January 25, 2014

Lake Peak and Red Baldy - Touring or Racing?

Jared called last night and asked if I was in for a ski in the morning with some of the guys.  Arriving at the White Pine trail head a few minutes after 6 am the vehicles started rolling in.  Tom G, Andy D, Jason D, Teague H, Luke N, the Samurai, the Viking and myself made up the militia. After hearing the phrases "race skins" and "are you really going to carry that?", I was glad I brought my race stuff as the "back up plan."  This is a special group of guys. Each with his own passion for the mountains and ways of traveling in them, none of which includes going slow.

Out the gate it was full speed under a waning moon as we raced up to the base of Lake Peak.  Jared, who had been faking sick the last couple weeks was fresh and he and Tom were dropping the hammer. We were pushing it, all the while pretending to not be hurting as we gasped between short incomplete sentences. As we arrived at the base and chose our line of ascent (the NE face), we eased off the gas  and spread out observing conditions and safer travel as we all moved up.  Tom set a nice skinner and we then booted to the top of Lake Peak to be awarded by another spectacular dawn in the high mountains. The Pfief was lit up like a candle in the night, with a crystal clear sky engulfing the summit. Some decided to ski the East Couloir and others the line of ascent.  Tom, Jared and I took the later and it skied nice as did the East Couloir apparently.

We then moved over to Red Baldy, setting a steady tempo to the top, and pulled off the skis and did a quick boot shuffle to the summit with outstanding views all around us. It is obvious we need some serious storms to rest upon these mountains.  We then ended up choosing different lines from which to ski. The conditions ranged from powder, wind board and bullet proof ice.  It was a fantastic morning for sure, punctuated by the company of great friends.

Cold dawn over White Pine District-Shoulder of Lake Peak
Andy D

Jason D and a glowing Cottonwood Ridge
Tom G getting after it on the NE face of Lake Peak

Luke N and Lars top of Red Baldy

Jason, Jared, Tom and in the sun Andy, eye a descent off Red Baldy

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