Flagstaff to get in a couple laps but the Samurai was not immune to...

By this time it was HOT. Sweating balls hot. I was in a T-shirt, gloveless, and beginning to work. We had some food on top of Flagstaff and then on the way down, the Avy magnet triggered this:

Actually, he intentionally ski cut the slope above the gully, and was rewarded with a crack and a slide while he stood and watched from above.

Out of water and feeling feeble, I was starting to lag behind on the second Flagstaff lap. Jared gave me his water and I ate some Powergels and ended up coming back to life. We refilled water at the Goldminer's Daughter and then headed back over the pass, into Brighton, and down to the car. Good day. First day over 10K.

I guess 10,541 to be exact.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Day 55, Uphill traffic at Snowbird in tights and whippets

Some big plans were laid down last night. Jared and crew schemed. Sam called me and said we were going to start at Snowbird, go over American Fork twins, over the other side into AF, climb back out, and end down Scotties into White Pine. Got to the parking lot following Sam and Jared who parked in the early morning employee parking. I tried to follow suit but got busted, not because I'm not an employee, but because I wasn't carpooling. Sent to the lower lot, I bit my tongue to not snitch on the brothers. I jogged back to meet them, and found Alex and Bart fretting with Sam and Jared about the wind, snow, visibility, and avy conditions. The decision was made to forgo the AF trip and just move over through the gate at the top of Gad 2, along the ridge, and over to Scotties for some laps.

Cruising the cat tracks and straight up the groomers.

Looking for the patrollers to sign out before leaving the gates.

Off we went to do the patrollers job for them. And, I guess that we did.

That's the crown from the slide Alex ripped out while skinning toward the ridge. He went for a little ride but was able to steer himself clear. Here he is hiking back up from where he was deposited.

At that point we decided to head back to the car and go down canyon to find some safer terrain, hopefully out of the wind and clouds. We rallied down the powder coated groomers laying down first tracks on the couple inches since the resort was yet to open. At the top of Big Emma, a ski team had slalom gates set up. I opted to head down to the right of the gates and received a chorus of irate yelling from the team/patrollers. Always one to avoid confrontation I kept on going and headed out the bottom, back to the car. Sam decided to piss them off further and laid waste to the gates and tucked it home. Driving down the canyon looking for better weather we ended up on Wasatch Dr, and prematurely called it a day.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Day 54, Tanner's with Tanner, Almost

Set the alarm for 5:30 PM and woke up at 6:07 AM, already 7 minutes late to get Zack. Realized I forgot to switch the wash and pulled my dripping gloves and socks out of the dryer. Got ZF, then picked up Casey and his 210 cm skis that don't fit in my box and met Tanner at the BCC park and ride. Made an emergency dump at Seven Eleven and off we went. Rolling up the canyon it was snowing and Zack's Iphone told us the danger rating was moderate on the South aspects. There was also zero visibility. We didn't care. We were going anyway.

Heading up the biggest slide path in LCC

Once in the chute, we found a ton of avy debris covered in 6-10 inches of really low density powder. We skinned up the about 1000 feet, booted the next 1000, then skinned again another 600 across the upper bowl, trying to find the entrance to the upper couloir in the soupy fog. Entering the couloir Casey ruined our day as he dropped about 4 inches and we all heard a big WHOOMPH. If he wasn't such a fat ass we might have gotten first tracks from the top. Sufficiently spooked, we turned around as spindrift was pouring over the cliffs into the chute above Tanner puckering his already tight little butt hole.

On the way out, we were cutting through the spindrift loaded pillows when Zack made this happen:

It was 12" deep, 10 feet across, and ran about 20-30 feet, resulting in a partial burial of Zack's leg, chest, and arm. He had his pole raised high in the air thinking it would help us find him if completely buried. Probably another good sign that we made the right decision. Likely, we would have been fine but since we are respecters of the Lanche, we played it safe.

The way home:

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Day 53, White Pine to Red Pine

Went out with Casey and Mar Dash this AM with intentions on skiing some lines in the Maybird Drainage viewed from the chute yesterday. Woke up though with snow in the Aves and a white out in the canyon. There was drifting along the ridges and not really knowing where we where going we stopped at the top of the trees below the Pheifferhorn. The descent mostly followed a stream gully that had a bunch of pillow-like features. I seemed really drawn to the stream itself and found myself on my back, hearing the water running under me. Not my best skiing performance. We skied the drainage out to the main creek, crossed without mishap, and Casey caught a ride from the toe of Tanner's back to the White Pine lot. Which gave us the idea of Tanner's...tomorrow?

Again no pics, not that today was worthy of pics other than me with my skis in the air, sticking out of the stream potholes. But once again, a classic:

A viking or a grench? You decide.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Day 52, Little Pine

Another nice morning in the Wasatch. Picked up Casey at 6:15, stopped at Seven Eleven to take an emergency dump, and started skinning up the chute around 6:50. We pulled into the chute and found the nice booter the Samurai's crew had left amongst the frozen roller balls/avy debris.

Casey starting to warm up:

Booted about 3000 feet then found a short section of skin track then booted another couple hundred to the ridge and over to the top of the chute.

Contemplating the route through the frozen bowling balls below:

Beautiful chute, straight fall line, sustained pitch and width, but the South facing snow...D-. But as today was about the adventure and the UP...I'll give it a B 8.5