December 23, 2010

What's on your coffee table?

Over the past few years I've started to develope quite a collection of maps, guidebooks, and other reference materials relating to skiing, hiking, backpacking, avalanches, etc. Most of them are located on my bookshelf, but depending on the season, certain "staples" are perpetually in the living room (on the coffee and end tables).

Here's what it looks like right now:

Obviously backcountry skiing is the name of the game at the moment. Chris Davenport's new book, 50 Classic Ski Descents of North America, is the newest addition to the bunch, and I've only had the chance to skim through it. It looks full of eye candy, though. And what makes it especially appealing is that while I'll never even see some of the mountains in the book in real life, I'm planning of skiing some of the "classics" in 2011 (Superior, Shasta, Rainier, Timpanogos, etc.). Davenport's other book, Ski the 14ers, always anchors the other side of the coffee table. I've climbed most of the 14ers in CO, and skied a handful of them, so in addition to incredible photography, this book holds lots of great memories for me.

I really like Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain, written by the UAC's Bruce Temper. Its textbook style, but probably the most interesting and relevant textbook I've ever read. Lots of great information. Snow Sense makes a great companion when just looking to review the basics.

So we have Dav's books, which provide the stoke, and a few avy books which provide the knowledge to help us make good decisions... so what's left? Where should we go skiing?!...

Since backcountry skiing is so popular in Utah (and especially in the Central Wasatch), there are some really stellar guidebooks. The 3-part Wasatch Tours books are the best for skiing within an hour of SLC. They aren't as easy to find on Amazon, but you can find them at local REI stores easily. There is also a series of Wasatch Touring Maps which are incredibly useful, but also much easier to find locally. And since there actually is amazing skiing all over Utah (not just in the SLC periphery), I've found that Tyson Bradley's Backcountry Skiing Utah is a good place to start when thinking about skiing all over the rest of the state. The Tushar, LaSal, and Stansbury, and Oquirrh mountain ranges are definitely on my radar for the spring.

That's just the coffee table! How about the end table?...

Well, we have Wild Snow, which has inspired a Cascades ski mountaineering trip I am planning for June of next year (and is written by Lou Dawson, who also has a blog of the same title, which I have learned a lot from). Climbing the Cascade Volcanoes is another reference I am using for the early stages of planning that trip. Freedom of the Hills is the freaking bible of mountaineering. I don't think I could trust anyone who didn't own a copy of it! ;-) And some random books on the Wasatch and Wind River ranges are in there as well. We'd like to get up into Wyoming for a few 3-4 day trips next year... which reminds me that I need to reserve backcountry permits for Grand Teton National Park in about 2 weeks. All these adventures require a lot of planning!

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