Wednesday
Dec132006

Athleticism

One very large part of my goal is simply athelticism, get out and get some vertical. Today was simply about getting my vertical done and getting home to work on home improvements, and spend a little bit of family time.

So I went directly to the Macpherson Fingers and broke trail from 2200 feet to 4800 feet. At that point I was breaking trail through 30-40 cm of snow, deep and tiring all I wanted was some vertical. So I began lapping from 3750-4800, decent snow but not as exceptional as what was high above me.

Regardless I put my head down and pushed myself upwards and lapped it 8 times. I am trying to work on several techniques to make touring easier. I spent most of the day focused on taking smaller steps, generally I like to stretch my legs out and take huge steps. This technique is great in the short term but requires more power and eventually tires me out more quickly. So smaller steps and quicker breaths. While working on that I also continually focused on relaxing myself. Tense bodies tire quickly, so I relaxed and let my legs go. Keeping up with my mantra of " Breathe and believe."

Every day that I tour 10 000 feet, I am aiming to log them on my watch. Its great to have a log book of all my days but also in the case that anyone doubts me then I can show them each and every day graphed on my computer.DSC_0985.JPG5 hours 12min, 10070 feet
88 to go.

Tuesday
Dec122006

Mcgill Shoulder

When the avalanche danger rises I tend to go to several safe zones, where I know the runs and can avoid all start zones. Winds combined with new snow and rising temperatures have created warm windslabs with a tendancy to move. Since terrain is always the answer we went to Mcgill shoulder where I know the runs inherantly and can avoid all danger while still getting great skiing.franky.jpg

Ian, Frank and I toured up from 3300 feet to 7000 feet and had several runs down the treed slope. I have been working on this front roll/front flip combo that seems to be working. Fall forward off whatever and keep rolling. Hopefully you will get around enough to land on your butt/skis and pop up out of the powder cloud to resume skiing. All the while acting as if you had meant to do it. Great move, something to work towards.iann.jpg

The love of my life, Tracey is now 4 days away from her due date so I find myself touring with baited breathed, and not because of the extra laps I am trying to get in. I will have to stay closer to revelstoke till the birth day, I would hate to miss the birth simply because I was out skiing. Some things are more important than skiing!

10280 feet of uphill hiking and 10280 feet of great backcountry skiing.

Sunday
Dec102006

Ten down 90 to go

watchme.jpgAll day I use my watch to follow my vertical quest, checking my vertical gain, watching the little number grow all day. And finally when I have reached my 10000 foot mark I can go home. It seems really silly to obsess about a number, a number which in the end means nothing. But in the present it means everything. It means I have maximised my day, that I have enjoyed a lot of powder skiing and that most likely I am quite tired and ready to go home to my family. With a goal like this I realize how ridiculous it is. But if it forces me out and into the mountains, forces me to dig deep and get that extra run in. If it makes me get up at 5.30 and gets me up into the mountains to watch sunrises and sunsets than the goal is worth it.

Scott Dowling and I toured up Macpherson to the summit and skied a similar run to yesterday and then we skinned back up to the summit where conditions had worsened.dowling.jpg Through the white out and down the north face we skied a different run into the womb and home. Great day where I managed to spend most of the day with Scott, with just a few extra runs to make my goal. I am being constantly blown away by the strength of the ski tourers in revelstoke, 8000 foot days happen regularly, progress is happening in the backcountry.

Saturday
Dec092006

Macpherson Summit

The temperatures rose dramatically yesterday, with the freezing line being around 4000 ft. So I had to get to higher elevations today to find the good snow. I toured up the fingers and broke through the cloud layer around 5500 ft. From there on the day was beautiful with some sun and clouds high above. I broke trail up to the summit and then had two incredible 2000 foot runs and then off the summit and down 6000 feet to my car.

My 9th 10 000 foot day and they are really feeling easier, I can go out and climb a summit, tour 10 000 feet and the be home by 1.30 to see my daughter Charley before she has her afternoon nap. I missed her today though.
telus.jpg Lately Telus mobility has increased their cell service along the trans canada, getting service through Rogers Pass. I am not sure of exactly were it is strong and weak yet but I have had service on 4 summits and I am almost always in cell range. This is a huge safety net that has never been in the Selkirks before. Now in the event of any accident or home emergency I can contact emergency personel, or be contacted. Tracey is days away from giving birth to our second child, but she is still allowing me out touring as long as there is service. How lucky am I?

Friday
Dec082006

Avalanche Awareness Day

DSC_0904 copy.jpg Seven years ago today I was taking my avalanche level 1 course. While we were out digging pits we had noticed a skin track high above us, ignoring it we continued to study our snow pit. Minutes later Jim Bay yelled down to us "Avalanche", looking up we all witnessed a class 4 avalanche bearing down on us. Running to the safety of the trees, we were all okay. But those that had set the track above us were not. Soon enough we were all in a real avalanche rescue.

It turned out that the group above were all friends and they had triggered a 1.5 km wide avalanche that had caught all five of them, leaving them all partially buried and very injured all over the mountain. Although Scott got to Shane quickly there was nothing that could be done to save him, while Franks wounds were severe he managed to survive. The others all had injuries but none as severe as Shane and Frank.

Ever since that day we have been coming back to the scene and re-living that day, always trying to learn a little more from it. Over the years Frank has healed and now finally seven years later we managed to ski it from the top and directly down to the highway; the way they had dreamed of skiing it back in 1999.

Shane would have been happy to see us all on the summit today. DSC_0887 copy.jpg