Dead Cricket Gulch*

Backcountry Snowboarding
Parker McAbery snowboards down the guts of a big gulch.

Today four of us did an exploratory hike up to about 12,400′ on a high windy ridgeline. We ended up riding a pretty heavy duty 2400′ line that we had scoped out from across the valley yesterday. The last two days have been a lot of fun, exploring new terrain and learning more and more about every nook and cranny of these mountains (sometimes the hard way).

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Sunny Days

Colorado backcountry hiking

[+] Another sunny blue-sky day in Colorado. We got out for an early run this morning, and tried out a new line (for me at least). Great line, but the snow is getting a bit hammered by now (by the sun and other skiers). It’s been a strange last few weeks weatherwise… one good storm, lots of sun, and it has felt more like spring than summer. Where did winter go? Come back, winter!

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Return of the Pow

Jack slashes some powder
[+] Rider: me. Photo by Jonathan Esper.

In my last post I was worried about the rain in Ouray. No matter. Up higher the mountains got smothered with snow, and today fellow photographer Jonathan Esper and I took our splitboards out to harvest some of the powder. After several weeks of clear warm weather, it felt great to ride ~20″ of fresh fluff.

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Raining in January

Today it’s been raining in Ouray. I know crazy weather is common in Colorado, but RAIN IN JANUARY? That’s just wrong. The good news is that the latest avy observers are reporting that it is snowing up high, and the wet snow is bonding well to the old surface. I hope it gets colder soon.

Hideout Cabin

mountain cabin

I had a great weekend with some friends at their backcountry cabin in the San Juan Mountains south of Telluride. The cabin’s a real gem, situated in a rugged San Juan setting surrounded by prime ski terrain. Cecily’s parents are avid skiiers and they built this cabin back in the 70’s when it was somewhat reasonable to do such a thing. Nowadays we can only dream of building a little cabin in the high country like this… there’s just no more places to do it, and too many regulations (though this is probably a good thing). But I digress…

It’s about five miles along a snowed-in road to the cabin, and we loaded up some sleds with all our gear and beverages to pull behind us on our way up. We left after dark on Friday, so it was a big surprise to wake up on Saturday to the magnificent vistas all around. We had incredibly warm and sunny weather the whole time, and the snow has become so stable that for the next few days we skiied/rode borderline springtime lines… a nice treat in January, though I do hope it snows again soon.

I’ve posted my best photos from the trip on my gallery site, but here are some more of the hiking and riding photos.

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A Slice of Heaven

Snowboarding the Powder

[+] Today we splitboarded up the same mountain for the third day in a row, but this time we dropped off the backside, went up a neighboring peak further up the valley, and slammed the best line of the year so far – very steep, and very deep. Here’s Parker McAbery blasting into a steep chute.

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