Thursday, May 26, 2011

Turned Back on the Grunge Couloir

 I grew up at the foot of the north summit of Mt. Timpanogos. Every summer my mountain bike would take me to silent meadows that looked out on this peak that I thought only bold mountaineers could handle. I had no idea that this rugged pile of dirt was so accessible. In the spring you can grab a 4 wheeler and cut your ascent down to a few hours, in the winter you can hop on a snowmobile and shorten that even more.

Jeremy picked me up at 3:30 a.m. so we could get high before the snow got too warm. We thought with all the rain we had been getting the snow would be settled up high. We met up with Jim Knight, Rob Greener and Greg Paul. Between the five of us there were two four wheelers, I ended up as the hood ornament. Three guys on a quad with full gear? Poor four wheeler...

The ascent was great. I feel I am in good shape... until I go out with all these guys. I gradually drifted out the back of the pack. I like to blame it on my stopping to take pictures, but that really isn't the reason. As soon as the sun came out it got hot. It went from winter weather to T-shirt weather within a half an hour.

As we were gaining the entrance the the couloir the snow conditions were deteriorating. The snow up high hadn't settled into a corn cycle leaving unstable layers making for hazardous avalanche conditions. The rapid warming aggravated all of this and resulted in our turning around. The ride down was soft and fun. Corn snow had formed up on the lower slopes making for some fun turns.

Rob Greener
The grunge on the far right
The decision to call it a day.
 left: bomber peak Right: The group getting ready to descend

Avalanches are so gnarly. These trees were probably blasted over by a slide close to a mile long.

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