I’m in a dark place at the moment. “Rotationally, not psychologically”. Residency has ups and downs and the schedule factors into that fluctuation significantly. This month I’m on trauma surgery– it has its perks, like taking care of really sick folks in bad moments, but from a skiing perspective, working 6a-6p 27 of the 31 days in March is murder.
Thankfully, my day off lined up with conditions and with the ever-stoked Noah, who wanted to go big at 7:30 am even though he’d worked the midnight to 7 am ER shift that day. Who am I to say no?
We set out with a plan to ski as many steep lines off of Kessler peak as possible given the conditions and Noah’s post-call status. We headed up Argenta, a popular moderate ski, to take advantage of the established skinner, and we were atop the peak in a bit over an hour. West aspects were out on account of sun crusts, but the East couloir had just softened and we thought we could get in and out before it got too soft.
The snow was fine, if getting a bit heavy in the intense spring morning sun. We booted back out looking leerily at the cornices above and opted to harvest the protected snow in the Argenta Couloir before the sun got in the way. The northerlies held protected goods and the skiing was mighty fine.
From the bottom of the Argenta Couloir, I broke a skinner for a finally-tired-looking Noah back to the summit ridge. With the NW facing Argenta couloir in such fine condition we knew that the North facing God’s Lawnmower would make for an excellent exit.
I’ve been looking at this line for a long time. The name tells you everything you need to know. God’s Lawnmower.
There’s no mature timber in the runout, let’s put it that way. Rarely skied from the top, this year it was filled in. Filled-ish. My friend Eric, as I would discover later, had put in the sole track from the summit, and we followed suit. Thankfully, I had brought a RAD line as insurance for the day, because the 60-degree top pitch had had it’s middle scraped clean to rock slab by his bravery. I was left to invent a rappel anchor from a dead tree and a harness from my rap cord. It worked. Noah follow, laughing.
From there it was full on Wasatch; 60-degree settled powder in widely-spaced timber, clouds of snow in your face, laughing. What was intimidating from the road was, in these conditions, dreamy.
It’s been more than a week since we skied this and another storm is rolling in. I’ve got another day coming up, and I’m hopeful. Until then, brave skier friends.