Friday, April 8, 2011

Timpanogos:Everest Ridge- Almost

I pushed my ice axe deep into the snow on a mellow portion of the ridge and laid down letting my breathing calm. Tanner did the same. A sleepless night spent in approach to the ridge had whittled our conversation down. I started to doze.

"Hey," I said. "We should keep going."

In the one minute we had laid there, Tanner had already launched into a dream. I was wishing I had something with caffeine to revive me. We still had a long way to go.

This route really has it all. As you go higher the ridge becomes more accentuated and rugged. Sharp rocks protrude from the snow as the mountain falls away on both sides. We finally reached the step and the summit was in sight. After surveying everything around us, we decided not to go for it. The wind had loaded snow on the leeward slopes making the avalanche hazard a little more pronounced. We traversed over to the south summit saddle where the slope angle was more mellow.

The traverse had an eerie feel. Soft slabs of snow on top of ice caused it to feel almost slippery. I Kicked hard hoping to feel my crampon set only to have my foot slide down on the soft snow. It has been a long time since I have been that gripped. The mental game of climbing can sometimes get the better of you. All the elements in that moment added up making me uncomfortable. Any other day and I don't think I would have had a problem. I had to focus hard on my breathing for a second to get my mind calm. After that I was fine.

We finished the long traverse across to the saddle as the wind continued to gain strength. We dropped in finding the first 500 feet of vertical to be terrible. As soon as we got off of the high ridge the snow immediately became soft. We let it rip. I went first only stopping once to regroup. It was one of the longest runs of my life in amazing snow. Not the best snow, but amazing none the less.

It was an adventure. We didn't conquer our summit, but we didn't care. We got up one of the coolest ascents in Utah and got to rip the West face of Timp. I have dreamed of it since I was little. This wasn't my ideal line, but it was what the conditions called for. That is how things work in the mountains, they decide what you get to ride.

Departure 2:27 a.m.

We spent some time digging pits to asses the snow. One solid piece with wind drifts on top. We weren't too worried about big slides, just slides in inopportune places.

The first of the ridge.

Already loosing it...

Such a good way to watch a sunrise.


Just before the step.

The traverse.... I was gripped at this moment.

We were close but we wanted to snowboard, not summit. Although it would have been nice.


We got to ride almost all the way back to the car. A 15 minute hike down from the last of the snow.

Hot slush down low. Wish we would have dropped an hour earlier.

Tanner is such a rad guy. He is always down, has tons of energy, and is one of the most mellow guys to hang out with. I don't think anyone could say anything bad about this kid.

1 comment:

  1. Thinking of doing everest ridge this Saturday, since it has been so warm do you think we can get away with leaving later? Say 4am? Hindsight do you wish you had camped at the saddle?