Apr 10 2014

Skeiðsfjall 950m Myriam’s Gully – 4/9/2014

After a long flight to Iceland we rented a Subaru Forester from SADCars and drove north thru crappy weather to Akureyri. After restful night at the Backpackers we set out in the morning for Dalvik nd hopefully some decent skiing. We didn’t know exactly what to expect so armed with our gear and a bunch of maps we set off up the valley. We took the road to it’s end and found a cool camping spot and guesthouse. The woman that owned it was very nice and helped us find a great tent space. You can check them out at Gistihúsið Skeið

We geared up from there and headed up the hills. Our plan was to take it easy the first day. That would give us a chance to see what the snow pack was like. Not getting a good look up the entrance gully we stayed high wanting to avoid any obstructions. From our entrance it just seemed like the best way to go was to head up the ridge and see if the chute that we found would go thru. The mossy volcanic rock was slippery and it was steep but it’s really just a battle with gravity. At the top of ridge we geared up for skiing nd headed into the chute. The choke at the entrance was about 50 degrees and it was super firm. We knew it would get better especially on the skiers left as that had been getting lots of sun all day. So we eased our way into the line and then turned them loose. It skied just the way we thought it would and the we headed out the exit gully/gorge.

Once we got back to the guest house we set up the tent and then had some dinner with the other skiers that were staying there. The Brennevin, the local schnaps based on caraway was yummy.

After a cold night in the tent we woke up to snow and fog and high winds so we decided to just chill out and check out the coast. We soaked at the pool in Dalvik. The we drove to Siglufordur and took in the sights. Hopefully the weather will be better tomorrow so we can get in some more skiing on these beautiful peaks.

Enjoy the pics

Heading up from Gistihúsið SkeiðIt was a pretty nice dayThis is on the rady for a tourThe gully's upper halfHeading uupBootingLooking towards DalvikIcy entranceBut it was manageableThe left side was cornThe Troll Mountains deliverIt was a decent sized couloirAbout 2000' of vertIt was cool it had multiple zonesMultiple chokesA cornice at the skier's leftUt just kept goingPretty good for a first lineIceland is really prettyThe lower half was all cornMmmm time for troutJust one quick stream crossingSkied all the way to the roadSweet place to beHmmm These are on the radar for toursA look at the lineGistihúsið SkeiðKitty at Gistihúsið SkeiðYummy beerGood place to sleepIcelandic Ponies are coolSauðanes lighthouseSauðanes lighthouseSauðanes lighthouseSigluförður Herring Museum

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Mar 15 2014

Mt Morgan 12,474 Corkscrew Gully Bail 3/12/2014 – Cadillac Pow

I love the Montezuma Zone of the Front Range. It’s like a sector that’s been frozen in time. The peaks around town offer up some decent sized vertical and there are sheltered options that can safely be skied in winter. Todays goal was to get into more of a spring line. The Corkscrew on Mt Morgan offers up about 2300′ of skiing from the summit. Not wanting to push the rules in town regarding parking we started at the Peru Creek Trailhead. Jerome, Eric and Kevin joined me in going up from there. Mir decided to meet up at the saddle of Tip Top and Morgan. We made good time but after 5 in a row and this being the 6th day straight I was a bit worked. I still managed to keep up though and we made ok time to the top of Corkscrew. From here I cruised around to the entrance and took a look at what we were dealing with. I wanted to have a look so I could chew it over in my mind while I was at the actual summit. That way I could come up with a plan for how to deal with it.

Corkscrew isn’t a winter line. It’s only 400′ higher than Cadillac but sees far more wind loading, has large cornices and runs 2000′ from it’s entrance to the valley floor. I take this line seriously because of all those factors along with the Deep Persistent Slab issue that we’ve been dealing with this season. Most of the slides I’ve seen have been in that zone close to the trees and a little above them. This is very similar to those start zones. But while we were sitting on the summit we decided what the plan was. We’d approach it from the side a little lower down from the main entrance convexity and rope up. From there we’d dig a pit and see what we saw.

We enjoyed the gorgeous day on the summit and changed over to ski mode. We skied from the summit and made our way down to the line. I made my way to the position where I could access some anchors and as soon as I touched down I got a really loud whumph. That was really all it took for me to nix the line considering the consquences. Deep slabs are nothing to mess with and the whumphing to me was evidence of these slab’s presence. We decided to not risk it and ski Cadillac. As we were climbing back out we got another whumph above the entrance convexity. This further solidified my thinking.

Cadillac is the same aspect but is lower. The angle is also lower and there are trees in this line along with no cornice. It still slides but a lot less often. We skied the hell out of it and the snow was awesome. Perhaps a few more weeks before I visit north aspect lines in the Front Range.

All said it was nice powder for my birthday. Thanks for a great day guys and gal. Looking forward to many, many great days this spring.

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Mar 14 2014

Mt Victoria – J Chute Trees 3/11/14 – Lots O’Laps

After Silverheels I was worked. I drove to Fairplay and took care of some book business the headed for Summit. After some pizza at the Boat Yard I made a few calls and put together a plan for the next day. Then I headed up Tiger Road and camped for the night. It was good to be back in the truck and sleeping, even though it was cold. I love that frosty nose feeling.

I woke up and headed to Pika for some coffee and bagels then headed to the Elias Automotive to get a new timing belt for the truck along with some other work to keep the 4Runner running well. Doug, Emilie and Jerome met me at the garage and we headed to the trailhead and away we went.

There was some new snow but not that much, but I knew the snow around J Chute would be good. I was right and we got in some really sweet laps. After two laps Doug and Emilie split and me and Jerome went back for one more. We set a cutoff time of 3:45 and made it back up to the drop in point 3 minutes ahead of schedule. The third lap was just as good as the first and the second. Then we headed back to the garage and picked up the truck. So stoked on the work Elias Automotive did. If you have a Toyota and need work then this is your guys.

With I70 and the Pass closed Jerome was stranded so we went down to Buena Vista and soaked in the hot spring. After 5600′ of vert we needed it.

Great to see you Doug and Emilie and welcome back to the states Jerome. Enjoy the pics

Sorry the ski shots are a little out of focus. I was playing around with the video function of the camera and forgot to set it back :(

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Mar 14 2014

Mt Silverheels 13,822′ Southeast Gully Via Silverheels Creek 3/10/2014

When I got home from Hippie Trees I was spent from the drive and looking forward to getting a rest day. Then I got a call from Gary and he brought up the idea of skiing Silverheels. We were hoping for some clear warm weather that would soften up the snow and give us our first corn run of the year. I met up with Gary and Eddie in Como at 7am and headed up Boreas Pass Road to go try and find the trailhead. Finally we found it and were on the move at 8:01.

We headed up the jeep road for a while but figured that we needed to be up a different drainage so we headed off into the woods. This lead us up into the drainage below Silverheels Creek. From there we made a bee line for the ridge to our south. Up through fairly dense trees we went. Finally at the ridge we got the best views of the day as there was a sweet lenticular cloud formation to enjoy. The only problem was that this beautiful cloud was blocking out sun. Oh well we’re here let’s go peak bagging.

The ridge is pretty long and after a while we finally got to the summit. We snapped some pics and ate some salmon on the summit and clicked into our skis. I showed them our entrance for the North Face. It isn’t in this year from the summit ridge. Perhaps after a few good upslopes that will change.

The skiing was pretty bad. Edge deep blower. The climb out from the base of the gully was pretty cool as it went through a very old burn. The trees have been bleached by the sun on their solar exposures. It made for an eerie skin out. Once back at the Silverheels drainage we got some good snow. Almost 1000′ of prime powder. From there we found our warm snow and had a mushy ski back out.

Not a bad day guys. Not to often do you get to ski a centennial in winter. Enjoy the pics.

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Mar 13 2014

Loveland Pass – Hippie Trees 3/9/2014 Still Fresh

After Quandary we headed to Cottonwood Hotsprings for some water. It had been too long since we’d went there. They finally have the hotel back open after the fire and rebuilding process. It was nice to soak the body after a visit to such a high place. We got a room in town and slept a little late. From there we headed up to Frisco and then on to Loveland Pass. We didn’t want to get stuck in traffic so we just headed out for a short walk and set our sights on Hippie Trees.

The snow was worth it and with the temps rising we made a hasty retreat for home after just one run. It was crazy that we actually had very little traffic to deal with on the ride home. A first for the winter.

Enjoy the pics.

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Mar 13 2014

Quandary Peak 14,265′ East Ridge and Bowl 3/9/14 – Great to get up high :)

Well after we finished WalMart chutes me and Gary went to Prost and had a beer and some sausage and tried to figure out what to do. Allison wanted to ski but 70 was probabily going to close really soon. I ended up heading back to Edgewater for the night which I think was the right call considering how crappy the westbound traffic was. We awoke with the plan to ski Geneva Basin. This would allow us to drive 285 instead of 70. It’s soooo much nicer. However when we got to the Guanella Pass turnooff we realized that Geneva Basin wasn’t going to happen. The snow was up to my differentials and I was sure there would be a lot more further up the road, especially at the switchbacks below Abyss trailhead. A new plan was needed.

So while we were driving west I suggested Quandary. “Why not?” Allison said.

So with a really late start for a 14er we left the trailhead at 12:06. The weather was awesome for most of the ascent. That started to change at the last pitch of the ridge. The winds picked up and the temps dropped, but we made the summit and had great views of the Tenmile and Mosquito. We ate some food and switched over and then headed down the ridge. I was eying the East Bowl on the way up and wanted to have a look. There were some tracks in it already but that’s never a sure sign in my mind.

After some cutting and probing we gave it a green light and had some sweet pow turns. We climbed back out to the ridge and skied crusty snow back to the skin track. Not a bad day getting in a 14er line.

Enjoy the pics.

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Mar 13 2014

Coin Slot and WalMart Chute 3/7/2014 Powderlicious

The roads have been terrible this year. This morning was no different. The new snow wreaked havoc on I70 once again and I was running late as always. No worries though as Gary’s friends from Golden were also in the same predicament. We finally met up at the Frisco Main trailhead and geared up for our first objective of the day. I was joined by Amber, Alex, Gary and Eddie. We made decent time to the down climb point hand headed down on foot to the anchor point for the rappel.

Coin Slot is skiing better than I’ve ever seen and we enjoyed super sweet snow in the line. At the apron we had great pow turns and we even found some pillows to play on at the lower section. You know it’s good when even I’m jumping off stuff.

Afterwards we headed over for Walmart Central Chute. We pushed the pace to the summit as hard as we could, but having carried the rope up Mt Royal I was a little hammered. We still made good time and had plenty of time for more sweet turns. The skier’s right side was the way to go as the skier’s left side was a bit crusty.

It was nice to meet you Amber and Alex. Enjoy the pics

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Feb 20 2014

Review of Gordini Wragell 3 Finger Glove W/ Buffalo Leather

Published by under Gear,Reviews

So gloves are always an issue for me. For a while there I couldn’t get any pair to last more than a season. They just didn’t last going up against the abuse that backcountry skiing could dish out. Warmth is also an issue. Finding a tough pair of gloves that can stand up to the abuse and keep the hands warm is even rarer.

Gordini Wrangell 3 Finger with Buffalo Leather

Gordini Wrangell 3 Finger with Buffalo Leather

Enter the Wrangell 3 Finger Glove/Mitten. I got these a month ago at SIA and have used them exclusively on my tours since then. Some days have been frigid and other days have been pretty warm. One frigid day in particular I was solo and pushed the pace to near my limit and the glove preformed remarkably well, keeping my hands warm but not getting sweaty. The liner is warm and seems to be absorbent as well. It hasn’t pilled like other gloves have in the past.

I ski the trees a lot in the winter and having the finger padding really helps protect my hands. You can’t always get a clean line in the trees and sometimes need to do some pole/glove blocking of branches to keep your face from getting cut up.

I’m used to a gauntlet style glove where the glove goes over your jacket, locking in warmth. This glove ends just below the wrist. I was dubious at first but really like this feature now. On really cold days I have an under fleece with thumb holes on the sleeves. The fleece stays in place and the glove goes right over it. The gloves are lighter and warmer than the gauntlet varieties that I’m used to using.

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The Wrangells in action

One thing I’d like to see added to the gloves is a softer fabric patch for a nose wipe. Rubbing leather on your nose is ineffective. I always seem to have a runny nose when I get out in the cold and having a place to wipe it would take these gloves to an 11 on the awesomeness scale. Either way though I’m very happy with these gloves and recommend them highly. Give them a try and you won’t be disappointed. They hit the stores Fall 2014. The offer a limited lifetime warranty. I’m really looking forward to seeing what else Gordini has available.

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Feb 16 2014

Geneva Mountain 12,335′ Francis Creek to South Ridge 2/16/2014

With the mountains shedding their new load all over the place it seemed like a good idea to have a mellow day. We also got a late start, wanted to avoid I70 and still get some exercise. The original plan was to ski Geneva Basin but the road was impassable and we didn’t want a big day and 4 miles of road skinning one way for 900′ laps just didn’t seem all that appealing. Geneva Mountain is just off Abyss Trail and was a  reasonable goal.

Every year I make the same mistake. It only happens once but still it happens every year. I forgot the Glop Stopper and ended up with 15lb skis. Allison had the same issue. Training day I guess. The route was pretty cool as it was mostly through the trees so it was great orienteering. Once out of the trees the winds picked up, making progress spicy. The skis went on the packs and we had sails. The storm was approaching so we made a dash for the summit, snapped a few pics and headed back down for some chill skiing.

Enjoy the pics

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