Well, after last week’s adventures a storm came in. I was skeptical, but it ended up dumping a good load of cold snow to quite low in the rockies. It’s smoky like crazy here, so it’s hard to check out something to ski before you’ve already done the approach and are standing at the bottom of it, so Luke, Natalie and I went up toward Collier Peak to see what we would see.
Once we made the approach, it was not the white glory that Luke squinted at through the thick smoke, but hanging white glory, above steep, exposed ice. Natalie is new to this sort of thing, and wisely gave it a pass once seeing it. I convinced Luke to at least swing some axes before giving up on it, but after a few swings he decided it was over his head. I hammered on up it, finding 30-odd centimeters of POWDER snow after not too long. Well, perhaps not actual powder. I’ve always believed the word “powder” is thrown around too much, clouding the difference between merely fresh snow, and the highest quality snow possible. But it’s August for crying out loud, soft, fresh snow is as good as it gets.
The ride down was wicked fun, I remember being just blown away years back at skiing powder in October, this is another next-level experience for me. There are a lot more cracks than I remember from last year, the initial tiny tongue of ice that makes its way through the first cliff band is also steeper and narrower than it used to be, the effects of a hot summer after a mediocre winter. After weaving through all the cracks and making my way down the narrow ribbon of snow on the lower face, there was just ice left. With only a 30m rope, I decided to rappel over to a shelf of rock that the glacier has vacated, and use that to climb down instead of setting up probably 5 v-threads in a row and rappelling the whole thing. It worked out quite well, and made it much less puckering and time consuming to get back to beautiful loose scree.
This song makes me crack up and bang my head at the same time, helps to offset the serious business of skiing pow.