ahhhh the thrill of adventure
Although I have had some great adventures over the season, not a lot of them were new to me. I realized after my two million year, that I was a little burnt out over lapping the same runs, or going back to the same places. Not that I didn’t explore a lot that year but there were some weeks where I repeated very similar days. I recognize that my real energy comes from exploring new areas and summitting new mountains. The thrill of discovering a new line, studying it for days or years and then finally figuring out how to summit it and hopefully ski the best looking line.
Hughes Peak has been on my list of things to do for years…years. Its a small peak amongst a bunch of massive wild mountains but it is a crazy little brother to them. I have always wondered how we would get up her.
So a few weeks ago we sledded into this remote area of the Monashees and set up base camp in a super secret trailer. On the first day we adventured around scoping the zone out and then the next day we snowmobiled towards Hughes. I thought it would be an aggressive up and then an aggressive down. But as we stood looking up the ascent route we were all scared, it looked like three hours of cornice exposed terrain. So we chose to skin around the mountain and search for another weakness.
Our next animal encounter was two bald eagles who circled around us as we a skinned up a couloir and approached the summit. After some minor scrambling we finally reached the top. I put on a rope and scoped out the summit line but it felt like the crew was more psyched on the couloir . So we skied down 50 feet and again set up a quick anchor off a rock. I probed and shovelled my way past the cornice and into the couloir.
It felt so great to finally visit Hughes and enjoy some of its fine features. A longish tour back to the sleds and then back to base. The next day we woke up with some great expectations and headed up Mt-Thor.
I had attempted Thor years ago and was turned around by the burly nature of the mountain. This time we had a little more beta and were heading to ski this wicked couloir. Our friends had skied it in Feb and we felt it deserved another visit.
It took hours to approach and finally we were underneath it. The day was remaining cool with a thin overcast, it didn’t feel like the heat was penetrating down to us. This lack of heat was refreshing since the couloir has a few big overhanging cornices, and if they were warming up we wouldn’t want to be anywhere near the couloir. But they were remaining cool so we saddled up and boot-packed up the couloir, it was steep and unrelenting, seemingly over 45 degrees for its entire 1500ft with some bit steeper than 50. Crazy, but finally we broke through and reached the ridge. The 150 vertical to the summit was well beyond our technical desire, so we turned tips and shredded down. My legs became seized from the steepness and I had to rest in the fan so I could enjoy the finish.
I also knew the day was not done, we could have easily headed down but I knew that with another 1500 ft of touring we could access another incredible run that would feed us closer to our camp. So we skinned for another hour and found ourselves dropping into a fantastic finishing run.
That is what ski touring is all about for me, adventure, discovery, wild places with great friends.
And a video from Joey Vosburgh..thanks Joey