May 30 2014

Bald Mountain 13,684′ – 5/28/2014 – North Chute and Baker’s Tank Gully – Corntacular

After a sweet tour the day before on Red Cone and Handcart I headed up to the campsite on Zuma Road and got some rest. I got a text that there was a big rock slide on Highway 6 between Keystone and A-Basin. Well I guess I needed to figure out another plan. I was thinking that the North Face of Grizzly and Dave’s Wave was what I was going to do but with no access I needed something else. So I called Scott and we changed the plan to Baldy over in Breckenridge. We met in the morning and headed to Breck. The Boreas Pass Road is still closed so we had a long walk to Bakers Tank and the skinned up through the trees to the South Ridge. From there we hugged a gully and booted up nice snow and hopped talus.

At the summit we sized up the North Chute. I dropped in and skied it non stop. At the bottom I set up for pictures. Scott got it non stop as well. The timing on the line was perfect and the corn was super sweet. We put the skins back on and headed up to a saddle. The consecutive days were starting to catch up with me at this point and our final vert of 5500′ for the day was tough. But it was so worth it. We positioned ourselves at the top of the snow leading into the Baker’s Tank Gully and played around on some cool rock formations. Scott had some fun cleaning a fun little problem. Then we skied the gully to about 100′ from the road. It was a fun line and far more interesting than we were expecting. The snow was also really good on this west-southwest facing line. The walk back to the car wasn’t too bad.

Thanks for the tour Scott. Looking forward to more. Enjoy the pics. Scott’s pics can be seen here http://edlin.us/gallery3/index.php/Scott/Outdoors/2014/Bald-Mountain—May-29-2014

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May 30 2014

Handcart Peak 12,518′ East Chute – Red Cone 12,801′ South Gully – Steeps and Corn 5/27/2014

After a sweet ski of Cooper we headed back to the city. Allison need to see the kittens and chill the next day. I woke up at 4am and headed up 285 to meet Mike and Frank at the Webster Pass trailhead. At 6ish we met and loaded in the 4Runner. We were able to shave about .75 of a mile off the approach. Not wanting to push it too far I pulled over before the snow got too crazy. On the drive up we saw some beautiful bull elk with velvet antlers. We geared up and headed up the Webster Pass Road. It was pretty cool heading under the Handcart Ridge Chutes along the way. These 2000′ lines went large this year. We got up into the zone and had a good look at Hardcart. The face had slid pretty big but our line looked pretty decent. This isn’t the most aesthetic line in the world but it is steep and it is a named peak. This would also keep us entertained while the South Gully of Red Cone was ripening.

We geared up and I made my way to the edge. The entrance was about 50 degrees and it had been seeing some sun. I was a bit nervous dropping in as I was over some cliffs. Everything stayed put and I made some nice steep turns down to where I wanted to shoot from. Frank and Mike took their turns and then shot me on the exit of the choke. We then skied the apron and crossed the debris field. We squeezed out another few hundred vert and switched back to skins for the ascent up Red Cone’s West Flank.

From the summit of Red Cone we skied down into the South Gully. Damn fine corn all the way down to the road. Red Cone made the day in my opinion. Such a beautiful peak and with the super blue sky the red rock created a technicolor dream feeling.

Great getting out with you guys and good to finally ski Mike. Looking forward to the next time. Enjoy the pics

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May 30 2014

Cooper Mountain 12,782′ South Gully – Grizzly Peak CDOT Gully Partial – 5/26/2014

So after some bad weather over the weekend we got back after it. We woke up at 4:30 and headed up the CDOT Gully on Grizzly Peak’s Northwest Slopes. The going was pretty easy and the fresh snow was nice but the higher we got the more concerned I was getting. Our goal for the day was to ski Grizzly’s North Face and then ski Dave’s Wave. I dug around a bit and found a foot of new snow lying on top of 2 feet of slushy wet corn, about the consistency of an Italian ice. I did not like the idea of skiing that all heated by the sun, which is what we would have found over on the North Face which has a tilt a little to the northeast. So we decided to bail after climbing up about 1700′ The descent was most excellent.

At the truck we ran into another group that was heading to ski SFB. I mentioned that I didn’t think that was such a good idea due to the un frozen mess below the new snow. We mentioned that we were going to head over to Cooper and ski the South Gully. They were game, so Max, Scott and Steve joined us.

We went to the Peru Creek trailhead and away we went. It was amazing how much the road had melted out in just a week. We headed up the Southwest Ridge and enjoyed the bouldery nature of the route. From there we made our way to the summit and switched over to ski mode. I was amazed to see just how filled in everything was.

The ski of the South Gully was straightforward though a little on the soft side. Everything stayed put as far as snow and it was good to meet new people in the hills.

Thanks for a great day guys. Well done Allison getting a combined vertical of 4700′ :) Enjoy the pics.

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May 29 2014

Guest Review – Ski Logik Yeti 183 – By Dave Bourassa

Published by under Gear,Reviews

Ski Logik Yeti Review

We have a guest writer for today’s review. Our good friend Dave Bourassa has been out this spring on the Ski Logik Yeti and he thought he’d share his impressions on the ski. Hope you enjoy his thoughts and thanks for sharing Dave and keep the reviews coming.

Specs:

183 cm.

138-105-124

19 meter turn radius

3280 grams

Backcountry/ski mountaineering focused ski

Skier:

Dave Bourassa

37 years old

Colorado

185 lbs.

6’1”

85% backcountry, 15% lift served

Aggressive skier who demands a lot out of gear. Long tours, steep lines, peak descents.

 

Highlights:

  • Vektor 8 carbon fiber technology. In simple terms, light, torsional rigidity, durable, and responsive.
  • Black Magik bases – Plain and simple, the best base material I’ve ever seen in a ski. Made out of some of the hardest sintered base material, with graphite added for a fast glide.
  • Wood veneer inlay – beauty. Makes you want to mount them on your wall, as they are truly a piece of art.
  • Reinforced aluminum notched tail for frustrating-free skin attachment.
  • Traditional – Over the years, ski manufacturers have veered from traditional shapes and designs that have been proven. It’s nice to see Ski Logik has brought some traditional features back such as flat tails, camber, and modest side cut. When it comes to spring skiing, steeps, technical terrain, and long days in the mountains, the mix of traditional and new-age features in this ski are very much appreciated.
  • Sidewalls – Underfoot the sidewalls have a traditional vertical build, whereas, the tips and tails are made of a cap construction that allow some weight savings. This allows for great turn initiation as well as some lower profile weight reduction. Very nice design.

 

Overview:

  • These skis are my #1 “go-to” ski for backcountry days. They excel in 90% of the conditions that are thrown at them. At first I was worried my larger frame would overpower the skis. I was concerned on whether or not they would perform well enough in your typical mixed bagged spring conditions. All of those concerns and worries were expelled within the first few days on these skis. They handle deep powder very well and absolutely shine in spring corn conditions. Turn initiation is amazing, so if you are looking for a tight, technical, steep couloir tool, these should be at the top of your list. They aren’t extraordinarily soft for a lightweight backcountry ski. I would rate them middle of the road when it comes to flex and overall stiffness. They can charge cut-up snow and challenging conditions without tossing you off balance.
  • The durability of the Yeti is top notch. I’m very demanding on all of my ski gear, just ask my friends. I put these skis through the ringer from chocolate chips at high speed to dry summit descents off of granite shark teeth to the occasional dirt skip from snow patch to snow patch. I’m very impressed with the bases and edges on these skis. They hold up very well and after 30+ days on them they look good as new. The clear coat finish on the top sheets does seem to chip relatively easily, thus exposing the wood inlay, but haven’t noticed any significant damage just yet.   This generally occurs from smacking the skis together on lift rides, snowmobile rides, and trying to knock snow off the top sheets while skinning.
  • The length of these skis is true to their size. It’s been many years since I last owned a pair of skis shorter than a 188. They don’t feel like a short ski at all. I was worried about the length of this ski before mounting them up, but haven’t had any issues with the length and my larger framed body.
  • The dimensions of this ski are just about right. They are just wide enough underfoot to handle deep powder, yet, super agile in spring conditions and hard pack. They aren’t overly “turny”. They allow the operator to switch from long GS turns to steep and smooth quick turns in an instant.

 

Pros:

  1. Durable construction and design – Go ahead, put them through the ringer and see for yourself. They are constructed to withstand the high demands of ski mountaineers and backcountry skiers. A ski that will last.
  2. Lightweight – 3280 grams. Don’t be fooled by the weight. They perform like a heavier ski, yet, tour like a pure carbon setup.
  3. Alpine touring and ski mountaineering friendly – Plain and simple, these skis are a dream, especially for long tours/days. They tour very well and with the side cut, allow you to dig an edge in on steep hard-packed skin tracks.
  4. Responsive – It’s like your feet are hard-lined to your skis. Efficient turn initiation and they do what you want them to do.
  5. One ski quiver – Amazing “all-around” backcountry ski. They shine in spring corn conditions (like a polished butter knife cutting through soft butter).
  6. Fun-ski (One of the more enjoyable models to ski. They’ll put a smile on your face, especially on those long descents with the sun shining and your friends hooting and hollering).

 

Cons:

  1. Tip deflection. They tend to struggle slightly in wet and heavy snow. They get slightly over-powered in high density snow over 10”. In these types of conditions you really need to be on them and ready to respond when they pop you out of your rhythm. If you are looking for a crud busting, super damp ski that likes nothing but straight lines, these aren’t the skis for you. If I were to make one change to this ski, I would stiffen and dampen the tip slightly.
  2. Top sheets tend to chip easier than other brands.
  3. Top sheets tend to be sticky and collect snow easily. All brands encounter this issue, but even in the cold of winter the top sheets will hold snow and increase the weight you are pushing around on the uphill.

 

Final impressions:

If you are a backcountry skier looking for a one-ski quiver that is light, responsive, durable, and consistent, then look no further. These skis will take you to those far away places you’ve been dreaming about and perform. They tour far better than any other ski I’ve ever owned. They certainly shine on steep and technical terrain. There’s no hesitation when it comes to making a precarious move on “no-fall zone” ski terrain. They hold an edge well when you need them to. Finally, these skis are absolutely beautiful and you’ll most likely get many comments from your partners. Buy a second pair and mount them above the fireplace so you can enjoy them even when you’re not out skiing.

 

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May 23 2014

“Little Bear” 12,450′ Sts. John Chute – 5/22/2014 – Sqweaking By

Timing has been the name of the game the last few days and this day was no exception. We got over to the trailhead and geared up. We were off by 4:45 and headed up the Sts John Road across firm snow. Things seemed like they might have frozen despite the warm temps. It did get clear overnight but not for very long. Up we went, past the “town” to the base of the line. The avy mayhem was clear throughout the journey. There had been some big slides up here this winter with fairly large trees strewn about like kindling ready for the fire. At the base of the route we headed upward, wary of the cornices above. The skinning got pretty steep but the lower sections had frozen well. The further up we went though the less of freeze the slopes had gotten. It seemed to me that the dusting of new snow had insulated against a freeze for the snow below, to about 6 inches below the surface crust. We would need to get this done quickly.

After some photo work we headed to the summit and got ready. With a shooting plan ready I dropped into the main line. The snow on this less solar aspect was perfect. Carving sweet steep turns though the rock choke was super fun. At the apron there was a lot of debris to deal with and I made my way across it as quickly as I could. I set up for shots and Jason dropped in. He skied the ridge line to skier’s left of the chute. It looked like we both got it good. Then Fred came down and it was time to pack up the gear. As I was doing this Jason yelled “SLIDE!” I looked up and saw the slide coming into the debris field that I had crossed less than 10 minutes ago. It was pretty big and powerful. At least from my perspective being only 70′ from it. I hurried it up and headed down the apron. From there we picked our way down through the debris chaos and back to the road.

We had planned on skiing Equinox Chute on Glacier after this but with the upper reaches of that line receiving an early sunhit and the avy already at only 7:30 we decided to just call it a day.

Good to meet you Jason and thanks for a nice couple tours Fred. Looking forward to the next time. Enjoy the pics.

Heading up the roadAvy ChaosAt the base of the lineCrossing the debrisAhhh SunshineEquinoxThe line for meFred workingIts a beautiful dayJason Photo SlutLa Sportiva's officeFred heading back for moreGrays and TorreysThe upper part of the line_D709875Moquitos Cloaked in fogGuyotIndependenceGrays and TorreysEquinoxJason and FredThe entrance to the lineMy TracksJasonLetting the looseMilking the goods next to the debrisJust a little more

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May 22 2014

Santa Fe Peak 13,180′ – Sullivan Mountain 13,134′ – Geneva Peak 13,266′ 5/21/2014 – Good Times Timing

After skiing Chihuahua I went and took care of some business. I set up camp and met up with Fred at the camping spot on Zuma Rd. We had a big plan for the next day and had a marginal weather forecast to work with. Frank was planning to meet us at 4:30 then we were going to head up to the trailhead in Zuma and go for it.

We made good time to the first line having found a far better freeze than we were expecting. At about 7:30 we dropped in on the North Bowl of Santa Fe. The upper section was decent corn but the lower we went the icier it got. It was still early though so we weren’t too worried. We knew it would soften. On the way up Sullivan for our next line we started noticing the clouds. It was very strange how they were coming out of the southwest and coming out of the southeast at the same time. They also seemed really low over the Square Top and Evans zone. It was a little spooky watching their convective nature. Swirling about and building. We would need to keep an eye on things if we wanted to get all four 13ers done and ski 4 lines. At the top of Sullivan we made a mistake and skied the East Bowl. I had intended to ski the North Bowl but I guess in our rush we walked right by it. That was OK though. The snow in the East Bowl was one of the best corn runs I’ve ever had.

From the base of the East Bowl we headed back up and on toward the summit of Geneva. Thoughts ran thru my head about what to do about the weather and the plan. One thing I really like about planning a day is factoring in options for escape. It’s always good to know a quick way out of your situation if things get worse. Lightning is really scary. We crested the saddle and took stock of what was going on with the clouds. We could get off the ridge from here really quickly if we needed to. Things looked good so we pressed on to the summit and switched over. There’s also a south facing shot from there that would have given us a quick escape but with the clouds still to the south of us we decided to go for the North Couloir. We set up for shots and dropped into this steep line. The snow was a little deep and soft and sluffy. Had some trouble skiing this one in the flat light but got down it safe. Fred and Frank got it in sun and ripped it. At the apron we made a bee line to the skin track back to the saddle and didn’t waste time heading back up to our exit.

We decided to bail on getting Landslide and headed down the Geneva Sullivan saddle gully. When we got to the saddle the grauple was coming down. The snow at first was pretty firm but eased up and got pretty nice with each turn downward.

The out wasn’t to bad but the grauple was intense there for a while so we didn’t take it easy. When we got back to the cars we heard our first thunder of the day. Well timed I think. Fred mentioned brunch so we went ot he store and I made Eggs Benedict. Mmmm fresh Hollandaise and bacon and runny poached eggs. Now that’s living :) Thanks for a great day guys. Enjoy the many pictures.

Fred and FrankFred's insane skin gripTeller lit upNorth side of Santa FeFredStill cornDecentAt the firmFrank enjoy cornAnd iceLook back at sigsFredSanta Fe's North BowlHeading for more photo Frank BowmanGrays and Torreys photo Frank BowmanAMAZING CORN photo Fred MarmsaterFrankLoving itFrank with Geneva in the BackgroundFredFred not levels correctedFred levels correctedFred living it photo Frank BowmanMore Sigs photo Frank BowmanNorth Couloir Geneva PeakHeading back upGetting closerOne of a couple lines that goHmmm what's this???Fred entersFred turnsFred waiting for sluffThru the chokeFrank solidNice and steepThru thehokeFrank below the choke photo Fred MarmsaterBad light steeps :)Steep photo Fred MarmsaterThru the choke photo Fred MarmsaterGood times photo Fred Marmsaterso - photo Frank Bowmanmanygoodturnsthisis thewayitshouldbemuchmore - photo Frank Bowmanoften - photo Frank BowmanDamn - photo Frank BowmanGood - photo Frank BowmanThe exit - photo Fred MarmsaterThe ExitLost fillings hereSteazyFrankSanta Fe Sullivan and GenevaBrunch

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May 22 2014

“Big Lenawee Peak” 13,080′ Chiuhuahua Bowl – 5/20/2014 – Quickie

After dropping off the kids at school we headed up to try and squeeze in ski. The lift at the Basin seemed like the best option since it didn’t seem like there was much of a freeze in the forecast. So we headed out Thurmans and had some nice corn. From there we headed up “Big Lenawee”. It was good to run into Kihm. We skied Chihuahua and it was kind of manky, soft and heavy. From the bottom of the bowl we were going to head up Cooper but I was having some doubts with how hot it was. We rounded a corner and watch a natural slide on a similar aspect and angle as what we were planning on skiing on Cooper. Well time for a beer I guess.

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May 17 2014

Rosalie Peak 13,575′ 5/14/2014 – Tanglewood Bowl – Surprisingly Good

So each day I have a plan with a bunch of options to keep making the day bigger. Each day this spring I’m lucky if I can get the first part done. The weather this spring has been crazy. Winter just keeps going on and on. The pow day on Monday was awesome but I really want to get up high and get some peaks done. The weather was looking good but with a very long way to go we knew we didn’t really have a chance of skiing our line on “Epaulet” so we just went for Tanglewood and got a nice surprise. The bowl from below seemed kind of boring. Low angled and short was how things looked. Little did we know that there were close to 3000′ of vert to the summit from the first opening. The climb seemed like it took forever due to our underestimating the scope of the bowl. Finally at the summit we really got hit by the winds. We hunkered down and snapped some pics while we switched over to ski mode.

The skiing off the summit was ok but the real fun started when we got into the bowl proper. The sun had worked it over just enough. The wind had also loaded it nicely. I dropped into the 30 degree slope and made a few turns. Then I set up for pictures and Kevin and Jerome had at it. Jerome went first and said he was going to ski the whole thing. Kevin went second and stopped at the roll over. After putting the camera away it was my turn. The snow was awesome creaminess. I cruised down and was surprised to see Jerome at the halfway point. I just kept right on going. It was too good to stop. Near the bottom I pulled out the camera again and got some more shots. From there we skied all the way back to the trailhead. Great day indeed.

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May 13 2014

Mother’s Day Massacre and the Day After – 5/11-12/2014 – Mayuary Powder

Well I’m trying to get the remaining routes done for my next book and have been having a heck of a time with the weather. I was able to get a few done over the last few days around the Montezuma area but any idea of getting up high for big lines has been washed away by the clouds and snow. But hey I’m not really complaining. It was a powder day, or actually two of them. The first couple pics were taken Mother’s Day on Trelease. The rest of the pics were taken at Berthoud Pass the next day. I’ve never skied Berthoud in May before. I’ve also never skied such deep snow in May before.

Enjoy the pics and thanks Allison, Gary, Scott, Nate, Eddie, Frank and Vanessa for such great days in the hills.

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