Tuesday, December 16, 2014

12/14/14 6800 ft might do it!!!

Today marked the latest opening date of the ski area since I started riding in '06. Dang! With no snow in the immediate forecast it might be the solstice before we open! Double Dang!! The silver linings to these clouds are tough to focus on, but here they are:
#1 Plenty of time to catch up with friends and make delicious dinners!
#2 I can still spend $ until the season starts!
#3 Tons of snow above 6500 ft.
#4 Not exactly a bad thing to de-hype our mountain, and making the newbies wait might convince them to mountain bike or move to Tahoe.

With these silver linings dancing in our heads we decided to try our luck with Heliotrope Ridge, a summer hiking trail that leads to the glaciers below the peak of Mt. Baker. Dan, the neighbor from upstairs, drove and Carl Wollschlager from Bellingham led the way.
                Carl is another Midwest transport who moved out here in the early 2000s. People often get him confused with Carl Lautenbach . The issue being that they are both “gnarly” snowboarders and only one can have the nickname Gnarl Carl! So I decided to start calling Wollschlager “Tarll Carl” because he is taller than Lautenbach and it rhymes with gnarl. Some will get it and the rest will be confused!
                As we made our way up the trail we crossed several semi- frozen creeks and I fell in one halfway up the boot. My feet and socks stayed dry! I was stoked not to have a frozen block of meat for a foot the rest of the day. Dan wasn’t feeling well and wanted to puke all day.  Carl and I were able to start skinning using our splitboards once we reached the glacier. Dan had to sweat it out on the boot pack and by the time we hit the ridge I was wondering if he stopped and turned around.  He came into view as Carl and I were taking a few photos of the “Awesomeness”.
                Carl and I both commented on how amazing we felt on the ridgeline in the raging wind. It felt like this is where I am supposed to be in life and what I love doing. It was the best part of the day. Just to sit in the high alpine and feel like the season had begun.
                The snow on the way down was actually pretty good! It was super consolidated and made for a nice turn. We stayed in the gullies because the snow was heavily wind affected in some places. It was the first day I used a GoPro for filming and was stoked with it and that my splitboard made it out without hitting any rocks. We were all really tired on the hike out, but Dan managed to finally puke about 500 yards from the car!! Awesome day of hiking!!!


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