Wish I Had Said That

"I learned long ago not to be intimidated by an absence of difficulty"
- John Gill

"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."-Frederick Douglass

"If my thought dreams could be seen, they'd probably put my head in a guillotine"-Bob Dylan

Friday, March 23, 2012


The Back 40 at South Cottonwood
Is it time to switch some gearing on the recreational focus?  I have been tossing this one around once more, like I always do in the spring.

Rock-climbing is a very unforgiving pursuit.  Its not exactly like riding a bike, paddling a boat, or most other activities (I prefer to not put climbing in the category of a sport).  The more time spent away from the rock the harsher the mental grip can become.  Clear, calm, mental rhythms are the essence.  Nothing is more annoying to me then being up on a a climb I know I can do but being too weak to finish it, well nothing except being scared in that situation.  Weakness equates to fear and is fertile ground for its growth.

So the season of change is upon us.  Skiing in the mountains well get some more attention, but at the moment my legs are feeling heavy and unresponsive.  Its all about taking advantage of the situation and not being pigeon-holed to one interest.

Whatever you do have fun.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Skiing takes up way too much of my time.
More death in the mountains in the past week.
Canada is still on my mind.
I didn't go to ski academy.
Started to submit photos today.
Ski camp is happening this weekend....
Snow Fairies Dancing
Sleep outside, move yourself, bootpacking required.
No sleds, cats, and 'copters.
North-facing and wind-buffed.
The cornices are mitigated.
Leave your one-piece and clique at home...
Get Some
This is an open invitation.

"Live to Ski"- Thanks for the inspiration Steve Romeo.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Getting Out

With the amount of time I spend skiing and especially skiing in the mountains its behooves me to get out and taste the goods of other areas.  While we have extraordinary skiing opportunities here in Montana, I have been pining for a few years to get up to the interior mountains of British Columbia.  I am always one to opt for my own adventure via independence.  Plus, life is expensive enough as is.  So we were off to guide and provide for ourselves.  The amount of terrain available in ranges such as the Bugaboos, Monashees, Selkirks, and the myriads of other ranges blows the mind.  However, it seemed prudent to get a proper introduction on this initial foray.  So it was a simple choice:  Roger's Pass in the Selkirks.

Zana was able to get a week off of work and we made the trek up north through Golden to stay for 5 nights at the only roadside lodging at Rogers Pass in Glacier National Park of British Columbia.  Needless to say, we were both geeked to get out and explore this terrain.  Being one to usually live simply it felt quite luxurious to be paying for accommodations in such a ski mecca.  Nice, overpriced, and oh so convenient lodging.  The Canucks and Euros making us poor Americanos feel like good ol' common folk. The car was packed with $250 of choice USA foods and produce, a large grip of elk, and of course all of our allotted beer quota.  We quickly settled in for the week.

We may be paupers, but we know how to move and shred in the hills.  Having a ski partner like Zana is priceless.  She can move in the mountains for 12 hours at the same pace morning through evening.  Plus, she is oh so very excellent at reigning in some of my more fantastical ideas while out and about.  While I may want to boot-up and ski every halfway decent looking north-facing couloir, it is not always the best choice for that particular day's ski.   But, if we agree that conditions are ripe and ready she can be counted on to remain safe and yet steadily move towards our goal.

After a mid-day check-in we put skis and skins on and went out the backdoor.  2000' feet of steep, over-skied, forest brought us to a variable run down through some beautiful old-growth fir-spruce-hemlock forest.  Nothing to really make you buzz, but fresh air and mountain views are always good medicine.  The views out into the Selkirks were eye-popping and created fertile grounds for tomorrow's travels.

The forecast was calling for two more days of good visibility followed by some smallish disturbances.  We were able to get up early the next day and bypassed permits and got going before 7.   So without to much more wordiness here are a sizable array of visual aids.

(note on photos:  The majority of these are untouched photos. In my photographic pursuits I find that by not overshooting scenes I can control and learn more about situations and light.  Too much digital manipulation takes away from the process for me.  I like to come back from a good day with only a few select photos that I deem worthy out of the gate as opposed to sitting at computer for days sorting through endless shots.  While this may limit my output it provides lasting insight.  To each their own.)

Good Morning.
Z Crossing a large run-out zone going up to Balu Pass, cool temps for these ranges at 15 Fahrenheit. 

Looking west into the Cougar drainage.  We would ski the glacier/moraines in the foreground in absolute no visibility a few days later.
Cougar Peak and Ridge....terrain is looking big.
Looking South over the Trans-Canada 1.
Only posing of the week.  Zana making the low-angle slope look good.

Cheops Mountain in foreground with Mount Sir Donald in the back....naming peaks like these for obscure white dudes always seems odd.
Next Day.  Up the Loop Brook to the Bonney Glacier.  This area had been closed for several days to allow for bombing along the road.  Thus, fresh and settled pow.
Looking North at Cheops (across from mouth of Loop Brook)
Z followed by our gracious local guides on the second run off the Bonney Moraines.  At first they thought we were just some more punks from Revelstoke aimlessly following a skin track.  Not these cats.  Hooking up with locals (especially veteran ski patroller locals) usually has its benefits.  Our benefits were two 700 metre runs of outstanding variety and intensity.  The next day's tour follows the spine-like feature of the Lily Glacier lateral moraines seen on the northwest facing slope in the background.
Bonney Moraines.  Incredible 100-200 metre features perched above some super rowdy runs.
Looking at the toe of the Lily Glacier (above blue ice-fall).  The next day's tour would lead us onto the Lily, but snow and super poor visibility would stop us after a few hundred metres of roped uphill travel.
Fantastic touring going up to the Lily.
Day Five proceeds.

On the way from Revelstoke to Nelson.  Revelstoke looks like a place to live.  Not just a resort town filled with real estate agents.  It actually has history and affordable looking housing.  More than a transient community for sure.   Nelson was as expected.  Everyone feeling groovy.  Probably lots of surfers living in the mountains.  Multitudes of lost looking souls.  Organic everything.  Looks like a good place to take a trustfund and act like you are poor.  Like a Canadian version of Arcata, CA.  Been there, done it.  We jammed after a meal and headed to Kootenay Pass.
Camping at the top of the Kootenay Pass.  Neato terrain.  Kinda similar to Teton Pass, but with no Glory hike or Taylor Mountain.  Skied inside a complete wet-blizzard, after the second size 2 avalanche release we agreed to bust camp and head to the states.  Skiing with no visibility and releasing avalanches just is not as fun as it sounds.
Amazing week in the northland.  Skied 6 out of 7 days.  I actually was able to wear Zana down at the end.  Got her close to buying a lift ticket even.  The world has once again been expanded for me, we are so insignificant in the grand scheme of it all.  Love the feel of the mountains and forests up there.  I am constantly reminded of Zana's Canadian citizenship.  How enticing is that?  To have such big country to explore in the winter.  Plus, non-attachment to the disgusting political situation in the states and the mass consumerism of the populace.  I don't need a stinking empire.

Thanks for reading.