July 3, 2015

Pfeifferhorn


Some photos from a hike up the Pfeifferhorn today. As you can tell from Andrea's attire... it's July 4th weekend!











June 25, 2015

Bald Mountain


Bald Mountain is a quick, short hike with some great views at the top of the Mirror Lake Highway.

And that's all I have to say about that!







June 24, 2015

50 Days of Human Powered Skiing

After our post One Last Main Chute? on June 5th, we actually went up and skied it again a few days later. That was our 50th day of human-powered skiing for the season, and closed the door on the ski season in the Wasatch. A week later we headed up to the Uintas to see if there was anything left to ski up there (nope), and then it started to get really warm and we ran Ragnar (post coming on that)... so long story short - the ski gear is now cleaned and put away for the summer.

Here's a little slideshow with highlights from the best "worst" season ever...


June 16, 2015

Shoe Rotation Update - Cortana 4, Breakthru, Triumph ISO

I haven't done a shoe rotation / review in a while, but my stable has changed a little bit this year so it's time for an update.

I have already praised the Kinvara 5 multiple times. It remains my favorite all-around shoe of all time. I haven't worn the Kinvara 6s yet, but trusted sources have told me they are just as good.

Back in the fall, Andrea suggested that I try the Cortana. I've heard the Cortana 4 described as a "beefed-up Kinvara" and I would say that is an accurate assessment. It features the same fit and geometry (4mm drop) but has a bit more cushioning and protection. I found the Cortana to be my "go-to" shoe over the winter when it was colder outside and I was running on more roads than softer surfaces. I have about 500 miles on my current pair and I'll definitely be keeping this model in my rotation.



A month ago I starting phasing in a pair of the Breakthru. This is a simple, lightweight trainer with an 8mm drop. I think this will make an excellent tempo run / fast long run shoe. I've only put about 40 miles on them, but so far, so good.



Now for the super-duper-star of the group: Triumph ISO. I'll be honest, the $150 price tag is an immediate deterrent. Can you really tell the difference between a "luxury" model like the Triumph and a (more basic) cushioned shoe like the Ride 7/8? In this case, YES!

When I'm heading out of town for a few days and I'm only taking one pair of running shoes with me, I've been grabbing the Triumph ISOs before my Kinvara 5s recently (sorry Kinvara - it's not personal). I've put about 250 miles on my Triumphs so far. The ISO-Fit system is unreal - I've never had a shoe that conforms to the foot so well - it is truly a luxurious feel, especially in the midfoot. Soft, yet supportive. The Triumph is also surprisingly light for how cushioned it is - you really notice the extra cushion in both the heel and forefoot. Flexibility is the other thing that I have noticed - on par with a much more minimalist type of shoe. You should expect all of these things in a high-end shoe, and Saucony definitely delivers with the Triumph ISO.

So my current rotation is: Kinvara / Triumph / Cortana / Breakthru. I'm looking forward to trying the Nomad TR as a possible upgrade to my Peregrines for trail runs.

June 5, 2015

One Last Main Chute?


Looking down Little Cottonwood Canyon - Wednesday June 3rd

We headed up LCC on Wednesday morning for what *could be the final Main Chute outing of the season. We skinned the shoulder of Baldy and then skied the chute, which was actually still is pretty good condition. The bottom 15% was starting to get rocky and a runnel is forming in the middle, as you would expect this time of year. As of Wednesday, you could still get to within about 100 feet of the parking lot on continuous snow, but that is changing quickly.

(*It's not over til it's over)




May 31, 2015

Pipeline Couloir

This is American Fork Twin Peaks (viewed from the Snowbird tram... a photo I took 5 years ago), and the Pipeline Couloir is the obvious route with the red dots that starts near the summit of the West Twin.

This week has been pretty awesome. We skied Main Chute on Monday, Suicide Chute on Friday, and did a couple laps in Wolverine Cirque on Saturday. Our plan was to head up to Bald Mountain Pass and see what the Uintas had to offer today, but a photo posted on Instagram on Saturday night made us re-evaluate. Snowbird was open to hiking from the Gad Valley side, and Andrea suggested we finally take a stab at skiing the Pipeline Couloir. Game on!

We started from Creekside and covered the first 1200' of uphill in running shoes with skis A-framed on our packs. It should be noted that Andrea was out of the gates QUICK this morning and I could barely keep up for the first 30 minutes. We made the switch to skins and headed up into the bowl below the West Twin. At the base of the couloir skis were strapped back on the packs and it was a direct climb up the gut of the Pipeline. Fortunately, a booter was in place from a group that skied it on Saturday, which made the final climb go quickly.

At the top of the couloir we made a sidetrip to tag the summit of the West Twin before getting set the for ski down. The couloir is ~42 degrees... steep, but the snow was soft so it didn't feel that steep. We had fun on the descent through Pipeline and out on the apron below.

Lots of photos below, but first, my favorite Andrea quotes of the day...

"It's 5:55... YOU SAID WE DIDN'T HAVE TO WAKEUP UNTIL 6!"

"I can eat ice cream as many times as I want today."

"We should ski Coalpit #4 next winter" (this only is funny with context... she was reading The Chuting Gallery while laying by the pool in the afternoon... it's like we have gone back in time 4-5 years)

Starting from Creekside

Light on the West Twin

The bowl below Pipeline

Looking back towards the Cottonwood Ridge

Starting the couloir climb

Perfect steepness

Stunning backdrop

Getting close to the top

Topping out on the West Twin

Timp still has snow

Skiing down

Andrea's view


Andrea skiing the apron below the Pipeline. This gives a good sense of the scale.

Summer-style exit back to the jeep

May 30, 2015

Wolverine Cirque

Wolverine Cirque

Chute skiing has taken over as our primary interest of the moment, so after skiing Suicide Chute yesterday, we decided to check out Wolverine Cirque this morning. It got hot quick, so after two laps in the cirque we headed back up to Twin Lakes Pass and skied out. Overall the snow in the upper cirque is in excellent condition. 

Another beautiful morning...

Teton-style approach...

Some interesting skinning conditions...

But then it turns to all snow

Still good coverage for the end of May

Ski time



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