Hut Trip Avalanche Course Recap

March 20, 2009

In January I attended an avalanche course/hut trip in Leadville so I could get my avalanche Level 1 certification. Although I haven’t really been able to use my training yet since all our backcountry skiing has been low angle, it did give me more confidence when we skied Quandary. I wrote about my trip on which was posted yesterday:

A Day Without Coffee…

March 17, 2009

My new saying for the week: A day with no coffee is like a flower with no water: withered.

I’m on a cleansing diet to attempt to rid myself of a few ailments that traditional drugs haven’t cured. But I’m feeling like I’d rather deal with itchy skin than go without my daily joe or a tortilla with my eggs in the morning… The lack of sugar and yeast is supposed to bring up my moods and keep me from being tired, but while on this cleanse, I’m exhausted and grumpy. And my sweet tooth is killing me.

Trip Report: Quandary Peak

March 8, 2009

This past weekend took us to Summit County to visit some family and family friends. Dave’s parents got a condo in Breckenridge so we decided it’d be a nice mini-vacation to go stay with them for a night. But since the snow conditions haven’t been that great, we decided not to spend the money on lift tickets at Breck and do something a little more adventurous – like ski a 14er. Quandary Peak is one of the easiest 14ers – both in the summer and winter – and considered a ‘starter’ winter 14er. With Dawson’s Guide to Colorado’s Fourteeners and the current avy report in hand, we set out our plan the night before. Forecast overnight called for a few inches of snow, so we kept our fingers crossed the avalanche forecast would stay at LOW.  Friends had skied the Cristo Couloir last spring with a great report, and we set that as our goal, condition and weather-permitting.


View of the peak from the trailhead. The Cristo is the furthest left, and looks like it should have been an easy find from the top!

Saturday morning we awoke with overcast skies, no new snow, and threatening clouds to the South. After taking our time with bacon and donuts seeing what the weather would do, the sun started peaking out and the low clouds burned off – time to go! We quickly loaded the car, said by to the family (never quick) and hit the road for the 20 minute drive to the trailhead. The Monte Cristo Trailhead starts at nice high 10,900 ft elevation and Quandary peaks out at 14,265. We used the East Ridge route, which is about 6 miles and a 3,365 elevation gain. The sun stayed with us for the first few miles and we stopped and chatted with people we met along the way. At about 13,500 ft, the clouds started rolling in and the wind picked up. After a short boot pack through a rock field, we added some layers, took a quick snack and leg break, put our skis back on and continued our final push to the top realizing unless the couloir was easily visible, we would probably have to descend our accent route. Yup, exactly what happened. When we peaked at about 1 pm, the wind was ripping up all sides of the peak and visibility was low – and no sign of a couloir in sight. Fearing frostbite, we descended down the ridge for a little more protection before taking off our skins and clicking in for a bit of skiing.


My summit shot. I could barely get a smile out it was so cold.

On the upside, the amount of wind had loaded the slope with a few inches of ‘new’ snow for some surprisingly soft turns. Not wanting to ski the skin track out, we poked through some trees and made our way back down to the car. “Happy 30th” says Dave… Skiing a 14er wasn’t a “before 30” goal, but getting one done when I had six days left until 30 felt pretty good!

Enjoying the silence around me

March 2, 2009

While eating lunch today, I read an article in Relevant Magazine about silence. I am fully connected and plugged in at almost all hours of the day. If I’m not listening to something, I’m reading something, not allowing my mind to rest and reflect and listen. The short bursts of silence I get are when riding my bike, but I usually get so frustrated by drivers that I get to my destination fuming, not reflective.

So I’m going to challenge myself to some silence. Real silence. Not sure how I’m going to pull it off as I’m fidgety. But my current knitting project is mindless, so maybe I’ll start there. Sit on the couch for 30 minutes a day, knit, not talk, turn my phone and my ipod off. Maybe I’ll get some answers to everything that has been buzzing thorugh my head lately.

“The Lord said [to Elijah],’Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood in the mouth of the cave.” 1 Kings 19:11-13

How am I going to hear God’s gentle whisper if I never have silence?