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  1. #1
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    Cool TR: Labyrinth Couloir, Tenmile Canyon 2.22.06

    TR: Labyrinth Couloir, Tenmile Canyon 2.22.06
    mtnbikerskierchick, iskibc
    3,100’ Vertical




    "Adventure isn't hanging on a rope off the side of a mountain. Adventure is an attitude that we must apply to the day to day obstacles of life -- facing new challenges, seizing new opportunities, testing our resources against the unknown and in the process, discovering our own unique potential. "



    Ralph Waldo Emerson:

    ”Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”



    Adventure will never get boring. Seeking new adventure is like sailing across the sea and discovering a new land. One adventure may open the door to many new challenges, opportunities, and possibilities. Adventure harbors success, failure, risk, drive, desire, challenge, and creativity. Adventure is what makes this sport limitless. There is no end to adventure in ski mountaineering. There is no beginning. The adventure is on-going. I ski and climb to seek new opportunity and to stretch the outer boundaries. Pushing the limits, calculating risk, and constantly dreaming up new adventure is my heart and soul for this sport. Limits and boundaries are imaginary lines in my reality. Some days they are closer and some days they are far away. The line is never crossed, as one can never be better than their own self. Instead, boundaries and limits can only be stretched and pushed further.





    THE LINE:


    There’s a 5 mile stretch of canyon between Frisco and Copper Mountain where the surrounding peaks tower over the highway and the opportunities are plenty. Big vertical, big lines and big adventure. There are more potential ski lines in this small area than some of the bigger mountain ranges across the state. Some of the lines in Tenmile Canyon have never seen ski tracks. From the highway these lines look impossible, as the terrain is complex and intimidating. Closeout lines, big icefalls, and snow coverage all add to the complexity of this area. Getting the right conditions for these chutes is like waiting for your turn to win in the lottery. The opportunities don’t come very often. On this day we lucked out and it was time to give it a shot.



    THE ADVENTURE:

    The day started as an overcast, windy, and cold morning. The forecast was calling for clearing skies and rising temps, so I wasn’t too concerned. We pulled off the highway at the Officer’s Gulch exit and drove along the frontage road to the end. The start of the line was only a ¼ mile east of where we parked, so the approach was super easy with the exception of having to dodge 70 MPH traffic on I-70 to get to the other side. I felt like we were in the Atari game “Frogger” as we crossed each section of the highway with caution. After the highway crossing we worked our way across the river and onto the bike path down to the start of the couloir.




    We started climbing up the tree-lined gulley and were able to keep our skins on for the first several hundred vert.

    Then the fun began. Mtnbikerskierchick taking on the first steep pitch:



    We came upon the first crux of the climb, a nice rock & ice pitch up and over a small cliff band. I climbed up, set up an anchor around a tree and helped mtnbikerskierchick get up through the crux. She did very well considering she was in alpine boots. It felt really good to be doing some mixed climbing again. Spring/Summer season seams so long ago.







    It’s intriguing how focused the mind gets when different forms of climbing and alpinism come into the mix. It doesn’t get any more exciting than a nice mixed climb up a beautiful couloir.





    By this point the couloir had steepened dramatically and was getting tighter. Climbing up this thing was like journeying through a labyrinth. There was something new and exciting around each corner. We stuck to the sides of the couloir due to the varying snow conditions within the chute.







    Snow conditions gradually improved as we climbed higher. After the first 1,500’ of climbing, we found amazing spring-like snow conditions and were able to pick up the pace a little bit.







    By noon we had reached the large rock pillars near the top of the couloir. The rocks rise at least 150’ up into the sky and look over the couloir like guards of a castle. I like to call this area the “Gates of Heaven”, as the rocks act like gates to an amazing ski/climbing route. Once through the “gates” the couloir deepens and narrows drastically. A whisper turned into a loud echo as our voices bounced off the walls surrounding us. The end of the line came into sight. I pushed on as mtnbikerskierchick waited for me below. The climbing became easier as the snow got harder and harder.




    After and amazing climb and a nice rest at the top of the line it was time to drop in. We had 3,000’ of vert beneath our skis just waiting to be skied. I dropped in and skied some boilerplate snow down to mtnbikerskierchick. We talked over the rest of the line and the potential dangerous zones of the line.






















    Exposure wasn’t as high as I thought it would be from all the research I did. We skied the line and found all types of conditions. Having a great partner on this trip made things go very smooth. Mtnbikerskierchick ripped some very nice turns down the couloir and never hesitated one bit. She fought through some difficult situations on the climb up and remained focused throughout the entire trip. I think some AT boots are in order for her.









    It was great to have the opportunity to bag another big line off the never ending list. Big thanks to an excellent partner and friend. Its lines like these that make or break people, and mtnbikerskierchick stood up to the test. Days like this one strengthen and refresh the soul. The flame inside only burns deeper and stronger, as there are many more adventures and challenges waiting to be tackled.
    Last edited by iskibc; 02-27-2006 at 09:45 AM.

  2. #2
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    that is awesome

  3. #3
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    Itís intriguing how focused the mind gets when different forms of climbing and alpinism come into the mix. It doesnít get any more exciting than a nice mixed climb up a beautiful couloir.
    My thoughts exactly.

  4. #4
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    https://www.tetongravity.com/usergall...ics/climb7.jpg That one made my stomach feel all weird, because of the angle and everything. Wow. Props.

  5. #5
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    Nov 2005
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    Land of Brine Shrimp and Magic Underwear
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    I've often looked longingly at those lines and have heard about thier danger. Very nice.
    There's nothing better than sliding down snow... flying through the air.

  6. #6
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    Dec 2005
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    sandy, sl,ut
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    \




    \


    Wow, getting after it for sure. This pic scares me just looking at it.
    Definitly sounds like a fun day.

    EDIT: ok, I suck at the internet, I meant the pic above that one, but they're both $$$$.
    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ________________
    "We don't need predator control, we need whiner control. Anyone who complains that "the gummint oughta do sumpin" about the wolves and coyotes should be darted, caged, and released in a more suitable habitat for them, like the middle of Manhattan." - Spats

    "I'm constantly doing things I can't do. Thats how I get to do them." - Pablo Picasso

  7. #7
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    Dec 2003
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    funland
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    FKNA!!! I heard that I was supposed to be jealous of you guys... and I didn't know why. NOw I know why. I'm jealous now. Good work, beautiful pics, way to get after it!!!

  8. #8
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    Looks like great fun!

  9. #9
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    Nov 2002
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    The Continental Divide
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    Glad you guys are safe.

  10. #10
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    Sep 2001
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    Alco-Hall of Fame
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    Very nice. Very nice indeed.
    "It is not the result that counts! It is not the result but the spirit! Not what - but how. Not what has been attained - but at what price.
    - A. Solzhenitsyn

  11. #11
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    Where the Butte is Crested
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    Wow, your TR is so good I feel like I was right there with you! Oh wait, I WAS there

    Thanks for writing such a fabulous TR. It was quite a day! An adventure and great time too! Thanks for having me along!
    -
    14erskiers.com

    "Don't be afraid of the spaces between your dreams and reality. If you can dream it, you can make it so." - Belva Davis

    "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle"--Albert Einstein

  12. #12
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    Dec 2003
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    The Basement of Rutabaga
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    Nice! I saw your boot pack line from the HWY yesterday and exclaimed "holy shit" as soon as I saw it. Great to come in here and hear the story about it. I hiked Peaks 1 through 4 in the summer from Frisco last year and that stuff up there is gnarly and exposed. Craaazzzeeee hike! Thanks for that!
    90% of life is just showing up

    - Woody Allen

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by WestFromWisco
    Nice! I saw your boot pack line from the HWY yesterday and exclaimed "holy shit" as soon as I saw it. Great to come in here and hear the story about it. I hiked Peaks 1 through 4 in the summer from Frisco last year and that stuff up there is gnarly and exposed. Craaazzzeeee hike! Thanks for that!

    I've been trying to do a winter traverse from Peak 1 to Peak 10 for a couple seasons now. Would prefer to have snow to skin on once past Peak 4, as the terrain gets kinda boring. Those first four peaks are a treat though. Some great scrambling and mixed climbing.

    Maybe I can get Trackhead to come along when he comes out next month

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by iskibc
    Maybe I can get Trackhead to come along when he comes out next month
    We have other plans. I'd rather fail trying them, than do that traverse. I'll get that extra day off.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trackhead
    We have other plans. I'd rather fail trying them, than do that traverse. I'll get that extra day off.

    That's right. Forgot you're only here for a couple days. That other project will be much more satisfying.

  16. #16
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    Very nice!!!


    I've looked at those lines in there for quite a few years, never quite got there...

  17. #17
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    Oct 2003
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    Nice tick. I've had my eye on a particular coulior in there as well. Good to see someone getting it done. At least this high pressure is good for something.
    A lot of people earn their turns. Some just get bigger checks.

  18. #18
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    May 2005
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    Excelent adventure, Kudos to you both!

  19. #19
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    Oct 2003
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    Jackson
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    Thumbs up

    Bump for a burly line in an area that everyone looks at and no one goes.

  20. #20
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    Nov 2004
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    Damn, I should have called in sick. Well done



    Quote Originally Posted by iskibc
    That's right. Forgot you're only here for a couple days. That other project will be much more satisfying.

    Hmm, what is this other project you speak of?

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kya
    Damn, I should have called in sick. Well done
    Yes, you SHOULD have called in sick!!!! Molding the minds of America's youth is fun and challenging, but the couloir was even more fun We missed you!
    -
    14erskiers.com

    "Don't be afraid of the spaces between your dreams and reality. If you can dream it, you can make it so." - Belva Davis

    "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle"--Albert Einstein

  22. #22
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    So where is the line? Anyone point it out to me?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trackhead
    So where is the line? Anyone point it out to me?
    We took a pic from the road. Iskibc has it, I don't have a copy on my computer at work. Perhaps he could post it If not I'll do it later tonight
    -
    14erskiers.com

    "Don't be afraid of the spaces between your dreams and reality. If you can dream it, you can make it so." - Belva Davis

    "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle"--Albert Einstein

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trackhead
    So where is the line? Anyone point it out to me?

    It's just a tad looker's left of the skier in the red coat (first pic).

  25. #25
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    Very nice, looks more fun than the groomers at Copper on Saturday.

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