Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Finally! Some Good Corn. B-Ridge, April 5, 2017

At the top of Dead Tree Peak, trying to learn how to fly my new toy, and doing so while on a mountain while skiing is not the best place to learn. The drone is a total time waster, but I lucked out with a couple of good shots. 

Today was the first time I drove all the way up North Canyon since last spring. 

Meadows just below Kara's Pot Farm (KPF).

The 'Three-Nephites' over the drainage in KPF. Kind of tricky on skis when the logs are not covered.

Busy as a beaver . . . 

Oak brush and shorts, not the best combo.

The snow-stake (rock) completely free of snow.

Approaching Rudy's. 

Rudy's Flat

23 inches.

Altimeter is quite accurate   . . . blood from my fight with Gamble Oak. I lost.

Coyote slipping on the hard pack on a 38 degree slope.

Douglas Fir is easy to spot by their cockroach tails.

Dead tree in Dead Tree Bowl, Antelope Island beyond.

Tree-rock in the Mahogany where the summer trail tops out on Bountiful Ridge. 

Looking down a ski run I call 'Scott Cutler's Yellow Coat,' named for the jacket of a good friend. We (Scott, me and 4 or 5 more friends) camped here in the snow one late spring night when we were about 14 (about 1975). Scott was the only one smart enough to bring a warm coat and he was toasty while the rest of us froze our asses all night. 

The top of Scott Cutler's Yellow Coat. Most years one must down climb the rocks to start skiing, This year it was ski-able from the top, first time in about five years.

Tree wells everywhere, now even more pronounced with the melting snow.

Dead downed tree on Rectangle North. 

Tracks on upper Rectangle Run.

Heading up for run #2. Down on right, up on left.

Cornice over Rectangle Bowl, City Creek Canyon and SLC.

Bad boy! I almost lost it when the battery nearly died and I couldn't get it to fly to me (sun was so bright I couldn't see it on the screen). Panicked, I finally hit 'return to home' and it flew back up and landed itself  at the take-off. I just had to skin back up to retrieve it (about  3/4 mile and 1,000 vertical).  

Yeah, not too happy at this moment due to the almost-lost drone, but it all turned out OK.

City Creek Canyon and the central Wasatch beyond.

(L-R) Gobblers Knob, Millicent, Raymond, Superior, Monte Cristo, Dromedary, Broads Fork Twins, Thunder, Olympus, Lone Peak, with many unnamed peaks in between.

(L-R) Sessions, Big Black, Burro Mine, oh and my skis. . . .

(L-R) northern tip of Antelope Island, Raft River Mtns (barely seen in upper left), Promontory Point, Ben Lomand, Thurston, Francis Bountiful Peak.

For all the hiking I do over rocks and logs, these skis are in amazingly good shape.

Spring is here when the grass turns green at 7,100 feet. . . 

Another month and I'll be riding this.

Bountiful Ridge, March 11, 2017

The first half of March was definitely like a lamb, the temps about 10 degrees above normal, but the last half of the month saw a return to winter, slamming the door on another early summer which has been the norm for the last decade. Today's conditions were way over-ripe. There was no refreeze last night and by mid-morning the temperatures at 8,000 feet were in the low 50's. The snow was wet, slushy and very slow, almost too slow to turn or else it would stop me in my tracks.

The North Canyon road was still too snowy to drive so I booted from the end of the pavement . . . 

. . . which meant this. Snow, mud, snow and more mud. The snow was not continuous until reaching the 'rocky switchback' just below Rudy's Flat. 

When spring hits I wear the crampons full-time, along with my skins. The snow conditions are just too variable and if I you wait until the crampons are actually needed it's often too steep, icy and  awkward to take of skis to mount up. When skinning a steep slope they are mostly unnoticeable. On flatter terrain it's impossible to kick-and-glide. 


Glorious! Sun, snow and mountains.

B-ridge, from the shortcut traverse. 

My snow stake. The top of this rock is roughly four feet above the ground, so today we have about 24-inches (1/4 mile SW of Rudy'  Flat at about 7K feet).

Arriving at Ruy's Flat with my bow-legged stride self evident.

The real snow stake (avy probe) at Rudy's Flat (7.1K feet). 132 centimeters (51 inches), which is double the coverage compared to the rock, a quarter mile down the trail.  

I know, I know - weird habits - placing rocks in tree-crotches only to see if anyone notices. This one is 6.5 feet off the bare ground during the summer and the last time I replaced it was last October. There is another 'tree-rock' set in a Mountain Mahogany on the ridge above, and it has remained there for over a decade. Surprising because it's right next to the summer trail and only about four-feet off the ground.  

Chickadees handiwork.

178 centimeters (71 inches) in mid-Rectangle Bowl at about 7.8K feet. Aspect is everything, this spot is a NW aspect about 3/4 miles from Rudy's Flat, with substantially more snow.

I was surprised the cornices weren't huge given the big winds we had the last few weeks. View S.

View SW towards the Oquirhs with the City Creek Canyon/North Canyon divide in the middle. 

Topping out on Rectangle Peak.

View NE and Sessions Mountain.

View N: (right to left) Sessions, Bountiful Peak, Frances Peak and Thurston Peaks, with Ben Lomand peeking over Thurston's shoulder. 

Tree moss, which is not common in the Wasatch. This caught my eye from a long way off with the green being a total contrast to the white and gray of winter. 

On my exit run I like to ski the glades down the fall-line to the Mueller trail. This is at the last bridge (hidden under snow) when mountain biking riding from Mueller's to Rudy's.

KSL's chopper did some touch and goes on Rudy's Flat . . .

. . . so I had to leave my mark. 

Tire tracks still visible in the mud from last fall. 

My tracks down the Rectangle.

I heard voices well before seeing these guys. 

Lower KPF drainage.

Really?? By all means, tat the hell out of your body but leave the trees alone.