Friday, July 22, 2011

Closing Day Alta / Deseret Peak


Ahhhh the Highboyz Party! A celebratory last day of lift serviced Alta skiing. 730" + into the season was more reason to be excited. I happened to be at the top of Collins lift early in the morning dressed in my best, a purple gore tex one piece and harness. When I saw Dylan, Lars, McKenna, and Silas also were wearing harnesses and had a rope it seemed only fitting I say whats up?! 30 minutes later I changed from my Olin Mark IV's to my touring skis and was skinning to the top of Sugarloaf peak to catch the gang.
After zipping across the backside of Devils Castle we stood on top of the Castle Couloir. A steeper drop in to a 50 degree zig zag seemed to bore Lars so we climbed higher and towards East Castle. From there Lars went to scope a line (on tele skis) that I was unsure that I should be even looking at let alone skiing, but hey we had harnesses. Lars disapeared over the edge, saying "it goes, but it gets technical down here"
McKenna zooms out towards the lower apron. The line we skied is right above her. Straight to the top, rather steeply.
High in the Castle Apron. About to fully enjoy the untracked apron as it slowly gets less steep.
Silas took the fast way out. But hey we were renting this line today so it was all ours!
Dylan Went Big
We got back to reality of the ski area, to hit a few more laps and started partying. It was the closing day after all.
Many boyz came out of the wood work for the special occasion. A perfect highboy celebration. Blue skies warm and a great vibe.
Beater, Orange Hat, and Hollywood. Last ones on highboy 2011! I was shocked, the sun was just setting, and everyone was gone. The hard work of maintaining a bromance really paid off as we got to enjoy one last romantic 2011 Alta sunset alone, together.
Fresh from Haines turns Dan Curran, lost control and crashed half of highboy on the way down. Even losing his saftey orange hat in the process. Luckily he made it out mostly ok from that.

I'm not sure why I wanted to do Deseret Peak, and I am not even sure where the idea came from to do it. But there we were in the middle of May biking up 4 miles of access road thats closed in the winter. My friend Carolyn and her dog Kona came along for the ride. Deseret Peak is one rift over to the west from Salt Lake.
We ditched the bikes and put skins on and skinned all the way to the summit. The peak is "just right there". It was, but it didn't get any closer for a long time. It took about 2 hours from here (after biking 2 hours) just to get under the mountain, then we had to traverse it to the left and hike up some chutes to gain the peak.
Way up into Deseret, the infamous Twin Couloirs show themselves as one of only a few ways to the cliffed out summit. The weather was warm, and avalanches were ripping down the steep sun exposed face. Quite the scene. The couloirs were safe enough so we continued on.
The summit! The great basin and salt flats in the distance. Epic approach 4 miles by bike and 6 or 5 miles by skis and 6 hours and 6,000 vertical later we summited. Kona the dog killed it and did laps around the peak while i took a serious break. The skiing was great off the summit. Kind of a unique setting with the salt flats and vast empty spaces only 40 minutes from downtown Salt Lake.

Dropping in on one of the Twin Couloirs. Here the snow was good, further down was a debris chunk fest but not for long. Great Salt Lake and Antelope Island under my skis. The adventure was super fun, we skied all the way back to the bikes and the bikes made the last 4 miles amazing. Flying down an empty road, having just skied a remote peak was quite an awesome feeling.