Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Skiing - Bountiful Ridge, December 28, 2015

Jonah and Brett, emerging from the brushy barrier of North Canyon. 

Upper North Canyon, on a slope called 'Kara's Pot Farm.'

Jonah is strong and young, too young to know pain, obviously, that's why he's with me and Brett on the brush-hell approach to Bountiful Ridge. Brett and I are old and wise, but not wise enough to stay away from long, brushy, Gore-Tex-ripping ski tours like Bountiful Ridge, but the powder is great!

32 inches (84 cent.) of snow at Rudy's Flat. The maximum depth seen here in 2014-2015 was 38 inches, and that vanished within days of the Spring Equinox.

At Rudy's Flat, Brett is helping Jonah put on mole skin for his emerging blisters. All I could offer was an extra pair of knee-high nylons. Don't laugh, I swear they save me from blisters every day I ski.
Did I tell you Jonah is young and strong and can't feel pain? Well he is, and he can't. So strong in fact he's hiking in full-on Alpine ski boots (no walk mode = zero flex) with Marker Baron bindings, the heaviest touring bindings known to man (or women). Period. Jonah's rig is made for lift skiing, but with a hike mode for short forays into side-country, like hiking over the pass from Gad 2 at Snowbird to Columbine Bowl, a five minute hike at best, rather than the all-day hiking like we did today. His gear is beefy, made for hucking fifty foot cliffs and pounding bumps. All combined, boots+bindings+skis, each foot weighed roughly 10 pounds. When multiplied by 15,000 steps (we hiked 9 miles today), Jonah lifted 150,000 pounds for the day, and all with his feet!!  My rig on the other hand weighs about 4 pounds per foot, so I lifted a measly 60,000 pounds today. But don't judge, I'm old, I'm bald, I'm an accountant. 
For old men like me, weight, or the lack thereof, makes all the difference. Lightness means speed and less fatigue. It makes a huge difference in the amount of vertical covered, and, therefore, the amount of downhill glisse one can get. Simple math: go light and get more turns.

I successfully converted Jonah to my cross-dressing ways. Knee-high nylons are a skier's, hiker's, runner's best friend. 

Emerging onto Bountiful Ridge on this gray, cold day. 

My rock, placed here years ago, on a Mountain Mahogany at the junction of the summer trail and Bountiful Ridge. 

Jonah and the dead tree, namesake for Dead Tree Peak, Ridge, and Bowl.

Jonah and Brett on B-Ridge, above Dead Tree Peak, heading towards Rectangle Peak. View south-west towards Bountiful. Antelope Island is barely seen in the upper right.

Keep that beacon on Jonah! 

Brett is the more responsible of the two old men on this tour. I was transitioning to ski and he dug a pit to test stability, which was rock solid from what we could tell. Primarily because the old snow, the snow from before the pre-Christmas 36-inch dump, was only about 3 inches deep laying on the ground. In short, the rotten, old snow was bridged by the new snow and there wasn't enough old snow to collapse and act as a glide layer for the new snow. I never saw shooting cracks or heard any collapsing, nor saw signs of any natural slides. We skied two runs and the snow seemed very stable.  

View SW, down City Creek Canyon, towards the Salt Lake Valley and the Oquirhs.

View SW overlooking Rectangle Bowl and Dead Tree Peak and Ridge.

Jonah topping out on Rectangle Peak. View SW.
Same view but zoomed. Oquirh Mountains behind.

...and another.

Transition zone to ski Crescent Bowl. View NE towards Blacks Peak and Burro Mine Peak.

Brett looking for his Tuna Popsicle. My Snickers was rock hard. It was a cold day and I didn't feel my toes for over six hours, and then my toes tingled for the next three days. Presumably damage from a close-call with frostbite. Could be some nerve damage from my tight boots, but I'm sticking with the cold theory because I've never had toe issues with my Dynafit TLT6's. (I'm positive old-age has nothing to do with it.)

The Marker AT bindings must be removed to switch to ski mode, whereas most tech bindings (Dynafit) can be switched with a flick of a ski pole without un-clipping.

Brett skinning for run number 2. Look hard (mid-right) and you can ski our first-run tracks in Crescent Bowl.
Ski tracks in Crescent Bowl.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Pfeiferhorn with winters first snow, via Red Pine Lake, October 30, 2015

Winds blowing snow off of Monti Cristo.

Tanner's Gulch, Dromedary Peak (hidden by middle tree), Sunrise Peak (middle), O'Sullivans (middle left) and Broads Fork Twins (far left).

The Pfeif and its notorious access ridge. It's really not too bad. Plenty of holds and negligible exposure. Even with new snow the crossing felt safe.  

Low clouds rolling in from Utah Lake. Box Elder Peak (near) and Timpanogos in the distance (middle left).

Lone Peak  is the 'W' shaped peak in the middle (on skyline) and upper Hogum Fork (head-wall on right and shadowed cliffs. Airplane Peak is the near peak in the middle, named for a a crash on its flanks in the 1950's (?) killing 12 people, and not found until the following spring when the winter snow melted. 

Summit of the Pfeiferhorn overlooking Utah County, hidden in clouds.

Selfy on the summit. I hate selfies but had to prove I summited the Pfeif.  I read somewhere that people who take a lot of selfies are prone to be sociopaths. I love people! Sure glad no one else is here! 


Upper Maybird Gulch from the summit of the Pfeiferhorn.

Broads Fork Twins. 

The infamous NW Couloir (ski run) of the Pfeiferhorn. Down in the shadowed choke there are two bolts, an anchor to rappel a 40-foot cliff, with your skis on.

Hoar frost on the summit blocks.

The access ridge straight ahead and upper Maybird Gulch (shadowed cliffs).

Looking back at my tracks on the summit headwll.

Don't slip! A bit of exposure on the ridge. 


Red Pine Lake and Little Cottonwood Canyon.

Red Pine Lake with Sunrise Peak peeking through the clouds.

Lone Peak via Jacob's Ladder, October 1, 2015

Today, we (me and a couple of work chums) hiked Lone Peak via Jacobs Ladder. The plan was to start at 6AM, hike up Jacob's Ladder to the Lone Peak Summit in under three hours, then run down in two. We hoped to get to work by noon. The reality is we didn't start hiking until 6:40 or so, it took us 3:08 up, longer than expected due to my bad route-finding through the boulders on the east side of the cirque (we could've shaved 20-30 minutes if we'd just stuck to the trail), then we lolly-gagged on the summit for about half hour, and ran down Jacob's Ladder in two hours. We made it to work just before 1PM. Suck! Why'd we go to work?

Lone Peak Cirque. The summit is the high point on the left, the Question Mark Wall tops out at the high point on the right (middle of photo). About ten years ago I climbed the Open Book Route on the summit wall with Brett Fuller. About half way up we started hearing many squeaky voices and when we pulled over the last wall we were horrified to see about 25 Boy Scouts squeezed onto the summit. Horrified because the the summit block a flat block of roughly 8 X 10 feet (and that's generous) with 400-500 foot vertical drops on three sides. I've know folks who refuse to stand up on that thing for the vertigo inducing feel when there is nothing to grab if one trips. A little pushing/tripping/ and one of those tenderfoots would've gone right over. But I was more horrified by the though of one of them dropping a rock down on top of us.  Luckily, no rocks hit us and no Boy Scouts fell off.

Me (r-back) and chums.

The famous Question Mark Wall (see the ?) on left, and an Alta lifty on right.

The Alta lifties that we met on the summit on left, work chums on right (Stewart and Jon).

The Alta Lifties still on the summit. Jon and Stewart looking a bit discourage? With good reason, we had 5,000+ vertical feet to run - all down - which if you've run hills you know why they're discouraged. My quads ached for the next week. 

On the descent we stuck to the trail (where I'm standing for the photo). On the ascent we lost precious time (my fault) by boulder hopping along the base of the cliffs. 

Jon and Stewart 4,000 feet above Utah County. 

I thought dead trees were only hollow in cartoons? Next time up I'm sleeping here.

I love the granite of the Lone Peak Cirque. Glad it's a Wilderness Area, the work of genius' of the late 1970's. No sarcasm, I really mean it! We need more land protected from development.