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.