Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Unobjectionable Skiing

Pretty much every time you throw the skins on your skis you have an objective.  This objective defines your success or failure.  But what if, just once, you could roll up to a trailhead with no preconceived notion of what lay ahead.  What if your only objective was to have a good time?  No S4+, no 2800' vert, no powder stash?  Just leave the vehicle with no expectations.  That would be nice.  With todays guidebooks and gay-ass blogs it may seem impossible to be surprised .  What we need is an approach so big it seems like an awful idea.

South Fork of Eagle River: 6 miles and I am at the end on Symphony Lake.  Its time to set up camp and rest the shoulders.  The tent is up and sleep beckons, but the Alaskan summer night fails to darken.  The ducks splash into the lake.  The ice follows the wind onto the shore.  Haw!  Crash!  And a million other sounds to keep you awake.  It never really gets dark.  Maybe dark enough to see the planets, but not dark enough to see the stars.  

Dawn comes early, moments after sunset.  Fuck it.  Get up.  I came back here to ski.  I've never been in this valley before.  I knew this valley existed, but I had no knowledge of the specifics. No objective.  Unobjectionable.  

Once I took 3 Beatties up a drainage in the Chugach with no objective.  Worked out fine.  In the Wasatch there are no unknowns, nothing objectionable.  I remember, Eric Erlenbusch taking me into the Oquirrh's, the Tushars pre Tyson Bradley.  Rolling into a mountain range with no expectations, no maps,   Awesome.
3 more miles past camp and on towards the 6,000 footers.  So long as I gain elevation, the snow will come.  Hey look, a North facing cirque.  Hike it, ski it.  First descent?  Maybe.  A nice run either way.

The Triangle Cirque

Ducks at 11 PM

Eagle Lake and Cantata Mountain


  1. Yeah, I get sick of all the guide books too and posts and blogs, kinda takes the elemnt of surprise out of things.

  2. I still think that the best thing is to look at the Gazateer, pack your bag, and go. Don't search for info on the net, read guide books, just go. We are blessed with a permit system for everything we do in Washington so sometimes internet work is manditory pre-trip, but for most places....as you said....F' it. GO.