Thursday, January 13, 2011

Weekend Warrior

As weekends approach, angst rises. This is the mentality of a weekend warrior. We need to make things happen in the 2 days of freedom we have. It is 10 fold for a backcountry weekend warrior.

The thing is, as a backcountry tourer, your runs are fewer then they would be with a simple lift accessed weekend. On a lift, you can crank out at least 20 runs, where as on a splitboard, a 5 run weekend is a big weekend. So on a lift, you are more just looking at a whole mountain, because chances are, you can cover 90% of the good stuff on it any given day. If I can access 1% of the good stuff this area has to offer in a day, I'd be lucky.

Last year the mentality on Saturday morning was, what resort will it be today? Abasin, Breck, Beaver Creek? Now when Wednesday night rolls around it is, what run will I do this weekend? Sultan, Wiley, Naked Lady?... The list goes on.

Although most decisions are made that morning on the drive or the night before, I start thinking of what to ride on Wednesday. Maybe thats not healthy, but it damn sure is fun to think about. Being in the San Juans we certainly aren't limited on choices. But when you are basing your weekend on a few runs, you better damn well nail down what is going to be good.

What goes into a run selection? First and foremost it is the snow stability. If the stability is stable, get after it. If its not there, hide in the trees. If the snow will be crap up high, go down low. Then you look at aspect. North aspect, or will East be holding? A big line takes a more thought out process. I've found that riding down the big lines isn't the hard part, its getting up to them. Most of the trip planning involves scouting how I will get up to the top, and in some cases, is it even possible?

When stability is strong and the forecast is glim, my anxienty level shoots up. I know that the possibilities open up when this is the case. It almost gets to the point where I have trouble getting to sleep at night. Trees are fun, don't get me wrong, but a 40+ degree chute gives a little bit more adrenaline boost.

I think too much, I've come to accept that. Sometimes I can shut it down, but generally not. Before a weekend I generally have looked at my line possibilites 10 times on google earth, read the avy report 10 times, and looked at the forecast probably double that. I've even gotten to the point that I have an excel worksheet planned on each possible run, what aspect, and approximate time to tour. Maybe thats why I'm a good analyst, or maybe I'm just completely OCD. Who knows? Who cares. I don't think this is a bad thing.

Its Thursday.... What's on tap for the weekend?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Falling is not an option

“Go for it” I said to Clayton as we he edged his way into the start zone. This wasn’t the run we had gone to do, it was actually the exit out. We were located in the basin the Grand Turk trying to exit to the road, but we did not realize what we would come across. I wanted nothing to do with this area, a 45 degree convex roll-over perched atop of menacing spires of cliffs below us. A fall down this would send us cart wheeling over 50 to 80 foot cliffs. Certainly not possible to walk away from, let alone live. Minutes before I had taken a cartwheel down on the objective run. A 40+ degree chute on the Gran Turk, located off of Molas Pass. The confidence level wasn’t as high as it normally was at this point.

The 5 hour hike to the top had experienced many positive emotions, from bliss of hiking alone to a beautiful blue sky summit view of Silverton and the surrounding area. But where I was perched on, the positive thoughts prior were all out of my mind.

In my head I tried to recall a similar time, but none came to mind. I’m sure that while perched on a cliffed out zone in Vermont over ice I felt it was a no fall zone, but it was nothing compared to what I was facing right now. This was truly my first “no fall zone”.

The thing about no fall zones in Colorado is that now they become “no slide zones”. Even a small slough or wind slab could make us lose balance and tumble down. The reinforcement of the forecast, hiking in aspects, and riding in similar zones had installed a confidence in the snowpack that lied ahead. But when facing obstacles such as this, you certainly can’t fall, but you also can’t be wrong. Was I that positive that it wouldn’t go? How deep was the snow? Would I crank a hidden shark tooth on the turn sending me down? There is minimal room for error here.

Clayton got into position for the line; a toe side turn 30 yards above the rocks. He looked back, smirked and gave a nervous look that confirmed similar thoughts. He pressed down to test the slope a couple times; each push dropped my stomach just a little bit farther. No movement. He edged further in, looked back and said “don’t fall” as he scooted down and through to the safe zone without any issue.

I edged into the same start zone, but slightly different dynamic for me. This turn would be a heal side turn to the safe zone. Any snowboarder will tell you they feel more comfortable on their toes instead of their heels. I like to think of toe side as being proactive, and your heels being reactive. Reactive wasn’t ideal here, but it needed to get done. If only it was toes side, it would be much more reassuring. Looking left to my toeside revealed an 80 foot waterfall. There goes that idea. I moved into position and reassured myself. ‘If a guy who has 80 pounds on me didn’t set it off, it won’t go for me, right?’ Not necessarily… Shut up brain, time to go for it. I pushed out, edged in and pointed it once past the cliff. In the safe zone I let out a sigh of relief. “Hey, let’s not do that again, ok?” I said to Clayton. “Agreed” he replied as we looked back and set off down to the exit to the road.

The Objective run - The Grand Turk North Chute (13,150')

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Goodbye to Summer

With fall past bloom, winter gaining steam, and the days shortening, I felt it necessary to write a goodbye to the great summer I had. Looking back it flew by, so what did I do this summer?

Technically my summer started out by snowboarding. A trip to Cameron pass to milk out the last turns of the season.
My summer and life took a big change in June when I took a new job in Durango. On July 12th I packed up and headed to SW Colorado from Durango.
Once in Durango, I hiked a bunch, biked a bunch, jumped cliffs and went swimming a bunch, and longboarded a bunch. Needless to say I liked to keep busy whenever I could.

In August I made the venture back to Fort Collins to visit college friends I hadn't seen in over two years. Because of the occasion, I felt the 15 hours of round trip driving was going to be worth it, and it was. It has been hard to keep in contact with many from college, but when I can, I cherish the moment.

On the drive back I really had the realization the mountains were where I really wanted to be. This part of the ride always brings in some awe for me. So many 14ers, sheer massive power.
In the beginning of September my dad made his second trip ever to Colorado. It was more like his first trip because the first was our drive across the US, and he didn't have to much time to really enjoy Colorado. I took him out on the town, up to the mountains, and scouting for deer. It was a trip that will never be forgotten.

Although I didn't do as much biking toward the end of the year as I would like, I did have some great rides throughout the summer. It was great exploring new areas, and having buddies to show me the goods. The best bike ride of the season I would say went to the Engineer ride. It was 45 minutes up, 1.5 hours down. Nothing beats that. That will be a goto ride next year. I'm hoping to upgrade to a new bike next spring, so more rides to come, and more areas to explore.

I did a good amount of hiking this summer. It ranged from everything from hiking in sandles in hail thunderstorms on the Animas to beautiful hikes up to the Ice Lakes. All of them were fun though. Here are my favorite pictures from the hiking exploration this summer.

All in all, I must say summer was great. But really, I'm a winter guy, so I'm ready for what next is in store. If its anything as fun as summer, I'm sure it won't dissapoint.

First Pow Turns of the Season 11/13/10

My winter 10/11 has now officially started, and I must say, it couldn't of come at a better time. The first day on the mountain was good for first turns. Went to the Grande in Silverton on 10/30/10. Little later then last year, but definately different then last years first turns at A-Basin. Not riding groomers, but a 35-40 degree face that I had to hike up. Conditions were firm, but good base.
We still managed to get a little fluff though as you can tell from Chandler's spray. Once the first pow turns are laid down, my thought is that the season has actually started, and that is what happened on 11/13/10.
I got my new splitter finally and had to put it through a little bit of the ropes back at the Grande.
My quiver for 10/11. '11 Venture Zephyr 159 and a '08 NS Legacy 156. I think I will be able to get pretty good turns with these two.

Since we knew that the Grande had a good base, and possibly got snow, we decided to venture out to get after it. What we found was a lot better then we hoped for. On the hike up I could only think that it was going to be good, really really good.
Enjoying the climb.
The hike ranged from skinning up the road which was packed snow, to skinning on a booted out skin track, to setting our own track, to bootpacking, to setting our own bootpack through anywhere from 1 ft of snow to 4 feet of snow, to windblow at the top. Good workout for first good tour in winter conditions. Its a good thing I had a 6ft 5 yeti plowing the way most of the way.

Clayton being a beast and using his yeti skills to pave the way.

At the top we let off a few war crys, and dropped in. Powder turns were awesome. I got off a few "fake shots" is what I call them. Not real face shots, but I can make them with a big enough spray. Clayton got a great sequence of me in one.

The turns were deep and stable. I would say were about 8 inches of fresh. For November turns, it was a lot better then expected. Here's some shots of Chandler enjoying the fresh, much better then before.
Welcome winter 10/11, I've been waiting for you for a while now! Ullr, bring it on!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Winter 2010 2011 Goals

So each year I set goals for myself for the upcoming snowboard season. Last year my goal was over 40 days, be comfortable on 20 foot cliffs, and start spinning off cliffs. Out of those I accomplished all except spinning off cliffs, although I did land some 3’s in the park! (totally not normal for me) With spinning, I just never really got around to it and my priorities changed as the season started. During the year my goals tend to shift a bit. Last year my goals shifted to riding a more fluid line down bigger mountain lines. I noticed that at times I would just go balls to the wall and have to throw on a full on stop, which looking at a line after looks like crap. So I really learned throughout the year how to stay at a comfortable speed without slamming on any brakes, and picked up the fluidity. It really just came to holding back, terrain is just completely different then riding the trees full speed at Smuggs, that for sure.

This year, my goals are a little different. Since my shift or riding will be predominately backcountry, I have some different goals. Obviously I want to progress my riding as always, so my goals are really focused around that. It is just a different mindset this year for sure. So without further rambling, here’s my goals:

1. Stay Safe, but push boundaries - This is a big priority for me. In the backcountry, you are constantly stepping out of your comfort zone, and while doing that, you gain more experience. My number one goal is to make sure I still progress and push that fine line, but stay safe. This make involve taking a few more risks in my mind then previous years, but it is a whole new beast for me down here in the San Juans, and I have to step outside that comfort zone a bit. But I want to make sure that if doesn’t feel right, I have the ability to back off.

2. Get over 40 days, with 30+ days without aid of a chairlift. - This seems reasonable. Last year I had 42 days I believe and probably 15 or so where strictly backcountry. Since I don’t have too much motivation to ride lifts here except for a couple local days at Wolf Creek and some at Silverton, most of my time will be devoted to backcountry. Hence the no season pass this year and purchase of a splitboard. This will let me “smell the roses” a little bit more. It is a much slower pace, much more exploring, and much more thought out process.

3. Every day have fun. - This is big. This year is different than any other day I’ve had. I will have to work my ass off for every line I do, and this could be 3 to 12 hours of hiking on any given day. I don’t want to be deterred ever by this. I never was before, I love earning my turns. But this is a ton more hiking. But with me it’s all about the exploration, so I don’t think this will be a problem.

4. Take more pictures and document more trips.

One thing that I have never done before is make a hitlist. I always have ideas of what I want to do, but I never put them down on paper. Last year I had the Lake Chutes first tracks down, and pulled it off, didn’t think that would happen. The problem with a hitlist is that you can’t be set on doing every single line. This could lead into some trouble by putting yourself in a position you shouldn’t be, so I have to make sure I stay in goal one above. These lines really depend on the conditions of the snowpack completely. There’s a chance I could do none, there’s a chance I do all, all depends on the snowpack. But I know they can be done if the conditions are there. I want to make sure I’m not greedy with this list, but realistic. Each one of these lines ties completely into my goals above. If I can pluck a couple of these lines off my list, then it will have been a successful winter.

Winter 2010 / 2011 Hitlist

1. V5, Silverton, CO

2. The Naked Lady Couloir, Snowdon Peak, Silverton

3. Sultan, Silverton

4. Kendall, Silverton

5. South Lookout, Silverton

6. North Twilight, Silverton

7. Treasure Mountain Hut Trip / Any Extended Hut Trip - There’s been talks of my birthday and Riddle’s birthday doing this, so we’ll have to see how this pans out with people, but it would be awesome to get away from it all and “be amongst it”.

8. The Couloir Off Million Dollar Highway – I saw this line the first time I came to Silverton and was blow away. Some guy had skied it solo. It’s huge, exposed at the top. It’s risky and I have no idea how to access it, but I know it can be done. This may not get done this year, but it’ll be on the hitlist till I get it done.

9. Molas Pass Cliff Lines – There’s a couple fun playful lines in Molas Pass that I have been eyeing. I see no problem in knocking this one out. There’s a couple double 10-15 foot cliff lines, and possibly a triple. It would be fun to play on this for a while one weekend.

10. Ride an all old growth Aspen Glade - This idea came from Riddle, and from mountain biking, I definitely want to do this on a snowboard as well. There’s something sweet about riding through Aspens. I saw a couple lines on 550 that this could be accomplished on. I also don’t see this as a problem of knocking out as well.

Every year it gets better. With the endless possibilities in the San Juans and the aid of a splitboard, it should make for a memorable season. Looking forward to Winter 2010 2011! Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Life Update and Changes

Well, in my previous post, my goal was to start doing more splitboarding and general outdoors things in the following year. I think that goal will be accomplished soon enough. I am moving down to Durango Colorado, which if you have never been there, is a lot more outdoors then Fort Collins (that is a vast understatement). I'm looking forward to lots of mountain biking this summer, lots of hiking, lots of exploring, and the obviously the upcoming Winter.

I have made a decision to not purchase a seasons pass, but instead I will be purchasing a new splitboard as a substitute. I am hoping to still do as many days as I did last year (42), but I will definitely have a lot more quality days. The San Juan's really are limitless. I know last year people were snowboarding at Silverton in early October, so that means I have 3 months till snowboard season! A lot of learning and exploring is sure to come this winter.

I'll try to keep up as much with posting as possible, I should probably pick up a point and shoot camera as well, but all in due time. Here is an idea of what next winter's possibilities include. This is outside of Silverton, the range where I will be frequently going to, but accessing it myself. It is 1 hr north of Durango.

Stay tuned in the next couple months for a vast improvement in posting. Mountain biking and hiking reports to follow!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

9 Days of Foot Powered Birthday Goodness

For my birthday this year, decided to go about things a little different. Took off the entire week, and Riddle came out to visit. Me and Riddle grew up riding together, so getting some VT blood out in Colorado was just what I needed.

We knew the snow on the first day was good to go by the "Xterra Rucshblock test". If a Nissan doesn't set off an avy, chances are we weren't going to either. We went out to Loveland Pass for some backcountry breaking in for Riddle. Working our way out to where nobody was, we got some good lines. Riddles first backcountry run didn't go as well as I think he had hoped.

I can't really say to much though, my first real backcountry run didn't go as well with 4 tumbles last year.

Here's much better, Riddle pointing it down the Shark Teeth gully (left).

Here's some of the turns from my line.

The first day was a little tough for the flatlander, coming from sea level to 11000 ft isn't an easy task. Poor guy's stomach decided to let loose on the side of the road after run #3, ending our first day. He was a trooper though.

Day two Fynn left us, and the two of us went out to Berthoud Pass for some more easy access backcountry. Taught Riddle some rescue techniques and pit digging skills because it was just us for the rest of the week, he would be my only shovel if it came down to it. He excelled. We explored some areas I had never explored and ended up finding some of the goods.

First chute we rode. Looker's right chute in shade.

Riddle dropping a cliff line.

Me dropping into one of the better lines of the day.

After a couple days of "breaking in" to some backcountry, we wanted to find out what else was out there. I knew that in the past I had seen some people entering an area close to the condo, so we set off on an exploratory mission.

1.5 miles into our recon mission, we found this nice small area and made our way up it. It was pretty playful and fun, to which we dubbed it "Christmas Tree Pillows".

After chatting with some snowshoeing locals who informed us that there could be some more terrain farther up, we slogged farther in, and found what we were looking for. We were set for the week. Exploratory mission accomplished.

Here is where the real week started. This was completely untouched land. I'm almost positive that the area hadn't been hit all year. We would be doing it all ourselves. This was what we really wanted from the week. Its a great feeling to have an area all to yourself. It's sort of like having your own supersized playground with endless possibilities.

We set off the first day in our new area to hit one run that had peaked our interest the most. It was a 1200 foot tree gully with a possible cliff air in the middle of the run. (middle line on two picutres above) We knew where it was, but getting there would be the tricky part. Since dense forest (Colorado dense, not Vermont dense) would need to be navigated, I set my GPS to the ending point of where the run would be. We then set off up the trail, blazing whatever we could.

All those years of growing up in Vermont really paid off. I took for granted the times my dad brought me out in the woods for hours, then said, "Where is the way home? You're leading the way back." That sense of direction was key for navigating this area. I think Riddles key was his Bam Bam skills as he smashed thousands of branches off during the climb with his ski poles. This would help in the days to come.

4 hours into the trip we made it to a zone that was extremely appetizing (above). We knew that our prize laid further out, so we sat and had lunch and mind shredded the area. We knew we would be returning later in the week.

An hour later, and now 5 hours of breaking trail we started to get to where my GPS was telling us was the correct area. The problem was that we couldn't see the start of the zone. This is common, but at this point your mind starts asking the questions of doubt. "Do you really know where you are going?" You just pray you won't end up on a 30ft rock face of death. We made the changeover and started poking our way through the trees to our potential start zone. We found it without too much problem, but with each new turn down, the heartbeat increased.

We stood on top of the start zone with wide eyes. What we had found was just what we were hoping for. A foot of blower powder, 50 degree entry into protected open trees. This was going to be good. I told Riddle to stay where we were at, and I proceeded down to the next safe zone. Upon stopping, I popped out a little bit of a slab avy, and realized the snow was very reactive. The face started to slide, not to deep, but ran for the entire 1200 feet to the bottom, pretty fast. My mind now started running. Had we gotten in over our head? Was there a way out? Is this danger manageable? I had not been in this position before, and very nervous. I motioned Riddle down. We decided that we needed to Ping Pong from tree to tree on the way down, so if we slide, we wouldn't go far. I had a bad feeling, but there wasn't many more options. If we managed this start zone we were in the clear.

Riddle went first. With each turn he made, the snow sloughed off small avalanches. We made it down 3 more safe zones and made it to the open area. Here is where we could really start to open it up. And boy was it good. Every turn was whiteout, 40-45 degree pitch with complex terrain. Riddle found it was deep as you can see.

Making it to the bottom, the cumilation of everything, the 5 hour hike, the avalanche terrain management, and the payoff was overwhelming. This was backcountry snowboarding, this was what I was meant to do. We dubbed this run "Pine Spines" for the snow spine with small pine trees that gave us face shots aplenty. It was the best of my life (up till then).

Aftermath of "Pine Spines". Smiles aplenty.

My birthday was the next day, and we decided to trudge back out to the area for a trip to a different zone we had seen on our recon mission. It was a large old avalanche path that had cleared a handful of tree chutes. A few more inches had fallen overnight, so we were expecting a lot more face shots to come. The challenge this day would be going up though much more then going down.

We made our way up through the trees, but as the trail became steeper, we really learned how to do better and better switchbacks. We didn't choose the best way up and were stuck switchbacking through a gully. As we made our way through the woods, the snowpack deteriorated, making for an interesting traverse. At one point I was traversing on long grass, and had to make a quick self arrest to make sure I didn't tumble down the 40 degree slope into trees. We made it through and the payoff was well worth it.

The first run we took was great. Once we made it to the opening, the payoff was more faceshots and more smiles. But when I came to the realization I had left my poles at the top of the run, it ruined the moment. Instead of going up how we did before, I broke off two tree branches for poles, and broke trail back up to where we had just rode. Finding my poles after some bootpacking, I dubbed the trail "Lost Pole" for obvious reasons. But we still had untouched snow for the second part of the run, so I couldn't complain.
After we made our way back to the first starting zone for a couple more runs. We decided on a new route up was needed. This led us to a new starting zone, and more spines to conquer.

Here Riddle gets on the spine and likes what he got. I got the left hand spine, which was equally nice.

We started to trust the snowpack more, so we decided to do one more run up into a more unprotected area for some wide open powder turns. This was a 38 degree slope, making it prime for avalanches if it went. We managed it and found the snowpack was bomber.

We called it a day, and what a birthday it was. We knew that with not much new snow in the forecast and a bomber snowpack, the green light was on for basically everything the zone had to offer in the days to come.

Flynn joined us the next day and we told him that we had an area he needed to check out. I think we was a little skeptical after we told him it was 5 hours to the top, but we told him the 2 mile sludge in to the bottom of the trail was well worth it. This time we pushed up must faster, probably 3 hours instead of the 5, and hit up the zones we had passed the previous time. Here Riddle goes for the drop chute in the "Zone 3." Once we realized that Zone 1 and 2 were really only shark teeth and tight low angle trees, we pushed it back up to Zone 3 for one more quick run before heading out to the big run.

Below: Riddle makes a wave
Now we made it back to the zone we were looking for. Instead of hitting "Pine Spines", we decided to hit the zone skiers right of the drop in. I was to go first.

Dropping in I realized the snow on the spine was real deep. I was riding in 1-2 feet of blower and realized I needed a lot more speed. I worked my way down the spine into the choke, where my speed quickly doubled. It was so deep, I couldn't stop now. I blew past the 1st safe zone and made my way up to the left hand spine. Every turn I took was whiteout, it felt like I was surfing a wave. Toeside to the spine, whiteout, exit back into the gully, clear vision, oh no, quick 4 foot choke, gotta straightline, back to the spine, more whiteout, avoid the trees, ride the wave, whiteout, keeping pushing, don't fall. Now I was breathing hard. About 2/3 of the way done. My mouth open and breathing hard. More whiteout, "bleh, gasp, cough, cough", oh god I can't breath. A snow chunk become lodged into my mouth and I started choking. I pounded my chest, and starting spitting to clear my throat, gotta keep going, and quickly pounded on. Hold on till the end. At the bottom, you made it. THAT WAS AWESOME! Breathing hard, I jumped on the walkie, "that was.... the best run... of my life!!! Oh my god, so deep, bomber snowpack, that spine was ridiclous! Riddle, Rip it up!" I had just had the most overwhelming run of my life. Nothing would ever match it.

I managed to snap a self portrait right after this run. I dubbed the run "Deep Throat". As you can see, there were a lot of face shots considering I never fell and accumulated that much snow.

After such a great day, a splitboard race was in order. Riddle and I had done this the day before, and realized it was pretty sketchy dodging people on a splitboard without outside edge, so might as well make a race out of it. It was a very close race, swith some obvious contact, Riddle pulling ahead right at the bottom of the run to take the victory. We probably scared a fwe hikers who probably are sharing the experience of some crazy out of control people with weird looking skis who almost took them out on their gentile hike in Frisco.

After our race, we went for beer and apps at the Dillon Dam Brewery with the sun setting. Truly and unforgettable day, the best I have ever had on a snowboard. (Splitboard technically)

The next day we went to Breckenridge for a "resting day". It is amusing to call a day on the resort a day off, but I guess when you don't have to climb up yourself it could be considered one. It was one of the better days at Breck for the year, and brought Riddle to most of the secret stashes I have found there. Unfortunately we couldn't make it out to the Imperial Bowl because of the whiteout conditions. We stuck to the trees and still happened to get plenty of good snow. This day didn't seem as fulfilling though. It's just wasn't same as earning your turns, I may be getting jaded.

The next day, 8 days straight of riding it got hot. We made it up farther on the runs we did on Day 5, and by excellent switchback skills, pumped out three solid runs.

Riddle perfecting his switchback skills on "75 for 500". We called it this because it took about 75 switchbacks for 500 vert.

Here Flynn points the entrance to "75 for 500". Good stuff Flynn, hes really stepped up his skiing the last 2 years. He rips it in the trees, and pushes me now. Much better then college cranking that tree at Berkshire East (best, crash, ever).

Day 9. I have never snowboarded this many days in a row. Waking up our legs ached. We didn't have too much ambition to get out there. 10am rolled around. Flynn left us. Riddle and I normally would of been almost to the top of the trail, but we were barely eating breakfast at this point. We knew we needed to get out there for the last day, we got our shit together and out on the trailhead for noon. Our goal was to do "Pine Spines" one last time. 3 hours later we were standing on our objective, ready to drop. One last great run down Pine Spines to end a perfect week. I even got the chance to stomp the cliff we had been looking at all week.

Doing a week long trip with Riddle definitely put in to perspective what I want from snowboarding. I realized that the fulfillment I got from Breckenridge was just not the same as working your ass off for a 2 minute run. Maybe its a quality vs quantity thing, not sure. I think that it's the adventure of finding new terrain, writing your own rules, and conquering terrain on a splitboard that normally is not possible on a snowboard. It really opened my eyes to new possibilities. Looking back on the days I remember as a kid snowboarding, I remember hiking and riding the woods behind my house with my dog, bootpacking the backbowls of Smuggs, and finding new terrain with the crew. It's the pursuit of the untouched that I'm looking for, the adventure of the unknown, and the enjoyment of the solitude of being in the mountains. You develop a new relationship with the mountains. There is a great quote by John Muir that says "The Mountains speak and wise men listen." Well, I think I'm starting to hear. Splitboarding brings you places you thought were never possible to get to, Splitboarding is the answer.

Thanks for the best week of my life Riddle, lets do that again soon.