Well, med school graduation has come and gone. I missed it as I was on Mount Adams at the time. Guess it’s Dr. Sherpa from here on. And, now I am at the beginning of another 3 years of training, this time with longer hours and more responsibility. But, the adventuring will continue because as Bill Brigg’s said, “What’s the point of living? Well gee, it’s to have some adventure.” So I’ll do my best to keep on getting after it even though I think it’s time to put the skis away for the year.
Looking back at the past year I realize just how ridiculously good it’s been. With over 50 different summits and partners between both climbing and skiing, it’s been my most prolific year to date. Many summits were repeated and many partners came back for more. I skied 115 days, climbed a lot, and went to school… a bit. So to commemorate the year (academic calendar), here are a couple top ten lists. Top ten climbs, ski descents, and yep…partners. All of the following come with as many stars or smiley faces as you can imagine…except maybe partner #10. Hint: He’s always mad.
Top Ten Climbs (most are easy moderates but will take you to some pretty soulful places):
10. Direct Petzoldt Ridge, Grand Teton 5.7 IV – Would have been higher but was with DD. He’s a whiner.
9. Lowe Route, Lone Peak 5.8 – Granite Patina!
8. Prodigal Son, Angel’s Landing 5.8 C2 V – A pleasure as Sam let me lead every pitch and we weren’t dealing with haul bags. ZION!
7. Lurking Fear, El Capitan 5.7 C2 VI – Muchas Estrellas!
6. Muir/Nose, El Capitan 5.9, C2, VI – The Muir is beautiful and it was here that I spent my first night on a portaledge. We missed out on the upper dihedrals because we bailed over and finished on the Nose. Any El Cap route is good though, right?
5. Full Exum Ridge, Grand Teton 5.7 IV – Take away the crowds and it might get bumped higher.
4. Regular NW Face, Half Dome 5.10.c C1, VI – Wanna feel like a hero…
3. Triple Overhangs, Lone Peak 5.10a – Maybe it was the anticipation that was building for a couple years, or maybe the hand jams through the roof sections are just that good, but it’s my favorite in the Wasatch.
2. The Grand Traverse, Teton Range 5.8, V – Alex Lowe’s favorite outing in the mountains has to be high on any list. Miles of ridgeline and spectacular terrain in my favorite range.
1. The Nose, El Capitan 5.9, C2, VI – Worthy of it’s many monikers…the King, the best rock climb in the WORLD, Warren Harding’s Finest, and on and on.
Top Ski Descents/Tours/Traverses (Chosen for the length, position, ability to ski from a distinct summit, and all around joy felt afterward):
10. Coalpit Headwall, North Thunder Mountain – Visible from nearly anywhere in SLC, it tantalizes until you go do it. Then afterwards, seeing it just makes you happy. All the time. Period.
9. Terminal Cancer, Ruby Mountains – The spontaneity of that day and being alone enhanced the super cool couloir.
8. Champagne Couloir, Mount Nebo – Sometimes forcing a line makes it that much better.
7. Cold Fusion Couloir, Mount Timpanogos – Good enough that I went back one week later and did it again.
6. South Face, Mount Timpanogos – From the Sleeping Maiden’s nipple all the way to my parent’s doorstep in Pleasant Grove. Been wanting to do that for over 10 years.
5. NE Couloir, Lone Peak – The King Line of the Wasatch?
4. Left of Heart, Mount Shasta – June powder, a gift from the Lemurians.
3. The Skillet Glacier, Mount Moran – Pretty classic descent in the prettiest mountains in the contiguous U.S.
2. Ingraham Direct, Mount Rainier – 9,000+ feet in one descent. One of the longest in the lower 48 for sure.
1. The WURLOS – A real Wasatch highlight tour. THE Wasatch highlight tour.
Top Ten Partners (selected for their charm, quality of shared climbs/skiing, and quantity of time spent laughing at each other in the mountains):
Honorable Mention: Adam and Zack
10. Tanner Bushnell – He’s in love! He’s in love! And he doesn’t care who knows it. Usually dependable, until a certain woman stole him from me.
9. Uncle Roman – OK, he’s not really my uncle. He’s cooler than my uncles though…
8. Graham/Jake – With me on two of my favorite climbs, these guys get the nod together. I wonder…are they together?
7. Jared Inouye – I could really credit this guy for getting me to buy into the light is right concept. Opened my eyes you could say. Fastest guy in Utah makes for a pretty good partner.
6. Bart Gillespie – Over the long haul, I doubt there’s a stronger guy in the mountains. He’s funny too, and Lars thinks that when Bart has a goatee he looks like Brad Pitt…dreamy. I think he kind of looks like Lars…dreamy.
5. Casey Londer – Slow and steady like a turtle. Or is it a bear. Or do I mean dependable as a dog? Whatever. How about all around solid? Well, until he bailed for the Midwest.
4. Viking Lars – The original PB would be higher on the list but he lives in Colorado limiting our time together. I love him though.
3. Sam Isaac Lau Inouye …from Gunnison, UT– My first days touring were with Sam and he still gets me in over my head…I like it. And, he’s willing to be a great belay monkey when climbing.
2. Jason Lawrence Dorais – He’s OK.
1. My buddy JD. That’s Jessie Dorais. She doesn’t do the mountain stuff, but she’s with me everyday, and that’s more than the rest of you can say.