2/24/2012 Beaver’s Baldy, Fire and Brimstone!
Fire was falling from the sky, locusts clouding the air, frogs and toads eclipsing the streets… Satan’s Etch-a-Sketch was in full effect with winds of ash and red hot glowing embers!!
Got everyone checked out of my building and finished dealing with a livid Big Appler who’s ski bags have sat in my lobby since Tuesday, unbeknownst to me with no pick-up scheduled. Okay Chief, I’m sure you need them over-nighted to go rip your non-existant snowpack on your local landfill with a chairlift on it… cry me a river.
Lunch, time to un-plug, tune out and head in the great blue yonder, sans the mob scene traveling from lift to lift. Up Centennial, Cinch and out the gate at the tip top of BC. Signs painted in red blood, screaming murder and suicide!! High Danger…probably for good reason. Took heed, said my prayers and calculated my chances as being safer outside the resort rather than inside it.
A solo skin up Beaver’s “Baldy” and the amusement of a ridiculously useless skin/boot track on a sub-15 degree slope that would burn five times the calories than any of my A-to-B “Crow-Flies” routes. I was beside myself, laughing so hard it brought tears to my eyes… See for yourself. Not to knock on good ‘ol fashioned route-taking skills, but this is the most conservative example I have ever seen, you might as well go run on the hamster wheel for a couple hours. I would say that this is a very appropriate pattern for beacon searching that particular stretch, but I’m always trying to look on the sunny side I guess. Thanks for breaking trail… or I guess, you’re welcome, but thanks for the laugh, I needed it.
Shot up lookers left ridge, blowing through big wind rolls and baking soda deposition in between. Cleared the trees and was in the midst of a cross-loaded moonscape of Sastrugi and wind scraped rocks. Made it to the most accessible drop-in point at the lookers right side of the “Baldness” and sat to enjoy the solitude, scenery and the distance between myself and the rest of the world’s insanity. It’s enlightening that one can find moments of true inner peace surrounded by “hell-fire”. Goes to show one can still enjoy the backcountry on “High” Danger days, all it takes is the right route planning, slope and aspect and ice cream dreams can become a reality.
Made my peace with the afternoon and looked down onto a completely blank canvass. Unmolested and untainted the Beaver’s “Baldy” was good to shred. Stomped around the top higher angle wind slabs with no results. Dropped in and had the best run at Beaver Creek all year.
Skied my choice line and the snow pack never budged, even got to send a couple of the medium sized cliffs lower down by the trees and finally put some air under the skis. Felt great to have a slope to myself and not have to deal with the Presidents’ Week Holiday madness. Short lived, it was time to plug back in and get the game face on… after all that was just a “ski lunch break”, back to reality whatever that may be.