Monday, April 26, 2010

Mount Saint Helens - 04.25.10

5600' elevation gain
12 miles RT
Left car: 6:45 am
Summit: ~12 pm
Left summit: 12:45 pm
Back at car: 1:45 pm
7 hours car to car

Josh and I originally planned a ski trip for Shuksan. But with the warmer weather and closing weather window, we scaled back our objective to Mount Saint Helens. We figured with the southern exposure, the route would have a more springlike snow pack.

So we drove down Saturday night after dinner to sleep at the trail head. We arrived too late to pick up permits, so went along with our now rogue plan. At the parking lot we threw down our bivys in the grass and got to sleep with the alarm set for 6am. It was cold overnight and we awoke to frost on our bivys and black ice in the parking lot. It took us a bit to get prepped, and we were finally hitting the trail at 6:45am.

We were booting it from the start as there was not continuous snow on the trail in the woods. The snow that was there, was plenty firm, so we stayed with boots while still in the trees. After about an hour, we were above treeline, and saw that some other skiers were skinning. They claimed the skinning wasn't bad, and so Josh and I gave it a try. We skinned for a while until we encountered a steeper section that was icy. It slowed us down and we were definitely not having fun on it, so we resorted to booting again. I once again got concerned about the quality of the ski down. It was overcast, but the temps did not appear to warming enough to soften the snow.

We noticed out of the woods that there appeared to be a fresh light coat of new snow. As we got higher up there was more fresh snow. Mostly blown into pockets or foot prints and definitely not offering full coverage. Other hikers were using crampons, but we found them unnecessary. Josh was struggling due to his boots, which he guessed may be a bit too small for him.

About halfway up, there seemed to be enough fresh snow coverage to try skinning again. It was a flatter section and there was an obvious skin track from a guy ahead of us. So we transitioned again. This went well for a bit, but there were plenty of icy patches where the wind had blown the new snow away and I had to resort to some dicey edging to keep going. I foolishly opted to continue skinning through a particularly steep section that actually had good steps in it. This really slowed me down and had me making some kick turns in icy patches. Josh abandoned the skinning earlier as he was more sketched than me about the ice. Unfortunately for him, the skinning was easier on his feet and he was back marching up the hill turning his feet into hamburger.

At a flatter section less than 1000' from the summit, I stopped to wait for Josh. The sun was out now, and it was fairly wind protected there, so I took that time to remove the skins from my skis so I wouldn't have to mess with that process on the crater rim where it would surely be more windy. Josh arrived, and explained his woes to me. He said he was going to make it to the top, but it would not be comfortable. He told me to go at my own pace and he would see me there.

The last bit to the summit was a struggle. The route took a fairly straight up the slope angle, and there was lots of toes into the slope climbing which was proving quite tiring after already completing 5000' of elevation gain. The final stretch actually did go straight up to the summit, but I wasn't too interested and cut a rising traverse to the east where a flat area on the crater rim provided a good lunching/resting spot. There was already a crowd there, and that is where I headed.

Surprisingly there were some technically difficult moments on the traverse as my boots were not kicking into the slope as much as I would have liked. I arrived at my intended location and found a spot for myself among the dozen people already there. I put some warm jackets on and waited for Josh while readying my gear for descent. I looked into the crater, took a few pictures, and then ate lunch once Josh arrived. We chatted a bit, while watching other skiers take off down the hill. It looked like the snow had finally turned skiable. I told Josh we should get moving as the snow lower on the mountain will be worse the longer we wait.

We took off down the hill. The first turns from the crater were great. Fast on supportive corn. We regrouped periodically to choose the line of our descent. The middle section of the mountain had the worst snow of the trip due to deposits of fresh snow that were really sticky and deeper than the corn around it. Transitioning from the faster corn to the sticky snow would throw you forward and almost "go over the bars." In one particular instance for me, I was trying to recover from one such scenario and a woman skinning up started yelling "hands forward" to me. Josh and I mused that she wasn't aware of why that wouldn't be good hitting the sticky snow.

Closer to the bottom there were less sticky patches and now it was a matter of picking appropriate lines to get us back onto the trail into the woods. The skiing was good, but then transitioned into the typical "luge run" where all skiers follow the same line creating a well polished path that is really fast. Stepping out of the run into deeper snow can often result in a crash, so one has to be careful. Josh and I negotiated the final bits above treeline, and then it was back into the woods for the low angle luge run. (Which was still pretty fast.) I took my skis off a few times to carry over bare spots, but still made it to the parking lot an hour after leaving the crater rim.

This trip was great! I think I had a lot more fun than last year. The snow was consistently better for skiing than last May. And I finally got to look into the crater and see the dome. Josh was good company and we had a good time. Prior to this trip, I was mildly concerned about my cardio fitness. While not up to my usual level, I felt pretty good on this trip. My experience from this trip makes me want to put this on the calendar every year.

My pics are here.

Exit 38 Exploration - 04.22.10

Adam and I took a trip to Exit 38 to explore extending/expanding routes on the Easy Street Slab. The forecast was to be in the 60°s and mostly sunny, but when we arrived in the parking area, there was a light mist falling. We opted to at least go for a hike presuming if the weather got worse, we wouldn't be climbing.

The weather didn't get worse, and after the twenty minute hike we were looking at the wet slab.

Adam said he would lead up the least wet route which was ES1, or third from the right. We geared up. Transitioning from muddy ground to rock was a bit sketchy, but he made the lead and then traversed to the anchor for ES2 before bringing me up. Fortunately the slabs are fairly easy, so the water did not affect us too adversely.

At the belay it was perhaps raining a bit harder now, but still not a full soaking. We couldn't really see anything that we wanted to look at, so I led out on the next pitch to the upper chains. There were a few wet bits that I did not feel comfortable on and I even placed a cam on the upper section to protect a wet move to get to a bolt. I got to the top chains and brought Adam up.

We were cold and wet, but now was the exploration time. I had Adam belay me out right just to check out the terrain. I had no intention of doing a lead in the rain. The terrain above looked dirty and not worthy of bolting. The terrain further to the right (where I did not venture looked a bit better.)

I came back to the anchors and belayed Adam up a bit. We both agreed that the terrain immediately above us did not look promising, but there was a knob above that looked fun. We were cold and starting to get wet, so we set about rappelling.

On the rappel I checked out the right side where there was a decent looking corner.

There was a set of anchor bolts above the corner that may have been used to develop the crag. We considered the possibility of extending ES3 with a short second pitch to those bolts. But there wasn't as much there as we wanted to be or anticipated. It was an interesting outing at least.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Leavenworth - 04.18.10

Sabrina and I had originally planned a full weekend of climbing, hopefully in Squamish. But as the date neared, the weather was set not to cooperate. We scaled back our grand scheme to one day in Leavenworth with the better weather. (Forecast was 73°F and mostly sunny.)

Our goal was to climb Heart of Gold (5.10-) and link it with Prime Rib (5.10b). I had roughly done this combo with Steve last year, but were rained off of Prime Rib. I also got us off route on Heart of Gold and we never climbed the third pitch of it.

We arrived in Leavenworth around 7:30am and it was still in the 30°s. So we stopped by and hassled some friends we saw in the Snow Creek parking lot before driving up to Duty Dome. It was getting warmer and as we hiked to the base of the route. We had a little difficulty determining which start we wanted, and I opted for the direct start. (The "cheat start" as called in the book involves coming in from the left on a ledge system. But it puts the first bolt at your feet making clipping it a strange scenario. Or you could run it out to the second bolt and risk a nasty fall.) The direct start goes up some flakes and cracks for about eight feet before you are near the first bolt. I had difficulty with the moves and it messed with my head, unfortunately setting the tone for the rest of the day. After numerous balks I finally made a committing move that would allow me to place gear in an overlap that would keep me off the deck if I fell. I then placed one more piece before getting to the first bolt.

After that the next two bolts are on a rightward traverse and kept my head spinning until the route started progressing in a more upward fashion. Once above the initial section, the pitch is thin slab/friction moves all the way to the chains. I arrived and started to chill in the wind as I brought Sabrina up. We discussed the next pitch and she was off. Shortly after she went out of sight she exclaimed she saw chains, which were actually below her. (So it is sort of a downward traversing pitch.) Once there she brought me over.

While I am not sure where the actual crux of the pitch is, I am sure it was within the first three bolts. Sabrina would say it was between the second and third bolt as she fell in that area. (But possibly due to the fact she was a little to the left of the route.) The route steps steeply rightward off the belay and then heads up relatively straight to the next anchor. The first bolt was about six feet to the right of the anchor. Rather than traverse out there, I put a draw on the anchor and reached out to clip the first bolt and then clip the rope to it. This may have proved to be an unnecessary step because as I went to lead the route, I down climbed a few moves giving me a top rope advantage even if I did not clip the first bolt. Those first moves went smoothly and soon I was finding my way up the slab. Sometimes there were nice little pockets, other times it was palms or tiny crimping holds. Closer to the top of the pitch the difficulty eased back considerably as many crack like features started to appear. This was a nice slab pitch that rivals those found in Darrington. I brought Sabrina up and she mentally prepared for her lead.

I didn't remember any of the final pitch of the route from last year. We could see to the first bolt and the moves looked relatively easy to get there. But minimal protection would be found between the belay and the bolt looming a dozen feet above us. Sabrina got at least one cam in before getting up to clip the bolt and gazing in wonder at the next group of thin moves to reach the next bolts. After some contemplation she disappeared out of sight (and sound.) She brought me up the final pitch and we did a walk off from the anchor which was maybe 3rd class slabs with some exposure.

We sat and had a snack. Since neither of us had brought a summit pack, we were a bit thirsty and contemplating the Prime Rib route. Both of our nerves were a bit frayed from climbing Heart of Gold, and we weren't sure we could tackle Prime Rib. I looked at the first bit (a dirty wide crack) and could see the moves. I decided to give it a go. Two pieces up and I was struggling to make my next move up. The footholds I thought I would use when viewing the route forced me away from the crack and made my position awkward. I had also placed a cam in the crack which used up a valuable jam location. I moved the cam around to see it having that location for my hand would make things better, and it didn't. So I told Sabrina I was done with this route and let's head back to the packs where we could drink and contemplate our next moves.

The walk off Duty Dome is a somewhat miserable scramble down wet mossy ramps avoiding going over a waterfall. It was exposed and took us a fair amount of time to get back to the packs. As we proceeded lower, the temperature seemed to soar. We arrived hot and sweating back at the packs as we contemplated our next move. We discussed doing one of the two 5.7 3-pitch routes on Duty Dome but then decided to head to Keen Acres where we saw some people climbing on our descent. No route was harder than 5.9, and they were all low commitment single pitch slabs.

Once over there, I decided to climb the namesake route (and the hardest on the crag at 5.9.) It had a 5.9 crack on the slab. How hard could that be compared to a 5.10 slab? I made my way up the route, but heavily protected it because of my nerves. The crack section proved difficult with tiny finger locks. It was somewhat difficult to protect as well, making me wish for my new nuts. Above that section there were a few more bolts before the chains. I brought Sabrina up and we rapped down, making two raps from the 125' perch.

We discussed the possibility of climbing one final route on the left side. It was a 5.7 (Kilt Lifter) and we figured that it would be a good cool down. Sabrina convinced herself that she could lead it (which was good, because I may not have been able to.) Interestingly the route starts with a roof to gain the slab. While the first moves are not too difficult after a few attempts, Sabrina still couldn't get a good stance to clip the first bolt above the roof. I went up and clipped it, and then she pink pointed to the first bolt and proceeded to tackle the slab. This route was fun, but had the rare option of exposure on the slab. This is because this is the leftmost route before the rock falls away about 15'. This added a little mental difficulty to what might have been an easier route. There was a nice hand crack about halfway up, but I climbed it to the right to stay away from the exposure? Why? I guess that is just how the mind works.

Once at the top, we were both spent. We rapped to the packs and had an unpleasant hike down the gully before reaching the car.

I would highly recommend climbing Heart of Gold to anyone climbing at that level. I was hoping that the "easier" routes on Keen Acres would be recommendable to people I know, but I felt they were fairly difficult. Perhaps heading out with a fresh mind my opinions would have turned out differently. Sabrina and I discussed in the ride home how starting with the awkward, not well protected moves at the beginning of the day really sets the tone mentally for the climbing. I need to be aware of that in the future and climb a warm up route before getting on a route that starts like that.

My pics are here.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Mount Roosevelt - 04.17.10

Steve called me up Friday night and asked if I was doing something Saturday. I wasn't and he proposed a ski into Mount Roosevelt. The weather might be a little wet, but we weren't expecting great snow conditions either.

The great thing about living in Seattle is on one day, I can sow seeds in my vegetable garden, and the next I can be out skiing in the mountains. The next may bring rock climbing in 70° weather.

We headed out fairly early to the trail head, and were on our way around 7:15am. We were the only car in the upper Alpental lot when we left. We made fair time to Source Lake due to our inability to start really cold in the parking lot. The skin up the track was easy as it was not super icy and gave just the right amount of traction. We stopped at Source Lake to marvel at the avalanche debris now burying the lake. (It was not even completely frozen when Jennifer and I were there six weeks ago.)

Once leaving the lake we had difficulty setting a skin track in the wet snow. Steve had better luck, but I could not match the steepness of his track as my skins would not afford me the traction and I consequently kept sliding backward. After popping a ski off in some avy debris I bare booted up a steeper section before I put my skis back on and met up with Steve waiting for me. We made good time across the ridge and were soon de-skinning for the short descent to Snow Lake. Unfortunately I haven't been skiing much this Winter and it showed with my slowness and constant stopping. Once at the lake, we returned to skinning across the lake to Mount Roosevelt.

The snow on the lake was more firm and had a breakable crust. Cold air must get trapped down in the valley? We marveled at some rocky buttresses and some ice climbs that looked like they may still be climbable. On the other side of the lake we started uphill toward our objective. At some point I think Steve started getting frustrated with the near constant back slipping and looked at the time. It was 10:30. We made a decision to call it due to multiple factors. One was that we were going slow because of conditions. Second was that the skiing wasn't going to be all that good. And third, the snow conditions were becoming more hazardous with warming temperatures and impending rain. We decided to head up slope to some larger trees that would be our turnaround point. A brief food break and we were ready to descend. The rain had arrived and we knew the snow was only going to get worse for skiing.

We had a fairly enjoyable run back down to the lake before donning our skins and crossing it once more. (Steve roughly measured our lake crossing at a half hour.) We skinned back up to the ridge where it appeared to raining a bit heavier. Although never much more that a constant drizzle. We got to a high point on the ridge and had a fairly fun ski back down to Source Lake. The snow was getting wetter and many of our turns on steeper terrain resulted in small wet sloughs. Due to the avalanche debris above the lake, we had to do a side stepping traverse below the lake to get back on the track out. Once there we tried to maintain speed on our way out.

While I wasn't expecting great skiing on this trip, it was better than both of us had expected, and that was a good thing. Unfortunately, it just wasn't worth it to continue higher, especially after it started to rain.

Pics are here.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Leavenworth - 04.11.10

Sal and I headed out to Leavenworth to try to link up The Tree Route with The Stump Route. This link up is new to the new edition Leavenworth guidebook and we wanted to see if it was a worthy option for climbing in the Icicle. I already like The Tree Route for the lie backing in the first pitch and the fun roof and off width in the third pitch.

When we got over Steven's Pass, it was raining and continued to do so as we headed to Leavenworth. By the time we headed up Icicle Road, it was raining harder and the rock was visibly wet. We made the decision to turn around and head to Peshastin where we could see bluer skies to the east.

The purpose of the days climbing was to get Sal more gear leads. Unfortunately there are not a whole lot of options at an easy grade for that in Peshastin. And once we left the parking lot, we found that it was even less true on this day. There were what appeared to be multiple parties on The Tunnel and Diagonal Direct, setting up ropes. Once near the base of Diagonal Direct, a young woman explained that they were setting up ropes for (60) kids who were coming by to earn badges or something. We hiked further hoping to get on the easier routes on Sunset Slab, only to find those occupied by the group as well. We then resorted to climbing Porpoise, a 5.6 gear route on Martian Slab. This is a fun route with an exciting traverse option to the anchors. It was my first time leading it and climbing it in rock shoes since I climbed it in boots about four years ago. After two laps of it (we each led and followed) we packed up and headed back to the Icicle.

Once back we hiked up to the base of the route where we had lunch. The first six feet or so was wet and when I led it I sewed it up for fear of my feet slipping on the wet rock. I felt like I had good traction with my foot in the water, but once I removed it and placed it on dry rock it was very slippery. Sal seemed to think there was no traction in the water. Once around the initial difficulties, I headed up to the base of "the cave." There are two variations on this pitch (that I know of.) The one I have done is on the right and is an awkward corner. The left variation Adam informed me was easier although looks intimidating as it starts with a wide crack/squeeze chimney that cannot accept gear. I had gone up to the base of this without getting any gear in and tried to find a placement before heading up. I was unsuccessful, and even contemplated taking the right side. After a short down climb I found a pocket for a cam and committed myself to the left side.

The climbing was easier than it appeared but somewhat run out in the first section. A small crack on the outside of the chimney granted me my first pro placement of a small cam. After that, there were a few blocks/chock stones in the chimney that I placed a few more cams near. The final moves out were really fun and involved stemming out of the corner to the belay. I brought Sal up and he went on to lead the second pitch.

After a while, Sal brought me up to the belay and we re racked for his lead of the third pitch. This is a pitch I really enjoy, and for the first time was able to follow it. Sal climbed it in fine style and sailed through the remaining off width to the top. I followed the route and did not enjoy the off width crack with my new shoes which seemed to make my feet hurt a bit more. Once at the top we realized we were not going to have enough time to complete The Stump Route in a safe manner. So we made the ten minute hike to the base for future reference.

The hiking above The Tree Route was terrible. Mostly on goat trails that were not well suited for human travel. (Although gathering by the goat tracks, they didn't seem to have an easy time traveling on these trails either.) With lots of slipping and sliding on sandy soil we then attempted to walk back to our packs. When we reached a cliff, we rappelled from a chain anchor. (This turned out to be the right side of the Crack Du Jour crag.) Once down our rappel we noticed we could have scrambled down slightly from the edge and then followed the ledge system to some more 3rd class moves out of a gully and back to sandy walking terrain to the base.

If I was to attempt this link up again I would gear up at the car and carry the rope and summit pack with us so we would not have to return to the base. I'd be inclined to do that even if I was just doing The Tree Route. Overall, a fun day where we got five pitches of climbing in each. Not bad considering all the driving.

My pics are here.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Leavenworth/Peshastin - 04.07.10

Adam and I had planned to head out to Leavenworth to check out some new routes in the book. Unfortunately the weather was not cooperating, and they had snow in Leavenworth last Thursday. We figured we would give it time to melt and planned to head out Wednesday, which had a forecast of 56° and mostly cloudy. We arrived in Leavenworth to our main objective Aquarius around 9 am. It had rained most of our way down Tumwater Canyon, and when we got out of the car it was cold and damp. We decided to see if the weather was better at Peshastin Pinnacles.

While I doubt the weather was any better at the pinnacles, it felt better. We made our objective Martian Diagonal and hiked up the brief bit. There were a pair of men there as well, and one of them looked familiar and I am sure he is a locally famous guy, but I didn't ask him his name. Once at the base I told Adam I was interested in doing the Diagonal Direct start and then we could finish with the rest of Diagonal.

While easy climbing, the first pitch of Diagonal Direct had hard to place gear. After attempting some cam placements in some solution pockets, I gave up and ran it out to the first bolt some 15'+ up. More easy climbing followed and then I got a placement of a blue alien in a pocket (which later removed itself.) I continued up to another bolt and then onto the anchor. Once there I brought Adam up and he prepared for the second pitch.

The first ten to fifteen feet of the second pitch are probably the crux of the route. There are some steeper moves to regain the slanting ramp which defines the route. Adam placed a few cams before clipping a bolt and making some precarious moves while muttering "This is more heady than I thought it would be." Once back on the ramp he raced up it placing gear where he found an opportunity. I then followed.

We swapped the rack at the belay and I was off on the final pitch. I was able to place a large cam before clipping a shoddy rappel anchor and stepping out into the exposure of the ridge. I went up and over a bump, and slung a deteriorating boulder before walking up the final ridge bit. There I placed a nut on a hangerless bolt and made the short down climb to the anchor. I brought Adam up and he was appalled by the terrible anchor. (A 1" bolt with a homemade aluminum hanger.) I spotted him for the down climb and we rapped gingerly off the anchor. Before walking down to the packs, I showed him a few lines on Dinosaur Slab.

The sun was shining a bit, and we ate lunch before driving back to Leavenworth to attempt Aquarius.

It was not as sunny at the base of February Buttress, but we were going to go for it. Since we had no plans of carrying the book on the climb, we opted to leave it in the car after rereading the description a few times. Aquarius is a new route from last year that made it into the new guidebook. It runs parallel to Ground Hog's Day and is supposed to be of similar difficulty and length. When we arrived at the base we noted that it is closer than the 40' away the guidebook states. (More like 15'.) It cannot be missed, and so I got the first lead.

The climbing is easy going passing two bolts before a steep corner is encountered. The corner appears slightly intimidating from below, but it is conquered with easy moves and is well protected. Above there I could see the chains ending the pitch and I cruised easy ground without any gear to get there. I brought Adam up and we agreed that the pitch did not feel 5.7 to us.

While belaying Adam up I tried to decipher where the second pitch went. When he arrived at the belay, I told him I thought the more interesting climbing was up a shallow corner on the right. It was dirty and mossy, but the path to the left looked too easy to be the route. There is supposed to be a bolt near a corner on this pitch, but we never saw it. It started to rain slightly as Adam led the pitch eventually finding his way to a tree anchor. I followed his path until his last piece of gear and then traversed left to see if that seemed to be the route. I decided it probably was, as I could also see the anchor for the top of the pitch in line with the left route and about ten feet or so above our tree anchor.

Adam and I debated about who should lead the last pitch, but since there was a light rain falling he defaulted to me for speed. I led up and right to the anchor, although I am pretty sure I should have stayed left of the tree. Once there, I clipped it for my first piece. I remembered the book said to move right of a small roof, but going right around the roof did not look protectable. So I took the path left around the roof. There was some fun climbing but the rock had a lot of lichen on it. I was able to protect it well at first, but then when the angle eased off I had to run it out a bit. Eventually I merged left with Ground Hog's Day and finished at that anchor.

On rappel, we tried to check out more of the route. But since there was light rain, we didn't try too hard and headed back to the car.

On the drive home we discussed this new route. We both felt it was easier than 5.7, but were we on any of the second or third pitch? Hard to say. If the route saw a little more traffic and therefore was cleaner, it might be a pretty fun route. As it is now, it is a little run out and difficult to follow. Neither Adam nor I were interested in going at this route again in the near future. But I also would not recommend it to new leaders as the route finding is somewhat difficult and perhaps a bit contrived. Hopefully more traffic will make things more obvious.

My pics are here.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Heather Ridge - 04.04.10

After a mix up that left me home on Saturday, Steve invited me out for Sunday. He and his brother-in-law Tom had to be back for an Easter dinner, so the planned trip couldn't consume too much time. The decision was made to go to Heather Ridge and get in a run and then head home.

During the ride out I warned of my lack of backcountry skiing this winter and hoped I wouldn't slow the group down. Once out of the car, we geared up in the decidedly brisk weather and started to head up the road. The skin up was largely uneventful except for a moment where I lost the valve to my Camelbak. We were getting a later start, and there was already a highway of a skin track in. In what seemed like no time we were up at the lake and heading toward the ridge. We experienced some high winds on the way up, but they were mostly not present skinning near the lake.

Then we started to go up the ridge. The wind got worse, and we did some conservative movements to mitigate avalanche danger in the steeper open slopes. Once near the top of the ridge, we crossed over to the other side where we made a scary traverse on a slope that Steve measured at 54°. Once on the slope, it wasn't that bad as the angle reduced greatly after a short distance. While I didn't want to test my skills, I felt confident that I could probably ski out of an issue during the traverse. Once across the traverse we headed up again and then dropped back to the other side before gaining the ridge top and our descent location.

Fresh snow laid below us as we transitioned and took turns skiing once again to mitigate avalanche danger. (There were signs of avalanche danger, but our testing showed the slopes to be stable enough.) I took a more mellow line while Steve and Tom took a more aggressive line in the trees. We then all met up with a skin track heading back to the ridge where we transitioned and ate before heading back up to the saddle.

Over the saddle we skied with skins on down to the lake and then skinned across before removing our skins for the final trip out. The snow on this side was more wind blown and we went from tree skiing to taking the luge run (uphill skin track) out. Toward the bottom the track got fast and I accidentally managed to ski backward for a bit when I was trying to slow down. This resulted in my first ever backward ski and snow plow. Once I had the fronts of the skis pointed back downhill, it was a straightforward ski out from there.

It was nice that winter finally arrived here in April. This was definitely some of the best skiing I had done this winter. (Conditions, not my abilities.) It was great to get out, and I hope to get out again soon.

My pics are here.