26 March 2011

"Jon, you really need to get a life"

An here's how it's turning out on a Saturday in March...

Union Bowl from chair - boot climb to top next

Union Bowl cornice view one

Union Bowl cornice view two

All mine...

First tracks Enchanted Forest 9AM

Now that's a life I can live with.

Thanks to Copper Mountain, the sun and a really good snow-filled weather pattern from Mother Earth.

23 March 2011

North Ten Mile Creek Ski Morning

Got out this morning for a little ski up North Ten Mile Creek...the weather was gorgeous with blue skies, puffy clouds and lots of sun. New snow the night before was perfect. A little bushwhacking after the Eagle Nest Wilderness boundary, but mainly the trail was etched out enough.

Planned on going up to the meadows below the Gore Range but saw some deep footprints and scat that were fresh and when I looked up there was a huge moose cow just above me. I stayed on the edge of the open space thinking she might amble off, but then she lay down, yawned a few times and made herself comfortable...

Very sleepy moose...
So...thinking that I wouldn't disturb her any more I just turned around and headed back. Probably could have made it by her, but at under 100 yards, and downhill, she would charge me faster than I could get by if she felt like it. Cowardly? Maybe. Respectful. Very.

I did take a little fun video on the way down - and nearly took out a dog laying in the middle of the trail, not to mention a few hikers...fortunately nobody panicked and all was well.

Music: Saltwater by Chicane

19 March 2011

Buffalo Mountain Hike

Finally got up the trail to scout out a possible ski descent of Buffalo Mountain. Decided to use YakTraks and hiking shoes, just to see if I could get past treeline. Getting to the top of the Wildernest development in Silverthorne put me around 9700 ft at the trailhead. Ran into a couple folks already having breathing difficulties (even the rescue team was called), but the thin air felt fine to me. Broke a strap on the YakTraks and had to rebend some wires to make them functional again, but they worked surprisingly well. The trail was pretty hard packed, then slowly softened and deepened as I went up. The goal was to was to get to the north side of Buffalo where there's an incredible 30 degree slope devoid of trees.

After two hours of climbing I reached it and the wind was howling, but the vews were impressive.

View of the north side of Buffalo Mountain

View toward the north

Overlooking the town of Dillon and the dam
The choice to not take gaiters made the final 1/4 mile a post-holing slog, but it was enough to get the idea of where to go next time with skis.

I met up with this fellow on the way down...      
Hopefully this week we'll have a nice, calm sunny day and I'll skin up for a few runs - after doing some avalanche testing of course....

09 March 2011

Snowy Steep Wednesday

A good 4-6 inches on top of the 12" this week and things were looking up on the mountain. Headed up first chair to Copper Bowl and had the whole place nearly to myself for almost an hour. Winds were gusting over 25mph at the top of Union Peak. Took a few pics of the morning...

First run down Julie's Vision, nice soft deep powder on the leeward slope.
So good I had to do it twice...
Hike up the West Ridge to drop off the ten foot cornice just past Bradley's Plunge.
Feeling mighty good and the ice beard had not yet grown to its full extent yet!
A few diggers as the snow got heavier and the sun came out, but it was a glorious way to start the day!

04 March 2011

Sun and Snow

Good to be back in CO. Have enjoyed some tele skiing at Copper and snow shoeing up Ten Mile Creek, some productive working and hanging out with my parents. So many cool things about this place, hope to soon have some ski videos and trip reports of another winter of exploring the Rockies.