Tuesday, July 6, 2010

July 4th: Jewell Glacier

Yonder Mountain and IPA had bit me hard on Thursday night. Complete junk on Friday. I hit up the Forest Fair on July 3rd and met up with a good friend from the early days of Alfie's. The music was good; the food was good; the company was good, but at 9:00 PM the Fair goes from family friendy to liver intensive.

Melissa Mitchell always puts on a great show but I needed air more than another night at the bar. I started hiking from the Crow Pass trailhead at 9:50 PM with skis and tent in tote. Mist and fog kept me cool and made for pleasent hiking as I tried to sweat out the demons. The trail split and I stayed on the high road and took a right into the Jewell Glacier drainage, named for the state's favorite folk singer/poet.

Camp was set up just before midnight and there was half decent vis. There was a strong posibillty that it would be worse in the morning so it was time to boot up. I was expecting more snow up here; but there were still plenty of options. I booted up a face the got progressively steeper maxing out at 47. Rockfall had littered the slope with cookies which worsened as the wall approach.

At about 1 AM, it was time to descend. The snow was decent and I skied right to the tent and hunkered down for the night. Driving rain punctuated by rock falls made for restless sleep. Morning came and the rain kept coming and I recoiled deeper into the sleeping bag pretending it wasn't really time to get up. The tactic worked; the rain relented. It was still fog city, but at least I would remain fairly dry on the hike out.

By the time the pack was ready, it was obvious that I would be hiking for another run. I used the same booter but went a bit higher and to the right. The snow was smoother and I made what I expect were the last big arcs of the season.

- Hank Quinlan