Sunday, April 11, 2010

Day 99, Lisa Falls and Bell's Canyon

Yesterday was a pretty bipolar day. The morning was fast, light, full of adventure and ice. The afternoon was warm, slushy, and unfortunately casual. I woke up at 4:00 AM to meet Jared and Bart by 5:00 for a trip up Tanner's, into Broad's, up Twin, and down Lisa Falls.
We made quick work of Tanner's, skinning until the upper couloir, where it was a bit too icy to skin, but too breakable to boot easily. Apparently Jared was hoping for a sub 1 hour ascent. We topped out around an hour and a half, but had goofed around with the back and forth skinning/booting/picture taking for a bit.

Bart, trying to figure out if he should boot or skin the upper section of Tanner's.

Central Wasatch

At the top of Tanner's we considered a couple ways to get to the Twins. Since we're considering an insane traverse involving a lot of mountains, it might have been wise to go over O'Sullivan to familiarize ourselves with the terrain. Constrained time wise by Jared's promise to be at his son's soccer game, we took the more efficient path down into Broad's and back up to the saddle.

O'Sullivan is the peak in the middle. Up and over would have obviously been time consuming. Anyone been up there in winter conditions before? Best/fastest route up and down?

We followed the East ridge up the Twins and found a couple entertaining sections.

Look closely, Jared is drytooling with a whippet

Lone Peak, visible on the right, is becoming an obsession. I had hoped to head over there after Lisa Falls, but that didn't quite work out.

LIsa Falls descends from the saddle between the two summits and heads south (left).

Lisa Falls receives three stars in the "Chuting Gallery." The key reports *** as, "To die for...Major in every way...Do it now!" Yesterday was different. A direct quote from Jared, "This is the worst skiing of my entire life."

The Y looking pretty small below

It was still great fun though and the adventure factor high. Bart recently said that too much powder is boring and after a while, one starts to search out more interesting snow. We got more than interesting. At one point, the wet slide debris piles were so deep, we had to take off our skis and stumble through the microwave size blocks.

And, it doesn't let up. Near the end, one has to find a way to not have their day ruined by the cliff over which Lisa Falls pour. We went with the trusty boards buried in the snow deadman. Jared dug the pit while I equalized a couple boards and Bart cleaned up the old rope left on a scraggly bush that we used as backup. Abiding by the "biggest guy rappels first when the anchor is crappy" adage, I tensely lowered over the ice coated rock while Jared stood on the snow as my backup. Being the biggest isn't a good thing when trying to follow these two yahoos around.

Jared's turn sans backup

The anchor was solid but time consuming, and we still had to walk most of the way down the drainage because of the low snow conditions. We tried to move quickly though, as we had just witnessed impressive rock fall into the gully, and because by now Jared was 15 minutes late for the soccer game.

Back on the road, I called Tanner and Casey for round two. Casey claimed illness (whether real or not is on his conscious), but Tanner rallied up to meet me. I grabbed a couple Taquitos from Seven Eleven and we drove down Wasatch to the Bell's Canyon trailhead. We hiked about 1000 vertical in running shoes before switching to skis. The snow was mush, and we were breaking trail. About 4,600 ft up Bell's it became apparent that we wouldn't make it up Lone Peak due to Tanner's heavy gear, the hour (I had to get back for date night), and some concern over the warm conditions. We did however, make it far enough to get a painful look.

...Next time.

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