Monday, May 7, 2007

Training Log: May 6: Saddle Peak

WEEE HOOO! I did Saddle Peak today with Anglea! This woman is unbelievable. She is like an amazon goddess, taller than me, I think she's 6', bright blue eyes, endurance forever, (She came in 2nd at the Ridge Run at Bridger, 19 laps up the boot pack in 5 hours. HOLEY CRAP.)

So she hauled my sorry ass up this AMAZING mountain today. I am having camera issues, so I don't have any of the great photos we took (and there were only 3 because I had to do everything I could to just keep going so I wouldn't get TOO far behind...)

Okay, things I learned today: How to PEE WITH MY SKIS ON! Yeah! Point your ski tips uphill in a V (skins on, of course), lean forward, drop trau, put one hand in the snow and let er' rip. Awesome.

I also learned that its important to keep your Dynafit bindings clean. Yeah. I have been skiing where its muddy and icky, and I guess that was a problem. But I am ahead of myself.

So Saddle peak is just past Slushmans. Slushmans is going to be the new lift-served terrain with the old P-Dog lift from Snowbird in the 2008-09 season at Bridger.

So we hiked on the dirt along Summer road to the cat track at the end of Missouri Breaks and put our skins on. We skinned along until we got to Emigrant, and then skinned up and across the South Boundary, out into Slushmans, across the gully and then UP to the ridge. Needless to say, I still need work on my kick turns.

HERE, however, is a great place to say THANK YOU to Jay at Barrel Mountaineering, for cutting my skins so excellently. He decided that the best (and rather unorthodox way) to cut them would be to cut them wall to wall, rather than leaving the edges exposed. This is like the third time I have found myself all the way on my edge, and still going up. Thus, most grateful for the extra grippy edge supplied by Jay and his maverick skin cutting. May I say, I am SO glad I decided to buy local, rather than ebaying all my crap like I was going to. Because I have needed those guys like six times for all my nonsense, toes hurt, boots don't fit right, skins just so... good lord. If you need gear, go to Barrel. They will take care of you like no one else. I mean it. And NO, they DON'T give me free crap. Yet. But we are hoping this is a good start.

Okay, so top of Slushman area, a bit South of there, and its time to ski along the wind lip in our PSIA-approved Side Slip. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am SO glad I have been practicing side slipping, falling leaves and pivot slips. BECAUSE I NEEDED THEM!! The wind-lip is freaky, inconsistent, narrow, with a giant snowy drop off that is rather more than vertical on the Bridger side, and full of shale and trees on the Bozeman side. Yipes! Also rather glad I've been traversing on one foot, because even though I didn't need to do it, I was much more comfortable traversing PERIOD because of it.

After a while of grandma-ing it along the lip, Angela was cold from waiting for me and rarein' to go, (I am working hard at becoming fast and efficient... at least I can put my skins on quick, now, and I know to flip my skis over on the top of a mountain so they don't slide off if the wind blows and disappear down the hill, and all kinds of useful tidbits...)

So we pack our skis on our packs and start a-hikin. Now, I had been skinning up in a tank top, which was lovely, and suddenly, its friggin' cold on the top. So I have my wool hat that my mom gave to my little sister, which I immediately poached after her dog chewed it (hey, its got character!), my hood is up on my shell, and the little patch of skin thats exposed on my cheek is rapidly getting wind burn! Talk about a change in weather!

Angela, being the original Antelope (the only person I know that can hand Joe his ass in a basket... who'se Joe? See the Blackmoore post for photos of us shooting his shotgun off the top of the last big local back country hill we did...) hikes outta there with a reassuring "Don't fall!" I decide, after a second of vertigo, not to look to either side of me, but just to look at her footprints in the shale and follow them exactly. I know the windlip is too solid to slide, but I am conscious of staying close to the ridgeline just in case.

The hike isn't nearly as steep as the Blackmoore summit, but overall the whole thing is much steeper and more sustained. I put my head down and come in only about 5-10 minutes behind her, which is okay. (I am a lot slower on my skins because I am still learning and often slide back or down on my face as I am figuring shit out. It's embarrassing, really.)

We get to the top, and she goes "Hi! I'm gonna get out of the wind." and promply drops off the windlip onto the Bridger side. I pull myself together, skis off pack, upside down, skis on, gloves all situated, pack back on, helmet on, hat in bag, lunch in pocket, etc. etc. (record time for me... Of course by now, Angela has had lunch and a latte... hey, I'm workin' on it!)

I drop in next to her, and the first five feet are crust and ick. And suddenly... ahhh. A foot of fresh, untracked POWDER. You've GOT to be kidding me.

We eat and take our photos (which I'll get up when I get the camera working) and then we go, one at a time, down a rather steep upper pitch, about 20 turns. I am determined DETERMINED not to have my first six turns suck, (And by suck, I mean, like never having ever skied before, stem Christie turns, resulting in a sit down or a blow up. I'm not kidding. I am an IDIOT when I skin. I don't know why. Its like the skiing part takes me totally by surprise.)

Okay. So they don't totally suck! This is about how steep it felt to me, but of course, that's not quite correct. The turns are bigger than I want, they have a bit of traverse in them, but they aren't totally over the handlebars, just a bit extra forward, and they are simultaneous with the feet, so hey, I'll take it. And its only the top 4 turns that suck, so we are cutting it down by 2. Excellent.

Then. YEAH, I ski it. For real. And it's pretty steep, and I really don't want to pack it, because I HATE wasting terrain when I've hiked for it, and even though the slope is bomber, I don't want to load it any more than I have to.

So I get to Angela and she goes "Nice turns!" and I am so Happy! They were schmedium, and I was hoping for small radius, but I just don't trust those yet, so we'll go with what gives us control right now. (Us, of course, being Me, Myself and I as we all ski down arguing with each other.) The second set of turns were even better, and I found myself grinning and covered in goosebumps, which has yet to happen in the back country, because, well, lets face it, I am usually concentrating too hard on not just PACKING IT hard, and trying to TURN.

Then I crossed my tips. I was so surprised! I was like, "What does this mean?" I haven't done that in a while, and I think I ski so grandma like in the BC, that I haven't really had an opportunity to try that move yet. And I ate it. Crud. But not too bad, and I got up, smiled at Angela, said "Welcome to skiing with Kate" because, as Josh and Joe can tell you, I do spend an inordinate amount of time on my head out there. And I put my ski on. Angela said "Yeah, but great turns up till then!" And I was just, well, proud. Because I had thought so, too, or hoped so... I mean, they felt really good, and powerful, and in control, and similarly sized and all that... so I was hoping...

And then I did two more turns and stepped right out of my ski. Pop! It took off down the hill, and luckily, as I stood there staring dumbly at it as it raced away from me (visions of earlier in the year when It launched off a cat track and just kept going because the brake didn't deploy... and Maggie, who I was skiing with at the time looking up at me in Avalanche Gulch and going "You're FUCKED! Hahhhahahah!") But NOT today, Angela POUNCED on that thing like a cat, and caught it just as it rocketed past her. We were PSYCHED.

Then I tried to put it on. And it wouldn't clip. The toe pieces wouldn't go in. So she suggested skiing down in Touring mode, which doesn't allow the ski to release at all, and we cranked on that sucker until it finally popped in. Angela suggested "conservative" skiing so I didn't pressure the binding too much more... which worried me a bit, because I am just not that good of a skier to begin with, and having just sort of figured out how to MAKE a turn, and then LINK another turn to it, I wasn't sure I could adapt that and still actually, you know, ski.

So I sort of did one ski turns on the left side and good two ski turns on the right, and the snow was awesome, fresh, and we had all these little angles and slope variables and some gullies and then the snow turned into velvet and we skied that...

It was most most excellent. And we got down and I wanted SO badly to lap it and do it again, but I was supposed to meet the crew for climbing in the afternoon, so I left Angela heading back up the slope for another go, and I skied out.

That afternoon, we drove out to Whisky Gulch with the kids and hiked in, but I was wiped and I have the MOST gnarly blister I have EVER had (I actually even have a picture of it, it's so gross...) so I couldn't climb. But it was a beautiful day, and I got to see my sexy hubby in his climbing shoes on real rock, which was a treat, and the kids bouldered a bit...

So all in all, it was a pretty awesome day.

No weight training Sat or Sun, gym today. (I know this is a boring wrap up, but this is how Mike keeps tabs on me.) Chest day, bench press, dumb-bell flies, seated chest press, tricep pull downs, tricep over the head thingies with the medicine ball (guess I'll have to learn the name of those) dips on a bench, assisted pull ups, front shoulder raises standing one foot on bosu ball, lateral raises on bosu ball, rear delt cable pull also on bosu ball. Abs on the ball. Owie.

Tomorrow, laps on Kirk hill! Wee HOO!

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