I fumbled my pack together before crashing into bed around 1 a.m. Saturday. Three short hours later I was up and on my way to meet Forrest and Caroline. The moon kept the trail lit as we started our way up Bells Canyon. We bobbed and weaved our way through the thick vegetation and eventually hit snow.
As I unpacked my split board I noticed my heel strap wasn't connected... I had lost a bolt. Thanks to a few Voile straps my day wasn't over. The frozen snow made skinning easy and with a lone coyote yipping away in the background the North East face of Lone Peak came into view. We skinned out of the mountains shadow and the towering face was nearly blinding in the early morning light. Pictures can't really do it justice.
We continued to the base of the North East Couloir. The temperature seemed to be climbing faster than we were. Before long we were halfway up the chute and about to climb out over some exposure. We had noticed a few wet sloughs and after some debate decided to pull the plug.
We rode to the base of another couloir that was on a different aspect and that didn't have any exposure. Not knowing if the chute has another name we decided to call it "consolation prize". Forrest was able to put it into a gear that I don't have and he kicked in a solid boot pack to the summit ridge. We topped out and took a break. We talked about going for the summit, but decided against it due to time constraints.
We dropped in and had a nice long ride to the summit valley. I was a little timid on my makeshift binding, but ended the set up worked out pretty well. We were all amping when we regrouped, we talked about how awesome that was and how much we wanted to just stay up there. We didn't realize that getting out of Bells would be almost as difficult as getting in.
The trip out was a mix of fun and torture. That area is full of so much amazing terrain, but then we would find ourselves in thick trees, long sections of flat, thigh deep slush, etc... as we fought our way back to the car we all seemed to forget how amazing everything was up high. I don't think I have ever been more dehydrated.
It took a good night of sleep to help me remember how awesome the tour was. There were quite a few things we could have done to make the tour easier on ourselves, but that is the point of exploration. It was good to just be out with two great people. Forrest and Caroline make a great couple and it is always a treat when I get to hang out with them in the mountains. It was fun to check out a side of the Wasatch none of us had been to.