Sunday, March 16, 2014

Mt. Timpanogos climb and ski descent - March 14, 2014

"A Cold Bowl of Corn Chowder" 
Mt. Timpanogos (11,778 ft.)
Southwest face via Dry Canyon
Ski mountaineering

Despite taking work off on Thursday due to a case of the stomach flu, I made my way up Mt. Timpanogos with Luke the very next day.  My symptoms are common among those fighting food poisoning, yet the cure is hard to come by; a bowl of corn chowder.

Bowl (or cirque) - a semi-circular steep and expansive depression common on mountains and commonly filled in snow in the winter.  

Corn - coarse and granular damp snow, freshly softened after being frozen all night; great for spring skiing.

Chowder - a new term for soft snow to substitute old fashioned, obnoxious, and over-used lingo such as "pow, pow," and "gnar, gnar."  

We started at the Dry Canyon trailhead at 8:30 am and made our way up the front side of Timp (the side you can see from all of Utah Valley).  We hauled our skis and boot packed up the trail until about 8,000 ft. elevation where there was enough snow cover to start skinning up.  Despite feeling weak and stopping more than usual on my behalf, we made our way up the mountain at a decent pace.  By 2 pm, we were still a little shy of the summit but the solid, frozen snow we hiked/skinned up all morning finally morphed into perfect CORN.  If we had pushed for the summit, the snow would have become more dangerous and less enjoyable, so we decided to ski down.  

We skied down the Dry Canyon drainage until the snow ran out in about 10 minutes.  A 45-minute hike down the trail and we were back to the trailhead.     

This is where we put our skins on.  We skied the drainage on the left in the shadow.

Skinning up.

Booting it up the steep sections

Time to ski down.

Utah Valley from above.