Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Great Way to Begin Summer......

Well first of all i need to thank Mother Nature for her kindness in allowing such an amazing and spectacular ski season free of injury and harm. The season ended nicely, but way to fast and the snow quality went from great to crap and spring skiing in the Wasatch was not good this year. However, instead of planning a great ski trip, we planned a 7 day backpacking trip in the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. A very remote and spectacular piece of this world. We packed up on the 9th of May and headed south past Kanab, UT and into no man's land. Now prior to leaving i was a bit see, the night before the big trip i had packed and unpacked 3 times and still could not imagine carrying a pack that heavy for a week. Oh and i still had not even put 2 gallons of water on it. My left arm would lose circulation within minutes. I felt i was doomed. Yet i packed up and prayed someone else would be packing some serious weight also (we estimated the pack weighed around 70lbs). Good thing a few other packs where as heavy as mine. Kerri won the award for lightest pack, weighing in around 35 lbs. The reason we had to pack in water was because we consumed a gallon a day and would not be able to filter water until day 3. Kind of a humbling experience getting down in the the canyon in the heat and hoping water would be there or that i would have enough to get through the days. And all in all, i made it just fine. However, i felt like crap on day 3 and 4 because of dehydration and just all over aches and pains. Motrin has never been such a cherished item. The views and the scenery where absolutely breathtaking. Words cannot describe the feeling of starting at 8000ft above sea level and descending steep, narrow, slick, and winding trail to a low of 2000ft where the Colorado river ran and realizing the beauty in everything in that canyon. It was hard to imagine such a desolate area to be capable of waterfalls and green oasis. The hiking was difficult, yet rewarding. It was such a challenge, yet i was so grateful for the experience. 5 people total from my work went and Kurt brought along a good friend of many years. He fit right in with us. We would wake up at 5am to be hiking by 6 and then after reaching our destination we would hide from the sun, lay flat (take naps), chase rattlesnakes, take showers (when available), and tell great stories. Hiking out of the canyon in two days was the hardest feat of the trip, but it was so cool to look back and see where we had come from and what we had accomplished. I will always remember this trip! I wish these pictures could capture the grandiosity of the canyon in its entirety.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Backcountry Lovin

the last two months have been kickin! work has been good, a couple trips to idaho, a couple jazz games, and tons of skiing! since getting into the whole backcountry skiing, Kurt my guide and co worker, advised me to get some avalanche training. i was able to get a couple day class up at brighton doing some rescue training and snow education. apparently there is a ton of shapes and ways snow can form and hence create some pretty scary situations. so i invested in an avalanche beacon, shove, and probe. the class was sweet. i learned a lot about safety in the backcountry and we were able to make some sweet lines in some great powder. since that class i have hit a couple other sweet peaks. Kurt and i did Reynold's peak in big cotton wood canyon and made some nice lines. the hike was a couple hours long, yet so worth it. One of the original Powder Whores was celebrating his 50th birthday a couple weeks ago so Kurt and i joined him and a couple of his friends on one of the greatest and scariest adventures of my life. we headed south to provo and climbed to the top of Mt. Timpanogos (11,500 ft). we stashed a car in orem and then drove up the provo canyon to sundance ski resort and began hiking at 5am. we started heading up and i soon realized i may have been in over my head for my third time out in the backcountry. the snow was hard and slick and i was using a ton of energy and not getting far. i usually go by the motto "slow and steady wins the race". i had the slow part down.....steady had not arrived at that point. i was quickly becoming frustrated and scared. i could hear the waterfalls all around me and was cross cutting the slopes above these freakin things and struggling. well i made it passed that section, in the dark non the less, and had built some character along the way. once the sun started to come up my eyes were amazed at the cliffs and majestic peaks all around. the beauty was breath taking! once it became to steep to skin up the mountain we packed our skis on our backs and continued on. there were sections where i was just praying not to slip and fall. i would use my hands to reach into the boot tracks and keep climbing. after summiting we crossed over a lake and the cliffs and peaks were even more grand. we rested at a year round hut and then did the last section up this glacier to the summit. by this time i thought i was going to die! i slowly made it up to the top and as i was able to look all around and see the amazing view, this rush of energy came over me and i was ready to ski over 5000 vertical feet of pure soft snow down into the orem valley. we chilled for a while eating lunch waiting for the snow to warm up and be skiable. i looked around and couldnt believe what i had accomplished. it was such an experience. of course it was mixed with prayer and profanity, yet i was grateful to have made it. all in all the hike took about 5.5 hours of hiking. we skied amazing snow for about 1.5 hours and then had to hike a couple miles out on dirt cause the snow ran out. it was pretty cool to be passing hikers in shorts and tank tops and we walked out with skis and snow gear. after we got to the car you could look back up and see how far we had skied and hiked. in the pictures you can see the white covered peaks in the background and get an idea of how far it was. this week my bro scott was able to come down and we hit up a jazz game and two days of DEEP powder. we got hammered with 3 ft of snow and had a blast drawing lines down the mountain. the weather wasnt the greatest but the snow was! then he left back to idaho in the tahoe. :( it was my last day with her. my sister lisa had her 3rd kid and they bought it from me. maybe i sold it too soon with all this new snow we are getting. i will miss it but im glad it went to good hands, plus my niece hallie just loves it. she has a backseat all to herself and a dvd player. feb and march have been amazing. april and may will bring more adventures and i am so glad to be alive and experiencing life and all it can offer. hope you all enjoy the pics.