Things finally stabilized after the last storm, and the wind event we had. So with the south facing aspects getting the green light, I headed out to skin Mill D North with my very good friend Chris Fryer. We began climbing the road to the gate accessing the gulch. A quick jaunt up and we were on our way up. We soon found ourselves making it to the stream crossing, and then up to the Dog Lake/Desolation split. We decided to make the minor summit just east of Reynolds Peak, and up we went. I am still learning to skin properly on steep slopes, but I finally got it down. The skin track was pretty greasy, so we decided to make our own track. The snow down in the lower gulch was pretty spring like, almost corn, but on this section is was all soft snow. I fell a couple of times skinning up to the top, hence why I don't ski. But after a grueling climb to the top we finally made it. We took a minute to collect ourselves, break out of touring mode to snowboard mode, and to get a few pics while up top. I was feeling it for sure. My energy level was low, but stoked that I had made it. It was lightly snowing when we got to the top, but it increased its intensity as we made the drop. Chris went first popping and slashing his way to the safe zone. I dropped and carving in the deep and soft snow felt great. We rallied out of the woods, and made it to the Dog/Deso split. Then it was the luge run with traffic on hard spring snow with some really narrow shots. Being on a set back taper pow split, I had to be careful, one tree could really ruin your day. We made the final decent and made it to the road. Unbeknownst to me, after I got my boot off, my left arch was in a lot of pain. I am not sure when it got hurt, it did not bother me till the boot came off. I am on R&R resting it up and getting it back to full strength. Had to skip Sunday Funday this week because I wanted to get my foot checked out by the Doc. Turns out I have acute Plantar Fasciitis. Week off the board, and then I'll be back at it. All in all it was a great day up there. Final tally: 4.28 miles to the top, 2022 FT of vertical gain, and a great backcountry run all the way to the road. Not bad for an amateur splitboarder. Touring was surely the hardest thing I have ever done on the snow. And the most rewarding at that. It was a full adventure, with everything you could imagine. I learned how to skin a track and break trail, how to plant and kick turn properly, as well to stomp the skin to climb on steeps. Also learned that you don't quit, and you push for the top. I never gave up, and I stuck with it. I guess after an experience some time to process it is always good. It was also a nice break from the resort, as soon as I am on the mend, I'll be back at it. I know I loved touring, to be the only one taking a line on a mountain, that you earned it. Like backpacking, splitboarding is that chance to just disconnect, get some great exercise, and have a great ride home. Disclaimer: Always check the local avalanche forecast, know how to use a beacon, shovel and a probe, and never go alone. Take an avalanche class. No one is more "extreme than the mountain." I don't care how awesome you are, if you don't respect the mountain, it will show you how extreme they are. Enjoy the slideshow and video below from our adventure!
Mill D Tour 1 26 13 from Christian Paul on Vimeo.
Sunday, January 27, 2013
Saturday, January 19, 2013
With the air quality just nasty in the valley, and my wife and daughter never having tried out snowshoeing, getting in the mountains was a must. We headed up on a very smoggy day in the valley, but very sunny day in the mountains. It was noticeably warmer at the trail head than it was at my house. We got on our snowshoes and headed in. A nice walk until we passed Jordan Pines, and we wandered off trail so my daughter could stomp the deep stuff to her hearts content. It was nice to be out hiking again, and the deep snow was a great workout. We continued up through the woods to find some more snow to for my daughter to play in. After a fun time, the sun dipped behind the ridge and the temps started to drop. It was time to go, and so off we went. A nice, but brisk walk to the car, and we were on our way. This is a great area to introduce snowshoeing for free to anyone interested in getting out and hiking in the snow. Make sure if you venture higher in this gulch than Doughnut Falls, you bring avalanche rescue gear and a willing partner. But to Doughnut Falls is pretty safe and well out of dangerous avalanche terrain. The meadows full of snow with huge flake formations on the surface sparkling in the sunlight were amazing! It was like winter fairy land for my daughter. I will for sure get out more on the snowshoes, forgot how much fun it is. Enjoy the slideshow below.
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Well, after a couple of weeks of nasty inversion in the valley, and warm days riding in the sun we finally got a snow storm. The storm got named "Gandolf" which was funny to me, as that is my favorite Lord Of The Rings character. Apparently Gandolf was serious as he told the snow "you shall not pass" 7,000 ft in elevation in great accumulation. There was 22" in my front yard, and barely 12" at Snowbird. I made my way up on Friday, and pretty much stuck it out on Peruvian and Gad II for most of the day. I found some really nice snow, especially lower on the mountain, and a few rough spots as the layer underneath had solidified. It is always fun riding in a storm, and I made the best of it. No powder panic for me, I have been more into just riding and having fun these days. Sunday was a chilly -5 on the peak, with windchill expected to be -23. On any angle, sliding was perfection, on the flats your base was squeaking away. You sure were not going to be breaking any land speed records because the snow was so cold your base just could not feed the wax you needed in spots. But the sun was out, and the energy was good, so I made the best of it riding in the sun with some nice finds in the stash category on the front side to finish out the day. I only lasted a few hours on Sunday as the cold was bitter, and it really does take it out of you after a while. A pretty fun, but blustery cold time up at the Bird. Looking forward to some warmer days coming later this week. Enjoy the short video!