Monday, January 27, 2014

Monday on the Timpanogos Massif

Some one told me that the best camera is the one that is on hand.  Jason has been bringing a DSLR and taking some amazing photos.  I've had my Iphone and have been glad for at least that.  The mountains have been really beautiful lately, perhaps enhanced by the contrast to the gnarly pollution.  

Here are some pics from another great visit to Utah County:

Heading up into Pika Cirque from Wooly Hole (I think)

Climbing out of Pika Cirque to the North Summit

Jason putting in the boot track to the summit ridge

Stepping out on the the west aspect, we were stunned by the lack of coverage.  Some snow patches looked to be growing January???

At some point while hanging out on the North Summit, Teague said, "I'm just so happy to be here right now!"

Alien Invasion.  Can't wait to see a real pair of Alien 2.0s, although they look too nice to take up for a rock hike. 

I've been waiting for some important mail and thought maybe it was accidentally delivered here.  Photo by Teague

The fellas returning to their skis.  

Jason was psyched to slip this adventure in before work

Big Teague in some big terrain

Jason sneaking off to work

Teague and I climbed out of Pika Cirque and dropped over to the Timpanooke side

And then decided we better climb up Robert's Horn since neither of us had been up there.  With increasing winds, there appeared to be some strange UFO lenticulars forming over the Cottonwoods. 

Nearing the summit of Robert's Horn with our previous two descents in the background

Yep, that's how we spell our boy's name too...after the big Teague
From just below the summit

All day long we thought the snow would be garbage but every descent skied surprisingly well.

Surfy facets, buttery spindrift, rotting sastrugi, and some windboard made for a joyous outing

Big Teague dropping into our sneak exit. 
As he lined this up all I could think was NOOOOOOOO!  He was skiing on my Ski Trab Magicos as his were stolen out of his garage last week along with his Gara World Cups and a ton of other fine gear.  If anyone sees this stuff on KSL or other outlets, CALL THE POLICE ON THOSE BASTARDS!

Nice mini coolie to end the day

Even caught a ride back to the truck to end the day and avoid some pavement walking.  No worries that we had to sit on a pile of garbage.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Party Skiing

This was another good week of skiing in spite of the ongoing high pressure.  Tuesday, we had a successful turnout for the GoreTex Wasatch Skimo Race, held during the on snow demo for the Outdoor Retailer Show.  Wednesday, I found awesome crust and frozen tracks around Toledo and Grizzly.  Thursday, Tom and I put in some hot laps up Raymond and found surfy facets on the northern aspects.  Then today, the customary early Saturday morning crew ballooned to a party of 8.  We wanted to stand on some summits and did just that.  The skiing was a mixed bag but if the expectations are low enough, we find that it's always amazing!

Escaping the death trap air.  Photo by Tom Goth

Tom gets after it even if people say the conditions suck.  He doesn't care.  This photo was taken after nearly 9000 feet of hard climbing.  I went home and he put in another 3K in the dark.  Ridiculous. 

Today, we rolled with a party of 8.  Everyone on light gear with the pace ramped way up.  It was a 'move fast or get your tails stepped on' kind of morning with everyone faking like it was easy.  As we climbed into the higher terrain, finally we eased up and tried to practice safer travel with such a large group.  Spreading out and slowing down, we were able to enjoy the stunning morning alpenglow and catch our breath. 

Crazy morning light over Salt Lake

The Viking

Teague had to leave for work but we kept running 7 strong

Jason and his sun balls

After splitting the group with half skiing the East Couloir on Lake Peak and the other half dropping to the North, we rejoined and headed up Red Baldy.  Here, Luke Nelson, fresh off 130 mile running week, is about to tag his second new summit of the day.  

The tippity top of Red Baldy

Tom has really embraced the Euro way.  Plus, he's pretty excited to ski...always!

We tried dropping into a nice looking north facing chute from the summit ridge but Jared and Tom found nothing but ice through the choke.  The rest of us thought better and skied really fun acoustically pleasing crust.  We don't know what happened to the other guys...

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Viking Hustle

Before getting on with today's pictures, Jason made a three minute video from some skiing on Santaquin Peak this week.  It really was a beautiful day.

Big Lars moved to Salt Lake at the end of the summer and brought the Colorado snowpack with him.  We don't care too much though since all snow is good snow.  Noah asked if crust counted as snow the other day but since all water is really just snow, albeit in different forms sometimes, I'd say crust, avy debris, powder, corn, graupel, stellars, facets, ice, and all other types count.  And well, we found most of that today in Tanner's along with a nice mix of rocks and assorted vegetation that doesn't count as snow.

On Saturdays, both Lars and I typically have to be home by late morning since we both have two young boys that need be worn out and tended to.  That means if we want to ski a reasonable amount we have to get up early (within reason) and more or less get after it.  The screwing around must be limited inasmuch as we are capable of limiting ridiculous behavior.   Today, we wanted to show Lars something big and since there's no bigger slide path in LCC we figured Tanner's would do.

We were really cruising until the colors started to get good and then everyone started taking out their phones and cameras.

We found breakable crust, supportable crust, powder, roller balls, and frozen skin tracks from a previous party.

JD can't help but be happy when there's skiing to be had

The upper chute required some delicate four wheel drive mode/levitation booting and we still nearly bloodied our shins. Oh, and the colors were great too.

Wasatch sunrise

More crawling. 

Topping out in 1:34 with reasonable conditions and a reasonable amount of screwing around.  With faster snow, race gear and a willingness to suffer, sub one hour could be possible for the right person.  
Nobody complained

Noah sought out more interesting variations

Below the chute it was firm and June in January. 

Lars hustling so we can get in another run before the deadline. 
We were all more or less on race inspired gear with me, Jason, and Noah skiing Alien 1.0s, Skitrab Magicos, and small bindings.  Jason and I were laughing how it's almost like cheating and big things don't take so long anymore.  All the better since that just means more skiing.

Speaking of racing, next week is the Outdoor Retailer Show and on Tuesday the on snow demo will be held at Solitude.  Near the end of the event, we will be holding a short one hour criterium style ski mountaineering race that I'm hyping up as the Wasatch vs the World.

See for more details and come join us for some laps, laughs, and lactic acid.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Santaquin Peak

This Southern Wasatch peak sits just to the north of Mount Nebo and is around a thousand feet lower.  Friends have been talking about it as a great skiing mountain for a few years so in spite of Utah County coming up short during this last storm, we decided to check it out anyway.

I love going to new peaks, trying to access them without pissing people off by parking in their neighborhood, looking up and deciding how to most safely climb and then get down, and generally just getting out of the Cottonwoods for a change.  Jason figured out how to get through Spanish Fork on his Iphone and then we found a quite suburban street to park on before walking maybe 100 yards to where we put skis on and then skinned nearly 5000 feet to the summit.

En route there was much fighting with scrub oak and facets but eventually we got there, took in the view, and had perhaps one of the best descents of the year (not the way we went up), skiing all the way back to the car.

We tried shooting some ghetto footage for a video to hype up Outdoor Research and the upcoming GoreTex Grand Traverse so maybe Jason will quit being lazy and produce something pretty.  In the meanwhile, here are some photos from my phone.

Finally through the hateful scrub oak and onto a pleasant ridge.  Timp and Utah Lake in the background. 

Nearly 5000 feet of breaking trail made it a slow outing
We ski a lot but Fabby skis more.  He's like a long haul diesel truck...goes all day and carries a lot of stuff. 

Windy Santaquin Summit

We thought the snow would be wind and sun affected but it was just right.