telemark skiingbackcountry skiingPacific NorthwestWashington and Oregonweather linksThe Yuki AwardsMt. Rainier and Mt. Adams
Turns All Year
www.turns-all-year.com
  Help | Search | Login | Register
Turns All Year Trip Reports
Backcountry Skiing and Snowboarding

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
04/18/19, 03:24 PM

Become a TAY Sponsor!
 
Trip Reports Sponsor
Second Ascent
Second Ascent
Turns All Year Trip Reports
(1) Viewing these pages constitutes your acceptance of the Terms of Use.
(2) Disclaimer: the accuracy of information here is unknown, use at your own risk.
(3) Trip Report monthly boards: only actual trip report starts a new thread.
(4) Keep it civil and constructive - that is the norm here.
 
FOAC Snow
Info Exchange


NWAC Avalanche
Forecast
+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
|-+  2011 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  December 2011 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  December 9, 2011, Flashlight tag on the C.D. (CO)
:
« previous next »
Pages: [1] | Go Down Print
Author Topic: December 9, 2011, Flashlight tag on the C.D. (CO)  (Read 3135 times)
MW88888888
Member
Offline

Posts: 512


December 9, 2011, Flashlight tag on the C.D. (CO)
« on: 12/12/11, 06:11 PM »

Day 9
December 9, 2011
Front Range, Colorado

10 pm

Night skiing is a funny thing. 

I’m not talking about the night skiing you did when you were in high school on the bus trip up to the Poconos with the Ski Club.  There isn’t a lodge full of teenagers at the bottom of the run or 1000-watt halogens illuminating the night sky; no, I’m talking straight up climbing into the mountains in the middle of the night.  And then skiing down.  In the dark.

Technical skiing skill, it turns out, is not the pre-requisite.  No, not by a long shot.   You know what is?  I’ll give you a hint, it’s awfully freakin’ dark in the hills when the lights go out.  And to climb up into the spooky, wind-driven dark trees with nothing but a flashlight? 

Pure stupidity, that’s what it takes.  And I am chock full of that.   

***

I turned the engine off and gazed out into the night…which looked a bit like day now that the lights from the car were off.  The entire scene around me was illuminated with a soft moon glow, almost as if backlit.  Who else was out here?  No one of course.  No one at all.  Which seems again so ridiculously strange that it couldn’t be true.  And my mind wonders…closer to Halloween this line of thinking had me scared out of my wits.  How ironic is that?  I’m not scared of skiing alone in the night with a flashlight, not afraid of tree wells, not afraid of avalanches, not afraid of much…except the thought of some other human being up here.  It’s the humans you need to watch, not the wildlife.  They are the ones who display vast quantities of evilness and senseless depravity.  Imagine how the story would read: “Man found dead in Colorado’s mountains from gunshot wounds.”  And you know what the armchair readers would pick up on?  “He was skiing ALONE?!?”  In their minds…Yeah, he deserved it. 

Enough of that thinking.  Now, as back in October, I remind myself that it is places and times such as this that cannot be touched by the wickedness of man.  Well, all except me.  And I am here to wash away that clinging dark-clad aura, to be reborn, refreshed.

Or some such drivel as that.  Right?  Right. 

I turn my flashlight off and walk out into the dark night.

***

The start of this season has been fantastic for the area.  Two full-on powder days with chest shots and the associated after-glow of incredulity are already in the books.  How could it possibly get better?  Guess we’ll see.

I find myself near the top of my run and it’s nearing midnight.  The full moon is directly overhead and the winds light.  The trail below me is lit up as clear as day, and I can see where the prior folks skied down, leaving inviting untracked swaths on either side of the open run.  I drop the pack and start the transition.

I find I like snowboarding in the night better than skiiing as I can hold my flashlight out in front of me in my line of sight vs. the tomfoolery of a headlamp with my skiing garb.  In the trees, especially, does this advantage come to the fore.  But not this night. 

Visibility is almost like day and I charge down the mountain enjoying the leftovers of days old powder.  I hoot and holler and roll with the landscape, never bothering to stop. 

Down low nearing the tricky run out, I turn off my brain and my flashlight and ski into the tight trees – ahead, I watch marveling as the untracked snow between the trees magically illuminates my path, like Dorothy I follow the yellow brick road of untracked powder through the dense trees.   I focus on the white and forget about the darkness around me – charging, turning and reacting…somehow making it back to Kansas in one piece.

***

Back in the parking lot, nearing my car, a chill runs through me as I approach.  Is there a murderer hiding in the back seat?  Some deranged killer up from Denver?

No, Dorothy, you are not in Kansas anymore, just back to reality. 
« Last Edit: 12/15/11, 04:33 PM by MW88888888 » Logged
peteyboy
Member
Offline

Posts: 330


Re: December 9, 2011, Flashlight tag on the C.D. (CO)
« Reply #1 on: 12/14/11, 12:31 AM »

Had that same experience, 15 years ago - snowed well during the day, headed up after work alone figuring I could top out and start down before dark, in broken post-storm clouds; as I reached the top, full darkness fell.  No headlamp.  I'm cooked.  Just then the full moon rose from behind the ridge and lit up everything - at least enough for me to think I could see.  But you can't really see the surface features, you just think you can.  And that's what matters - I will never forget how relaxed I was, not seeing the undulations in the surface but floating with perfect reaction to the terrain - like a dream.
Logged
pipedream
Member
Offline

Posts: 742


Re: December 9, 2011, Flashlight tag on the C.D. (CO)
« Reply #2 on: 12/14/11, 12:42 AM »

Ever heard of the Dyatlov Plass incident? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyatlov_Pass_incident

Spooks the hell out of me.
Logged

Moral of story is don't ski when you can snowboard
MW88888888
Member
Offline

Posts: 512


Re: December 9, 2011, Flashlight tag on the C.D. (CO)
« Reply #3 on: 12/14/11, 06:10 AM »

peteboy - bingo. 

Pipe...(nice name)...wow, no, I'd not heard of it...but thanks for the fodder on my next night out.  Yeah, gee, thanks!!!
Logged
toby_tortorelli
Guest


Email
Re: December 9, 2011, Flashlight tag on the C.D. (CO)
« Reply #4 on: 12/14/11, 07:26 AM »

Sorry for thread drift, but Pipedream, that is one hell of a story! I think I'm scarred for life!
« Last Edit: 12/14/11, 07:29 AM by TobyT » Logged
pipedream
Member
Offline

Posts: 742


Re: December 9, 2011, Flashlight tag on the C.D. (CO)
« Reply #5 on: 12/14/11, 12:14 PM »

Everything about the Dyatlov Pass incident reeks of avalanche. Dismantled tent partially buried in snow which was ripped open from the inside, 4 of the 9 members of the party found buried in a gully (read: terrain trap), extreme trauma caused by a high amount of pressure (as if the victims were "squeezed" like a ketchup bottle).

Mind you it's just speculation, but it seems like a slide could've hit the tent spurring a hurried evacuation of its occupants who scurried into the relative safety of the trees where they attempted to survive the frigid night. When the incident was re-investigated in 2008 they concluded that weapons testing was involved. If I had to guess, Soviet weapons testing awoke the group, 4 of which left the tent to investigate. The explosions of the weapons triggered a large slide which buried the first 4 and hit the party's tent. The remaining 5 members escaped and began searching for their friends. Some created a fire to keep warm. The undressed state of the 5 unburied victims is indicative of "paradoxical undressing". The only missing piece in the puzzle is the radioactivity readings, but considering what the Soviets were testing it's not infeasible that the weapons contained radioactive materials.

The whole story's extremely sad and is a good reminder to be aware of one's environment when traveling in the woods.
Logged

Moral of story is don't ski when you can snowboard
dennyt
5Member
Offline

Posts: 33


Re: December 9, 2011, Flashlight tag on the C.D. (CO)
« Reply #6 on: 12/15/11, 10:43 AM »

Pipedream, my thoughts exactly. 

This piece of debris found at the scene shows an orthogrid construction, which is only found on really expensive flying things - military jets, rockets, missiles.  Especially so in the 1950's.
Logged
Pages: [1] | Go Up Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  



Login with username, password and session length

Thank you to our sponsors!
click to visit our sponsor: Feathered Friends
Feathered Friends
click to visit our sponsor: Marmot Mountain Works
Marmot Mountain Works
click to visit our sponsor: Second Ascent
Second Ascent
click to visit our sponsor: American Alpine Institute
American Alpine Institute
click to visit our sponsor: Pro Guiding Service
Pro Guiding Service
Contact turns-all-year.com

Turns All Year Trip Reports ©2001-2010 Turns All Year LLC. All Rights Reserved

The opinions expressed in posts are those of the poster and do not necessarily
reflect the opinions of Trip Reports administrators or Turns All Year LLC


Turns All Year Trip Reports | Powered by SMF 1.0.6.
© 2001-2005, Lewis Media. All Rights Reserved.