Saturday, May 28, 2011

Skiing the Snake Couloir

Spent this sweet Saturday guiding Sam from New Mexico down the Snake Couloir on Mount Sneffels. The weather was beautiful, despite a steady breeze. We left the car around 11,000ft at 0500 and started the skin up into Yankee Boy Basin. Climbing conditions were quite good, and we were up on the summit in a couple hours.
Sam on the 14,150 ft summit of Mount Sneffels.
We fueled up, set the rappel anchor, and headed down into the top of the Snake. At the end of the rope we found some really nice soft snow, and we started to think this might be a good day. We put on the boards and got psyched. The conditions on the top half were a little variable, but we found mostly soft powder lingering on the skier's left side. Sam proceeded to rip it up.
Sam making some nice turns down the first leg off the summit.
At the dogleg bend we encountered a nice combination of fresh corn snow and powder in the shade. The crux of the descent is the tight and steep section just down from the bend. It was pretty hard with a runnel worn into the middle, but Sam did an awesome job of side-slipping and hop-turning through it. We were soon down into more soft powder where the couloir opens up, and Sam let 'em run a bit!
Sam gets a bit more aggressive!
Overall, we could not have asked for better conditions. 
Sam takes a breather and reflects on this incredible high mountain descent.
Thanks Sam! Super Special Day!
Cheers, CC
Looking back up at the choke from high in Blaine Basin.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Rock Climbing in the Moab Desert

Spent last weekend over in Moab, climbing with Bill from California. It was his first experience climbing the unique sandstone of this area. With some specific instruction on different hand and foot jamming techniques, pointers on combining these techniques into movement sequences, and a few practice laps; Bill was climbing right up some challenging cracks. 

We started off at the very popular Wall Street area. We were the first ones there and were able to jump around and climb exactly the routes we wanted all day. We alternated between classic slab routes like Snake Slab 5.8, and classic crack routes like the Flakes of Wrath 5.9+. Each of these routes has different opportunities for learning different skills. We had an awesome first day with over 10 pitches of sandstone sweetness!
The Snake Slab 5.8+, Wall Street
The Flakes of Wrath 5.9+, Wall Street
 We wrapped up the trip with the world famous and very unique Ancient Art Tower. Located in the Fisher Towers outside of Moab, Ancient Art is a twisted spire of Cutler Sandstone that appears to defy the laws of gravity. After a couple pitches of bolted face and fun chimney climbing we were positioned under the final column in the sky. Everything was very fun and Bill enjoyed his momentary perch high above the desert floor.
Bill starting up the final pitch on the Stolen Chimney II 5.9 A0, Ancient Art, Fisher Towers
Don't Slip! Bill braves the exposure and has a stand on top!
Sweet trip! Thanks Bill!
Cheers, CC