Who the Hell is maadjurguer?

My photo
I like to ski, mountain bike, drink beer, cook and listen to any jam band I can get my hands on; all while making a complete ass of myself. Hopefully this catharsis is as interesting to others as it is to me.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

They're baaaaack!

I took a quick spin out at Hawes after work today and noticed that the single poppy I had observed on my Saturday, helmet condom ride, had turned into 50 poppies.  I suspect that tomorrow there will be 500, and the next day 5000, and the next day 50,000.  The season is upon us, the desert is awash in green and soon to be sprinkled with yellow's, then red's and finally blue....before fading into the subtle drabs of green and brown of the dry season....only to be reignited again during the rainess of the monsoon.....but I'm getting ahead of myself.

This last shot reminds me that there is still snow to be had, so I turn my sights north this weekend with JMoney and Mr. Handlebarsandwich for a little LePowski up in Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah.......which makes us the lil' LePowski Urban Achievers.

Big LePowSki 2009—Brighton, Utah from Black Diamond Equipment on Vimeo.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The backcountry beatings will continue until morale improves

Be forewarned....there is no gnar in this post.  In fact....let me lead off by sharing a picture of Usnea....commonly known as Old Mans Beard.

This I took while waiting for Mrs. Maadjurguer to catch up to me on the skin track.  She agreed to give snowshoeing a try and was curious as to what I actully do on a weekly basis when the snow is down....so I jumped at the chance to take her out for a mellow tour.  Hitching her snowboard to my pack, she followed me up the track.  Thanks to Dara and Troy for lending the showshoes....we will be buying some soon.  While waiting for her to catch up to me, I thought back to my 1st backcountry day....the fear and stress of the unknown, the exhaustion, the realization that as fit as I thought I was....I was not.....all of this, she was going through.  I was humbled by this realization....not because I've progressed so far from this point; but because she had taken the leap of faith to share with me the beauty of the backcountry and all of it's unknowns.

After giving her the cursory etiquette talk regarding skin tracks and showshoe tracks, we were aghast at the damage already done to Dutchmans.  Apparently, it had been gang raped by a pack of roving showshoes hellbent on tracking it up for themselves with no regard for other users. Nevertheless, we climbed higher with the goal for a 'secret' glade or two off of the beaten path.  Upon reaching our goal, I dug a pit and observed the following.

With nothing reactive observed on the skin up, a solid pit reading and the sun baking the crust into a nice creamed corn; the conditions were ripe for the picking.  I took a few turns first in light blower on top of forgiving cream cheese and then turned around to snap some of the new maggot....

As she slid to a stop above me, I think I caught the moment when smiles form....or perhaps it's the realization that my helmet makes her head look tiny....

With her 1st day going long, we returned to dutchmans for our exit out...only to find more damage done by snowshoes gone amuck.  I'm not sure if the look on her face is that of disgust, or exhaustion....nevertheless, a lot was accomplished for a first timer and I was profoundly proud of her willingness to try something outside of her comfort zone.

To top the day off, we bought some Uncle Buzz's chocolates, had some Surf & Turf at Karma and finally got my hands on some Ranger......and not to be outdone....a late night stop at Primo's for a Tucson dawg put the cherry on the top of a wonderful day.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Dankness

To say that we found some good snow to play with on our 11 mile, 9,000k of vert overnight tour would be an understatement. Even if it had been all bad, we still would have lucked into some tree powder; yet since we committed ourselves to the northside where most folks don't go, we had set ourselves up for.....The Dankness.

On Saturday; myself, JoeM, JMoney-Millionaire, Splitchimp and Dean set out from Aggasiz lot under the cover of fog.

Slipping through the flat light along familiar tracks gave way to frosted trees and the opening up of the sky.

Making the base of Dutchmans, I observed quite a bit of hoar frost which glistened in the low light of morning....cataloging this for later observations, I snapped a pic to remind myself of this layer before the next snow fall.

Above the plane crash, we shed our stix, strapped them to our packs and started the bootpack up the western ridge which floated above an inversion layer......ebbing and flowing around the topographic undulations below.

Trading diffuse light for brilliant colors, the blues became brilliant and the pinecones became prolific...

....and then disappeared into a world dictated by left foot-step, right foot-step....the sound of breath and the pounding of pulse forming a zen-like metronome
Cresting Allison Clay's southern ridge, the world became a white whirl of sastrugi, tortured rime forms on rock and frosted clouds hanging in opposition to the brilliant blue of sky

Looking southward, Aggasiz was seen framed by the tops of clouds

Moving northward now on the main ridge, Splitchimp pauses to view the west which was the only open patch of land to be seen.....

....while JMoney trades snow for water....

Vanity of vanities, all is vanity"

.....the summit as seen through my eyes....

As I drop into Beard Canyon, I'm surprised to find a nice bit of powder hanging on the flanks, surrounded by wind slab and rock. Stopping a third of the way down, I spot Dean dropping a knee..

....Splitchimp propping the mountain up....

....and Joe slicing some snow....

Avoiding the lower half of Beard, we traverse north into Aubineau and descend to our planned campsite. After dropping off our food, bags and shelter; we skin back up for a sunset run down Aubineau where the sun illuminated the cornice forming above Cohonina..

Digging a pit first on Aubineau, then traversing across into Cohonina for a second pit; we determine the stability to be good despite the depth hoar which was only found within the rocky base matrix.

Viewing the pastel light show north of our pit-site, we were in awe of the beauty of the day.

JMoney finds the gold on Cohonina...

Dean forges a path towards the clouds...

Joe fishes out some untracked skiers right.... ....and Splitchimp follows up

Continuing our descent, we head down to our campsite, while passing under the Crossfire...

Moving fast under fading light and above the glowing sunset, we were transported silently along our skin track in wonderment of the clear skies. The Milky Way and the crab Nebula our source of light, we refused to turn on our headlamps.....instead feeling our way along the skin track with our ski tips. Just as quickly as the daylight disappeared, the full moon melted its way above the cloud bank. Starting as a golden glow illuminating the clouds from below, it rose as a sliver first, and grew until it cast a white glow over the landscape. We moved from the pure darkness of tree shadows, to hallways of brilliant light reflected from the moon. The sounds of wind and trees combined with the moonlit sparkle of virgin snow beneath our feet created a sense of magic. Reaching our camp by moonlight, we feasted on calories of every form while boasting of the days events....slipping slowly into rest below the trees and moon.

Slow to wake in the morning inside our bags, we ate, packed up and skinned back up the canyon to an unnamed slope for some morning powder turns.

On our skin back up to the summit, I shot one last picture....we will be back....soon.