22 December 2009

19 December 2009

Cub Bear and The Moon coming together

Well the children's story I wrote for the kids is shaping up. It's gone through three edits and been picked over by my editors.

Took some pencil to paper and sketched out our title protagonist, Cub Bear. Also doodled a little confused marmot as well.

I just hope the kids like it.

18 December 2009

Sore backs, nearby avalanches & drawing a cub

The biggest mystery to me this morning, other than how anybody could ever watch Glen Beck, is why the heck my back is sore. True I lifted weights for the first time in a week but I took it easy. Also because of the hand, I stayed away from free weights and just did machines.

But it's baffling because I worked out chest, triceps and core - not back. Or it could be this is the first time I lifted since I got a massage on Saturday.

So sorry Kirsten. I undid all of the good work you did on my knots on Saturday evening. Must schedule a return visit for January.

Found it amusing that two skiers triggered a series of avalanches two valleys over from where Dan & I snowshoes and dug avy pits.

From CAIC:
Even though the weather has not been impacting the the snowpack much the last few days, triggered avalanches are still a problem. Yesterday near Dry Gulch east of Ike Tunnel, riders/skiers remotely triggered a good sized slab off Trelease Mtn. The crown was about 1,000 ft away from the skiers when it was triggered. The debris stopped around 400 feet away as it hit a large flat bench. That slide triggered another slide in the next bowl over, (on the other side of a tree island which was about 200 ft wide). Both slopes were estimated at 35-38 degrees steep, NNE aspects above treeline running to below treeline.

I told Dan even after seeing the apparent weak layers in the snowpack, and after triggering collapses with very little effort, I would have felt comfortable skiing where we were. There were a couple of reasons why:

* We were at about tree line and the east aspect we were on was sparsely covered with trees. It created many open slopes but with heavier forestation above us, I felt good that there was enough anchor points to stave off any catastrophic slides.

* We were at about 30-35 degrees. Ideal angles for avys. But what I was seeing and how the snow was reacting, I would suspect that steeper terrain would be the locale for the bad avalanches.

Putting together the children's story book for Hannah & Ryan. I got plenty of stickers, stamps and other little illustrations to make it interesting for the kids. The thing that I was missing was my main character; Cub Bear.

Came across some sketches that will make a good templet for the mischievous protagonist.

And remember, please leave the marmots alone. They're going to wheeze their noses off!

16 December 2009

Snowshoe Doubled - Where your feet take you

Tis the season to wander. Point your two feet in a direction and just go. There be no destination needed, all that is required is around you.

A couple of days on the snowshoes have been refreshing. On Tuesday I drove in a direction and then stopped at a spot on the snow-covered road that had enough width in order for me to park.

It was a nondescript mountain out west. After some aimless wandering searching for ridges, I turned back and went another direction.

I was rewarded with two things: the first was nearly running into a deer buck. The other was finding a secret tree skiing area that will be perfect when there is a little more added to the snowpack and when avy danger is high above tree line.

Trying to see the forest from the trees. The ridges petered out into an indistinct slope. Plenty of wildlife tracks though, including a fresh set of a younger mountain lion heading downhill and to the south.

I will be back once we get another dump to get a taste of the 600-foot runs. If you ask me for the location, Ill let you know.

On Wednesday, Dan and I headed up Watrous Gulch towards Woods Mountain. It was our first outing together since Mt Audubon. And ignominiously it was Dan's first outdoors trip since then and my first time back up in the alpine since our Indian Peaks outing.

Dan was also nursing an injured meniscus and I was suffering from tendonitis in my left hand. So we made quite the gimpy pair.

The snow was thin down below but the snowpack at and above tree line was deeper than I anticipated. I broke trail for a good portion of it and we decided to eschew the "trail" and just make a rising traverse on the side of the gulch we were on.

The views were superlative as usual, and the wallowing was fun. I knew we weren't going to get up Woods Mountain. While having a goal is good, you shouldn't have to handcuff yourself to it.

After a couple of hours we found a good spot to have Dan dig his first snow pit. He has been boning up on his avalanche knowledge and I am all to eager to teach him what I know from my experience.

Dan trying to unlock the secrets the snowpack contained.

Dan getting belligerent with the snow.

The two layers of facets were scary. It is a dangerous snow pack out there. Shovel shear tests pried off a foot-deep slab with far too little effort from the upper hoar level. After a small windslab crust, the base of the entire snowpack is on a flimsy layer of facets that can be swept up. I had never seen such a weak layer in my alpine time and numerous pits before.

But even though the evidence we unearthed showed a very touchy snowpack, I informed Dan I would feel comfortable skiing where we were at. Mainly because the slope was fairly well treed and the angle wasn't vertiginously steep.

Mind you if it was an open slope and or approaching 45 degrees, there is no way I would do a ski cut.

Still it was good to breathe hard, point the feet uphill and enjoy the views, company and conditions.