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May 2000, Week 1


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Vermont Skiing Discussion and Snow Reports <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 4 May 2000 21:15:10 -0400
Vermont Skiing Discussion and Snow Reports <[log in to unmask]>
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"Mark P. Renson" <[log in to unmask]>
cc: "Stephanie H. McConaughy" <[log in to unmask]>, John Dostal <[log in to unmask]>
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        After this, it's only one more adventure-packed day.  Day 6 was kinda'
mellow ......

        Thursday dawned - the toughest day according to Joe from Pagosa Springs.
 Not only was Joe gearing up for his 12th consectutive day of demanding
backcountry, it also was his 7th week in ever with Selkirk Mountain
Experience.  He showed no sign of letting up, either.
        Thursdays are the toughest day, explained Joe, because you have already
been through 5 physically demanding days and your mind gets taxed because
know that there will be one more day after the tough outing that lies ahead
of you.
        I rented some Ascension skins to replace my suddenly unreliable ones with
the Euro tailhooks. These rented ones did not have the hooks and I was
skeptical.  My fears were never to be realized, however.
        The prior night, Howard stepped forward and suggested not going to the
Moloch Hut since the Fast Group did not seem to have as good of a time over
there as we did.  He spoke up for us to Derek and mentioned that "we were
more interested in good skiing and we did not have to go to the hut".  Our
guide bought into it and it was settled - outstanding skiing was to be the
order of the day !
        We assembled outside of the Chalet and collectively scratched our chins
looking at our seemingly improbable route ahead of us - a 1,000 foot ascent
through the complicated ledges of the super steep west face of 7,540 foot
Goat Peak.  A year ago, Daniell had tried to lead us up this face on a
route to the south of our ascent line and we were turned back by the
whumpfing sound of unstable snow.
        But, the snowpack was bomber this year and Derek made a brutal climb easy.
 His route finding was masterful as I was exposed to the most interesting
climbing on skis that I have ever experienced.  Nervousness about clinging
to exposed slopes hanging above craggy ledges was evaporated by the
confidence we were gaining from following Derek's strong smooth deliberate
pace.  At one point, we were high above the chalet and had to negotiate a
very tight steep spot that was obscured by a small spruce - a step an inch
or two to either side would have been a miserable misfire and I thought for
sure that I would "make a scene".  I mumbled under my breath "does this guy
REALLY know what he's doin' ?".   Instead, I cruised through the gauntlet
and put on a spirited charge to the top of the ridge.
        At the top, laid back happy Howard thanked Derek "for leading us through
that 5.10 A2 climb" (that's technical rock climbing jargon for a very
difficult rock climb).
        We circled around the frozen Mirror Lake and over to the massive Durrand
Glacier where we had a snack in the face of a light but chilly breeze.
 Afterwards, we shuffled up to the summit of 9,000 foot Centrale Peak.
        The run down the back side of this peak was typically fantastic - constant
face shots, waist plus deep and fine consistent white smoke.  The bottom on
the Centrale Glacier actually became quite steep.  Later, Ruedi was to tell
me that this is his favorite run;  not a bad choice.
        On the ascent, clouds moved in, making poor visibility up to the summit of
Symphony Peak.  At the top, our guide's radio crackled with a conversation
between Ruedi and Carolyn in the Revelstoke office. A panic call had been
made to Carolyn by a client due to arrive in two weeks.  He was in a state
of hysterical panic about the rumours that he "heard it's a Boot Camp up
there" and he "desperately wants out".  Ruedi's demanding pace and
perceived militarism constantly generates humour.
        Ruedi also insisted that we ascend a third peak - the 8480 foot Allalin.
 The group hesitated and Paul mentioned that he was getting tired and that
this sixth day would be his last.  The group bought into Paul's idea of
calling it a good day and figured that the 4,500 - 5,000 vertical feet
would be enough.  A long easy descent down the Durrand Glacier to the
Diamond Ice Fall was the call.  The descent through the seracs was made
easy from our now well-honed skills and Derek's route navigation.  One more
short 300 foot ascent completed the day.
        At the dinner table that night, it is revealed by Pierre that Sebastian
has 5 or maybe even 6 girlfriends.  Those two Frenchmen are unstoppable.


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