Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Kessler 4x4 in the rain

I was thinking about making a run at Jared and Noah's Stupor Tour on Monday. The forecast of wind, snow, and thunder made me think twice about spending all day on the high ridge line. John S. wanted to do the Kessler 4x4, a linkup that I've thought about for a couple years and that that damn P whore Noah scored already this season. Oh well, finding inspiration in his post, we decided to go for it.

In case you don't click on the above link, the Kessler 4x4 is a linkup of the 4 major lines off Kessler Peak. The plan was to ski them counterclockwise from the East Couloir, to God's Lawnmower, to Argenta, and finishing with the West Couloir. Each line was to be skied to the car before heading back up for more.

At 6:30 AM at the BCC park 'n ride, I realized I forgot my boots at home just as John was pulling into the lot. That cost almost an hour. Oh well, at least we didn't have to start in the dark.

Getting out of the car, I almost stepped on a dead, well preserved Raccoon, that looked like it had just melted out of the snowbank. I'm kicking myself right now for not taking a picture. Two other guys were heading up at the same time who looked like they were moving well and we joined forces to the top.

First up: The East Couloir

John trying out light gear for the first time:

He was on my "heavy" set up consisting of Dynafit Seven Summits Skis, Speed bindings, and TLT Performance boots. I spent the day on a rando race set up that I think works well for just about any big day. It consists of Dynafit DNA boots, Trab Work Cup skis, and my Frankenstein hybrid of a Dynafit Low Tech toe piece and a Trab Race heel piece.

Back at the car, we grabbed a snack and then headed up for more. By this time, it was 40+ degrees outside and spitting rain/sleet/snow. We broke a trail up to the top of the Lawnmower and John found out how 78 under foot feels in 36" under skis.

Seemed like a good idea at the time:

Bill had to get to work but new friend Adam was keen on finishing out the day so back up we went.

The sun came out for about 5 seconds...

This old tree has seen a lot of slides and a lot of skiers go by.

John dropping in at the top of Argenta:

The snow up high was pretty soft but as we lost elevation, it became a completely saturated sticky mess. Each ascent would lead to wet skins that eventually glopped up fiercely.

This was KEY to making it through the day.

This was the other key...(not sponsored by Coke)

John's feet had been suffering for some time because he was using my boots for the first time. By the bottom of the third run, he couldn't take it anymore for fear of permanent damage and reluctantly pulled the plug. I was sad to see him go, but at that point, I was going to finish no matter what. Adam was game to keep on so...

Around 14,000 feet into the day, Adam dropped off the summit of Kessler on his way to the West Couloir and the crappiest skiing of the day.

Heading home, the sun finally came out. It's probably better that it didn't earlier since Adam and Bill, who had never skied on Kessler before, will still have the whole mountain to discover after skiing the whole mountain.

Go away spring.


  1. We ran into you near the dead 'coon, just before your last run up Kessler. Thanks so much for splitting your wax before your last ascent. Anna and I really needed it once the snow transitioned from soup to solid. You guys looked so solid, especially for ascent #4. Super impressive. Looked like an overall fun day.

  2. Thanks Chris. Crazy coon eh? Glad we had that little piece of wax. Saved the day for sure.