Monday, April 27, 2009

Patsy Marley

There are a couple of a stories floating around out there as to how the Patsy Marley Peak got its name. Some say Patsy was a well-known madame amongst the early Alta miners. Others say Patsy was an Irish bare-knuck brawler who owned a pub in Grizzly Gulch. Either way its fun to think about how crazy those old mining days must have been when the town of Alta's population swelled to more than 8,000 mountain hardened souls.

Dalt, Dustin and I met at the LCC p.a.r. around 5:00. We were looking for high elevation, north facing with a short approach. Enter the mistress. The climb was very nice. We had some fun steep skinning at the top near the cornices. We had enough time for two runs. Dalt on his second run.
Then follwed by me. Nice high-speed floaters. Thanks to Dustin for the shots.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Fly on My Zephyr

I once shot a man in Reno just to watch him die. This time I went to play rugby. The rugby was forgettable, with a few splashes of brilliant desperation. We took Corbie's (Lopes' wife) four runner, which included Lopez's camera. On her blog Corbie was surpisingly accurate in her description of the proceedings (and I appreciate your discreation on the post Cobie). So if you are interested there you go.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pink Pine Pink Snow

Went up LCC, shooting for Patsey Marley. We got rejected by udot avalanche folks at the upper Alta lot so we went back down canyon to the White Pine parking lot. We (Dalt, Dustin, Jason and myself) skinned up to the ridge that divided White Pine canyon and Red Pine canyon (Pink Pine) It was a pleasant climb.
The snow was deep and surprisingly fluffy. The crazy circular pattern storminess we experienced carried red sand from So. Utah so the snow was pink (Pink Snow). You'd have to see it to believe it. Thanks to Dustin for the photos.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Hello LCC - Scotties Bowl

A huge morning. Most of the morning tours Dalt and I have made this year have been in Big Cottonwood Canyon and were in the 1,200 vertical ft range. The approach usually consists of some mellow angles up a drainage and then a steeper climb to the ridge or peak. This morning we hit Scotties Bowl in LCC. For those of you that have been there you know that you get out of the car and within 2 minutes you are on a 35 degree + slope for about 2500 vertical feet. Add to that, we were with the fast as, super-steep trail-breaking freak Dustin. Rolling into work at 8:30 I was spent.

We we gained the ridge, negotiated some enormous cornices, and hit the peak. The top was very steep. The new snow did not bond well with the base and caused some pretty significant sluffing. I had an equipment malfunction (I'm sticking to that story since once I got my ski back, it had released with out the binding popping. Still a rookie mistake, I admit, but I would rather be a rookie binding adjuster than a rookie skier). I took a little ride down a chute of sorts and completely lost one ski. After about 15 minutes of digging around Dalt honed in and saved the day. The mini-regrowth pines provided and bit of depth perception in the middle of the run for some the best turns of the day. A great morning. Shout out to Dustin for the top photo.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Super-Sledge 2.0

With spring popping up, I decided to get the Super-Sledge 2.0 out for one last run before it returns to its bike trailer origin. Last January we took the 2.0 to Bryce Canyon and toured that country. It also made it up Millcreek Canyon a few times this year.

Super-Sledge 1.0 - 2008 was made out of a three wheeled jogging stroller that I scored from Peme. I basically tied three ski-blades (mini trick skis) to the bottom of the tires. To make the skis-to-tires link more rigid, I connected the ski-blades with an old broom stick by bolting front of the rear two skis to the back of the front ski. I then rigged a hauling device with an old water ski rope and two 6 foot copper pipes that I found in my mom's garage. The design had some limitations. Mainly, the broom stick that connected the skis lacked enough clearance. So when there was loose snow, it would create drag.

This year, with a new vision, I started 2.0 with a bike trailer. I then built a frame and connected it to my '91 K2s. The key to its rigidity was the thread-all reinforcements (just high enough to clear any reasonable amount of snow).

I then bolted the trailer to the frame.

Limitations: Due to the large metal edge skis it took too much force to turn the unit at speed. Coming down Millcreek Canyon when I tried to turn, the copper pipe towing device failed. I ended up flipping the device so that the 2.0 was in front, and I was guiding it down the canyon from behind, like I was driving a stage coach or something.

For 3.0 I plan on using the same bike trailer and ski frame. I am going to buzz the metal edges off the skis on a table saw and find some aluminum tubes or rods for the pulling device.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

"Early morning April 4 shots ring out..."

What an amazing year. Mindy, Elle, Talin, Ava, and I went to Solitude. It had snowed about 2 inches in the valley overnight, but I was surprised at how much had accumulated at 8000 ft, maybe another 10-12 inches. We started up the canyon and the flakes started to fall again. We have gotten really quite proficient at skiing with three little ones. Its all about preparation. The key is to get bibs, coats, and even ski boots on the kids at home before we leave. That way when we get to the mountain its just gloves, helmets, and goggles. Mindy jumps out (with the car still moving) to get the kiddie day passes; I go move the cones at the end of the premium parking spaces to fit just one more in; I jump out, get my boots on, finish kitting up the kids and carry the skis to the bottom of the lift; Mindy brings Ava to me and we are on the lift within 10 minutes of pulling into the parking lot... I take Elle and Ava and Mindy takes T-Dog (This photo was actually taken in 2008, but you get the idea. Talin looks so little.)

We took a couple warm up runs on link and then moved to Moonbeam. There was quite a bit of loose powder all over the mountain and Elle was eating it up. It was very satisfying to see her go off to the side of the run to get in the deep snow. The density was amazingly light. However, with all the snow falling, the kids wore out quickly. We made about three runs on Moonbeam and headed to the lodge. Mindy said "do you want to go and take a quick run while I watch the kids?" which I translate to "I want to take a run by myself!" So I said "why don't you go ahead." So when we were in the car on the way home I asked "How was your run?" She said "Honeycomb was awesome." Which meant that she had taken like three runs. I responded "Well played babe, well played." She replied "Naturally."

That night we met the Mangrums, Morgans, Jensens, and Flandros at Rodizio for wonderful b-day dinner. A very good day!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Emi GREAT ion

When a dawn patrol is in order a PING goes out either via text message or direct call. When I am the PINGer I like to chant "DAWN PATROL DAWN PATROL". For those of you who know Giles, you know that he is very much like a large bear and this particular bear dislikes waking up too early. So when I got a message that read "DUSK PATROL DUSK PATROL SCREW DAWN PATROL!" I figured fine whatever, we'll have a go, I even agreed to this crazy sounding notion to try out Emigration. Due to Giles 6 degrees of separation we scored yet another premium undisclosed parking spot. The crew for the outing included Beez, Fletch, Giles, and Dalt (not pictured).

We met at the Dog park and piled in Dalt's truck. It was fun to be in new terrain. We passed 'the Hotel' on our right and turned left up the first drainage, then climbed the ridge to the first peak. It was a fun ascent b/c you could scout your upcoming lines so well. Giles punched up the zig zags like there was a 12er on top. We got to the top, paid our taxes, and dropped in.

Beez, on one of his first backcountry outings, was so ovewhelmed at the untouched 12 inches he nearly straight lined the whole thing. The rest of us however were a bit more discerning with our turns. And what turns they were...

Thursday, April 2, 2009

What a Change 48 hrs Can Make

Dalt and I tried to recreate the magic of last Tuesday up USA bowl, this time with Fletcher. We were originally going to hit it for the second time on Wednesday but decided to push it back a day, this turned out to be a mistake. We met at the BCC park and ride at 4:30 am, picked up Fletch at 4:52. We would have been right on time for the Fletch pickup but-for "the twins". Apparently there is a moose that has twins every year that lives near Fletch's cabin. As we came around the bend near Butler Fork we got boxed in by the two youngsters and it took some time to navigate safe passage. We were skinning by 6:10. The ascent was once again very pleasant. The downhill was a different story. The snow got baked on wednesday and had re-frozen over-night to produce some challenging turning conditions. We made it out alright and to work by 8:15. A fun morning.

Little A

Little A