box elder is so over

February 6, 2009

I’ve tried to get on top of this mountain and ski that damn face 4 times.

box elder

Each time something turned us back. First time, Rick S and I had no idea what was even up there, we just wanted to go look. We went up in a blizzard, skied the right shoulder, and went home.

Then we went in from Tibble Fork, skied the Left Shoulder, and went back.

Then me n Rick went up from Alpine again, but went up the gut of the cirque to the cliff band, and went back.

Then we went in with Ben and Jon and Mike, skied the Uterus Chute, and went back.

This time, no going back.

Me, Mark, Mike, Tyler, Quinn, and Rob the Wonder Twin, started up about 5:30 in the AM.

It’s about 6,500 feet to the top from Alpine, and there were only four of us by the time we got to the Summit Ridge:

dug summit ridge sun

The top:

mark n rob summit looking down

It’s a bit steep:

me deskinning

Some skiing:

tyler lower chute ski up

Me at the bottom. Do I look like I’m skiing or snorkeling?

dug snorkel

Here’s the line we ascended and skied. By the way, it’s generally bad when one fourth of the way down a 40 plus degree, 3,000 foot, cliff-band covered face, you cartwheel and lose a ski.

But it’s cool when you do it and your tumbling ski sticks itself into the snow for easy pickup by a following friendly skier.

box elder edit

20 Responses to “box elder is so over”

  1. KanyonKris Says:

    The demon has been exorcised. That monkey off your back. Congratulations. I take it the skiing was pretty good too?

  2. steveA Says:

    And the picture of said ski and skiier in the snow??

  3. bikemike Says:

    is this the same map you used in your bathroom to show where the dental floss went?

  4. mark Says:

    Clean livin’. That’s why Rob’s ski stuck in the snow instead of going for a 2500 foot ride.

    Love that picture of the face. Makes me feel even better about what we accomplished. As if I need to gloat any more.

    Can’t wait to tick Timp off the list in the spring.

  5. BotchedExperiment Says:

    that looks way easy.

  6. jared Says:

    Think it would have been faster to ascend the east ridge?

    And are those Megawatts and Freerides? That’s like riding with 27 gears and 12 inches of travel!

  7. dug Says:

    jared, yup, megawatts and freerides. They ski like my old cannondale Gemini. Awesome. Course, they climb like it too. But like the piggy bike, its a pretty good tradeoff. maybe someday, like I did on the bike, I’ll get tired of big fat easy riding skis. But it is not this day.

    By east ridge, do you mean up from tibble? We climbed up from alpine, crossed below the cirque, then climbed the west side of the east ridge. Now I’m confused. There’s a better way?

  8. Jared Says:

    I’ve never been up there, so hopefully you can tell me the best way. I’m looking for the most direct, fastest way from Alpine so I can link BE with something to the North. Which route do you think would be faster, this:

    or your route.


  9. dug Says:

    jared, i see what you mean now. but isn’t that the WEST ridge? you’re saying, don’t cross the bottom of the cirque, just head up the west ridge.

    i dunno. i guess, sure, that would be possible. in fact, an enterprising mountaineer could go up even more directly, like up phelps canyon, and up the west face, or something like that. (and then from the base of the cirque, you could go straight up to the pheiferhorn. i mean, it’s RIGHT THERE.)

    i was just following my guidebook’s suggestion, which said, cross the base of the cirque, and then go up the west ridge of the east buttress. cuz i’m no mountaineer. i tend to do what i’m told. you know. by the guidebook.

  10. Jared Says:

    and that is why i will always be just enterprising, because i get my east and west mixed up. it’s a confusion rooted deep in my psyche since i am asian (hence east) but live in the “west.” still the confusion occasionally emerges.

  11. mark Says:

    Jared, if memory serves, the cliff bands on that west ridge were significant. Not unclimbable significant, but not a walkup (like the east ridge) either. Don’t know if you’d spend more time navigating rock routes than you’d save by not crossing below the cirque. Ninnies like me would want to be roped up for such climbs, so that may be a consideration, too.

  12. b_banks Says:

    you are a badass in the truest sense………nice work!

  13. leroy Says:

    Very interesting and informative article on skiing, but can you please point me to your post on urinals for bears?

    It’s not for me.

    It’s for a friend.


  14. KanyonKris Says:

    bad ass or no ass? I’m so confused.

  15. bikemike Says:

    awesome pics dug. even though it’s in the 70’s today and we can pretty much ride every day here, i would trade you 2-4 weeks of weather just to experience the snow you guys get.

    i think i say this every year. my memory slips as i get older…i think.

  16. […] all, there are only so many skin tracks that I can follow on my snowshoes before I realize that those making the tracks are having all the fun. On the way down.As I researched the skis and boots I started to […]

  17. […] at the a general map of the peak, and its slopes, which offer Big Mountain lines worthy of any peak baggers trophy […]

  18. Ben Cosper Says:

    I actually haven’t read anything else written here, but I first skied it in 1992. Grew up in Alpine and knew that mountain like the back of my hand. Best ski down that face was March. Camped in Upper Fords and hit it early. Recent debris was vicious, but snowpack was solid. Actually started skiers right, but wound up crossing debris and almost vertical over to skiers left. Damn near impossible, but got on the shoulder. From there just a jaunt to the summit. Took all day and was getting dark, so we pretty much GSd it. Cut right when it gets less steep, around debris and reached camp pretty quickly. I was 18 yrs. old and nobody knew fuckall about a mountain named ‘Box Elder’! I’ve stood on that summit no less than 15 times.

    • Ben Cosper Says:

      Oh yeah, Timp.? Same thing. Skied it a number of times before ‘being a backcountry badass’ became so popular. We knew climbing and mountaineering, but skis were just strapped to backpacks, no skins, no transceivers, no probes or shovels. Just kids skiing the mountains we were playing on all the time anyway. No biggy. oh how the world has changed.

      • dug Says:

        wow, ben cosper, you seem like a super fun guy. thanks for stopping by and letting me know how awesome you used to be.

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