Friday, December 17, 2010


The moisture in each breath froze in my nostrils and crystallized in my beard as I hiked. The temperature slowly dropped as we ascended Primrose Cirque on the backside of Timpanogos. The snow was deep and light. Our goal was to get to Emerald Lake to spend the night then get up for an early sunrise on the summit. The perfect snow and the amazing lines we skirted as we climbed had us all full of anticipation for the morning.

I ran into technical difficulties with my splitboard which made me leery and kept me bootpacking up the steeper terrain while Parker and Tanner worked to switchback up the face. I stopped for a moment and looked down the valley bellow. Silence. There is nothing like being in high places surrounded by silence.

As I crested the little roller, I suddenly felt uneasy. We continued our ascent until Parker chimed in saying he felt something was up. The slope was looking wind loaded but seemed stable, but all of us had been feeling uneasy. Roughly 150 vertical feet from the top of the cirque we decided to pull the plug. Our cumulative gut feelings turned us around. We felt good about the decision, but it was tough to give it up.

We rode down in the dark through what, in daylight hours, was an amazing winter playground. In the dark, sections seemed like a trap. We were all smacked in the face a few times by low hanging branches. The night ended well, cold but safe.

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