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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Eagle, Idaho

    Escaping the Cubicle

    Maybe it’s where you were born and raised,
    Maybe it’s what you learned from your parents,
    Or maybe it is what burns deep inside you.
    I just know that some dreams grow stronger the longer you live.
    For me, the only place is the mountains, this is where I belong.
    This is my dream.
    – cf –
    I earn my living by working in a cubicle for a huge technology company. It is a great job, and it definitely pays the bills. But it isn't "what I live for". The mountains and skiing are high on the short list of things that really bring adventure and fun to my life. (Of course wife, family and friends are higher on the list, but this website isn't about family relations, so I'll keep the focus here on the skiing and pursuit of fun and adventure). :-)
    This TR is a rambling travelogue of some of my wanderings this past winter as I attempt to “escape the cube”.
    The first backcountry trip of the season was in mid-December on Copper Mountain in the Banner Summit area. My partners on this day were Jackson, Greg and my son, Taylor.
    Jackson skinning up the ridge to the summit.

    Taylor and I fist-bump at the summit.

    Gearing up for the descent. Not a lot of scenery visible, but the white room is nice too.

    A couple of action shots.

    The second trip of the month was on Sunset peak, about an hour’s drive NE of Boise. We had a good sized crew for this outing, (6 of us). With that many in tow and the multiple meeting places/vehicles, the odds increase that someone will forget something. Yep, Cory forgot is poles. His solution was the old “cut willow branches” solution. We didn’t feel too bad because he is a successful ultra-marathon trail runner and we figured he could use the handicap.

    I also got a nice powder run in just outside the boundaries of Bogus Basin between Christmas and New Year’s. This trek down into Dry Creek was very promising at the time, but it would prove to be the last powder that I skied in the Bogus area the rest of the winter.

    In February I got together with some buddies, (2nd year for me now), and spent four days on a self-guided tour at the Lick Creek Yurts, operated by Payette Powder Guides. The highlight was getting PPG Yurts’ signature peak, Beaverdam Peak. I'll get the pics in later.

    I grew up on a small guest ranch about 30 miles south of Jackson, WY in the Hoback Canyon area. The peak that we looked at from our front door was Ramshorn Peak in the Wyoming Range. I had never had the opportunity to ski it, but things lined up this year and I recruited a couple of willing participants to go get some spring skiing on the NE Bowl. Thomas Turiano refers to this as one of the Jackson area “classics” in his book, “Jackson Hole Backcountry Skier’s Guide South”.

    (More pics coming...)

    The SE face of the South Teton has been on my “list” for a few years now and I had a good feeling that this was going to be the year. I had been talking with the Exum guides all winter to line up schedules and conditions. We finally got a good window on March 7th. We were heading out of the parking lot at 5:30 AM, and 7 hours later we hit the summit. I was super stoked to be skiing this classic line and we even had some decent powder. All of this came to a crashing halt literally 5 turns into the descent when my rear heel piece on my Dynafit binding shattered.

    Exum guide, Dan Corn had one of those orange straps that was extra beefy. He thought he could rig a rear binding with it, but we didn’t dare risk testing it on the SE Face. So, we did the safe thing and went back up over and down the NW Couloir where we rigged the strap. It held, and so I cautiously skied back out and down Garnet Canyon. I was glad that I was able to ski back with a jerry-rigged binding, but pretty bummed about not getting the SE Face.
    Rolling the calendar ahead to May 1st. Aaron Dahill, (Exum Mountain Guides), and I head back up to the South. Seven hours later, we hit the summit and I finally get my descent on the SE Face. It was a bit technical in the crux as you exit below the SE Couloir. A big avy had blown it out and taken it down to rocks and ice. Aaron put me on belay and I kept my skis on as I slipped and stepped down thru the ice. The video has some decent footage of what this section of the descent looked like, as well as some of the skiing highlights.

    I went back up into Garnet Canyon on the next day with some younger guys from Bozeman, (they figured this was a great way to start prepping for finals). We had originally talked about doing the Skillet on the Grand, but the bushwhack around the lakes deterred us. They went up on the Middle Teton Glacier, but I was beat and stopped at the Meadows to do some photography. The photos include some good action shots of them, some shots of a couple of guys climbing and skiing the Grand, and a young black bear – just out of hibernation.

    Well, those are some of the highlights of my “Cube Escapes” for the winter. Not sure what summer holds, but I’m sure it will involve mountains somewhere!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Park City
    Awesome combined TR. Skiing the Grand is on my radar.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Eagle, Idaho
    Here is the link to the YouTube video and the pics for the Lick Creek Yurt Trip...

    Booting up Beaverdam Peak

    Pano from the summit of Beaverdam (photo credit - Brady Adams)

    View of Sawtooth Peak, (in the Lick Creek Range), from the summit of Beaverdam.

    Setting the skin track up Beaverdam

    Our tracks on the PPG signature peak.

    Summit shot on an unnamed peak with a sweet couloir that we got.

    Shot of the couloir.

    Brady gets some powder above the Lick Creek yurts.

    Caleb pulls of a gainer.

    Not to be outdone Caleb's uncle, Dar, pulls one off with an even smoother landing.

    Launching into a sweet powder run

    Dar skis the trees.

    More steeps.

    Because you get a "cat" ride in, you can cook some gourmet meals here.

    Caleb about to touch down.

    Dar nailed this in spite of the flat landing. (I wished that I had my telephoto lens on this one).

    Caleb has to crank it hard to avoid the photographer.

    All smiles as we head out.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Eagle, Idaho
    Here are the Ramshorn Peak pics, and a credit link that I forgot in the original post. Jackson Hole Backcountry Skier’s Guide South, the book by Thomas Turiano is a tremendous resource for backcountry skiing and mountaineering in this part of Wyoming, and I used it extensively for planning out the Ramshorn adventure. Also, included links to associated videos for all of these adventures.

    Lick Creek:
    South Teton:

    Cody and Mark skin towards the NE Bowl on Ramshorn (Photo credit: Andrew Chillies)

    Mark is ready to drop in.

    Cody gets some nice corn tuns in the bowl. (Photo credit: Andrew Chillies)

    This was Andrew's first full-day backcountry outing. He found some new limits to push through, but he survived, which means it was a grand success!

    We stopped back in at the Black Powder Ranch to clean up and get ready for the long ride back to Boise. All smiles and ready to come back and hit this peak again! (Photo credit: Andrew Chillies)

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