Tuesday, March 20, 2012

May I have more potatoes, please?

Sometimes, I just guess wrong.

With the recent snow and excellent conditions, I thought we might be able to eke out one more day of powder and hit one of my favorite lines in the Rubies, Snake up at the top of Snell Canyon. Mike, being the good sport that he is, agreed to give it a shot. We probably should have stuck to Plan A.

The forecast said that it wasn't supposed to get above freezing up there, but I swear to God it felt like about 50 degrees! In any event, all of our lovely powder turned into mashed potatoes at best, gnarly mank at worse, even in mostly north-facing and beautifully-treed Snell. That's usually a consistently excellent line, but not today.

At least we got out on a gorgeous day, got good exercise with good company in a spectacular place. Who's to complain? I could have actually achieved work today.

Things started auspiciously, with a cold and gorgeous morning out my back door.

My wonderful husband agreed to pick Mike and me up at the end of the day, saving us from having to shuttle trucks. Good lord, how much worse would this have been an hour later! It didn't take long for the snow to start getting heavy and for the up to turn into a lot of work.

Even so, it was a glorious day to enjoy a Great Basin winter view.

Cody enjoyed the up. Hell, Cody enjoys most anything.

It was nice to take a break and watch this critter for a while up near the top. We couldn't get very close to him and I was wishing I had a better camera... pretty sure he/she was a bighorn but I can't be sure. If it was, we were lucky to see him, as there's been a huge die-off of these guys in the Rubies recently. Click on the picture to make it bigger, you can see him a little better.

When we finally got to the top, we were treated to some welcome cloud cover... and rollerballs. Not auspicious. I was hoping the more northerly aspect would be a little colder, but no such luck.

Even so, after a quick sandwich and a call to my sweetie to let him know when to pick us up, we got ready to head on down.

The first few hundred feet skied pretty well. The snow was heavy but turnable.

We had a bit of a discussion about how we wanted to get out of there. The best line heads off right to the heliski's landing zone - but it takes a pretty good bushwhack to get out of the canyon from there. I generally opt to avoid the bushwhack and head off skier's left, which means a big traverse and missing some of the best snow of the run. With the mank and thin cover, we opted to go for the best line, bushwhack be damned.

We could use a few elk around here to improve the skier habitat.

Even with the conditions, Mike made some quality turns above the LZ.

And then paid for the pleasure with a mank-snow bushwhack out... that got worse as the day went on. Ugh.

I'm not a PBR fan, but it sure tasted wonderful by the time we got down. It's been a long time since I've been that tired. I'm glad we got out but I hope I guess more accurately next time around.

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