Monday, March 29, 2010

Day 91, The Streak is Over

Last Monday we skied the Cold Fusion Couloir on Timp, but made a huge mistake. We forgot to stand on the true North summit which sits a couple hundred meters South of summit where the couloir tops out. Had to rectify that error.
North Summit

We traversed above the Grunge Couloir and thought about stomping the huge cornices guarding the entrance, but thought better of it. Turns out, a classmate of mine was trying to access the N. Summit via the Grunge and would have likely suffered severe bodily harm had we done so. I'm reminded occasionally that it's always a poor idea to trundle rocks, or throw stuff down mountain sides (like thousands of pounds of snow and ice) unless doing so to assess snow stability for one's one safety.

The Cold Fusion was a little more wind jacked than last Monday but still provided fun skiing in a great location with crazy debris following us down the run.

Great highway line, as seen from Draper

So that ends my streak because for the next two weeks I'm in class and then doing a neurology rotation for the two weeks after that. But, the latter part of March has truly been a great adventure. The last 9 days I've had great strong partners in Jason, Lars, Jared, Bart, Sam, Zack, Casey, and others. We started with a 7500 ft race in Jackson, then proceeded to ski the Coalpit, Needle, Coalpit #4, Bonkers, Timp West Face from main summit, Timp South summit, Timp North Summit down Cold Fusion x2, and the Super Tour. It has been cool to develop mountain fitness and feel strong moving fast in the mountains.

Rest day today, then we'll see what kind of after school activities we can scheme up.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Day 90, Samurai's Super Tour

I slept in as late as I could today, which was around 7:30. All this ridiculous touring has my clock messed up. Made pancakes and eggs with the Bushnells and then went to meet Bart and Jared at 1:00 at the Bell's Canyon trail head. When they pulled up....SURPRISE! Little brother Sam was in the car too. Sam is just back from Japan where he's been visiting family and canoodling with his lady friend.

By the time we embarked from the White Pine lot, it pretty close to 2 pm and the sun was out in full force. Not a mile from the car, my skins were glopping up with pounds of snow and Inouye bros' were doing the same. I was kicking trees, taking my skins off, hitting them with my poles, all in a futile attempt to clear the snow. Part of the way up the Red Pine drainage, Bart pulled out some wax that we crayoned onto our skins, saving the day.

The Pheif was the first stop.
Bart and Jared charging up the E face.

About this time I realized that I left my keys in Jared's car. My car, parked on Wasatch Blvd, was the supposed to be the return shuttle. I'm retarded. We were saved when we bumped into the prolific Jim Knight of Provo on the summit of the Pheif, and he graciously accepted an offer to drive Jared's car to the Bell's trail head.

It was a beautiful day, blemished only by the whiteout experienced on the summit of the Pheifferhorn. It cleared right after we skied down the SW face, en route to Lightening Ridge.
Jared, trying not to get us lost.

The goal was to gain the ridge and then traverse to the last summit on the right, ski Thunder Bowl, and head out Bell's Canyon down to where presumably both cars would be, provided Mr. Knight didn't steal Jared's Subaru.

While gaining Lightening Ridge, Sam dropped his camera and took off charging after it on foot. He's the little dot near the bottom of the picture.

A look back at the Pheif.

To the South

To the North

We were racing the sun at this point. Still feeling pretty good though. I had had two Hammergels, a can of Coke, and a Probar that Jared donated. Sufficient to get me though knowing McDonald's was on the horizon.

I think Sam was pretty happy to be heading down for good. He's been at sea level for two weeks and is on gear that's twice as heavy as everyone else. Good job Chino.

Thunder Bowl is full of great lines. A future tour should start in Coalpit #4, hit a few lines in Thunder Bowl, and then exit out the Sliver to Hogum. Too bad I start school again on Monday.

Sam heading home.

The last mile out Bell's was on dirt, but the cars were there. 10 more days to hit my goal of 100 and I'm still pretty psyched on the Wasatch right now.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Day 89, Timp South Summit

I woke up today at 4:59. Really I should say 5, but it was in the 4's. That doesn't happen too often, but it was a favor to Jason who was trying to get some skiing in before beginning his drive to Indiana. I met him at the Provo Canyon park 'n ride and we went back up to Aspen Grove for some more fun on Timp. At any point during the drive, if JD had agreed to go home to sleep some more and then get french toast at Kneader's, I would have turned around instantly. At any point during the first hour of hiking I would have done the same. The visibility was crappy and I was highly unmotivated today after so many days in a row of great skiing.

We put the skin track in up Primrose Cirque and kept thinking if the visibility gets any worse, we'll turn around. Next thing we knew, we were on the South summit of Timp. The clouds were always swirling and threatening but on top, we found sun, great views, and we were stoked.

Tomorrow just might be a Timp day too.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Day 88, Bonkers or Stairs?

TDB was in town from Oregon and wanted to be convinced to go adventuring. Was hoping to give him the ride of his life down the Stairs Gulch, "the great grand daddy of Big Cottonwood slide paths," but some concern over glide cracks amongst the group led to a million powder turns down Bonkers. The snow was surprisingly still pretty good but I don't know how much Tyler enjoyed it since he had saucer sized blisters that were tearing open and oozing juice with every turn.

I'd never been up Broad's Fork in the winter and found myself lusting after tons of lines. Particularly this one.
NW face of the Twins

...Not enough time.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Day 87, Answering Timp's Siren Song...Again

Today was pefect. Since 1998, I've wanted to ski Timp from the summit. And, since my parents moved to Pleasant Grove, between Battle Creek and Grove Creek, I've wanted to ski all the way to their house. I woke up at 5:00, went to pick up Casey at 5:30 and found him sleeping and undoubtedly hung over, drove solo to PG to pick up Jason, and we were skinning from the Aspen Grove trailhead at 7:15.

The morning was stunning.
Robert's Horn exploding with early morning alpenglow
Jason with undercast skies

We made quick work of Primrose Cirque, and found ourselves at the top of the snow field in just under two hours. Took a look down the line that little brother Sam and I skied a couple months ago.
Last time we skied the SW face from just above the saddle because I was running short on time and had to meet Jessie and because there just wasn't any snow on the summit ridge. Today, that wasn't going to be good enough.
We busted out the crampons for the long ridge traverse to avoid some sketchy skinning over hard snow.
Jason even pulled some rock moves.
A look back South. We traversed under the ridge, both because it seemed easier and because there were HUGE cornices overhanging HUGE cliffs on the other side.

We got to the top just after 10 am, making it 3 hours for the climb. Cold, and not feeling like waiting around for the snow to soften we dropped in.
I think he's pretty psyched
To score a 5,600 foot run back down to mommy and daddy's house.

The snow was still soft along NW aspects and hard but silky smooth anywhere else. Really fun skiing all around. While skiing frozen roller balls yesterday, Bart said that all turns are good turns. I completely agree.

Great morning, followed up by a trip into Provo to meet the famous Ed Eyestone for some Polish Dogs and then a birthday dinner for my cute little wife, Jessie.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Day 86, Coalpit #4

So the weather guessers were right and it was cold and pissy this morning. It's Casey's birthday today so he was excused, but Bart, JD, and Zack were up for some fun. Turns out our idea of fun is 3000 feet of booting followed by 3000 feet of getting bounced around by frozen roller balls and wet slide debris.

The Hagans did not like it. Coalpit #4 was going to maybe be just a highway to something better but when we topped out, Jason's skins were flopping around like banjo strings, not adhering to anything and the visibility was nil. The big stuff will have to wait...till tomorrow.

Here's a sweet video from Skimo Nationals in Jackson. The SLC crew gets some love for sure.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Time is Now

So we've had some pretty big days lately, starting with the U.S. Ski Mountaineering Nationals in Jackson and then keeping it going the last two days in the Wasatch. Getting pretty psyched on the light and fast idea as well as racing, I bought a pair of Hagan X-Race skis and Dynafit Low Tech's. The Hagans weigh 790 grams per ski and the bindings 160 each. That's 2.09 pounds per foot. Ridiculous. Even more ridiculous was the first time I took them out. I fell on my third turn, scraping up my arm and busting my thumb on the ice. This all went down on the Grizzly Gulch cat track.

Feeling super confident about my skiing and thumb, Lars, JD, Casey and I zipped up to Jackson for the U.S Skimo Nationals. We picked up our race packets and then tried to fulfill one of Lars' long time goals - to meet Rando Steve. He wasn't at the shop, so a dejected Lars and the rest of us met up with Jared, Bart, and Joey for some dinner before settling in for the night.
The slower half of the SLC crew

The race went pretty much as expected with some minor set backs.

1. Within the first 25 meters, my pole got trapped under someone's skis and I went down while my pole shot forward in between Jan's (Winter Park transplant from Slovakia) legs. Fortunately, he managed to kick it out and it shot right back to me and I was off again before taking anyone else down with me. While on the ground, I heard some reassurance from my brother as he passed me saying, "Get off the ground you IDIOT!"

2. Transitioning at the top of the first climb, I was feeling great about my position in the race. I was hanging with the second group, comprised of places 5-9. Turns out to be competitive in these races, one needs to be able to ski, and as mentioned above, even low angle cat tracks give me and the Hagans fits.

3. Jason lost a ski at the top of Rendevous and had to boot down 500+ feet of icy bumps and lost a few places in the process.

4. There isn't any snow in Jackson.

Otherwise, the race was fun and super well organized. Looking forward to it next year.

We all woke up pretty achy the next morning from a hard 7500 foot effort but Lars isn't in town all that often. His other long term goal was the Coalpit Headwall.

Thought there would be a track in already but we had put it in up to the ridge. Scored a great booter up the Y though.

On the way.

At the top of the Coalpit, we couldn't resist dropping into the Needle. Especially since a prior party had thought the same thing and put in a booter back to the NE ridge.
The Hagans

Lars demonstrating perfect chute technique...limbs in all directions

We took the middle shot down the Coalpit. Amazing. A friend once told me that skiing the Coalpit will change your life. I think it might have.
Jason easing into the main shot

Today, our legs were tired but our spirits were frisky. The weather looked good again so this was the objective:
Well, the summit at least. The Cold Fusion Couloir is on the other side of the right skyline.

It's a long skin into the base of the couloir, and then we switched between booting, skinning, and scrambling a few times.

Looking toward the true North Summit of Timp

Casey getting sick.

Amazing days. Looks like the weather is gonna give us a little trouble tomorrow, but let's keep 'em coming.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Day 79, Holy Mole, Toledo Chute

Anxious for some adventure after taking yesterday off, Casey, JD, Adam, and I went up LCC looking for something to do. We ended up on Toledo Peak, debating which way to go down. We decided on the "spicy little dish" as that's the way Casey likes his women and his skiing. The Chuting Gallery says about the line, "...although it doesn't look like much more than a bunch of trees with a valley below. Have faith and start down. A tight chute will appear, which in low snow may need some downclimbing or a rope to get through." Seeing as we're about 200 inches shy this year and how we didn't have a rope with us...we went for it anyway. Little brother Sam had told us there should be a fixed line so we weren't too worried.

He was right.
Adam lowering over a little cliff band as I look on.

I stole firsts down the chute, but it was good for everyone. Here's Casey jumping about.

We hiked back out Cardiff Pass, circled around, and went back up Toledo for the tamer, lamer South facing cousin Toledo Chute. It had softened up nicely and we made ugly turns back to the car.

And, while hiking, Casey and I found out we got jobs for next year. Looks like the slacker med student crew will have redouble our slacking efforts as they are gonna come to a screeching halt this July.

What to do tomorrow?


The race was last Saturday and went off just as predicted. Jared blew everyone's doors off and BG would have made it interesting but his back seized up near the top of the first climb. That made it better for me though, as we took turns passing each other all day. I thought JD was gonna give me a run for it, but alas, the lass can't ski and lost time with every downhill. I was trying to take advantage of a disabled Bart, and at the top of the last climb was thinking PODIUM! Turns out I'm a horrible strategist and he smoked me on the transition/descent. It's alright, I'm pretty happy to have "KILLED" Jason 4:22.


Bib # Name Time Place
30 Inouye Jared 1:59:57 1
3 diegel tom 2:08:19 2
32 Gillespie Bart 2:12:10 3
5 Dorais Andy 2:13:57 4
28 Dorais Jason 2:18:19 5
18 turner kirk 2:20:11 6
29 Brown Nate 2:20:18 7
2 Dempster Joey 2:22:58 8
25 Hellinger Ray 2:30:19 9
17 Tremper Bruce 2:32:10 10
4 Diegel Paul 2:34:42 11
20 white tim 2:35:22 12
26 Peterson Cameron 2:36:50 13
7 Hales Mike Hales 2:48:22 14
14 Paskvan Tom 2:48:46 15
22 yates bob 2:49:19 16
27 Knopa Chuck 2:49:48 17
13 Moellmer Greg 2:53:39 18
8 HOSKINS BRIAN 3:00:20 19
31 Stucki Dan 3:02:27 20
9 Hughes David 3:03:55 21
21 White Toph 3:19:33 22
33 Schaller Jason 3:24:40 23
6 Engelby Bruce 3:24:46 24
23 Charles Cameron 3:26:22 25
11 Knight Jim 3:32:39 26
15 swan grayden 3:39:39 27
24 Lindthorst Frank 3:58:02 28
12 Lane Tim 4:15:32 31
10 Kleiman Dan DNF
1 Altman Brad DNS
16 tart jimmy DNS
19 Walz Andrew DNS

Friday, March 12, 2010

Day 77, Powder Keg Recon up Milly

Went up the last climb and checked out the descent down Stupid Chute, over Twin Lakes, and to the finish line. The race is tomorrow. JD vs. AD, who will win?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Days 75 and 76, Powder. Deep Powder.

Wednesday, I picked up neighbor Jon and met JD at the Park N Ride for some laps in upper Days. After a couple, we'd had our fun and moved over to a new high entrance into Holy Toledo.

Not great visibility, but that's been the game all week.

Then, this morning, we woke up fiending for something bigger. Got a text from Bart saying we should ski Superior. We were already on the way.

Except, once we got up there, something else looked better.

Went up and skied Monte Cristo, the whole time wondering if we'd be able to find our way out the gully instead of cliffing out by heading down the directissimo. The hike up was filled with sun and a crisp cool breeze. Immediately upon reaching the summit, clouds rolled in and obscured the view. We didn't care, the skiing was ridiculous. Knee deep down the "edge of the world" shot, and thigh deep down the main couloir. Luckily the Skier Boyz had been down the line earlier in the morning and we could follow their tracks like braille...sort of. I ended up cliffing out above the first rappel and had to boot back up to the exit gully.

So much fun we definitely had to celebrate. That meant McDonald's again. JD brought in a Little Ceasar's pizza and I made a pizza/burger role up. Getting crazy for sure.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Day 74, LCC to McDonald's to BCC

With uncertain weather and a relatively late start, Bart G, Casey, JD and I unloaded at White Pine in search of some adventure. The idea was to get to Maybird, but as we skinned up the path, we thought a detour was in order.

The detour:

This is JD with Casey in background on the scramble up the North Ridge of Lake Peak.

Somehow we managed to put in the skin track or booter almost the entire way, definitely making the vertical the hard earned variety.

Bart and JD peaking down into the East Couloir of Lake Peak:

After skiing the couloir down to White Pine Lake, Casey bid us adieu and we turned around to skin/boot back up. From there we skied down to Red Pine Lake and headed up to the ridge between White Baldy and the Pheifferhorn. Clouds had been swirling all morning and as we gained the ridge, we caught great views of Box Elder.

We skinned toward the Pheif, peaking down a couple couloirs into Maybird and eventually settled on the one just East of the last bump on the ridge before the Pheifferhorn proper. We kicked off all the cornices before Bart cut into the entrance and bounce tested the slope a few times. That was the beginning of about 4000 feet of great skiing all the way out the Maybird Apron with about zero visibility. Still super fun.

If the weather had been better...
Just after this pic, clouds completely engulfed the whole world and we didn't really want to ski by feel above the cliffs.

It was about 2:00 PM by this point and Bart needed to take off. That meant a trip to McDonald's and a reunion with Casey. All of a sudden we found ourselves at the base of Argenta. Along the summit ridge of Kessler, Casey, tired from 7,000 ft, wanted to rip skins and ski out. Jason told him, "I want to go to the top, just to make you have to keep going."

Casey not too pleased on the summit of Kessler

He pretty soon forgot his troubles as the top 2000 ft might have been the best of the year. About a 1000 feet from the car I had my own troubles with fogged glasses and frozen hands. I even contemplated peeing on my hands to warm them up. Didn't do it, but it was that bad. Made it home just in time for a delicious Jessie casserole special and left over Thai food.

Total Elevation for the day: 9000 feet