Mar 12 2016
Fritz Sperry's Adventures in the Mountains
Mar 12 2016
Mar 05 2016
After a frustrating day before, I was scratching my head trying to figure out a better tour. I’ve been wanting to get this line for a while and just needed the snowpack we have right now. The northeast aspect protected and trees cached the 6″ we’ve recently gotten. The higher winds just added to the tally and we finally hit the goods.
We headed up Butler Gulch with the intent of skiing the Divide Chutes but they didn’t really look all that great, read windfucked. The snow in the protected north facing trees along the skin track seemed fun though, so we headed for Hourglass. The upper section was wind hammered so we took the low entrance and it was money. Couldn’t believe no one had been back there yet considering that there were like 20 cars in the parking lot. At the bottom we figured out the plan, skins on and head across the valley to the top of Jones Brothers,; though with all the activity over the last few years this name would only apply if they were Siamese twins. The skin was really easy to the base of the south east ridge of 12085′ the skis went on the back and we had some fun moderate snow and so ski bouldering to get to the summit
A very short walk down the ridge had us at the top of the 1,600′ line. There was a cap of slab at the skier’s left of the entrance but by staying on the margins we avoided under cutting it. Green light avy conditions doesn’t mean it’s time to follow bad protocols, if you hit the sweet spot you can still set off a slide. We skied it in sections one at a time yo-yoing our way down. The deepest it got was about a foot and a half. About two thirds of the way down we switched to the east side of the chute to find snow that hadn’t seen sun hit. It was the right call as the snow stayed dry to the bottom the line. one hundred feet of trees and we were at the gate for Butler Gulch.
Thanks for a great tour and the nod goes to Alpine Restaurant and Bar in Georgetown for their amazing meatball sliders. Your food rocks Tina and Aaron.
Mar 05 2016
Met up with Justin at the Blue Moon and we headed to the trailhead separately; I needed to get back to Denver for my son’s playoff game after. We met again at Herman Gulch and got ready. The skin up into Watrous Gulch was easy and we got a nice look at the base of Parnassus’ South Gully; hopefully we’ll get more snow to cover this line a little better. We followed the line of least resistance up the southwest ridge of Woods. Discussing the line as we went we headed for the west summit of Woods.
I dropped in and dug a quick hand pit and was fairly surprised at seeing a cohesive slab sitting on some slick crust, so I backed off that line and headed lower to ski the more mellow slopes in the bowl. Justin dropped in and had some sweet carves down into the exit gully. From here we switched back to skins and headed up the east slopes of Machebeuf. We had intended to ski the North Face of Machebeuf but there wasn’t much in the way of snow so we changed plans and headed for the entrance to the Y Not Gully. The upper portion was a little slabby as well so we skied the margins. Lower down the line my skis started glopping. It was rough going and I wish I’d had Justin’s snowboard. We made it down the choke even though it wasn’t pretty, or at least my skiing wasn’t pretty. Justin made it look easy.
Thanks for the tour man, lets get out again soon.
Calvin’s team had a great season and made it to the playoffs. I’m so proud of you buddy. You put in a lot of hard work and hustled out there for your team. You can’t always win but if you put in the effort eventually the results you seek will come. I love you buddy.
Feb 19 2016
After finding less than stellar conditions up near Moffat Tunnel we headed for the Hot Sulphur Springs and made a plan for the next day. The neck has been in need of some soothing hot water so this was perfect. We motored up to the Colorado River trailhead in RMNP and prepared to get a fairly early start. We’d wake up around 7 and check what the weather was doing; if we liked what we saw we’d head up Red and on to Nimbus. The map and what we were seeing showed steep skinning along the Northeast Ridge. When the alarm went off and we got a look at the mountain in the morning it was obvious that Nimbus wasn’t going to happen, good more time for morning coffee. It was warm that night and despite it being February we were on spring conditions alert. How much moisture was in the snow. We headed up the Red Mountain Trail to the Opposition Creek and went for a more direct ascent. We made some tough calls in there and assessed what was happening in there. Everything was staying put as it should, though this might not be true later in the day, we should probably look for an alternate exit. At the Grand Ditch we adjusted our heading for the Northeast Ridge. No issues with the snowpack here except for a whumph at the creek on the flats. The wind was kicking up there we could tell but it seemed manageable. So up we went aiming for the top of the trees and the border between the East Chute and the Northeast Chute. Near treeline we used tree belays and did some bounce tests at the top of a start zone. No results. At the ridge and the end of the snow we shouldered the skis and headed for the summit. Fun scrambling was had while dealing with high gusts, though the average winds weren’t that bad. Near the summit the gust got more intense but you could tell when they were coming and brace yourself. The light was amazing.
We snapped some pictures and got ready to ski. We had been discussing our descent on the uphill. The east ridge was mellower and had some nicely protected trees. The angle off the summit was lower and didn’t have any start zones so this is what we went for. The skiing in the alpine was subpar until we got about 100 meters below the summit, then it got really good. The trees offered some nice snow of the creamcheesy variety. We hit the margins of a bowl and found more goodness. Then we headed across the East Chute to the steep trees of our Northeast Ridge ascent. There were pillows and soft landings. At the ditch we hooked up with some fun turns on the lower section, though the snow was warm and rotten this far down the mountain. We skied right to the trailhead.
Dane it was fun pushing it with you. I like our communication and our route. The wind made for a tougher day than this peak should have been. The glopping on the skin track was also fun in a masochistic sort of way. It was a great training day in tough conditions. These are the times when making the right choices is really important. The mountain isn’t always an easy place. Being able to deal with adversity is a skill worth ingraining in your bag of tricks. Some may call a day like this foolish, perhaps, but I’d go back again and again given the same conditions and avy stability.
Feb 13 2016
Got up for a tour the other day and I have to say, we need some snow.
This route reminds me a lot of Butler Gulch. It’s got a long approach trail that is mostly skiable. It has mellow terrain that is mostly safe from an avy standpoint, yet it lack the gnar that Butler has off of the divide. With more snow this zone would be really fun. With hurricane force winds it’s less than fun. Let’s all sacrifice3 something to Ullr to bring back the storms.
Feb 03 2016
Honored to have been invited to take part in the ClimbTalk radio show on 1190am KVCU. The radio station is run by CU Boulder. Looking forward to the next time. Thank you Mike Brooks for having me. Also it was great to meet Mike and Bryan from FacingHomelessnessBoulder and Big City Mountaineers respectively. Please support the fine work these gentlemen are doing.
As always use your head out in the backcountry. Just because you want to ski a line doesn’t mean you should. Dig in representative zones to figure out if it’s the right call. Use extra caution when under avalanche slopes. Remember that every line has its time and it will still be there if the conditions this time aren’t optimal. You can never eliminate the risk but with knowledge and practice you can mitigate it; if you’re wrong though it can cost you everything.
Jan 11 2016
After spending too much time in the Salt Palace for the Outdoor Retailer show I was in need of some alone time. The first night it snowed a decent amount up at Alta, or so I heard. However the idea of Wasangeles wasn’t too appealing. I was looking to get away from the crowds. I was drawn to the Ogden area for my love of hot springs but I couldn’t tell from the internet whether the springs were still open. You never know till you go though so that’s just what I did. I headed up to the trailhead and camped. At about 1 am I woke up in a sweat and promptly emptied my stomach of the MacDonalds that I had for dinner. Feeling much better I went back to sleep at least until the other groups arrived.
I started up the mountain at about 9am. I made great time for a guy off the couch. In my excitement I forgot my water but luckily had a half liter of three week old Gatorade. It didn’t smell bad so I guess it would work. I ended up getting about 4000′ of vert in 2 1/2 hours. Pretty good for off the couch or more accurately off the kitchen line. It’s so good to be out of the kitchen and back to what I love. Axios in Denver was a great restaurant and being Sous Chef there was an honorable pursuit but I’m a skier not a chef. It’s been a tough 8 months and especially tough after we were on Food Network. But that phase is over now and this solo was just what I needed to put myself back in the right mindset.
I reached the summit ridge amid pea soup skies. I debated what to do. Should I push on for the summit or ski. It looked like the summit pyramid was going to be pretty spicy. I wasn’t sure it was the best thing to do. As if on cue the viz got better and I could see the line. My decision was made and I went for the pow. It was so good with about a foot of new.
Sore and tired I headed for my Utah tradition of In N Out Burger. Then it was time to head back to Colorado.
Jul 30 2015
It was a beautiful day to ride in the alpine; the winds were light and the sky was blue. With temps skyrocketing on the Front Range lately getting up high seemed like the way to go. The CDT offered a nice challenge on the up and the down. I love bikeneering; there was some of this. I know that’s not a word but it should be; this isn’t the same as hitting the local trails, you have to take into consideration so many factors throughout the day. We both have been a little under the weather lately so it was nice to get out and play. The up was tough and the down was just as tough, especially coming off Stanley. Not sure if we broke the wilderness rules as it looks like the CDT follows the border of the Vasquez Peak section. We didn’t see any no biking signs, in fact the sign at the Loop Trail trailhead on Jones Pass Road said bikes were permitted. With a giant mine present for much of the ride it didn’t feel like wilderness
With clouds building, phlem being coughed up and a leaky tire we decided to call it a day. Hmm the 3 negatives makes an appearance in the summer; perhaps it’s a credo.
Thanks for a nice tour Allison
Jun 25 2015
Got up early for some fun after some clear nights. It was good to stretch the legs and get up high. The snow is melting fast with minimal freezing at night but there is compaction and stability to go have some fun; just be off the snow early, or else. The bigger, higher lines should be holding snow for a while.
Thanks for a great couple tours my lady, always a pleasure.
Just a video this time around. Be sure to watch it in HD.