For a sundry of reasons, including Kit DesLaurier's recent presentation on ski mountaineering (where she defined it as "skiing with ropes"), the theme of this weekend skiing/slogging/bootpacking adventure seemed to be: When does backcountry skiing become ski mountaineering . . . since we needed something to entertain us on the thousands of steps bootpacking, we came up with a suggested list of how you might know when you've started ski mountaineering and stopped backcountry skiing . . .
You might be ski mountaineering when some of these conditions have been met:
- You are actually skiing/climbing with ropes
- You probably should be climbing with ropes
- You are scared #$*!-less much of the day
- If you fall, there are likely consequences
- You climb (or ski!) with sharp things
- The primary hazard is object hazard (rockfall, serac fall, crevasse fall)
- The snow has a high likelihood of not being great
- You are skiing for the line (not the snow quality)
- The point is that it's an adventure . . . and there's an expectation that the fun may be "type B," or retrospective fun . . . that is, there is a reasonable chance for suffering :)
That being said, I'm reasonably sure this little adventure was more toward the ski mountaineering side, although we did not have ropes, so I can't be absolutely sure. Plus, the great thing is that it doesn't actually matter :-)
So, on with the story . . . another random adventure that didn't really take form until it was actually happening, but seemed to work out incredibly well all the same. Phil asked me if I wanted to do a weekend Rumble trip, I said yes before I asked questions about what this would actually entail (typical). Looking for a 3rd, I invited Cody who, at the last minute, got a dog sitter and was in (with his brand new backcountry setup), and then at the last minute, Russ decided our trip was the better option and joined the fun . . .
So off we went - hiked in from Ram Valley/Falling Waters . . .
|Smiling as we left the car because we didn't actually know what we were getting ourselves into!|
|Nothing like some dirt walking to start a ski trip . . .|
|Up and over Bombardment Pass, down to upper Peter's Creek|
|Headed up toward Rumble after setting up camp|
4000' bootpack - fun times!
|Lip smackin' bootpackin' . . . somewhere about 1500' into the 4000' staircase|
|Phil, the trailbreaking animal!!|
|Bringing up the rear :-)|
Summit was awesome - we had one spicy section on the climb that we were hopeful could be bypassed on the way down to avoid a downclimb . . . Russ and I "skied" off the summit by sidestepping/navegating the upper 15' of rocks, but it was otherwise a super skiable line!
|Phil, with his summit game face|
|Big mountain, petite girl :-)|
|Me, with the long Peters Creek drainage in the background|
|home sweet home after a great ski from the summit!!!|
|First campfire of the season - what a treat!!!|
We had a lovely morning, enjoying the serenity of where we were, drinking plenty of coffee, and generally relaxing a bit . . . and then it was time to pack up and head up river . . .
|Headed upriver to drop gear at the base of Bombardment and head up Kiliak|
|Phil and me|
|Russ, me, and Phil . . . wondering if a ski line is going to appear|
|Skinning toward . . . somewhere|
|Oh, there's a ski line . . . maybe a burly, close-out, scary one . . . but a ski line all the same :-)|
|Phil and I - ants at the base of the coolie|
|Cody, with me and Phil at the base of the line (if you look closely!)|
|Another stairway to heaven, only this one was "short" at 2500' - it got narrower as we went up, with a choke about 500' from the top . . . really aesthetic line though!|
|The views toward Anchorage did not suck!!|
|Back in Ram Valley . . . a bit of tundra skinning|
After this trip, I put my skis away for the last time this season . . . again. Wonder when the real "last" time will be!!