Auspicious beginnings to the day with the winds on the ridges howling like mad dogs and Irishmen. They were predicted to be around 18-20 mph. They were all that, plus a little extra.. Oh well. Onwards and upwards. It got better though, even with the wind remaining a constant theme. I found the powder to be deep and stable, even on steep slopes. That being a rare thing, I soaked it up. I could almost say I was shocked at getting it so good, since much powder has been blown to Kansas of late.
Wind? Yep, there was some of that on tap..
Managed to bag one line on Peak 11,137 – more commonly known as Upwop Peak (Un-named Peak West of Pfeifferhorn) – amongst several on the day that I never thought I’d get in anything bordering decent conditions (because, facing SW’erly, it gets a lot of sun exposure). It was steep, stable powder fluff the whole way down. Never mind that the slope was getting hit Continue reading ‘Powder Madness’
Whew. I’ve spent less than 4% of my ski days this year riding chairlifts. That means I’ve spent greater than 96% of my ski time skinning, boot packing, trenching, crawling, rock climbing, camping, rappelling, crossing streams, and occasionally running, to facilitate my ski turns. All this activity burns a lot of calories. Sometimes, I eat three heaping plates of food for dinner to recharge my energy level following a day out. There seems no way around it; backcountry skiing requires a large caloric input.
Chomping my way up another chute in the Wasatch.
If a backcountry skier doesn’t keep up on their calorie intake during the ski day, they will suffer. Many terms are in use to describe this suffering: Cratering, bonking, the complete lack of energy, being flattened, laying face first Continue reading ‘Keeping the Energy Going with GU Chomps’
Not the only person with the idea to visit Utah’s Mt. Olympus Memorial Couloirs today, I ran into Zach, John, and Cindy at the top of Couloir #1 and thanked them for putting in the approach track. Very nice of them, I thought. Plus, that sped up my progress which was a good thing as the East facing, sun warmed rocks kept shedding snow. Fortunately, the amounts per shedding were small, but they were enough to wipe out their ascent track in a few places. Be-helmeted, I hurried along and had an uneventful ascent.
A lot of people like to get out to see downtown Salt Lake City, and its occasional smog cloud. This is how I like to see both of those.
Continue reading ‘Mount Olympus Memorial Couloirs 1 and 4′
If you utilize collapsible ski poles – of the popular FlickLock variety or the older style twist lock – your poles can tend to give you grief when you’re least expecting it. Often, this is because moisture builds up between the upper and lower pole shafts, and simply never dries out from day to day. When you visit the ski hill in the chill of winter, this moisture freezes, and can make it difficult to shorten or lengthen your poles when you desire a height change. Left unchecked, this moisture can create corrosion which will inhibit smooth height adjustment changes. There’s not much point in using FlickLock adjustable height ski poles if you can’t adjust them!
There isn’t a lot of work behind this particular ski pole maintenance step, but it’s a good one to do mid-season. You can perform this simple maintenance in the warmth and comfort of your home. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3.
Ski Pole Maintenance Steps:
1. Open the FlickLock ski pole clasping mechanism and take your pole halves apart.
2. Allow the halves to Continue reading ‘Collapsible Ski Pole Maintenance’
There’s been a bit of frustration on my end of late with outings which have found me in weather that was completely different than predicted (gentle ‘breezes’ and sub-zero wind chill temps), skiing and ascending entirely variable, somewhat-different-than-predicted, crummy snow and ice. Days, or perhaps even weeks of this, left me with a yearning to treat myself well for a change. That left me lowering my standards and aiming for some unsullied powder skiing. Usually choosing safe terrain for backcountry skiing in Utah, it almost felt weird to focus on finding good ski conditions by applying similar skills and thinking. But not too strange, really.
The first day of spring finds the snow melting quickly away at lower elevations. Fortunately, there's enough shade in the canyon to keep a small ribbon of continuous snow running for most of the approach and egress.
But with 1,400+ miles of wind having blown through in the prior two days, it was likely Continue reading ‘Finding Good Ski Conditions’
Having climbed around on the flanks and minor southern sub-summit of White Baldy in the two different seasons – snow covered and absent snow – I’d never skied the Northwest face from the main summit. With no good reason for this to be the case, I allowed that it looked tempting as I was passing by yesterday, so turned from my intended destination and headed up into the wind. White Baldy is a sporty looking peak, with rocks randomly strewn across its NW face, and a not-too-severe angle to it. In earlier or later season conditions, there are a lot more rocks poking through the snow. Being this filled in only added to the appeal.
The summit views were nice, especially beneath a grey clouded sky. Better than the view beneath a white clouded sky.. This is looking towards SLC, invisible below.
The going was smooth with skinning, followed by boot packing on firm, sorta slabby but stable feeling snow, until Continue reading ‘NW Face White Baldy & North Face of Lake Peak’