First powder turns of the season!

Rime ice and sastrugi on the Sacajawea ridge

Rime ice and sastrugi on the Sacajawea ridge

After the last two weeks of skiing shenanigans and much faffing, I yesterday encountered redemption in the form of powder. We have just had another early-season storm system roll through so I rallied my truck out towards the Fairy Lake TH bright and early with hopes of skiing Sacajawea or Hardscrabble Peak. The road in was fairly haggard and I ended up parking over a mile from the trailhead. Up the road I booted, as I have unfortunately not yet cut skins for my Sportiva GTRs.

Sacajawea in early morning light

Sacajawea in early morning light

It was a different scene than this last weekend, with most of the boniness now just covered by the new-fallen snow. There were underlying lurkers left and right but turns beckoned all the same. Given that I had just been up here I had some idea of what areas to avoid but managed to ‘break in’ the skis with a few dingers along the way. It’s inevitable. If you’ve followed Conrad’s theory, then gear is fuel and is meant to be used to stoke the fire. Use it, thrash it, and go home tired and happy. No arguments there.

Myself on the ridge with Hardscrabble Peak enshrouded behind

Myself on the ridge with Hardscrabble Peak enshrouded behind

Sections of the Sac headwall were wind scoured with areas of neve followed by nearly knee deep drifts. I brought along a LW pair of 10-point, CAMP Tour 350 aluminum crampons that I used to aid in the booting. They came in handy and the fit on my 28.0 TLT 6s was not too shabby, but not quite as nice as my Grivel G-20’s. But the damn things are only 359g/12.7oz! While some other folks were having difficulty, I went straight up to the ridge without any hesitation or problems. It’s amazing what a bit of traction will do.

CAMP Tour 350 crampons on Dynafit TLT 6 boots

CAMP Tour 350 crampons on Dynafit TLT 6 boots

Clouds rolling over the ridge with Sac peaking through

Clouds rolling over the ridge with Sac summit just visible in back

I was cut short on time, so I skied the headwall and some of the trees down low before maching on down the road back to the vehicle. I was even back in town on time for my afternoon class. A bit of October powder redemption, with a small dose of rock damage to keep things grounded. Not a complaint in sight.

Looking back at the the Sac headwall and my line of descent

Looking back at the the Sac headwall and my line of descent

The Crazy Mountains in the distance

The Crazy Mountains peaking through in the distance

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