Friday, May 1, 2015

Look at those lines!
I had the pleasure of visiting RMNP for my first time since childhood. With the low snow year and ridiculously warm temps in Estes Park I was not sure what Id find. Heck, it was raining in town. Driving into the park I had to continually wipe the drool off my chin. I know this sounds obvious to those of you who frequent the place but it really is a unique and amazing place.

I had only a little time and had hoped to check out the lower section of the North face route up Longs which Dawson recommends as a ski descent in his great Dawson's Guides but I was in a rush so copied the map out of the guide book and just went for it in high winds with intermittent visibility. I ended up in the wrong drainage and once I could see enough to realize my mistake opted for max vertical gain and mileage rather than retrace my route and get back on track. I found a super fun chute (kinda take your pick of all the great options) and climbed till I was out of time. It actually got so steep and bullet proof that I had to put on crampons. That is my subtle sign to myself that Im not going to ski it without a partner. But, I wanted the burn and hoped to get to where I could see something and get my bearings so I kept climbing, literally crawling out of the couloir against the wind and getting just shy of the top of Taylor Peak which I didnt realize till I looked at Google Earth because there was very little visibility.

Then I hiked back down the upper couloir and had a good challenge skiing variable steep snow in flat light to less steep snow in flatter light and a lot of trail skiing with some fun tourist dodging.

Fun skiing and plenty of snow for a year of slim pickings.

 If you live remotely near RMNP and have the opportunity to go, you wont be disappointed, even if you make a wrong turn! I found the ClimbingLife website to be a great additional resource for backcountry lines even though I decided not to opt for any of them. Check it out if you are going to make the trip and want some ideas. Each featured line is really well documented.

In the end, it was a good reminder that the season aint over yet!

And now time for a funny (to me) if somewhat male chauvinistic aside that satisfied that pathetic egotistical man buried in all but the best men out there. You have been warned.

As I was skiing out, dodging tourists including the stereotypical Japanese couple who madly snapped pictures of me I zipped in between a young couple. The guy was obviously "in to" photography and was having the girl pose while he shot the scene. As I photo bombed (skimo bombed?) the scene the girl exclaimed, "That is so cool!" and all I could think was, "I just made your boyfriend look like a pussy." Pathetic, I know, but it made that knuckle dragging, small, pathetic person deep inside me smile.

I love this stuff.


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