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:
Me and my second wind (and borrowed poles):
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.