Saturday, February 27, 2010
Well, I know this is a record number of posts for one day, but the wife is gone, and I'm home alone... so what the heck. Today I took on the task of heading up to Lone peak, or possible thunder bowl from the safest route, the South. So I got a good old alpine start and started skinning at 1000am for the 7000ft + day. Something you don't think about after a while of skinning in the cottonwoods is the pure joy of approaches in the real sense, not the 10 minute skin through the groomed 30 foot wide green run. The approach to Lone peak from the South is basically an old dirt road (actually clay) that starts in Alpine and just goes up, and up and up. After about the first 1000 yards the snow gets too deep and I throw on the skies (about another 7 lbs per foot) and start skinning through the breakable crust that we all love so much. It goes like this... take a step forward, weight the ski, then it breaks through 6 inches of snow which handily fall on top of your ski for you to carry up. On and the repeat for say...6500ft.
The good news is that there was a short section in the middle that some tracked-mobile had gone up so I didn't have to break trail for a 1/16th of a mile. In the summer we have had the hike to the Cirque in something like 3 hours, so I figured how long could it take? 4 maybe 5?
Wrong answer... 6 painful hours it took me one step at a time.... step, weight, sink, step weigh, sink. I had a quick lunch break just above the second hemagogue but that was really the only break I took... Moral of the story is, I think I need to ski more, and more big days--not just the 5 hour days.
Well, I did finally make it to Bear Tooth Canyon over look just shy of Lone Peak (about 400 ft shy that is) and got to look down to where I should have been if I wanted to ski thunder bowl. Next time, maybe I'll get close to my goal and climb a little more like a Samari, not so much like the wire rider.
Well, this one will be short since I'm on the way out the door for some sun crust. I didn't ski on Friday due to a 'Leadership Enhancement' Course that took from 7-3, but on reading about it, it was well... explosive? The major problem we are currently facing is buried surface hoar (otherwise known as frost) which creates a beautiful reflective surface on the snow caused by sublimation (I believe thats the one...) on the surface on cold, calm, clear nights. It seems to me that you see this more commonly in Lambs and Mill Creek, but still fairly uncommon in the Wasatch. The problem is that it doesn't uniformly grow, so you end up with pockets of seriously unstable snow. From this mornings forecast:
Thursday, February 11, 2010
I must say I got a chuckle out of this line from Brett at the Avalanche center this morning. But it seems that some time someone is going to have to ski those lines right? Well, its probably not going to be me! There is always someone younger and braver right? (This isn't an encouragement to go ski steep North aspects lines)
So I know most people haven't been enjoying the lack of snow, but I have really been appreciating it recently. The last two days I spend skiing some new lines (for me) that have a certain aesthetic appeal, as apposed to well... the normal Utah draw. First was little pine @ 3300ft straight up out of the car and then directissmo, 3200ft although not right out of the car... Both are steep south facing lines that have tight couloirs, big slide paths, and no fall zones. Tomorrow I'm thinking Tanners would add up nicely. (so that means you can't go there unless I've invited you)
One of the fun extra exciting things about directissmo is that you start in a large gully that cliffs out in every location but one. So you can't really ski off any where you want, you need to follow the exact route which neither of us had skied before, but we did see some of it from the road. So when we crest superior we go into a cloud back with very little visibility. I know the ridge we follow so we start off down the catwalk hoping for the clouds to raise but they don't. So I have no visual aids, I left the compose in my other ski pants, and I've never skied the route before. So what do you do with a single point exit or fall to your death? Jump in of course! So off we go very, very carefully down into the gully in search for the directissmo chute. Once we get a little lower we start to see the slope roling over to what we assume is the rock face. After tipptoeing around we find the entrance, unfortunately we are a little low and have to 'huck' the 3 foot cornice into the chute. With much pain and suffering I finallly commit and it turns out to be easy, and most importantly a safe, rock hard snow pack.
Up until this point we didn't shoot any photo's or video because the focus and tension was high, so all of your shots will be below the entry to directissmo. Enjoy! Oh and in case you wanted to go there, the skiing could be described as either breakable death crust or cement that spilled out of a cement truck on the freeway.