Saturday, May 26, 2012

Bountiful Peak, Bike to Ski, May 19, 2012

Terraceing courtesy of CCC work of the 1930's.
Central Wasatch seen on the far skyline: (R-L) Lone Peak, Thunder Mountain, Broads Fork Twins, Pfeiferhorn, Am. F. Twins, Monte Cristo, Superior.

Yesterday's snow made for dreamy turns.

Francis Peak from just below Bountiful Peak.

Bountiful Peak "headwall".

The road. Seemed steeper than it should've been. For comparison, it was a similar in length and vertical gain to that of riding to Elephant Rock on the Mueller Park trail: 3.2 miles, 1,100 vertical gain, starting elevation - 8,160 feet, B-Pk summit -  9,260 feet.

'Ol-Blue', claiming first ascent of Bountiful Peak for a mountian bike, without supplemental oxygen. 

The goods. Not much left.

Bountiful Peak from top of ski hill.

Too much gear.


Ski tracks, with bike and ski gear seen at edge of snow, upper right.

For all the tooth counters, yes, I ride a triple, ski a double, and sometimes drop a knee.  

Bountiful Peak Bike and Ski, Saturday May 19, 2012

Winter 2011-12 is almost history. There are just a few lingering snowfields to ski; at least at my usual haunts in Davis County. Anything more will require higher ground like the central Wasatch, Uintah’s or maybe the Tetons. So, Saturday, May 19, 2012, was my last ski day in Davis County. I drove up Skyline Drive above Bountiful, the road that passes just below the eyesore block "B" on the hill. Although, the "B" is nothing compared to the damage caused by ATV's and the NRA'ers, tearing new trails and shooting anything in sight. What is worse: aspens riddled with bullets holes or tons of shot up beer cans and 2-litre soda bottles littering the ground?  At the old Buckland Flats Campground there has to be several tons of old targets covering several acres of ground. It looks like the landfill absent seagulls. Spent brass is everywhere. When I was a kid my Mom would kick my ass for being so trashy, so I can only conclude there are way too many inept old mothers out there who taught their now-grown kids NO sense of responsibility.

Soapbox aside, I drove to the top of the mountain and parked at the Morgan divide/overlook (8,160 feet) which is at the junction of the Session’s Mountain Road and the Bountiful Peak Road. There was no snow along the road to this point, due to the westerly aspects, so I was a bit concerned I’d find no skiable snow on the NE side of Bountiful Peak. The gates to both the Sessions Mountain and Bountiful Peak roads are still locked, presumably due to snow, so I brought the mountain bike along to cover space quickly.

I strap skis to bike and start pedaling up the B-Peak road, riding around the gate and up the surprisingly steep road. Ok, maybe not that steep, but, in my defense, I was hauling 20+ pounds of ski and camera gear. A half-mile up the road I pass four backpackers who tell me they are headed to Farmington Lakes for the night. An early start for such a short hike, 4-5 miles from the lakes, but I’ve never been one to sit still in camp. Too much nervous energy, which is perhaps an indicator as to why I haven’t excelled in my cubicle-hinged career. I pedal on, wondering, "What are they going to do all day at those muddy little ponds?"  I look back periodically to see their progress, but I never see them after I round the first bend.

A mile up the road I encounter a bank of snow on the crest of descending ridge, and I try to ride it but ultimately I’m forced off the bike to walk the snow to next bare road. On the snow I see that yesterday’s valley rain fell as snow up here at 8,500 feet. There is 2 inches of fresh, spongy, new snow. I cross three more snow banks before reaching the spur ridge leading 300 feet to the summit of Bountiful Peak. Almost revelation time; will there be snow enough to ski? I push the bike up the rocky trail to the summit and as I top out, I see a nice, but short, bowl of deep snow on the NE shoulder of Bountiful Peak.

I walk the bike down the ridge, 1/8 mile, and transition from biker to skier. I’ve skied this slope before, last time was two years ago on Memorial Day with Brett Fuller, but that year there was substantially more snow, requiring us to skin from the parking lot in Farmington Canyon almost 3 miles and 2,000 vertical feet  below. This year the snow peters out just below the boulders in upper cirque. My runs will be short this year, so it’ll be quantity over length. I ski five or six short laps, the first being the longest, down into the Douglas Fir below the cliffs, but find the snow lower down to be intermittent and pocked with rock, emerging trees and avalanche debris. My subsequent runs are limited to the upper bowl where I stop at the tree line and boot back to the top, the snow supportable so no skins were needed.

Although the runs were short, the turns were fun on creamy, day old snow topping a hard, frozen crust, but with just enough give to keep the turns smooth and idiot proof. It was a day of experimenting with camera angles and video scenarios, not so much of pure skiing due to the lack of vertical snow. Finding a ten-foot pole of PVC pipe on the ridge, I use it for a tripod and I film the short runs using the PVC as a slalom gate to capture tight “off-body” video. The POV video I’ve taken all winter is boring and passĂ©. How much footage does one need of my bouncing knees, ski tips and pole plants? My poor family, they’ve endured too much bad video the last few years, but never a sour word.

Done with skiing, I load up and push the bike over the ridge to descend the brushy slope 200 yards to the road. I hear voices and see the backpackers sitting on the west ridge of Bountiful Peak, at the summer car-park. I had skied for a couple of hours and in that time they have progressed about three miles from where we passed. I hear joy in their voices and I admire their ability to move slow and enjoy the moment of a crisp, sunny, spring day in the mountains. “The secret to life is enjoying the passage of time”. (JT) Something I don’t always capture.

All downhill, I pedal hard and descend the 1,000 feet to the truck in short time. As I pedal up the short incline to the truck, I see 20 or so ATV’ers parked nearby and their eyes pop when they see me pedal up with skis affixed to bike. I hear mumbled smirks and stifled laughs. What?  Only gas and gun-powder allowed on this road? Just my opinion, but they look way more pathetic with their camo’ed, potbellys jiggling as they go redline. What can I say; some folks could've used better parenting.

Video posted on facebook.

No comments:

Post a Comment