There’s this thing I do. It’s impossible to know how many other skiers do it. I’m always looking at the mountains to figure out if some ski descent or other will go, that is, if it’s possible. Included in that sphere are the other considerations, such as, when will it go? What conditions are required to get it done? Etc. This has been happening for a long time. And I’ve been pretty happy to be able to see it & ski it for some years. It’s taken me to a lot of incredible venues.
That in mind, my best recollection as to how the Broken Hearted couloir came across my radar started like this: I saw the top of the line from a distance, and was intrigued. Radical line, wonder if it has been skied, has a name, etc. My usual thought process. Some time went by. At some point, Derek Weiss (known as Fritzrips.com in certain circles, the link will take you to a list of some awesome Wasatch TR’s) and a partner skied (and named) a nearby couloir. Unfortunately, the original writeup was destroyed when his first site was blown up by bad people.
To my remembrance, in his original writeup, Derek mentioned a line near the one they’d done – the one I had eyed up – including only a single sentence about it. He simply wrote, “that line that Andrew skied all those years ago.” That sentence firmly burned itself in my brain. In fact, I had it in my head to actually refer to the line that way in my own writeup, when I finally got it done. Beyond that though, I’ve never seen nor heard a reference to this outstanding ski challenge.
‘That line that Andrew skied all those years ago.’ Close your eyes, you’ll see it, almost. The upper reaches of the Broken Hearted Couloir.
To be clear, there wasn’t any question in my mind Continue reading ‘The Broken Hearted Couloir’
Had an entirely frustrating day yesterday, trying to find parts at numerous hardware stores to repair my ski gear. Had a number of nuts and bolts to replace, most of which I’d had to spend quite a bit of time drilling out after they melded together somehow. Maybe all that SLC smog in the air mixes with melted snow to produce unbreakable corrosion? Who knows…
There’s nothing like drilling through binding bolts to kill some time…
Ended up doing the old hacksaw and file job to get myself back on ski gear as the sun sank in the sky. Headed up fast, late last night, setting a PR to both Patsy Marley and (just short of) Wolverine Peak. Guess I was pissed off at the seemingly wasted day, because I tore many minutes off my previous fastest times.
About to drop a fun, steep chute in Wolverine, I transitioned my binding to ski mode, stepped back, and.. Continue reading ’10 Ski Lines in Wolverine Cirque’
The Whipple a few moments after sunset.
Every once in a while, the first time’s a charm. Unlike my fruitless experiences spanning years searching for the Benson and Hedges line, I’ve never looked for the Whipple Couloir before. Unless you count sightings from across the street, deeply enmeshed in zones like Stairs Gulch or Yer Crazy, or standing on the LCC ridgeline about to drop one of the numerous south-facing couloirs there. In that case, Continue reading ‘The Whipple Couloir’
Winter threatens to become summer, just like that (snap your fingers). Yet somehow enough snow finally fell to ensure a solid ski mountaineering season in the Wasatch this spring. So I’m stoked! It was getting a bit worrisome there, seeing not the isolated weirdo, but hundreds of folks wearing shorts, outside, in February. The new normal, perhaps, but unsettling regardless. Honestly I was surprised I didn’t see any lawnmowers being put to use.
I’ve been pretty far from hanging up the skis, however.
Here are a bunch of photos of fun times, some of which I’ve written about, most of which I haven’t. Widely varying avalanche conditions have kept us backcountry regulars on our toes, just like usual. It’s been a great time to poke around and explore, or hit odd ski hours with friends, in between dedicated attempts on various ski descents.
A few photos from the last month or so, in no particular order. Enjoy! Continue reading ‘A Month or Thereabouts, in One Go…’
Normally, when it takes a few attempts to get down a particular ski descent, that’s because conditions were against in some fashion or other. Pockets of slab, overhanging bus-sized cornices, field-sized whumpfs, or other suitable atrocities sometimes rear their ugly heads. I happily turn tail and run. Steve Romeo’s voice whispering, ‘Live to Ski’ in one ear is much louder than the raspy ‘Ski it!’ line from some pointy-tailed ephemeral.
Rock meets ski boot.
In the case of the Benson & Hedges couloir, I simply couldn’t Continue reading ‘Benson & Hedges Couloir’
A minute or two after the appointed time of 9:37, I was in J-Bo’s driveway. J-Bo meanwhile, was at the nearest Park-n-Ride lot. Hmm. Looks like it’s verboten to send a shorter text (I’ll be ____, at ____time) in front of a longer text message, because the shorter one gets pushed into the northern ether of the phone. Whoops. We sorted it out and were heading up LCC together in short order. A bit of ski mountaineering in the White Pine Couloir was on the docket.
Meanwhile, across the street for the entire outing, we had insane views of the wall of clouds socking in the Pfeifferhorn, etc. Mostly sunny on our side though.
Strangely enough, some years had passed with me thinking I’d already skied White Pine, not to be confused with the White Pine trailhead across the street. J-Bo pointed out tartly last year that a ski descent involves either ropework or a lotta sideslipping, and I couldn’t pull forth that memory. I acquiesced that I must have been in Little Chute (next couloir to the east) several times, including more than once with J-Bo. The more I learn about the Wasatch, the more I forget. Or something like that. Since neither of us Continue reading ‘White Pine Couloir’