Timpanogos East Ridge

Ascending Mt. Timpanogos for the first time in winter was such a memorable and beautiful experience I thought I'd share. Its a must do for any Utah adventurer. It all started with a 3:30am alarm. For a 9-5er ski patrolman that is a pretty hard pill to swallow but a worth while one. I threw down some coffee/breakie and ran out the door to meet the posse. Its 4:30am now and dubstep and talk of beer drinking has already started. Its funny thats what we look forward to before we even begin. We drove to Aspen Grove parking lot donned the head lamps and geared up. Into the darkness, the blind leading the blind. It started as a lovely skin over a very lumpy track of frozen left over post holes and snowshoe tracks from the day before. And when the track got smooth it went up, steeply up. Before long we had skis on our packs and began booting. Then it happened. After two hours of pushing upward the light began to trickle in, and the colors; the purples, the pinks, the blues- a sunrise I will not soon forget. One that requires strong heart, lungs, legs, and sleep deprivation to witness. Again. Worth it. Once we gained the first saddle we were able to skin again and was smooth sailing for awhile. Just strolling along and admiring the sun slowly creep up the rock walls around us. It would take us another two hours to finally reach our line: The East Ridge. We had ascended over 5,000 feet and had stunning 360 degree views. We had some lunch and basked in the sun before dropping on our line. We timed it perfectly, roughly 10:30am and the corn was perfect. We schussed the loud powder down the ridge to the basin where we stopped for a celebratory beer and revelry before embarking on our heinous exit. The exit consisted of sticky mash potato snow, crossing avalanche debris, hiking through mud, getting lost amongst multimillion dollar estates, and finally hitchhiking in the back of a pick up truck the rest of the way to the car. Where we proceeded to people watch and get drunk in the parking lot. In reflection its funny that the turns were such a small part of the day. Its more about the unknown, pushing your body, your skills, the camaraderie, and the après.

Steam Mill Yurt: A little family time

I've been to a dozen yurts now but this one was different. This was my father, my girl friend, and I. This may have changed the dynamic of a typical yurt trip slightly but one I would not have traded for anything. Ive been telling my Pennsylvanian father about yurt trips and backcountry skiing for years and I don't think he ever quite got the concepts. "You mean you put a carpet on the bottom of your ski?  Can you actually ski down hill when you backcountry? Did you go cross country skiing again today? Don't you ever down hill ski?"
So I decided to get him out there and do it. His mind was blown. We started to the yurt with about 1.5 miles of super flat groomed road. So far so good, he was skinning, ever so slowly but he was doing it. We sat for a beer then we made the left hand turn up a drainage. The next 2 miles was roughly 10-20% grade and we got a little worked. It was hot! Kara and I both had backpacks and pulled 40 lb kiddy sleds full of the essentials. A 30 rack of PBR, whiskey, sleeping bags, and some food. My dad nothing. That is until we lost his backpack from the sled and made him haul it the rest of the way to the top. HE WAS KNACKERED, we all were. But a solid day one. Time for beers relaxation and maybe a little skiing. The yurt is settled in a beautiful grove of aspens with 3 little peaks nearby. The peaks were perfect objectives for short tours for the days to come. Each peak with roughly 800ft vert. We skied some corn late mornings but generally kept it pretty chill. We worked on our sun tans and set out with Burt for some more "cross country skiing."At night we cooked some gourmetish meals and drank lots of PBRosas (beer mimosas.) We intentionally booked the yurt during a full moon. The moon was insanely bright and I ran around in the moon lit aspens trying to make photos all while my dad would be howling at the moon. I think he liked it up there.
Finally we came to our exit day and it was 60+ degrees and sticky. We fashioned our sleds for the descent and pizza wedged our way out to the car. A very successful trip all in all. At times we bonded and shared great stories, caught up, you know the usual father son type shit. Other times, with such small quarters it was a bit much, I know Kara would say so. Sometimes in the moment its hard to be extra patient and understanding but in reflection its easy to say, "man I was an ass." Yes my dad and I have grown a part and we are totally different people now. Its been almost 20 years since I've lived at home. Ive grown up, he's grown old, and lots has happened. I just have to remind myself to cherish every moment. And these moments should be easy. With that said Burt will be staying in Utah for another 3 weeks. So cheers to family time and soaking up those fleeting moments.