Friday, January 21, 2011

Day 57: Kessler and a missed opportunity

I have a lot of ideas swirling around right now about long link ups and traverses but no time to really get anything done. I have plenty of half days here and there, but no substantial time off until mid February. Sure, one can get a lot done in the Wasatch in a few hours but I liken those days to climbing at the local, but not as inspiring since much of the exploration is lost. It seems a full day (or more) for a big traverse or peak link up, trying to ski as many aesthetic lines as possible, is where the sense of exploration returns - both geographically and mentally.

That said, I had a day off today and wanted to do a little exploring. Too bad that damn OR show was keeping many potential partners from joining me. Lukily, the Samurai and US Skimo National runner up, Luke Nelson let me join them for an early morning foray up Kessler Peak.

In the parking lot, I skinned up two sets of skis, hoping it would be a relaxing tour on regular gear. Out of their cars came two sets of Trab World Cups and I knew right then it was going to be a quick morning. The plan was to skin up Argenta, ski the East Couloir, skin back up the Catcher's Mitt, and then ski out Argenta.

Just over an hour after leaving the car, we were dropping into an untouched East Couloir.

A flying samurai:

Luke enjoying the morning light:

The chute was fantastic, but the apron was pretty pathetic with the stout rain/ice crust very noticeable. Stopping just above the Cardiff road, we turned it around to skin back up. Again, the ice made travel difficult, so we opted to boot/slip/wallow our way back to the top of the chute.

The main Argenta run was in the worst shape I've seen; wind affected, icy in spots, and crusty in others. Conditions improved slightly on the exit and we found ourselves back at the car at 9:40. My plan had been to go back up and ski the other two classic lines on Kessler, God's Lawnmower, and the West Couloir. This Kessler 4x4 as Noah Howell calls it has been something I've wanted to do for a while. I had all day and good weather, but was cold and partnerless. I decided to drive down to a point where I could get cell coverage and tried to dial up a partner. Windows fogging up, my motivation dissipated with the steam from my clothes, and unable to find any immediate company, I found myself back in bed about half an hour later.

Opportunity wasted.

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