Fear and Loathing 1/13/12
The day after my showdown in Old Man’s I was back out in the mix. Not for the great skiing, but for a dubious anniversary. EV lost a great skier on this day some years ago in King Tut’s during one of the biggest seven-day cycles I’ve ever seen. I wandered up on the accident in a different party and ended up recovering Gus with a good friend of mine. A sobering reminder that there is a fine line between pushing it and pushing it too far. It was the first pack of the day and other friends rounded out the locals only group.
I was seriously spooked from yesterdays verification of a trigger happy snowpack, and was all about a crappy Mushie run. I let everyone know about what had transpired the day before and let them make up their own minds. We had come in separate groups and a group of geared up quickly and stood ready at the small tree platform above the skier’s left entrance of Abraham’s. I couldn’t resist the urge to spot them and see what was going to go down. I called coming and skied up to them, happy to let someone test the left side of Abe’s first. A shelf like cliff guards the entrance and is a prime spot to trigger a release. I’ve seen it break and flush at the exact spot.
They dropped, cut left into the denser tree slots. Both were able to cut left and then descend without incident. Other groups joined me at the spot and then took turns skiing similar lines. Nothing. It sounds crazy, but I was a little disappointed. All this build up from yesterday and I ended up crying wolf. I realized that I had let yeaterday’s incident and the fact of Gus’ tragic aniversary skew my judgement and assesment of a different day, different conditions in a very different area. The human factor by far, both the positive and negative aspects, is the most variable of all.
After six people had gone, Big J wanted to bring up the rear, so I gathered myself and dropped over the shelf cliff and into the left hand slot of Abe’s. The snow was at the knee and a little wind whipped, the fear of punching through in the back of my mind. It was evergreen slalom, and had to be wary of catching a non-exposed part of a tree or log.
The evergreens anchored the snow pack and combined with a day of settlement, the snowpack seemed to be a little calmer.
Aired over the little choke and into the flats and to my ski partners, happy to have gotton the first Abe’s out of the way. A few deep pow turns, thankfully without incident on a perfect day was just what I needed. Big J and I took our time and skied out with Brenden stopping along the way to enjoy the day and remenisce. I caught a glimpse on the way out of Old Man’s and turned away quickly, wanting to be in the moment and put it a literally and figuratively behind.