Saturday, February 5, 2011

A weekend in the park

Taking advantage of stable snowpack and high pressure in the Tetons, Slody, Molly and I hit the road Friday and rolled into Jackson around 9. After being amazed by the very trendy scene at a local watering hole we retired to Danny's pad and set the alarms for Early.

The East face of Teewinot is one of the classic lines in the Tetons, none of us had ever skied it, so it seemed like a good place to start. Several miles of flat approach (which is why it's much more popular in the spring once the park road opens) leads to the bottom of a 5500' fall line shot.
I had figured the track would be in, but this was not the case, we were the first people out to Teewinot since the last storm. This was kind of cool, but meant we were in for a hell of a day breaking the skinner and then the booter up the face...

Danny helpfully pointing out the line from the Apex (the end of the treed hill below the face),

Somewhere after passing the Worshipper and Idol formations, near where we switched to booting. Perhaps the most foreshortened face I have ever been on, inches from below became thousands of feet on the face...
Danny's photo

The booting was difficult, knee to thigh deep penetrations with every step. We rotated the lead often, but even between the four of us it was exhausting. Danny's altimeter watch was the only real measure of progress since the face appeared endless above and below us. The numbers ticked upward at a cruelly slow pace. Eventually the football field wide face condenses to a couloir only a few feet wide.
Danny's photo

This is the narrows, the crux of the descent, and with only a short distance to go before it opened back up into the final snowfield, we found that powder concealed ice and rock slab. Climbing through it would be difficult, and skiing down through it would be impossible. We called it, and clicked into our skis.

The skiing was pretty damn good. Variable wind buff that after jump turning in the initial 45 degree section provided consistent carvable turning the length of the face. It was awesome to see worshipper and idol specked out below us at the start of the descent, only to have the two rock formations towering above a few minutes later.

Slody getting it done.

Once we hit the trees, we had ripping fast powder skiing, a super fun way to finish off a 5,000' descent. By the time we got back to the car, we'd had a 10.5 hour day. We somehow dragged ourselves up the Sliver on Nez Perce the next day, but I'm gonna have to write about that later. I'm psyched to make my first entry on the Skierboyz blog, I hope it is the first of many!

- Gramps

Monte Cristo/Superior

On Jan 2nd two seperate groups of Boyz decended Mountain Monte Cristo Headwall. The 2nd group was the Prince of Prusia and Pow-wow. Group 2 was suprised to see that Senor' Center Punch was up early putting some proud artwork on this beauitful canvas at sunrise. I was guiding that day and took this pic on my second run of the morning down W Chutes on Mountain Superior.

2nd run wiggling down above MoFat

First Tube....can you make out the Wiggler?

Monte Cristo Headwall.

The Headwall

Friday, February 4, 2011

GB6K's State of Bromace Address

Who would have thought that bromance would be so easy to find in Washington. Christ, when it comes to wintertime brotherly love this state might as well be the Phili of the West.

Skier Boyz mobile recruitment division has had steady business since finally making it back to the west coast. Having spent December helping a friend with a family Business ( then spent the beginning of January in Wisco making delicious food for my family and catching up with those important folks that I see all too rarely, I made my way back west to the mountains.

Through Outdoor Research I connected with Jason Hummel, (a TR with Jason’s Photos can be read at: a photographer who has spent his entire life here in the Cascades. He, Adam Roberts, and I connected within days of my return and headed up to the Winchester Lookout for a shot at Mt. Larrabee. This little lookout is pretty picturesque and in the summer time is a short hike from Twin Lakes. In the winter the 8 mile road to Twin Lakes is closed and you have to skin, hike, or…snow machine to the end of the road. We were lucky enough to have the help of Roy, a local ripper from Glacier, and his old (1985) and small (500cc) snow machine to shuttle 6.5 of the 8 miles up the trail. From there it was pretty painless trail breaking to the lakes and then the hut. The weather was beautiful, the clouds going in and out and we made the hut just about sunset. Perfect.

Hummel saddling up for a tow.

Touch of Blue from Twin Lakes.

Mt. Larrabee. Ascent route/1st day's descent in the sun,
and the 2nd day's descent in the shade.

Looking out towards Canada. Larrabee in the foreground
American Border Peak and Canadian Border Peak just behind.

The next day we climbed Larrabee. The breakable crust was so thick I thought I was skiing Superior with the Beattie Twins, but as we climbed it got (slightly) better. We found ourselves on the summit with pretty low visibility and waning hours, the result of the incoming clouds and a late start. We skied our ascented route and made it back to the Lookout before dark to find five more people had made the 8-mile trek in from 542. How bromantic.

Booter to the summit, Day 1.

The right lighting shows the glaze.

After an evening of swapping stories and making dinner we went to bed and woke to clear skies. It was time to ski something more aesthetic. We had been staring at the SE face of Larrabee since we got to the Lookout. There is a lot of ice in the middle most of the way across the face. The lookers right seemed to be the best bet. Two others had started a couple hours before us up our track from the day before. We caught them at the summit and they decided not to ski their central line (of course) and to ski the line we had been considering. Fortunately their tracks broke some of the crust and made the couloir actually enjoyable to ski.

Up to the choke. Day 2, on the SE Face.

Down to the apron. Day 2, on the SE Face.

We headed back to the Lookout and packed up, headed down to the road and made quick work of the trip back to the car. I was pretty happy to have this as my first tour of the season.

Parting shot.
An objective for next time.

GB6K, out.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sawtooth Crossman & Couloir Revival

We took a trip up to the Sawtooths outside Stanely, Idaho two weeks ago. The whole idea came at the last minute, spontaneous ski trips should never be passed up. Bret mentioned on Saturday night while at work that Dylan was up in the Sawtooths with some friends. There was two spots open in a Bench Lake Hut trip leaving Monday morning. The hut sits a 1,000 feet above Red fish Lake and on the shoulder of Mt. Heyburn. There was nice skiing right above the hut off of the Triangle a somewhat open tree run down to the lake. I've wanted to ski this range ever since taking a trip to the Elephants perch in the summer time. We go out of work around 11:30 on Sunday night, got the approval from AML, fixed my binding, packed my stuff, and went to grab my brother. Bret and I departed from Salt Lake around 2:00 p.m. coffee in hand. The shit show had begun. Arrived around 8:00 a.m. a little cracked out to meet the rest of our party at the Sawtooth Hotel. Dylan was there with some Vermont friends Brian, Emily, Shaun, Lindsey, Brennan, and Kai. We ate some pancakes(thanks to Kelly) and met our party. Brian and Emily were photographers and experienced adventures. Brian spent most of the tours braking trail and taking pictures. Lindsey and Shaun were from Nantucket, so we got to talking about the island. Kai was an Aussie currently living in Norway. Brendan was living in Montana and skiing lots of park.... Yellowstone park that is. The group had great energy and welcomed us in. As the sun rose above the Sawtooths, we re- energized from the solar rays. Then followed our guide Ed up the six mile, mostly flat sled in to the hut. First time parties are required to have a guide.

Our party heads through the forest towards the hut.

The Crossman squirrel inspects his nest, approval was met when we saw the outdoor sauna and the view.

That evening we got nice run down the Triangle towards that lake, and Ed departed. We headed for home as some light snow began to fall. The next day we headed up the shoulder towards Heyburn.

We found a nice little chute to ski on the way to the approach.

Being somewhat alpine deprived in the Wastach this last month, I immediately wondered what kind of conditions were like up high. After crossing the 5th lake it became boiler plate at the base of Heyburn, upon entering the north couloir it became settled powder. The massive granite walls protected the snow. Shed some green light on it.

Looking up the North of Heyburn.

Brian and Brennan boot up the final section of the north Couloir.

Bret and Dylan at the top, they wanted to be the twins this week.

Brennan dropping in and going all the way.

Brian shredding it.

The snow was so darn nice, and we missed couloir skiing. We decided to Heyburn another one, and ski the South Couloir down to the lake. I had see the couloir in the summer and new it would be a good long shot. What was more surprising was that the powder was better on the top of the south couloir. The rest of our party headed for Iowa peak, will the twins and I headed up the booter.

Dylan in the south, the deep south.

The south was less steep and football field size. Bret likes, and enjoys a gs turn.

We all arrived back at the hut that night. Totally stoked on our day, imbetween steams, stoking the fire, and eating delicious food that Shaun cooked up there was much talk of the next couloir. The next morning we headed up the triangle again to ski a south shot down to the lake. We were heading for the Grand Mogul, to try to ski the Boyscott couloir.

The Grand Mogul, the Boy Scout comes of the right shoulder. There was much debate if the pinch went clean. We heard that it had a rappel in it off a chockstone.

Our party getting reading to skin across Redfish lake towards the mogul. Unfortunately I didn't get to many pictures of that day, I was preoccupied with climbing chockstones and rappels. The snow in the boyscout was some of the best all trip. The pillowy tree's below it were a fun exit at dusk. We ended up skiing the whole thing, the rappel took us a while. We ended up skinning back to the hut at night. Brian hung out in the cave( similar to the Y-not) and watched sloughs cascade over his head.
The next day we packed up from the Bench lake hut and headed towards Fish hook creek Yurt to finish our trip. On the saddle of Iowa peak, Brendan made a fire and cooked hot dogs it was awesome. We enjoyed the sun, then dropped into the Gun Barrel couloir with full packs.
The Yurt had a beautiful view, and a hot tub (horse trough) was very relaxing. With our last day of the trip approaching and the eminent drive back to Salt lake, there was still something on our mind.

The Sickle, on Horstman's peak.

Horstman's Peak, supposedly the hanging bowl was skied by an avalanche forecaster at just the right time. It looked terrifying. Half of the group went over to Thompson peak. The Skier Boyz and Brendan headed for the Sickle. The winds had really hammered that valley, the snow was a bit harder. But once again the walls provided shelter. This couloir was steep (50 +) and tight. The last fifty feet had funky, undulating wind packed snow. We had to deploy a mixture of side slipping and hop turning to get down the top. My whippet was ready, a fall down this one wouldn't be good. Of course Dylan made it wind crust look like bottomless.

Bret looks down the Sickle, we were tempted to drop into the sun on the south side.

Dylan putting on the iron shirt.

To jump turn or not to jump turn.

Brennan enjoying softer snow in at the bottom.

Dylan at the bottom of the Sickle. After skiing back to the yurt, we had to pack up drag the sleds out, watch a spectacular pink sunset, head back to Stanley. Drank a couple beers with our new ski partners to celebrate our excellent week of touring. Then trucked it back to Salt lake to go to work the next morning. Thanks to everybody it was a great trip and my most packed week of skiing this year.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Tushar Mountains: January 11-13

Pot roast. Soup. Sprout salad. Maps. Winter camping? Who's in? Where are we meeting?

Preemptive Strike. Where you at Linda? Contact. Condo. Smith's, bagels, gas, and booze. I-15, Timp, Pole Canyon, Sanataquin. Scipio and zebras. Beaver Canyon, Eagle Point, Unit 20. Boots on. High lot. Sparky. Nomad of the Tushars. One bad-ass ski instructor. Hard pack, meadow traverse, bloody paw, Lake Peak, carvy turns. Alpenglow, sunset, better sunset, best sunset. Where's Todd?

Delayed Thunder, Italian night, beers, plans, food, collodial silver. I'm the food and beverage director for the resort. VT vs. MA. MA FTW. Sleep apnea, sleep eating, 2 more lemons. Bed

Egg sammies. Skinning, Puffer Lake, City Creek Peak, Freeride Comp. Zip Rugwells. Pow, trees, steep, squalls, wind, ponderosas. Panorama Point, steep, soft, tight. Sheembob's, Alec Baldwin's, Man Balls, and return to Puffer. Clearing skies, an eight lane skinner, up a groomer, down a groomer.

Alec, shepherds pie, where's the beef? Squash, beer, Indian sewage cola pills. Good beg! Seahorse, plans, Norah Jones, rest.

French toast, bluebird, SPF, are you telemarking or cross country touring? Yes. Lone Pine Bowl, booter, crampons, Mountain Holly. Runaway ski. Foreshadow. Lake Peak. Ruby Pyramid. Runaway sandwich. Foreshadow. Shreddy and Alec tango. Garden Path. Minnow's Tail. Corn, powder, steep, narrow, rocky, aspen strainer. Eagle Point. Where's Stef? Condo? Lift? Lot? Slide for life. 1 ski. Beattie posse mounts up. Sinkowitz! Sinkowitz! Sinkowitz! Mo-Faaaaaaaat! Success!

The Prophet Attempts a New Route

The Wiggler and Lone Tree Bowl: Mountain Holly

Central Utah Sunset

Clown Parade

Topping Out on Mountain Holly

Squinney in the Garden Path

Mid-January Utah Tours

General Cornwallis on the Mill B - Monte Cristo Variation of Little Superior (Jan. 9)

Kid Buffalo Suffering through Some Awful Dust on Crust in Silver Fork (Jan. 15)

More Dust on Crust: Alexi on Mountain Wilson Peak (Jan. 16)