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11/21/17, 09:19 PM

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Author Topic: October 10, 2017, S Diamond Peak (11,701)  (Read 986 times)
MW88888888
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October 10, 2017, S Diamond Peak (11,701)
« on: 10/11/17, 08:47 PM »

October 10, 2017
South Diamond Peak (11,781)
Day 6


The sun came up just as I neared the crest, an hour and 15 after leaving the car.  I put my headlamp away.  North Diamond Peak came into the sun first, and was a huge pyramid of light off to my right, first colored orange then yellow as the sun slowly rose and less light was refracted out of the white sunlight in the cloudless, grave-still sky.  Slowly the warm rays of sun washed over me from behind the protecting mountains across the valley, it was 14 degrees F, and my tingling toes actually welcomed the soon-to-be change in temperature.  I was sweating somewhat from the climb up, at least my upper body, but all of my body was not quite ready for the immediate return of winter.  Glorious winter!  Maybe I would ask Santa for some overboots, these old bones, and older mountaineering boots, were feeling their age. 

I scooted off to the right, out of the sheltering trees and onto the shallow snow covered scree field that guards the final slopes to the crest, and jumped up onto the firm wind-board snow of the summit cornice in no time at all.  Plodding along the crest cornice to the top of Ptarmigan face, I found my favorite depression to put the board on had some nice boot-deep snow where the wind couldn't get at it during yesterday's storm.  Below me, last week's 20" storm snow had been sun baked, wind blasted, crusted and refused the new " of snow from yesterday, the face's snow now contributing to the powder amongst the trees I had ascended along the skier's left margin.  Noted.

I stood and contemplated my fate.

I saw many ads saying "Colorado's ski season was opening this Friday!" - the white strip of death was opening at Arapaho Basin apparently.  I chuckled to myself as I looked around the magnificent scene before me.  My 6th day of the season and no one had to "open" it for me except Ma Nature in her valiant effort to fight global warming.  I guess a day at A-Basin was better than the sometimes possible October turns at Killington (The Beast of The East), but not by a very long shot.  And solitude?  Forget it.

Not a breath of wind.  So very rare and delightful along the Continental Divide, I soaked in my luck.  Well, pluck, dammit, these things just don't happen by accident.  It was October 10th, 14 Degrees, 6" inches new on a firm base and I was looking at a powder-filled descent with zero wind and not a person in sight.   Of course, I had been watching the snow falling since September, so knew where it was deepest, gotten up at 4 am to ensure the October sun and warmth wouldn't destroy the new 6" from the most recent storm, which had ended just hours ago, and, I had, after all, decided on moving away from the East Coast when I was 25, away from family, away from friends, away from everything I knew, just so I could do the things before me right now.  Pluck, I say, pluck.  Years of preparation and a drive to just keep on trying and these things happen to go your way every now and then.  So let's not belittle it with talk of merely "luck".

I dropped my pack and strapped on the 162 short board, the "C" board, as the snowpack just didn't quite warrant the A or even B board.  And certainly not the skis.  I needed the most float I could get, especially lower in the trees, and this board was beat up to all to hell anyway.  It was my Mt Rainier board, with it's first rock hit on its inaugural run on Mt Rainier over my birthday in the terrible, terrible snow year of 2005/2006.  So coming up on its 11th year of service, and still kicking.   Sort of.  Last year I had wrapped the edge around a good sized boulder in the early season, and it was a thin strand of p-tex and bubble gum that kept the broken edge from ripping further down the board making it useless and another relic worthy of the a wall mount with the other dinosaurs.  But we'd see if we couldn't coax another year out of her, or at least a couple more days and a certain probability of sacrifice to keep the A board the sweetheart that she is.

I rocked out onto the face and found the base a firm, icy, wind board, and worked my way over to the trees, where all the powder had blown in.  Sure enough, I was soon hooting and hollering in fun turns, working the light powder in the well-known forest.  700 VF of super dry continental powder served and devoured.   

Toward the bottom of the ptarmigan trees, to ensure I could make the return trail's powder without 'dipping a paddle' on the flat bench below the alpine face, I worked my way right and enjoyed some wind affected powder below my favorite line on the ptarmigan face.  Not all the snow had been moved, at least not at the bottom.  And then after cruising the up-track along the bench, I got to enjoy the power in the lower trees.  What a reversal of the norm!  Usually the top alpine had the best snow, and the trees a bonus, but today in the shade of the trees, all of the 20" of last weeks storm had remained, compacted of course, and the full 6" floated on top making for some delightful powder turns back to the car.  Of course I had to jump a few deadfall along the way, but I knew where I was going, and there was only the tracks of two who had descended yesterday/last night to compete with, so I found my own untracked and used their turns to my advantage as launching pads for the various terrain features I encountered.

Once back at the car I saw there was another car parked next to mine.  8 am and the lot was already crowded.  Oh well, I guess it was time to go off to work.


* shawow_selfie_-_snowshoe_tracks_and_north_diamond_peakJPG.JPG (90.95 KB, 640x480 - viewed 790 times.)

* tracks_out_of_the_trees_traverse_and_down_the_lower_face.JPG (97.89 KB, 640x480 - viewed 787 times.)
« Last Edit: 11/02/17, 08:20 PM by MW88888888 » Logged
Zap
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Posts: 2155


Re: October 10, 2017, S Diamond Peak (11,701)
« Reply #1 on: 10/11/17, 10:14 PM »

Nice trip report. Wink
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Charlie Hagedorn
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WWW
Re: October 10, 2017, S Diamond Peak (11,701)
« Reply #2 on: 10/13/17, 07:38 AM »

Smiley. MW8 and Colorado deliver again.
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rlsg
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Posts: 516


Re: October 10, 2017, S Diamond Peak (11,701)
« Reply #3 on: 10/14/17, 05:14 PM »

LOVELY!
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GregLange
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Posts: 318


Re: October 10, 2017, S Diamond Peak (11,701)
« Reply #4 on: 10/18/17, 08:06 PM »

Nice. Quite nice! VERY NICE!!! PNW suffering from very high snow levels, and snow in 'flood-stage' form, at the moment...
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