Sunday, June 5, 2011

Falls Creek: June 5, 2011

I never tour with an ipod, but there is constantly music running through my head. What song would best fit this moment? This sunburst, this send, this booter, this reflection, this sunrise, this wind storm, pealing skins, face shots, ice, powder, crud, slush, wind, rain, whiteout, serene, aggressive, peaceful. Music everywhere. It punctuates and compliments what lays before me. It can be in the background or it can dominate my experience. It may get awfully quiet, but it is always there if I listen for it.

The Noodler tipped me off to a couloir up Falls Creek. His directions were probably excellent, but I wasn't really paying attention. But as fate would have it, I ended up in the recommended shot. It really doesn't come as a surprise, after 12 seasons of touring together he knows my tastes: steep and narrow with a good runout. And when I rounded the bend and looked up into the cirque, I knew this must be the place.

On the Left (Home? Really?)

It looked intrasante. Muy intrasante. Steep. Check. Narrow. Yeah, but maybe too narrow? Good runout. Check. She earned a closer look. No sense turning around without getting all the facts.

She'd be too narrow to slide-slip, but not overly steep. It was on the shady end of my comfort zone. Regret was not an option. The lower angle approach had completed the transition to summer snow: shallow sun-cups with soft crests. The steeps were a bit softer and I expected that aggressive turns would begin a chain reaction which would conclude with the top 3" of the entire chute being relocated to the runout. Like The Jeffesons, but in reverse.

From the Top

It was time to focus. Get psyched. The crux was about 3' wide and was 150' vertical above the runout. The entire couloir never got wider than 10' and the top layer would be nipping at my heals. I knew what had to be done. With playlist on very temporary pause, the skis accelerated into the fall-line.

The Devil Wants to Eat You

Ski like Satan's after you, boy! Every muscle was working in concert; the walls blurred. The next turn was in sharp focus. "You got this!" The crux was bearing down on me and was in my lap and then over my shoulder and then the runout followed by a very specific crush of music and release of endorphins and adrenaline followed directly by Whitman's barbaric yawp!

And from across the valley, a kindred spirit reciprocated with an enthusiastic yawp of her own.

- U.K.

1 comment:

  1. Glad I wasn't hear to worry about you Saturday and get to just enjoy the report.