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Author Topic: June10-11, Colchuck with my daughter  (Read 8051 times)
mikerolfs
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June10-11, Colchuck with my daughter
« on: 06/13/16, 11:25 AM »

June 10-11, My 11 year old daughter and I had two great ski days above Colchuck Lake with light rain on Saturday and Sunny skies on Sunday. It was also a sobering trip as we both witnessed a body recovery attemp, and experienced an uncontrolled slide on snow in our own party. I had been skiing above Lake Colchuck earlier in the week with Jtack, and on exit from that trip, I left my tent, skis, skins, and boot shells at Colchuck. This gave me room to carry most of Freya's stuff up the hill. She carried her own skis down. Did you know that the Exos 58 can fit (inside) 4 ski boots, a tent, sleeping bag, pad, 3 days food for two, and all the other little stuff you carry? This was Freya's second overnight ski trip. Last spring she went to Headlight Basin. I think the skiing on this trip is a bit steep for a kid, but she made the best of it. My plan had been to go up to the upper enchantment basin with her where the slopes are mild. We had four days left on my permit, which would have been plenty, but last day of elementary school parties ran past bed-time, and we lost a day on the front side. I didn't want to push her too far physically, I wanted it to be fun, so we stayed low and despite trip hiccups, it all worked out great.

My daughter. I'm so proud. I think if I'd pushed her up Aasgard, I wouldn't have gotten this smile out of her.


Freya took a nap after we got to the lake, and then we worked our way through the boulders to the lower lobe of snow below the Colchuck Glacier. Snow is continuous to the lake here. We made one run from about half way to the moraine.


This is the bit we skied:


My tracks, Freya's tracks:


We had freeze dried for dinner. Here's a new one: Freya: "No offense to mom's cooking, Dad, but you know mom could never make something THIS good at home".

Freya and the bear:


On Sunday we were met at camp by my friend Brian who was headed to climb Serpentine Arette. We idled about long enough to watch their first pitch from camp.

Brian and Max getting on the route:


Our (my) plan was to return to the lower lobe of the glacier where we had stashed our skis, and climb all the way to the top of the Colchuck Glacier today.

Freya gets a giggle watching a goat lick the rock where she peed:


Alas, my plans were changed yet again. We skinned about 500 feet, then switched to booting, me in crampons, Freya in microspikes. I carried three skis, she carried one. Near the morrain Freya slipped. It is steep there. It was almost noon, and the snow had softened to allow about 2" boot penetration. Freya slid. She looked like she was arresting properly, but she couldn't stop. She was using her whippet as I'd shown her, pick above, shaft crossing under her belly, low hand preventing the whippet from rotating away, but she wasn't stopping. Add to this that there really isn't any toe traction advantage to microspikes. She screamed, I shouted "use your ice ax!" I charged after her, about four long strides and launched into a butt slide. I caught her, she grabbed my leg, I told her to hang on and then I stopped us both with my whippet pick. She hugged me and cried. I covered her bare hands with a jacket and I told her she was safe now. She had two knuckle cuts that I put bandaids on. We sat for a few. I couldn't understand how she was unable to arrest, and then we both realized that she had laid the pick flat against the snow instead of dug it in. She told me that it was like being in the movie "Inside Out". She said she thought in the back of her head that she needed to rotate the pick, but FEAR had taken over and wouldn't let her do what JOY told her to do. Interesting insight. Anyway, after that, I wasn't going to suggest additional uphill. We'll save that for another day.

We skied down a few turns at a time, me below her. I carried her pack. She skied timidly. The slide had really shaken her.


We sat in the sun at the bottom of the hill for quite a while. We watched a guy kayaking on the lake:


We watched the Search and Rescue guys digging below the waterfall. (you can see Jtack's and my tracks from Thursday)


She recovered from the slide trauma quickly and the trip returned to happy and easy. 

Returning to camp:


We exited about the same time as the SAR group and joined them for tailgating. Freya and I planned to get a Gustav Burger on the way home and so did the SAR group so we ate together. Freya told me later, "I like those guys. They don't take life too seriously. I'm comfortable around them."

Fun fact:
We met 124 people on the trail on Saturday and 112 on Sunday.
Of those 236 people, only 2 mentioned anything about an 11 year old girl carrying skis in the woods. One of the SAR guys, Mark Shipman, and my buddy Brian. They both made a big deal out of it. "Awesome that you are out here, Freya!" "Way to go!" I think if you see a kid in the mountains, you should give them a high five.

Trees across the trail





About the waterfall tragedy:
We watched, and then heard the story of the work of the SAR group that day. They had descended into the hole on Monday 6/6, but couldn't see the victim. They dropped an avalanche transceiver into the water course and located it down hill as a starting point for the recovery excavation. The searching transceiver read 6m at snow surface. The Mountain Rescue guys dug one hole 10 feet to the ground, and a second to 8 foot depth, from which their 240cm probe MAY have penetrated to a hollow below.  They will return possibly in two weeks to try again to locate the body of the young man who fell in the hole below the waterfall last Sunday (6/5/2016). One of the SAR guys, Dave Allyn, was involved in both this recovery attempt, and the July 3, 2011 recovery in which a young woman perished in the same location in the same way. Coincidentally, I was also present that day in 2011, but I was unaware of the tragedy. That day, my partner and I ascended Aasgard before, and returned after the rescue/recovery activity. We watched the helicopter activity from Prusik Peak. Even though it was about a month later, I recall the skiing in 2011 was easier, with better coverage and a deeper snowpack. SAR was also using a fire hose to try to hydro-mine into the snow. They had a collection funnel uphill that filled the hose. They said the technique had potential, but didn't work for them. We heard third hand that witnesses on Monday reported that the victim had been trying to stop but was unable. Somehow that seems important to me.
« Last Edit: 06/13/16, 02:25 PM by mikerolfs » Logged
cumulus
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Re: June10-11, Colchuck with my daughter
« Reply #1 on: 06/13/16, 05:08 PM »

wow, great report and trip you two. I really appreciate the candor. Some sobering and valuable lessons... and memories for a lifetime.
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Stefan
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Re: June10-11, Colchuck with my daughter
« Reply #2 on: 06/13/16, 06:05 PM »

Great job, Mike- really enjoyed this trip report as well as yours from last year. Thanks so much for sharing this experience and these wonderful memories that you two will always cherish. Thanks also for helping to introduce the next generation into the magic of the outdoors!
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Lowell_Skoog
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Re: June10-11, Colchuck with my daughter
« Reply #3 on: 06/13/16, 08:15 PM »

Great report. Good lessons.

I commend your impulse to be open and candid when something doesn't go right. It's hard, but I think it's valuable in ways that are impossible to quantify. I keep a trip journal, and it has been helpful for this sort of thing. Trip reports work well too.
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ski2fly
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Re: June10-11, Colchuck with my daughter
« Reply #4 on: 06/14/16, 12:18 AM »

That's awesome. Good job dad. It can be hard to remember with kids sometimes the objective is not the objective. 
Sad and scary to think about the slide before the drop. RIP to the unfortunate soul at the waterfall. 
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Norseman
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Re: June10-11, Colchuck with my daughter
« Reply #5 on: 06/14/16, 06:35 AM »

Yep, great Dad & Daughter trip, sounds like. Great job to the both of you.
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NCBuddy
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Re: June10-11, Colchuck with my daughter
« Reply #6 on: 06/14/16, 02:17 PM »

Great report!  Good for her for recovering from what must have been a big scare.  Super impressive that she got out there and had a great time.  Love the pic of the bear in the sleeping bag.  My daughter is 3 and I hope to model your ability to keep the objective from taking over the sense of fun.  At the end of the day as long as they have a great time they will want to keep coming back.
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cascademystic
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Re: June10-11, Colchuck with my daughter
« Reply #7 on: 06/14/16, 02:40 PM »

inspiring, thanks Smiley
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PhilH
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Re: June10-11, Colchuck with my daughter
« Reply #8 on: 06/14/16, 04:45 PM »

...with kids sometimes the objective is not the objective. 

Very well said. The objective is a great experience with a daughter, lessons learned and a memory that lasts a lifetime. Million dollar smiles!
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KickSteps
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Re: June10-11, Colchuck with my daughter
« Reply #9 on: 06/17/16, 11:27 AM »

Smiley Smiley Smiley

I wish I had a Dad like Mike...well done, you'll both get great dividends latter.
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CoriB
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Re: June10-11, Colchuck with my daughter
« Reply #10 on: 06/19/16, 11:09 PM »

That is so great. Way to rock at fatherhood. And way to bring another rad lady into the backcountry community.
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peteyboy
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Re: June10-11, Colchuck with my daughter
« Reply #11 on: 06/21/16, 11:45 PM »

Mike, you shine at everything you do in the mountains - but I bet it's hard to beat that one.  Congrats.  We had a brilliant day today as "The kids and the Dads" - my stepdaughter Annie (14) and her Dad, John, and my son, Jack (7).  When we found the road to Artist Point gated at Heather Meadows, and the cloud ceiling just above the parking lot with showers, we headed up Twin Lakes Road To Bear Mt., just east of the lakes, for Annie's third BC day and Jack's first.  Broken clouds / sunshine made for two perfect top to bottom runs for John and me, while after the big lap push, Jack and Annie did two shoulder laps on their own! Not many 7 year olds boot over 600 vf up 30 to topping at over 35 degree slopes and rip it down.  Yes, tears of panicked moments were shed, but fears overcome and a wonderful day was had by all - especially the proud Papas.
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Griff
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Re: June10-11, Colchuck with my daughter
« Reply #12 on: 06/25/16, 09:01 AM »

This rocks. I too took my daughter (18) out this winter, her first real tour:

https://vimeo.com/160558088

My son is a great skier/climber and our adventures have been boundless. When my work friends ask about his comps and how proud I must be, I say "Yeah, he's a good athlete and its fun to watch. But better is the fact that on a powder day he calls me to go skiing". We are forever connected as partners, a relationship that has depth and context just like a father/child.



* Graham_Griffin_-_Big_360.jpg (55.24 KB, 960x640 - viewed 454 times.)
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BillK
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Re: June10-11, Colchuck with my daughter
« Reply #13 on: 06/25/16, 09:30 AM »

Mike, so what did her mother say?`Any time spent in the doghouse?  Smiley
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T. Eastman
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Re: June10-11, Colchuck with my daughter
« Reply #14 on: 06/25/16, 09:56 AM »

I remember several of those "don't tell Mom all the details" moments while climbing with my Dad. Her questions usually revealed the incident...

... but not always!
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