There's something to be said for adventure for the sake of it. Today outdoor culture is elitist, taking joy in patronizing tourists they've seen lost in the woods. "Can you believe they were out there without headlights? they didn't even fill out a trip report!".
I found myself going for long hikes by myself in August. One day on a hike to the Black Tusk I spotted a patch of snow on the West side of Helm Peak. If I could find a photographer I might be able to justify skiing it. A few weeks later (Mid-September) I convinced my friend Chantelle that we could pull it off and I could ski a line before anyone else this season.
The Sunday we decided to attempt the ski didn't start well. Chantelle had partied the night before and with no response by noon I had called the mission off. When I did get a response from her, I lied and said that the hike in was only a few hours. By the time we arrived at the base of the line it was almost sunset. Beforehand I lacked knowledge in terms of the stability of the slope, route finding, and climbing techniques.
When I started slamming the toes of my boots into the base of the ice slope it hit me how much risk I was taking with my lack of preparedness. Just a few steps up became aware that if I slipped, I'd likely slide all the way down to the scree at the bottom. The snow had all summer to turn to ice and despite that I should have had an ice axe to self arrest I went up anyways. In one of the most tense and angry moments of my life, I slipped and fell after choosing to ascend a route that was to steep. My skis hit the rocks, I didn't. I made some more regrettable decisions and made my way up, learning as I went.
Arriving at the top, there was little satisfaction. The entire line was a no fall zone, my feet were killing me, and I was covered in dirt and bruises from a brutal climb. The sun was setting and I couldn't see or communicate with my photographer. I descended regardless of whether it would be filmed or not. The ski down was not as planned. I mistakenly envisioned fast GS turns down the whole slope, carving trenches in corn snow. I managed the first section, stopped in the middle and then sprayed out my last few turns. I wasn't content, but I couldn't complain as none of my fears were actualized. I wore all white so I was hardly visible in the video. The photos on from the hike up worked out well though.
We made our way hastily down and walked back in the dark using lights. I had deceived the people I
brought along with me and I felt bad walking back with them in a situation that was far from comfortable. Still, a part of me was also filled with pride from pulling off such a surreal task: skiing in the late summer. Well worth the adventure.
The song used kind of describes how I feel about this last ski
season. Being around a pretty girl (skiing everyday) is always nice, but
if you're not sure what you're doing and don't commit to your goals and
ideals, you end up unsatisfied. I had a damn good time and I appreciate
everyone who helped me out, but next year is going to be beautiful feat
after which my past will pale in comparison. Look out.
Thanks to all those who filmed me: Jackpot Photo, Dylan Siggers, and my friend Jack who shared one hell of a March with me.