Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Type of "Super Tour"

With a more manageable snow pack and a break in the recent storms, I wanted to get up high and spend the day along some alpine ridge lines.  The classic "super tour" perked Josh's interest so getting a nice early 8:30 start, we headed up toward the Pfeifferhorn.  This route typically involves summiting the Pfeiff, heading over to Thunder Ridge and making one's way out Bell's Canyon.  

It was sunny and calm in the parking lot but as we gained the ridge above Red Pine drainage, a thick band of clouds was curling over from the south.  The climb to the summit of the Pfeiff was spectacular as always but enhanced by the weather with the highest summits of Utah County peaking through the undercast skies.  

Unfortunately, I made the bad decision to ski into the soup and we spent the next few hours trying to find our way back up to Chipman and over to South Thunder.  En route, we enjoyed some nice powder, crust, bushes, and rocks to go along with the non existent views.  Eventually, we made our way down into Bell's thinking it would be nothing but glorious powder turns until the lower trail.  Instead we found near crevasse like boulder fields that proved nearly impassable.  With multiple skins on/off transitions to move downhill it was slow going for sure.  Fearing that I'd be late for work, eventually I pulled some running shoes out of my pack (I anticipated it would be horrible) and made a run for it.  Josh decided to keep his skis on and very likely destroyed them in the process but he actually skied to the car (although this proved slower than running).  

Regardless of the challenging conditions it was, as always, a grand day in the mountains.  

Josh heading up the Pfeifferhorn.  Since he's wearing a Dynafit suit, I'll bring up a grievance.  Did anyone who attended the Snow Leopard day hear how much money was raised by all the vertical feet climbed?  At 5 cents/foot or even 5 cents/meter, it should have come out to at least $7000 (but more likely $20000 as initially promised) donated by Dynafit to the Snow Leopard fund.  Rumor has it that amount proved too much for them to keep their word and the donation was downgraded to something like $2000, which is roughly the cost of a pair of race boots.  Lame.  

Still looking for the Pfeifferhorn...

Friends across the canyon said the clouds stayed put all day, just tickling the Alpine Ridge.  We were the only dumb ones who skied right into them. 
Josh thought I looked particularly "Euro" but he was the one wearing a skin suit.  I'm working on being a little more subtle...
Climbing out of the clouds to the summit of the Pfeiff (photo by Josh Anderson)
Descending toward Alpine, we skied and fought our way "just over to that next ridge" before heading back up into the soup.  (photo by Josh Anderson)
After climbing back out of Dry Creek, we hit the Summit of Chipman and then made our way to South Thunder, all the while trying not to fall into Hogum Fork.  

Tempting but best saved for another day...

We did get some nice freshies in before the "character building" began. 

From one shoe to the next...  I figured the exit might be heinous so carried some backups.  Normally, I'll just hike in my boots since they're really quite comfortable but for anything over a few miles I prefer real shoes. 

Anxious selfie as I'm running to the car in danger of being late for work.  Also, I'm a bit worried cause I didn't get my "Charlie work" done for the day 

Josh is dead center doing some dirt walking

My concern was for naught as I was early to work and even managed to snag a shower and some food so as to not offend anyone by stinking or being grumpy.


  1. Now that you have a real job you can dump the OR sponsor and get back to tight clothes. You guys were way sexier and faster then! Or better yet, get OR to produce some speed appropriate threads. The market is growing. I'm tired of watching videos of Molly and Zak slogging huge skis and bindings around the mountains clad in plastic bags, er, hardshells.

  2. Yeah, subtle. You've got that down! ;-)

    RE: the Dynafit / Snow Leopard benefit. Haven't looked into that myself, sounds like it's in the rumor phase - where truth sometimes begins - but if it's true, they need to be called out on that. Because I think the average human powered skier who put effort into raising money for a cause might be a bit pissed to find that Dynafit used that money to fund their helicopter rides right here in SLC. So, good job there, just as with this sufferfest.