Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas at Home 2009

Nothing like spending Christmas with family!  This was the first year that Traci, Junah, and I spent Christmas Eve and Day at home together.  For Christmas Eve we re-enacted Luke Chapter 2.  Junah was baby Jesus, Traci was Mary, and I played the part of the Joseph.  Merry Christmas everyone!!!

Christmas Day we enjoyed the morning opening some presents - Junah got his first pair of skis (80cm XC style with strap around bindings), and some sweet Patagonia Bibs that are good for a few sizes, as well as, diaper functional = KEY! 

then we went to the Hollingshead home (Inlaw Christmas Party) to enjoy some sledding on the golf course behind their home.  All was good until food poisoning set in.   I felt it hit me like a rock and could barely drive home after the festivities.  Nothing like spending Christmas night throwing up to the tune of 50+ times - YUCK!!!

I recovered   

Monday, December 14, 2009

Butler Fork to East Raymond Shoulder

Solo Tour! - Headed up into the Butler Fork trees to take a look around after the weekend dump.  From the road the snow was deep to start the skinner.  Problem was that there was only one parking space ava.ilable so I dug myself one with the trusty car shovel (took half an hour).

Heading up the skinner I encountered two guys whom had taken an about face and were heading back to the car after several encounters with the infamous unconsolidated "WHOOMPFFF!" under the snow.  I wished them well and decided to continue on for the XC adventure.  Soon I encountered the infamous little fellows singing their praises "Whoompfa Loompfa Doopity Doo, I've got a warning message for you!" and I must admit at first that it is STARTLING, to say the least.  The snow would unpredictably settle causing the eerie Whoompfing sound that would rattle the surrounding trees and shrubbery.  I even spotted some vibrating trees as far as 150 feet from my person after such an event.

After fifty or so similar experiences I became acquanted with their banter and noted cracking and movements under the snow (remember this is all low angle).  Scurrying and hurrying  I made my way into the Olympus Wilderness area.

Originally I planned this tour to collect snow stability data for future ski tours.  The data is important and monitoring it frequently to observe changes in the snowpack is key.

Once I made my way to the top of the Butler Fork trees, I was overwhelmed with shrubbery and growth and at first pondered my rules about this area and early season skinning.  Often the snow is not deep enough here in the early part of the season and making passage through the growth and over it can be difficult.  Not wanting to settle for the lower elevation snow I took a look at my surroundings and made a new plan.

MT. Raymond - (click to enlarge pic) was looming over the south side of Big Cottonwood and its slabby peak was slowly poking its head out from the clouds.  With the snowpack in early season shape I headed to the ridge to investigate the snow further as I wanted to have a look at north facing aspects to see what was going on with my snow. 

After tromping and gliding along for an hour or so I decided to have some downhill experience. I also wanted to find a better route to the ridge that was
out of these thick trees.  (The Snow was Good here).

Reaching the valley floor I made a hypotenoose like approach to the ridge seperating Big Cottonwood Canyon from Millcreek Canyon to the North.