Over my years of backcountry skiing, I’ve noticed no trend in my method of acquiring various ski partners. The initial meeting situations have been widely varied, and I’ve met few repeat ski partners in the mountains. The seeds of an exception to this were planted in 2009, as I, along with two ski partners, headed up for a June ski of the Pipeline at Snowbird, after the area had closed. We met a few other fellows at the top of the line, and, following our descent, went our separate ways.
The Pipeline at Snowbird, nicely filled in for our descent on a visit from Jackson, circa 2006. Photo by Craig Franklin.
On a solo trip Continue reading ‘Ski Partners, and Lake Peak’s East Chute’
In my ski life, I have walked off of a few choice routes, deeming them unsafe for turns at that time. It’s always a tough call to make, as, putting in some effort to get up a mountain to ski a line, it’s hard to have it within grasp and deny oneself. It’s sort of a ‘kid in a candy store’ phenomenon, except in this case, the kid has eyes for only one particular piece of candy, the kid has walked uphill eight hours in the rain to get to the candy store, and now the kid declares that candy made with high fructose corn syrup won’t pass muster, as the negative health implications are too large. This kind of denial is the most healthy sort. The don’t-die-in-an-avalanche game is best played with a healthy dose of skepticism in mind at all times.
It may be a combination of luck plus Continue reading ‘Turning Back and Walking Away from a Ski Descent’
Neither desert heat, snow, nor hail seems to trouble the mint. Plus, it's a delight to the senses!
While the May 24th, 2010 snow in the Utah region killed numerous herbs and plants all the way down to 5,300 feet by drowning them in an overnight snow covering (I heard of hairdryers coming to the rescue…), skiers were rejoicing as the late season snowstorm left 10 inches of light density, flawless powder atop 6 inches from a few days prior. Knowing that intense May desert heat would immediately follow the storm’s departure and ruin the goodness in short order by making it heavy and sun crusted, I made plans to ski on Tuesday rather than Thursday to take advantage of the ‘last powder of the season.’ Strangely, I keep thinking that each storm cycle is dropping the last powder of the season, only to again be proved wrong. This is something I very much enjoy being in error forecasting. Besides, Continue reading ‘Late May Wasatch Powder, plus Hellgate’
Now that I’ve lived near both mountain ranges for some time, I find that the second most common question I get asked about ski mountaineering, is whether I like the Tetons or the Wasatch more. For me, it’s always a tossup, and I’m not sure there is a distinct winner. It’s hard to compare mountain ranges objectively, and a subjective measure is possibly whimsical at best. Yet, a few details seem Continue reading ‘Comparing the Tetons and the Wasatch’
Me skinning in front of the Devil’s Castle.
Calling up Mike Gambee to join me for either a ‘big day or a small day,’ it didn’t require much persuading to gain his company for a trip into the Devil’s Castle Couloir. We made quick work of the approach – it would almost take effort to do otherwise – and soon found ourselves Continue reading ‘A Jaunt through the Devil’s Castle’
For me, the biggest surprise out of the recent headline that Black Diamond Equipment Ltd. is going public, was that the company involved wasn’t Dynafit. If there is one company which has revolutionized the ability of folks to get high into the mountains quickly, it is Dynafit. Light and Fast, and Light is Right are the two Continue reading ‘A Dynafit Conversion Story’