wherin my friends get me up the hill

April 2, 2009

A bunch of us met at the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon this morning at the usual time (5:30am–you know, after all these years of getting up at 4:30 in the morning to hike, bike, and ski, you’d think I would be over doing a double take when I write that–still totally not, it gives me whiplash). The goal was Argenta, to take advantage of the 100 PLUS inches the Cottonwoods have gotten in the last week or so. Writing 100 plus inches in a week still makes me do a double take.

Today was one of those days. You know how some days you’re the hammer? Today I was the nail.

First, I forgot my poles. This is the first time in my life I’ve forgotten my poles. It’s not the first time I’ve forgotten key materials (I forgot my cycling shoes last summer for a Tibble Fork mtb ride, I forgot my shoes AND my helmet for Fall Moab last fall), but it’s the first time I’ve forgotten ski poles. Which wouldn’t be a huge deal if we were skiing resort, but poles are so handy for skinning up 3,000 plus vertical that even snowboarders use them. Which turns out pretty handy for me.

Saint Tyler let me use one of his poles for the climb, so we both went one-armed. And, it turns out, that was the least of my problems.

The bigger problem was that I felt fat and slow and sleepy. This is probably where you snicker and say to yourself (or, if you’re right in front of me, to me) “Whatever dude, you ARE fat and slow (and maybe sleepy).” You know, like Hamlet–“Seems Madame! Nay, it is; I know not ‘seems.’

Anyway. I felt fat and slow, and quickly sorted to the back of the group, excepting Keith, who was only behind me because he was on snowshoes in deep snow, working twice as hard, which, by the way, didn’t seem to affect him.

Toward the top I was so obviously suffering that Tyler, who as I said was totally unaffected by the one-pole thing, drifted back to shepherd me.

How hard do you think it was for me to write that last sentence?

This pic from Adam pretty much sums up how I felt:


Regardless of my pussiness and possible Mono infection, it was a good day. The snow was mostly very soft, though quite wind affected in spots.

Here are the highlights:

Tyler successfully skied a very tight steep chute off the ridge, and when he hit the wind crusted apron, he cartwheeled so hard I thought we were going to have to use the smelling salts. However, he simply popped back up and skied away.

Right below the first apron we came upon a 10 foot lip off of a cornice that overhung by about 5 feet. After Keith drifted off the end of it with a whoop, Tyler decided to center drop it. Just as he was lifting off, the entire cornice gave way with a huge whoomp 20 feet to the left and the right, and Tyler’s tails were caught in the huge blocky debris pile. But just like before, he simply popped up and skied out of it.

This is me after, above the debris pile:


Tyler making skiing look good:

tyler argenta 

Me and my second wind (and borrowed poles):

dug argenta

I wasn’t even thinking pictures today. I was thinking mostly of sitting down. And maybe taking a nap. So any pictures are totally stolen from the other guys.

18 Responses to “wherin my friends get me up the hill”

  1. Eric Says:

    What are you, 83 years old today?

  2. bikemike Says:

    man, it could be worse…some days you’re the 2 x 4 the nail goes into.

  3. mark Says:

    I’m convinced that six months of getting up at 4:30 to ski a few times a week is catching up with you. Either that or the mono thing. But the getting up thing is catching up with me (Rachel, you’re not allowed to hold this admission against me next time the alarm goes off at 4:30).

    If my blog were at all bathroom-oriented like yours used to be (hi Kim), I would post about what happened to me in the bathroom stall after I got to the office rather than the skiing, because I have a feeling that the stall part would be more interesting to the non-skiers in the audience.

  4. Grizzly Adam Says:

    I felt pretty good going up. And what an up it was. The final approach through the deep powder was pretty fun. Dustin’s idea of a “switchback” is a little different than mine. But he cut a pretty awesome track nonetheless.

    It was on the down that I felt terrible. I brought a new meaning to the term “wallowing”, as it seemed all I did was wallow in one way or another as I skidded down the hill.

    Tyler makes everything look easy out there.

    • dug Says:

      adam, what’s weird is that the steep kick turns are where i felt the best, because in the middle of a steep kick turn you’re just waving your arms and legs around, not actually HIKING.

  5. Rick S Says:

    You would think with only one pole, the weight savings would make you ultra fast on the climb? Weird.

    Mono? We should probably stop sharing straws for the next few weeks.

  6. Aaron Says:

    I played a big role making Tyler look so good off of that cornice by looking so bad off of that cornice.

    Adam – thanks for catching me in mid Arabesque (I promise, I really don’t know what that word means).

  7. Ty Says:

    I wasn’t shepherding you, I was going my normal pace in the back of the pack. But, I do deserve props on giving you a pole, that part sucked.

  8. Jenny-Jenny Says:

    Amazing pics! You guys really know how to enjoy your environment! Thanks for sharing, Bonk days are not fun days.

  9. steveA Says:

    Welcome to reality Mono boy!! Duh. Of course, in my current fitness condition I would have thrown up in 500 ft and begged for a toboggan down even being the picture of health. So, props for making it up and down with less than stellar health.

    Dug, I guess it is up to you to share Mark’s experience. Since when did this blog attempt to spare anyones bowel sensitivities!!

  10. KanyonKris Says:

    Mono = mononucleosis or mono-pole?

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