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| | |-+  March 25-26, 2009, Sasse Ridge
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Author Topic: March 25-26, 2009, Sasse Ridge  (Read 1221 times)
Larry_R
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March 25-26, 2009, Sasse Ridge
« on: 03/28/09, 05:29 AM »

I thought I might take the lead from John M. and make this TR a bit more personal. I hope not too much so. Since my wife died late last spring, I've not been out ski camping alone. For the past 13 years or so, that had been my thing. That's what I felt most comfortable doing, that as well as solo backpacking in the summer. (I didn't just fall into this; I had done it years ago, before the stress of work got to me.) So this week I decided that it was time for me to go out by myself again.

The drive over was the most winter-like of the season; lot's of snow on the road, the State Patrol checking each and every vehicle headed up the pass, snowing hard. It was still snowing fairly heavily at the end of the Salmon La Sac road, with perhaps 6 inches new.

By the time I got to one of my usual campsites, the pole depth was 14 to 16 inches, quite heavy snow. Hard work, but I could not tell myself that this was anything unusual. Setting up in these conditions, when it's snowing hard is not difficult (once you get used to it) but there are a few tricks. Like being sure to arrive at the campsite warm, even if you have to put on extra layers just prior. Then add extra layers as needed, before your fingers start to tingle. Another useful thing I've found is to use a large trash bag to temporarily store things that will go into the tent; overmitts, belly pack, ski boots (after I put my camp boots on), sleeping bag, etc. Once the tent is set up, you can drag the trash bag right to the tent door and put stuff inside without it getting snow on it. Less snow in tent means less water that will have to evaporate.

By early evening the snow had stopped and the sun had started to come out. When I got out of my tent to watch the evening flow into night, it was relatively warm and very pleasant, the sun being increasingly powerful now. A minor sun crust had already started to form, at least at 3400 feet. After looking out over the valley, I turned around and looked up the hill. See the pic below, taken as the sun set on the ridge top. That sight, plus listening to tunes that were popular years ago when I was a pseudo-ski bum at Crystal, transported me back; the years disappeared, and I remembered what skiing was like then. As I kept looking up at the hill, all I could think of was 'let me at it'. Smiley 

The next morning, as I was trudging up, breaking trail though increasingly deep snow, I wondered if I could still capture the frame of mind from the prior night. It would be hard for me to imagine a better day. Clear sky, about 16 to 18 degrees, and above ~4400 feet, 12 to 16 inches of cascade powder, at least in areas that did not get much sun. Climbing up, it was quite obvious that the years have taken their toll of late, but skiing down, ah, . that was another matter. None of the usual stops here and there; just point 'em  down the hill. It was not as if the years had melted away, it was as if there was no such thing as age. It was so therapeutic.

Larry


* IMG_1582_800x600.JPG (56.14 KB, 800x600 - viewed 547 times.)
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T. Eastman
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Re: March 25-26, 2009, Sasse Ridge
« Reply #1 on: 03/28/09, 10:25 AM »

There's magic in the mountains!
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Marcus
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Re: March 25-26, 2009, Sasse Ridge
« Reply #2 on: 03/28/09, 02:20 PM »

Great TR Larry.  So sorry about your wife, but I'm glad you're getting your therapies, such as they are.
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John Morrow
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Re: March 25-26, 2009, Sasse Ridge
« Reply #3 on: 03/29/09, 07:34 PM »

Hi Larry,
Sounds like a classic Sasse Ridge Medical Clinic visit!  There is so much peace and fulfillment in those solo outings.  Glad you got back to it.  You sound like your old self.
Thanks for the TR.
Of note: by Saturday the crust was persistent high up on the west/NW slopes of Sasse Mountain.  We gave up trying to find some holdover powder at 4400 feet and skied the Howson road back down.  Quote of the day, "this sucks, why are we not on our way to the desert SW?"  It is indeed Spring.

John
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Don_B
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Re: March 25-26, 2009, Sasse Ridge
« Reply #4 on: 03/29/09, 08:38 PM »

Good to hear from your camp again. Always inspirational.

"What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the winter time. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the Sunset."
                                           Crowfoot (of the Blackfoot tribe), 1890.
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Larry_R
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Re: March 25-26, 2009, Sasse Ridge
« Reply #5 on: 03/30/09, 05:34 AM »

Thanks everyone for the kind thoughts,

Larry
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