| Coulest Weekend Ever, La Plata (2.7.09)
Robby and I sieged this 14er Saturday in fantastic conditions. We rented skis and skins from Bent Gate in Golden because:
a) Both heel pieces in my Salomon z12‘s busted after 3 seasons. Apparently 10/12 is too much. Salomon‘s website has no phone # and the 1 email address I could find hasn‘t returned any word for 2 weeks. But there is a sweet summer internship available for 2006. Anybody have warranty contact for Salomon?
b) Robby just got ZZero boots. What better way to learn the Dynafit system than a no fall zone descent of a remote terrain trap in jagged country?
Friday night, we sleep at the TH in the Hotel A4 with Fia the foot warmer.
Skiing with dogs is dangerous so Fia gets to keep guard as we hit trail at 0740.
If you thought "b" above was sarcastic foreshadowing for pictures of Robby tasting snow, you are correct.
We hiked uphill through the woods for a long time. The snow was sugary and completely rotten to skin up. Finally reached treeline and took a beta shot for Sayres. Lookin a little thin for my liking.
Most enviable backcountry fuel recipe:
1 box rotini
3 chicken breasts
This makes enough for a few delicious meals, wish I had some now!
Robby hiking/Indy Pass
Robby hiking/Ellingwood Ridge
We shared the huge mountain with a couple of friendly snowshoers that ditched the extra weight for the long, final ridge push.
This is a shot up towards the never-ending ridge and the north face. Our couloir is the big one, middle of the pic, farthest lookers-left. Most all previous TR‘s I used for beta skied the lines direct off the summit, those lines would have required steep scree downclimbs, plus, because it is less TRS/photos-on-internet-documented and skied from the top, ours was an obvious choice.
After hiking through the woods for a long time then charging up a wind loaded terrain trap, we booted/skinned the east ridge for a few hours, hot on the trail of Sasquatch.
The final snowfield push. Robby stayed the course along the right edge of the rocks, I strayed across to the gully running diagonally towards the summit. We both thought our way sucked.
While postholing at 14,000+ with heavy packs and soggy feet is quite demoralizing, the rewards are usually worth the perseverance.
We summited by 1530, for a car> ~4mi?> summit time of a whopping 8 HOURS of uphill hiking.
I bet there are some elk living in these large, snow-covered mtns.
Ellingwood Ridge looking dry and ripe for a winter assault.
Funny that skinning and skiing are such similar words, swap an "i" for an "n" and the fun begins!
Dav shot (is this copyrighted yet?) looking down summit couloirs. No thanks.
Robby atop our shit-yer-pants scary entrance.
We‘re both about to drop in an icy, 50*, 200cm wide choke surrounded by hungry sharks
and make our first turns on our rented set-ups.
Once through the top choke, the snow was fantastic, north facing, recycled pow and pure ecstasy to work the steep skiing technique.
Here‘s Robby making right turns on pitch 2:
What an absofuckinglutely amazing couloir! Steep skiing, daunting rock cliffs on all sides but wide enough to really carve it up and manage the thin sluffage. As much as a chairlift would cheapen this experience, I‘d love to be standing here again without the 8 hour approach...
Robby ripping lower pitch 3 as the rock tiki face looks on
Looking back up at the best run of my life
Views on the way out, showing most of the couloir, minus the entrance crux
Special thanks goes out to Dobish :yourock:for hooking us up with rentals, Dobish‘s mustache:fm: and all the powers it entails, Bent Gate for being a sweet shop, Telluride for improving my steep skiing skills this season, Ibuprofen, Icy Hot, Pacifico, Wild Bills in Leadville, Robby for being a kick-ass, smart, competent, strong, and now gear-advantaged BC partner and you if you posted a previous La Plata report (I probably looked at it and used your advice/experience)
After descending the couloir, we traversed left, into the trees, more left, skied some sweet downed trees, more left, cliffs, more left, super fun playground features in the woods, then a some more leftward traversing before intersecting the skin track and finding our way out. The sugary snow sucked for skinning but swap an "i" for an "n" and it was great!
Back at the car to let the dog out by 1730 for a roundtrip of 10 hours.
Another night in the Hotel A4 left it smelling like sweaty feet and moist dog. We woke up feeling whooped Sunday morning and decided to avoid hiking at all costs
so we went to a local secret stash.
Names have been removed to protect this innocent. It was fun opening up the Verdicts and realizing their fun potential without the nagging thought of remote death
You can see our skintrack in the background behind Robby
All in all a great weekend. Keep your Spirits^High, Skins^Dry and Tips^Up!