Saturday, December 25, 2010

Hale-Bopp: December 24, 2010

I'm somewhat embarrassed posting a drama free tour. Sure it was cold. Yeah it was an aesthetic line. Hall-Bopp is one of the Summit 49ers. All good things, but compared to the excitement down in Utah: my line was a yawner. Up here, nobody took a ride in a potentially deadly slide. There are no threads on tele-tips discussing the ramifications of my run. No one hopped a train out of Elko. No signs were stolen. There were no stare-downs with anti-personel artillery. Just another gorgeous run in a spectacular location.

Sorry for the let down.

In the Summit Lake area, there are a disproportionate number of peaks that are 49xx' tall. Obviously, I hope to collect the whole set. Hale-Bopp (4970') is between Upper and Lower Summit Lake. I parked at the pull-out on the North side of Lower Summit Lake and followed the skinner across the bridge and past the cabins. The skinner continued towards Raven Ridge, but I was interested Butch Ridge. Click for the map. I veered left and set the skinner/booter up Butch passing not one, but two Wolverine Cirques in the Sky. I continued over Nancy Peak and made the final push to the top of Hale-Bopp.

Today was day 23 without snow. It was 15 below at the lake and the temp hasn't cracked +10 in weeks. The snow structure is garbage. The entire snowpack would be facets if not for the Thanksgiving Rain Crust (TRC). Thankfully, the TRC (12" down) is supportable. Without it schussers would be punching through to the tundra on each turn. The sugar sloughs are running fast and long on top of the TRC.

The hoar on the South Face of Hale-Bopp sparkles in the sun. Its 2,500' to Butcher Creek. The pitch is perfect for boot deep effortless skiing. The weak bonds in the snow shatter with each turn. The crust announces itself on the steep roll-overs. My tracks cannot hold from and collapse into themselves. All vertical micro-features cave in. It's like trying to build a sand castle well above the high tide line.

Sure, the ski today was nice, but I see chairlifts in my future.

-Adam Lang

Washed Out Turns

Spirit Walker: Another Kenai 49er

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

North Bowl, Eagle River: December 20

The longest night of the year was upon us, and as if to make a point, the cosmos conspired to take the moon away. This was too much. A protest was in order. I organized a demonstration to prove that the dark could not crush our spirit.

The entire Alaska Skier Boyz Precinct gathered along with a couple of Marks for a protest march in the Chugach. Skies were clear and the moon was on our side, but old Cosmo was attempting to strong-arm our celestial brother. By the summit the moon had been completely subdued. To honor our fallen comrade, we skied the dark moonless night for 1,500' vert of knee deep blower.

Hubert and The Noodler led the protest march back up the bowl for a second helping. Cosmo's grip began to loosen and our old dear friend was beginning to light the way. The battled silently raged on. Cosmo had made a statement but our compatriot was intent on taking back the night.

At last it was over and the moon was victorious. Our loyalty was rewarded with a perfectly lit second run in North Bowl and for a third run back to where our protest had begun.

Taking away the moon on the longest night of the year was bullshit. Sitting idly on the couch is what Cosmo wanted, but we refused to give that cold bastard the satisfaction. Rise up! Do not ignore the injustices in the heavens! Take to the hills! Let the canyons echo with your protest chants as you plummet down sheer faces and cramped couloirs! Now is the time! Rise up! Rise up! Injustice will not stand!

-Fast Eddie

Another Inexplicable Fashion Trend from the World of Nordic Skiing

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter Solstice

True winters first storm hit hard as it made its way to SLC and the Wasatch mountains from the pacific. This storm dumped epic amounts of snow in Mammoth and across to the wasatch it continued. We are gonna exceed six feet in four days. The temperature won't stay at a constant cold so our snow level has been going up. Skiing has been dreamy! Before the big one arrived we had Green light conditions and a fresh coat. It didn't last too long and onto the low angle we play.This is a classic shot of a skier boy Adam Lawton setting the booter up the exposed East ridge of Superior. We opened the S Face at the crack of noon. The snow was sluffy and beautifully soft just wish the visibilty was as clearer.
Skier on the lower shot of N chute on Lake Peak in White Pine. We ascended this way and skied the more E chute from the summit.
Chris fish dropping in to the NE chute avoiding any rock lobsters. It was a beautiful day in White Pine. The last blue sky day before it began to puke.
This was our clan for the day. After Lake Peak we went across to the Tri chutes and Birthday bowls to ski some more deep pow under blue bird skies. An unfortunate party attempted to race Todd to the top and had to settle for the right Tri chute as they watched Todd snake the cherry pickings.
Celebrating the coming of winter in White Pine!

Chris fish and I skied the big N aspect into the Birthday bowl and Todd and Stefan came back up the ridge to enjoy the lower one lookers right.
Fraser and Olivia drove up from Ridgeway, CO to ski this storm. Some gusty winds weren't gonna stop them from having a taste test.
"Its definetly drier and deeper than Co" Fraser adds after a sampling in Willow meadow.
Matoosh Matook taking in what the Wapan has to offer on high danger days.
Bouncing Beattie enjoying every day he gets out.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tri-Tip to Tenderfoot: December 18

It hasn't snowed all week which means Turnagain is bumped out. Summit hasn't let me down all year and today was no different. There was a huge wind event in town this week and I was concerned about the snow quality down south. This concern turned out to be unfounded. There hasn't been a whisper of wind all week. Our tracks from last week were still visible. Cold, clear, calm: Summit has been turned into a facet factory. Good news for today, but bad news after the next storm.

The skinner was still in great shape from last week despite some rouge snow-shoer's (Palin?) attempt to destroy it. We gained the summit of Tri-Tip 1 (of 3) and continued east to a sneaky pocket couloir.

Hubert Leading the Charge

The couloir faces north and peaks in the low 40's with a nice run-out high in the Tenderfoot Creek drainage. There was about 6" of recycled powder on a hard crust. Turning was loud, but conditions rapidly improved throughout the 1,800' descent.

Looking Back up the "Pocket Couloir"
(click for a better view)

H led the charge again this time to Tenderfoot Ridge. Before long we were relaxing up high, chowing down, enjoying some "adult" coffee, and basking in the sun. December 19th only has 5 hours, 28 minutes of sun up. It rises and sets in the south and only gets 6° above the horizon. This factoid played no role in our selection of our 2nd north-facing couloir of the day. This one started much rougher, but true to form, rapidly improved as we descended to Butcher Creek.

Daylight was running short, so we opted to to call it a day instead of looking for a 3rd north facing shot. The run back to the lake rewarded us with a couple of miles of high quality low angle love.

Sunset over Summit Lake III

One of about 20 Moon Rises / Moon Sets on the Drive Back to A-Rage

Summit gets high marks again, but the next storm will be interesting to say the least. For now, the workers at the facet factory are putting in some serious overtime.


Friday, December 17, 2010

sorry skier boyz I have been out of the loop not touring to much do to these snowmaking nights .The good news is im done and have earn my alta pass after friday and will be getting back in the backcountry in a major way.Here are some pics from the 2010 SM season

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Tri-Tip: December 11

Summit continues to deliver. Today Hubert and I decided Tri-Tip would be a the way to go. Summit Lake is now frozen allowing us to short-cut over the ice. This saved about 20 minutes. As usual, H set the skinner from the vehicle to the top. There were some class 4 and 4+ moves, no class 5 this time. After 90 minutes and 3,000 vert I reached the top to find Hubert well rested.

The light was better on South facing, but South facing has been variable in Summit lately, so we opted for the big West Bowl. Good choice. The snow is about 12" deep over the dreaded Thanksgiving Rain Crust. This was enough to make for some quiet schussing.

It was good, and the skies were clearing. So there was really no choice. Back up and near the top we gained the sun. Our line was bathed in a soft pink hue. There wasn't time to linger so back to the lake.

Hubert Catching the Fading Light

Sunset Over Summit Lake

3,000' Vertical from Summit to Lake (Skied Lookers' Right)

Getting to Tri-Tip
Park at the 1st pullout next to Upper Summit Lake (mile 47.5-ish on the Seward Highway)
Cross the lake and head on up
From the top of Tri-Tip there are North, South, and West shots
Choose wisely
Ski it

- The Kingpin

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Manitoba: December 5

We've all seen storms hyped. The hype is big. It's gonna dump. It's gonna be epic. It's gonna be this. It's gonna be that. But when dawn breaks, what is the reality? More likely than not, the hype does not live up to reality. Hype sets the bar high and unless its met, you will be disappointed. Hype will turn 12" into a let down. Hype cannot help; it can only hurt. Without hype, there cannot be disappointment.

What made this storm different was that the hype of the storm carried over into the avi forecast. The storm fizzled, but the forecast refused to accept the 3" reality.

So I met some friends and headed for some lower angle terrain. Manitoba has a super-wide 30° South face and some impressive North facing couloirs off the summit. Its perfect for a day when you are unsure of the stability. It was bluebird with about 8" (2 storms worth) of blower with no wind. Stability tests revealed nothing of concern, but the 1/2" hoar frost could make the next storm interesting. The skiing was excellent and the team felt more comfortable on the South Face. Our final lap was bathed in the alpenglow which was really lighting up the hoar frost.

The Summit area has been blowing my socks off lately. The terrain is much bigger than Turnagain and way less people. Everyday puts about 10 new lines on the wish list.

South Face of Manitoba

South Face of Silver Tip
Dresden II: Back to the Projects

Sunset over Summit Lake

To get to Manitoba park at the Mile 48 lot on the East side of the Seward Highway. Skin North along the highway for about 100 yards and follow the fire road into the woods and over the bridge.

- Daniel Elsberg

Saturday, December 4, 2010

How to Read an Avalanche Forercast

Well its time to slaughter this sacred cow.

First off, the forecasters are extremely smart people with a difficult job. They have more snow safety training than most. There is good info in every report but you need to know how to find it.

The first thing a person needs to ask when writing any report is: "Who is my target audience?" Most people in the backcountry have no snow safety training and more and more of them can't ski for shit. This is the target audience. These are the folks that need take the forecast literally. They do not possess the tools to make good decisions so the forecasters make a conservative decision for them. The targeted people are not bad folks, in fact we've all been there. The report is designed to scare these people.

If you are in this category, read the report like its gospel and you are a fundamental Republican. 40 days. Copy. Adam's rib. Roger. Considerable. Repent! Repent!

OK, you have some training. You've get out multiple times each week. You've conducted stability tests. You've got a network of buddies out there everyday feeding you beta. Do you need to read the report? Absolutely! The reports have good info, but so do you're other sources. Developing a forecast for an entire range is tricky business. Every nook of that range is slightly different. Don't discount your specific knowledge about your specific nook. The forecast is not specific.

The forecasts are written in shades of grey, and it gets more so every year. Gone are the days of "today is the day to check that big line off your list." More and more its "isolated pockets of instability." Cover your ass, pure and simple. If you always leave the possibility of avalanches, you can never be wrong.

Despite the vagueness of the language and the impossible task of developing a range-wide forecast, there is never any ambiguity when there is an incident. That is black and white. It becomes a morality play about good (the center) versus evil (you). It is meant to make the person involved in the incident look like an idiot. You will be compared to that Led Zeppelin guy in the rain. This technique helps to keep the target audience in fear and in awe of their power.

They roar down from the summit of Mount Olympus: "See what happened when people do not obey our (vague) will! You will be destroyed! Feel my wrath!" This technique is very effective in scaring the masses, but it has an unintended consequence. Many incidents don't get reported. This is where your network comes in handy.

They only deviate from the playbook if it a forecaster involved. Then it is described as "a very experienced" blah, blah, blah.

The bottom line:
- Read the forecast everyday; its an important piece of the puzzle
- Take it literally if you have limited training/experience
- Be prepared to have any incident you are involved in to be twisted to make you look dumb
- Remember, there are days you should rally the resort

Hector 3

P.S. The resort was a blast today

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


October 25th was the date that it started snowing in the Wasatch. It was a skier boy'z 29th Birthday and he was excited to begin the ski season. This year it didn't warm up like it usually does after the first snowfall. Almost 150 inches by Dec. 1st!!!
Gotta take your birthday shot before you get your face shots.
Oct. 26- Opening the season on So Long, Alta.
After summiting Sunset Peak Dan Corn dips deep into its classy NW face.Back on the rock, LCC.
Dillan and Brett back on top feeling good about the white Wasatch's return.
Lawton sending Upper Days.
Brett dropping into the Upper Hallway. Looks like hes done this one before.
Crossman can't believe he's skiing Suicide chute this early and this good!!
Some thought he wouldn't be back this season, but I got to tour with the Wiggler during a bi-canyon tour last week. We found the goods.
For Thanksgiving I went down to Red Rock Canyon to take one last climbing trip with Gaelen. We got shut down pretty hard due to cold weather and some snow. This is a picture of Black Velvet canyon where we attempted Prince of Darkness, but retreated two pitches up.
Windy Peak had sun exposure all day, but we got shut down again because of the cold temps.
Gaelens last climb of the season. Have fun and be safe in Thailand, see you in April.

Kid Buffalo

Saturday, November 27, 2010

sunset helmet cam

pilot and index peak outside cooke city MT the boyz need to ski these peaks there rugged raw stefan sending a cascade off one of the sky ramps

same sky ramp before it was skied

here is some helmet cam clips for the boyz I have a bunch more that still need editting

Friday, November 26, 2010

Beacon Reviews

I came across this website that has reviews of avalanche beacons past and present. Useful info.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Time Machine: January 1, 2005

Definitely missing those deep storm days rolling with the Boyz. This day stands out in my mind.

"The Prophet"

What's up with that loose heel?

Thank You Uncle Keith

Adam, Slody, and Todd opened this roadside attraction in BCC today.
Wish you were here Prez. Winter is here and we wish you were as well.

We Miss Our President In The Wasatch.

I'm sure like he misses days like this. We miss having the prez in our back yard.
As he opens more runs in the wild and I remember the Quote "North to the Future." and try to plan tripps into America's Last Frontier. We all miss you here!!!