Posts Tagged ‘winter’

It’d been over two years since I’d been ski touring in the Moffatt Tunnel’s East Portal, and when Jenn suggested a Boulder Multisport day of ice climbing and ski touring, I was excited. New skis that were begging to get out and be put to use were certainly part of the reason.

During the snowy drive up the mountains I thought we might add “snow shoveling” and “car pushing” our multi-sport list, but Erick eventually powered his 2WD through the drifts and to the parking lot.

Nursing shoulder injuries, Erick and Jeremy took off on a morning ski tour while Jenn, Tara and I booted our way to a north-facing ice climb. Deep snow wallowing should be an Olympic sport.

For some waist deep snow, I decided rolling would be a more efficient method of locomotion, and one adopted by Jenn. Unfortunately, laughing too hard took away any efficiency gains.

After carefully crossing a creek we started a straight-up push through the trees hoping to run into the ice eventually. I also wondered if we’d need to tie the rope to Jenn so we wouldn’t lose her if the snow got any deeper.

Taking a breather in one small meadow we spotted a late-season Christmas tree.

Near the tree we’d come across a partly drifted old track which offered easier travel and renewed our faith that we’d eventually locate the ice flow. Finally, turning a corner we were greeted with the sight we’d been wallowing for.

Jenn hadn’t yet climbed ice this season, but was gung-ho to lead and quickly racked up while I put her on belay.

We briefly thought about climbing the steeper “prow” of the ice, but it was dripping and getting soaked then ski touring sounded like a bad idea. So Jenn stayed right in some well abused, but dry ice.

After setting up a top-rope anchor and lowering down, I followed the route and cleaned all the ice screws but a directional. Then we took some laps and tried out the assortment of ice tools we’d brought. After taking one more lap, I stayed on top to shoot something other than butt-shots of climbers.

The air temps were right around freezing and the winds only intermittent, so it was relatively pleasant as far as ice climbing goes. I think we were having fun, or at least faking it well with big smiles.

Almost noon it was time to make the somewhat-easier return trip and eat a lunch huddled in the cars before leaving the sharp stuff in the trunk and strapping on the boards.

Erick and Jeremy had scouted a close and very mellow glade that would be perfect for some short laps, perfect for those of us with new gear, experiencing their first trip on AT-gear and still making the switch from tele-skiing.

Jeremy switched on his inner aerobic beast and started quickly lapping all of us while I found I really like my new and light Hagan skis.

For his final run of the day, Jeremy decided to attempt a high speed grab of a backpack which nearly went well.

Our core group of 5 soon found ourselves back in Boulder laughing and drinking at Southern Sun. Arriving friends soon doubled our group and enabled a rare photo of this blog’s author.

Complete photo album


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