Monday, January 19, 2015
I have wanted to hit this peak for a long time now. I have seen it from Honeycomb Canyon so many times, and the snow always looks sweet. We started from the Spruces and skinned up to Greens Basin. The temperatures were mild, and the snow was still in great condition. We moved quickly up the skin track to Greens Basin. We stopped to soak up the sunshine in Greens Basin for a few minutes, then we moved up the skin track that took off from the meadow heading east. We started climbing through the aspens, then we got to a point where we made our own track to get to the skin track on the ridge. We climbed through a pretty sweet forest of aspens and pines. This is a part of the forest in the range that looks to be old growth, and is littered with downed trees and stumps. We finally connected with the main track coming up the ridge. We made our way to the saddle and continued to climb. We stopped to soak in the view at the saddle. It was nice to have a snack, and to look at Honeycomb Canyon. We then made the final push for the summit. This was a windy experience, but the snow was in such great condition that I kept moving because I was getting excited to ride. I have made many summits in my life. But in all my time here in the Wasatch, I have never had a view of the entire range from one vantage point like this. Peak 9699 gave us a birds eye view of all the drainages and summits, and we for sure took note on where we were seeing great lines. We eventually broke out of touring mode and strapped into riding mode. My first drop was so good, snow quality was wind buffed powder, so soft and smooth. Felt really nice under foot. But we were not done. We took a line through the trees and continued to hit amazing snow! We hit some open glades that were some of the best turns of the year. We eventually slashed our way to the meadow, then had to walk for a short distance to hit the summer trail for our final line out. A short but deep boot pack, and we were on the last ridge to the base. We were then riding spring conditions in this lower area. Wet, manky snow that had shady pockets of good powder. We finally made it out to the car after a long, but satisfying tour. Amazing day up there, and probably one of my new favorite zones. Peak 9699 and the tree glades over there just got moved to the top of my list as favorite areas to hit. One I am sure I will return to. Enjoy the pics and video in the edit below. Pray 4 Snow!
Friday, January 16, 2015
Well plans fell through on a day of lift served turns, so I had to improvise. I decided to skin up Guardsman Pass as it is relatively safe if you just skin up the road. I made quick time because of the mellow grade. 2.5 miles later, I was standing on the pass. The snow seemed kind of upside down, which makes you submarine your skis or snowboard when you get in the thick of it. I broke everything into riding mode then dropped in. The only video that turned out was me slashing the road on the way down. The video up top was sopped in and pretty much just grey. But I got some nice pics and was for sure more for just taking a walk on the splitboard than seeking out epic lines. Exploratory at best, and now I am familiar with the terrain up there, I will go back. Enjoy the pics and small edit below. Pray 4 Snow!
Sunday, January 11, 2015
I have hiked this area in the summer, but have never visited Bear Trap Fork in the winter. We made an early start up the fork with partly cloudy skies. The morning had mild temps from the recent high pressure, it has sopped in all the valleys with inversions. We made our climb through the meadows and aspens as we moved up through the basin. After winding up through the trees on variable condition snow, we eventually made our way to the top of the drainage. We decided to climb the glades in the basin, as the snow up high was still soft and powdery. We had a fun run to the bottom, then ran the trees and meadows on the way out. It was a really fun day up in this area, one that I would love to return to. Enjoy the small video edit I put up and Pray 4 Snow!
Monday, January 5, 2015
I decided to start of the new year right, and get out on the splitboard for another tour. I have hiked Willow Heights in the summer up to Dry Lake, but I have always wanted to hit the west facing bowls in the winter. We rounded everyone up and headed to the trail head. It was a greasy skin track in the first section, as the traffic and south sun had pretty much cooked it. We made it up to the lake, and decided to cut up east from the lake. We followed a skin track through the woods and connected with the summer trail in the upper section of the drainage. We then began to ascend the steep section of the west bowl. I have to admit, I kind of got my rear end handed to me on this section. We finally topped out at about 9400 feet. We decided to dig a pit and test the stability as there had been two days in a row with a wind event. We did not yield results that would steer us away from the angle we were on. We then switched into riding mode, and dropped in. The upper section held some really soft and creamy turns. The lower section had some wind and sun damage, but was still fun to ride. The ride home out the summer trail was interesting to say the least. A great day in the mountains with friends. One I will not soon forget! Pray 4 Snow!