Sunday, December 18, 2011

Red, White, and Couloir

Ride 'em, cowboy.

A temperature inversion, but it was still cold where we were. Can you tell that there's a city of one-million people there?

Making our way on Red Baldy, in White Pine drainage, to ski a couloir---hence the title...

Couloir = booting.

The snow was what it was. You savour the reality that once the real snow comes we won't be up here in a 40-degree couloir on Red Baldy anymore.

Earning your turns the hard way: on the way up, but also on the way down. Making trenches in facets is technically skiing because you have skis on your feet, even if they feel like two toboggans on your feet....

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Ghetto Skiing

We went to Dog Lake Ghetto ski-style, with blue jeans, mismatched poles, and ski-like non-ski things on my feet.  They have a telemark-style free-heel snowboard bindings and permanent climbing skins on their bottoms, if that makes any sense to you.

They're actually a lot of fun with a kid strapped to your back...

Imms had fun skiing on the lake.

Lookin' PRO-shit-show...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

White Pine Facets

No new snow in a while, but the ridge of high pressure on our thin snowpack has subdued our meagre accumulation into unconsolidated sugar snow---faceted re-crystalizations of the original fluffy flakes, the stuff you can't make snowballs with. It hisses as your skis glide by.

We headed up the White Pine drainage, one valley over from Snowbird's boundary but a world apart.

Climbing high on Red Baldy, with views to the Phiperhorn---the tallest peak in the central Wasatch wilderness.

The avalanche danger was low but we practiced our techniques, spotting each other as we zig-zag between safe vantages.

The sugar snow that collected in the little chutes off Red Baldy's northwestern aspects skied OK. Not a bad first day.

Ben's fakie...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Wire Peak Flurry

There is a nice false summit/saddle about half way up Wire Peak. We stop there to get out and play.

She wanted to press on to the summit, shrouded in clouds. 

After the hike: The Sunday New York Times at Tulie Bakery, so she can read up on the "issues." Imms is about to level with me on the Fed's changes to the amortization structure of US Treasuries...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The long conversation between passive microwave repeaters

East Repeater: You're looking pale.

West Repeater: I always look pale over the city in fog or inversion, or so I'm told.

East Repeater: Its been a long Autumn between you and I, and yes, the inversion suits you, but now is something different. Something's changed. Perhaps its just the wind making the scrub oak quiver at your base.

West: Yes, well the wind makes me quiver more than the scrub oak. Shake more like it.

East: The gusts hit you first, then me. I can tell that from the microwaves we share at the speed of light.

West: Those are vastly different timescales. From storm to storm and day to night we see it all very slowly, yet we reflect transmissions in an instant.

East:  Yeah, the signature of the wind rides on that carrier wave.

West: Nice to know about that. I always wondered what that was. My paint is peeling. The taggers have not made it up here in a while. Graffiti is a dead art form.

East: You don't look bad to me, just a little paler, probably just the light of morning, or the lack of taggers. I don't know. But the taggers don't know about the carrier wave for the wind. You reflect that back to me only.

West: Yes it has been a long Autumn, and we repeat everything that reflects on us. Me, you, the taggers, and the scrub oak.

Monday, November 21, 2011

On Warming Huts and Family Ski Touring in the Wasatch

After ascending a few clicks, we got out for a ski---the first time Imms strapped in. She dug it.

Hot cocoa, cookies, and a few miles up the trail. We miss the warming huts of the Gatineau Park. They made for a more family friendly ski venue. The Wasatch, of course, are rugged mountains, and there are no real structures in the remaining wild parts. Although I typically would be against any development there, after skiing the Gats, I would be all for a series (or just one) of public warming huts going up Mill Creek to the Park City ridgeline. It would be much better than the single yurt they have up there now that gets booked up for private parties months in advance. Why not have a public yurt stocked with wood and a fireplace, a nice rest stop to the upper valley, or final destination before the descent back down...?

Monday, November 14, 2011

New snow.

The picture speaks for itself.

On passing our party, one fellow ski tourer noted that she forgot one essential touring item: a pacifier. Which, is kind of spot on, since she did not have an Avalung on....

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Masterclass of the gorilla---a Triassic poem in pictures

Setting the trap

to let fly.

A delicate step

to bridge the distance.

Over nothing.

This time we turn it on its head, Gorilla.

Parrying with gravity on a rock, supinated.
To set,
and settle,
and then let fly again... all day long:
Masterclass of the gorilla. Then we had tea.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Alta is for babies

First tracks of the year.

We (I) skinned up to the top of the Sunnyside lift. Just a little dash up the cat-track with the leather boots and three-pin tele gear. At the top I let her out to play with her poles---she loves the poles, but not the skis that came with them. No rush on skiing....

Now this may not be for everyone, but little girls love big trucks apparently. We happened to encounter several very awe-inducing "trucks" during our adventure. She kept talking about the "tuks" for the rest of the evening. So for posterity, here they are:

Pretty freaking cool, huh?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Touring the Waterpocket Fold by tandem mountain bike

We toured the 125-mile loop of Capitol Reef National Park's southern district (link here), which traverses the Waterpocket Fold by way of the washboarded dirt and sand of Notom Road. In the picture you can see the incredible switchbacks.

The multi-tiered plateaus ascending to the Henry mountains were the ever-present panorama on our traverse of Notom road.

On the northern half of the tour, we passed back through the fold, this time through the Fruita apple orchards (this is not the Fruita in Colorado that everyone goes to, but the one in Utah).

Erasing some of the calorie debt of back-to-back 6-7 hours-a-day of riding with ripe October apples---lots of apples. In the shade of the orchard, sitting there was sublime...

The third and last day, over Boulder mountain---a 3000-foot climb and descent----and back to our car. Our legs were strong that day, surprisingly. We dispatched the climb with aplomb. The views from the high plateau of the deserts below were euphoric. I'll spare you any more pictures. I plan to write up a real publication-ready story sometime in the future. Cheers!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Rolling Thunder

Its a big hunk of metal and rubber, rolling down a dirt road in Southern Utah. We call it Rolling Thunder. It will carry us to remote places in the best of fashion. See you on the flip side...

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Foliage on the Rivet

In preparation for our upcoming tour, we keep upping our game.

This time to Big Cottonwood.

That's right. Four hammering legs. About 75 pounds of bike and trailer, and 22 pounds of cuteness in the cargo hold. Going up up up---about 3800 feet---to the top of the canyon.

Oh, and did I mention that the Fall foliage was amazing...

Getting to the top gave us some mega pride. People stopped to take pictures of us, innumerable thumbs-upses happened, and one guy gave us the full Tour-De-France treatment: running along side us wildly screaming encouragement. And we were on the rivet for the top 1/3 for sure. With the lack of good road shoulder, we gear-grinded up the gravel for a few miles for an added sting. 

And for La Lissa von stoker, it was the only Brighton she will see in the near term, while her friend is in the other Brighton. 

Silver lake picnic with about everybody in Salt Lake to join us. We finally figured out why so many people were there: besides the Fall foliage, it was LDS conference week, which meant no church service for, like, millions of people in Utah.

And of course, the foliage was amazing...