Inauspicious beginnings on day one of our trip to the Pacific Northwest… Zach, Greg, and I tried for the summit of Mount Sefrit in the Cascades today. For a first in my ski life, if I remember correctly (I’m aware of my propensity to forget such things), out of the entire day’s effort, not one of us made a single ski (or snowboard) turn all day. This despite covering miles of ground. Conditions were thin on the lower reaches (up to 7 inches in places, and a deep 7 inches at that!), and the Cascades offered up a full dose of their legendary bushwhacking. Bushwhacking would of course be a polite term to encapsulate the day’s outing – which, during its more interesting moments (minutes? hours?), was more akin to rainforest crawling. This slowed us a bit to say the least, so we descended one route, tossing in the towel Continue reading ‘Mt. Sefrit Attempt – Cascades’
Monthly Archive for December, 2010
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I’ve argued for some time that twin tipped skis aren’t well suited to backcountry skiing or ski mountaineering. Yet it still surprises me when I see ‘face either direction’ skis out in the less used portions of the mountains, that is, outside the resorts.
My original logic on the point was that it’s essential to have an anchor point from which to rappel, or even downclimb, into steep couloir entrances with a rope, should the need arise. I used the technique on the entry into the King Chute (also known as Roman’s) several years ago. However, for anyone new to the concept, it becomes quickly apparent Continue reading ‘Twin Tipped Skis’
Sunday turned into a rime fest following Saturday’s soft snow dump. High winds and other variables plastered snow onto surfaces at every angle during the night, so that by the time Jason and I reached our high point on Red Baldy, the look was distinctly Alaskan, or at least, alpine. Fortunately, the weather was warm, the clouds blew out, sunshine arrived, and the snow was a creamy, supportable blend that made for some fast skiing. Continue reading ‘Time it, Mime it, Rime it’
Got in some aspen (and pine) backcountry skiing in Utah over the weekend. Not the ritzy Colorado ski town variety, just the shared root variety. Choosing a less beaten path to avoid the worst of the Saturday crowds – with a fresh dump of snow in the highest reaches, it was sort of predictable where the crowding might be – I managed to find some real estate that contained zero other skiers. Only one old, filled in ski track was to be seen. ‘Sharing the snow’ wasn’t a problem, really. It’s not an entirely new theme, but being able to find such seclusion Continue reading ‘Aspen Skiing’
Ski descent ratings depend very much on the conditions in which one finds the line that they descend. With several different rating systems out there which attempt to quantify the technical challenges involved – just as rock climbing ratings do – one can typically aim for ever more challenging things to ski, by spending time perusing these sorts of lists. In a way, I was mildly disappointed to find the latest effort, the Grunge Couloir, rated S6, in conditions that made it ski more like something rated S4+. But not too disappointed.
Heading out for the day with the Brothers Dorais – Andy and Jason – we got a later than planned start to head down to the Wasatch’s Mount Timpanogos from SLC. For consolation, we took a longer Continue reading ‘The Grunge Couloir’
After a longer than anticipated recovery period following my Grand Canyon effort two and a half weeks ago – myoglobin has been flowing out of me en masse – I green lighted myself for a return to backcountry skiing in Utah, following two days of intensive hydration / system flushing. I finally felt back to normal, if a little weaker from not having been out much in the last 17 days. It felt good to be back in the saddle, or Black Diamond harness, more to the point. Continue reading ‘Back in the Saddle – Ski Rappelling the Pfiefferhorn’