N.Unc 1/22/11

Saturday afternoon, I headed up to my local mountain to find some turns in the backcountry.  All the powder we had at the beginning of the week had been covered over on Tuesday by 10 inches of wet heavy snow, and then rain fell on top of that forming a breakable crust layer, Friday we received another 5 inches of fluffy powder, and I wasn’t sure if that would be enough to float you above the breakable crust on this 10 degree day that was sucking all of the moisture out of the snow.  I found that It was tricky to not get caught up in the crust at slow speeds, but the faster you went the less the crust was an issue.  All in all the crust wasn’t that thick anyways, not thick enough to be shin busting when you broke through.  When I arrived at the reservoir parking it was a beehive of activity.  All kinds of people going up the mountain.  I figured this side would get all tracked out quick so I decided to try the other.  Before I left I saw Rob and Steve and Steve’s son Jesse at the trail head getting ready to skin up.  I stopped and talked to them and told them my plans, and they said that they were going to slide off the back side anyways. I drove around to the back side and started to skin up alone from that side.  About a ¼ mile in when I went to put my climbing wires up, I looked down to see them in front of my boots.  In my haste, I had put my split board together backwards, which meant I had to turn the skins and hardware around.  While taking them off I dragged my left skin through the powder.  The dry snow crystals stuck, and did not want to come off.  I brushed them off the best I could and tried to make the skin work.  About another 1000 feet up the hill, when it started to get steeper the skin slipped right off. And was now completely useless.  I called Rob and told him of my technical difficulties, and being the BC wizard that he is, he gave me the solution.   I used the edge of my board to scrape off the ice crystals, and then I stuck the whole skin inside my coat for a minute to warm up the glue a little. Being very careful this time not to get any snow on it, when I applied the skin it stuck properly, and I was able to skin up to the top with no more issues.  The ride down the TP was a lot of fun.




We cut out of the glade high, and did a little meadow skipping.  I even tried getting some air off the large rock in the center of the pic

We skinned back up to the summit following a line I noticed on my skin up.  We found this line needed little work to be fun.  A project for next summer.  When we got to the top we skinned through the woods undetected by the masses on the summit to the top of the TFT/CN Trailheads.  I couldn’t believe it, there were no tracks yet.  Steve, Rob, and Jesse Dropped in on TFT and I took the freshies on CN.  The thicker crust made turns a little more tricky in this area, but it was still fun.

Dusk was starting to settle in as we walked the ½ mile back on the road to the cars with mass plate’s parking area.  Back at the parking area we had a few beers (that were suspiciously hid away in our coats when a cop stopped to talk to us) and then Rob gave me a ride back to my car on the other side of the hill.  No complaints from me, conditions were a lot more fun than I thought they were going to be and they will get much better if we get the forecasted blizzard this Wednesday.

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