Hillman’s Highway 5/1/2015

I headed up to Pinkham Notch Friday morning without a definite plan, I was so indecisive that I had not even decided yet if I wanted to ski or snowboard, so I brought both my AT skis and my splitboard.  I still wasn’t sure if I was going to go to GoS or Tux yet either but I was just happy to be going.   Unfortunately I would only have time for 1 run today though no matter where I went.
At the parking lot you could not see either one, the higher elevations were still in the clouds.  With the Sherburne still skiable most of the way down, I decided to head towards the ravine.  The TRT was still about 80% skinnable and I made a new friend on the way up which made the travel time to Hojo’s go by fast.  At Hermit Lake the Avi Board was showing most of the chute center bowl to the lip to be moderate. And the ravine was not yet visible.  There were quite a few people already up there and they seemed to all be going to do Left Gully.  I thought about Right or Lobster Claw but noticed that nobody was on Hillmans.  So I choose to go up Hillmans.  It was a good choice because there were only 3 other people skiing that area the whole time I was in there and 1 of them was dropping Duchess.  When I got to the top of the right variation of Hillmans Highway the clouds lifted for a bit, so I dropped in while the light was not so flat.  The snow was really soft and there was a pretty deep runnel down the center of the gully, a lot of snow would sluff with you whenever you would make a turn.   I really enjoyed my run.

Tux when I got there.

Heading up


At the top


Heading Down


Back at Hojo’s views were good,
What I just skied:

Tux

The Sherburne was skiable down to the fifth crossover. But the last ¼ mile looked like this.  To me this is fun, because it becomes more technical when you have to avoid mud and rocks.

Skiing with Jake at 20 months

Last April Jake was only 8 months old when I took him skiing with me on my back for the first time and he smiled the whole time.  I hiked with him on my back a lot over the following summer and he really loved it.  However he hadn’t been in the Kelty pack since November and Every time I had taken him sledding on snow this year he got scared, so I was a little unsure if he was going to be scared this time on skis.  Yesterday it was warm and sunny so I skinned up pats peak with the alpine touring gear on my feet and Jake who is now 20 months old on my back.
I couldn’t get Jake to keep his hat on, and I was afraid he was going to get sunburnt so I had to stay in the shade on the way up.  I skinned about half way up before I converted to ski mode and descended with Jake.  To my surprise he didn’t cry on the way down.  He made kind of a nervous laugh every time I would make a turn, but he was smiling, which made me happy.  I’m hoping next April he will be on his own set of skis and still smiling about it.
Going Up.

Going Down


Derry Londonderry Exit 4 Beer Detour App

This works better as a mobile app.  To open with a device use the Following Link

Exit 4 Beer Tour

I work with GIS systems for a living and most of the Breweries below are customers of the water utility I work for.  I’ve been thinking about making a story map for “The Exit 4 Beer Detour”  (I think I made that name up)for a while.  I know Mead is not beer but they are customers of ours as well and worth checking out while on the tour.

3/25/15 Okemo Ski & Board

I haven’t had too many full resort days in recent history.  Most of my lift served turns come in 2-3 hour sessions after work at Pats Peak where I have a pass.  When I was invited by my coworker Craig to go to Okemo I jumped at the chance.  Craig had won some tickets in a contest and offered me and another coworker Alan free passes for the day. Conditions were loose frozen granular and packed powder when we first got there, and as temps rose throughout the beautiful day to almost 50 the snow softened and turned to corn and mank.  Even the glades which started out as being boiler plate softened up enough to ski on our last run. I skied until lunch time and then snowboarded for the rest of the day.  It was nice to get a full day in for the first time in a while.  I ran my altimeter and logged 23’200 feet of vert.

Alan and Me

Craig and Me

View from the fire tower:

Craig and me Making some turns:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/surf88/16962991926/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/surf88/16911860269/

2/28/15 We’re not Worthley of all this snow.

From across the valley you can see some little snow bowls on the steep side of a large nearby Hill.  I’ve wanted to tour for some turns up there for a while but usually opt for something bigger when I have the time.  Last fall I hunted up in this area and saw the definite potential for turns, so with many other spots tracked out by now I skinned out to the semi remote hill.  There was one very large Buck I had seen out here a couple time last fall, but could never get an open shot to take,  so I decided to head up the side of the hill I saw him at last hoping I might see him again.  I found his tracks and followed them uphill

The terrain on the way up looked promising.  A little bird watching might happen up here next summer

The summit area almost had a view of another great spot.

I converted to skiing mode and dropped in to the area I had spotted from across the valley.
It was apparent that the snow fields that were visible were actually the work of Mountain Bikers.  There were several drops and there was even a manmade berm feature about halfway down the hill

I made some really high quality turns on snow that was still fluffy.  However being alone in a spot that will probably not see any human activity until snow melts made me a little conservative.


I was able to ski out all the way to a nicely groomed snowmobile trail that wraps around the base of the hill.
That snowmobile trail happened to go towards another bigger favorite spot.  I wasn’t planning on it but the bluebirdies were singing and I wanted to tour some more.  So I threw my skins back on and started toward the bigger hill.  I took a few shortcuts through ungroomed areas but mostly I was able to make quick time on snowmobile trails to the bigger hill.  The west side of the bigger hill did not disappoint.   At one point near Moose Scat Rock I augered a tip into the snow as I skied over a downed tree, my binding released and I went face first into the snow.  Since I had all my vents open on my pants and coat the fluffy snow went everywhere.  It took a bit to for the snow in my pants to melt away.
When I skied out to the road I was about 2 miles away from my car and I had a pretty good blister forming.  I knew that Emily was on her way home from the store and picking me up would only put her mile out of her way so I made the call and got a ride back to my car.

2/22/15 Sunny Sunday on Powder

The parade of storms and arctic weather has made for amazing conditions, however it starts to become a little bit of a grind getting out and making your turns in subzero high wind days.  Yesterday we woke up here to 4 new inches of fluffy pow on top of our 4 feet of soft snow we had already received, but yesterday for the first time in a while the temps climbed to above the freezing mark.  I went out around 1pm and the sun was out the skies were blue and the skiing was great.  Even though I was once again skiing alone I found myself hooting and giggling like a crazy person at how good it was.  It might have just been that I was drunk on natural vitamin D from the first real sun I ‘ve gotten in a while. I took a few runs through a steep section of the mountain that in past years was unskiable due to rocks and boulders.  I rode skis today because I wanted to hit some trails that had flat run outs that would be a no go on the snowboard.  Skis ended up being a good decision and it ended up being one the best times I’ve ever had on skis.

I was surprised how much fresh was still available for how late in the day I got out.



Gtah. The best snow on earth. 2/15 -2/16/15

The recent blizzard gave us another foot of snow, and then turned on the wind machine. I went out for a lap yesterday and one this morning.  Yesterday there was a group of kids up there that were fun to meet and swap flask tastings, but today I was all alone. Wow it was cold out there.  We have enough snow now that pretty much everything is in play.  You really don’t even need to follow the cleared glades because most brush is buried now.  You really do have to stick to the steep stuff though or else you get too bogged down in the powder.

First Track up the trail.

 

2015 Blizzard Backcountry

We received about 15 inches of snow from the Blizzard on Tuesday.  Wednesday morning I ventured out solo into the local backcountry.  I brought both my AT skis and my splitboard, but I decided to splitboard because the consistency of the snow seemed to be more how I like it for snowboarding. I Made 2 summit to road runs one on the Chat Noir side of the mountain and one down the Son of Guido Trail.  The top 100 vertical feet of the mountain tended to be a little scratchy due to having less base and  the high winds carried a lot of the snow away.  In the Hemlocks it was only about 6 inches deep in spots.  But lower on the mountain conditions were epic.  Knee deep Dry Powder made for some of the best turns I’ve made in a while.  After 2 runs I went home grabbed some food and then headed back up the hill again with Jeremy.  Jeremy used my Icelantic Nomads and we hit up the other side of the mountain for 2 more runs.  Here’s some pics of conditions.  I’ll try to add some video later.
The wind had its way with the snow up high making for thin cover in spots


But down lower its was lovely

Video

 

Mt Monadnock 1/3/2015

Saturday Jeremy and I headed up Mt Monadnock.  Trail conditions were much different than they were a few weeks ago when I was up here.  Most of the snow was melted and the trails had a lot of water ice on them.


We decided to take the long way up and stop at Café Pumpelly for breakfast.  When we first got there a party was just leaving.  I had brought some supplies to make cooking our breakfast a little more homey.


After extinguishing our fire and doing a little maintenance we headed back to the trail and toward the summit.
Many sections of trail on the ridge looked like this:

We both had microspikes on but as we hiked I was noticing Jeremy’s with only about 20 miles on them were getting much better traction than mine which have about 700 miles on them now.  I had just been bragging about how long mine were lasting with no issues, but after today I realized I should start to think about updating mine. I really can’t complain though, pound for pound and dollar for dollar my microspikes are probably the most useful piece of gear I own, and I own a lot of gear.
After making our way across the ridge we arrived at a pretty busy and windy summit.  We spent most of our time on the summit hiding from the wind. This was officially my 80th Mt Monadnock Summit.


We Descended the White Dot Trail back to the State Park. I fell once on the way down and and hit my elbow pretty hard on the ice, it’s still bruised and hurts but it should be fine.  Back at our vehicle we headed over to Harlows in Peterborough for some Pub fare.

Kinsman’s 12/26/14


Conditions right now are really pretty perfect for putting down some really fast times in the Whites.  After the Christmas Eve rain storm and refreeze, the trails that had snowshoe tracks are like firm side walks.  I was able to make really good time up the Kinsman’s Friday. Even though this is actually my 4th time on these peak and don’t need them for any list except my December Grid I thought it might be fun to take a walk up there on Friday because Clif had invited me to stay up at the shelter that evening, I couldn’t stay overnight due to some prior engagements but I thought it would be nice to stop in and see him .  I left the parking area at Lafayette Place at 8am and was at Lonesome Lake at 8:45 I stopped at the hut and signed in.

The hut guy ( I refuse to ever call them croo) said he had come down the Fishin Jimmy a couple days earlier in the rain and some of the river crossings were a little sketchy from the rain.  I thanked him for the heads up and headed up the Fishin Jimmy Trail.  Apparently I was the first one on this trail since the rains because there were no other tracks ahead of me.  In fact there were no tracks all the way out and back to the summits until I met up with a couple of guys ascending half way back down the Fishin Jimmy Trail.  I think it always makes it a little more fun when you know your that far out and all alone.  I could see evidence of the blown-out stream crossings but they were no longer a hazard.  Only the glaze from water ice on the boulders made them treacherous now.

I hit the top of of S. Kinsman at 10:30.  From the look out you could see the cloud ceiling was dropping, I watched as the clear line of clouds slowly descended over the Franconia ridge.


As I headed off to South peak the clouds had engulfed the Kinsman Ridge and I was in a pretty good squall.  Having dressed a little lighter than normal for winter hiking due to the mild forecast, I kind of had to make quick work of getting to the south summit and back to keep from getting too cold from the stiff wind and white-out conditions.  When I returned to Kinsman Pond I walked out to the shelter to see if my friends were there yet.  They weren’t.
Kinsman Pond Shelter (yes, that brown spot in front of it is human poop… who are these people?)

Frozen Kinsman Pond

I headed back down the Fishin Jimmy Trail making as fast of a pace as possible with out being to careless on some of the steep icy sections.  I was kind of pushing the limits of my microspikes at a few points.  About halfway down I met a party of 2  who were the first people I had seen since leaving Lonesome Lake.  10 minutes later I ran into Clif on his way up at 12:00 near the big stream crossing.  It was nice to say hi and chat for a bit.
By the time I got back to Lonesome Lake it was nearly 40 and sunny.

The nice weather had brought out the masses.  It was good to see so many families enjoying the outdoors together heading up the Lonesome Lake trail.  The scene was a sharp contrast from the squall I had been in just an hour ago.  I got back to my car at 12:45.  I was pretty happy with my time of 4:45 out and back to the Kinsman’s but the real reason I was rushing was my parents were coming to visit their grandson at 2:30.  I got back home to Goffstown just in time.