Friday, February 29, 2008

So, a buddy and I recently went up for a day of snowmobiling in the mountains near Whistler, B.C.
We decided to do the drive from Seattle to Whistler the evening before, to get a better headstart in the a.m.. It was getting dark, we were less then 15 miles from our destination, when ...."POP!!!!" I looked behind, to see the trailer listing to port.
We pulled off as far as possible. " Where's your jack?" I said. " I loaned it to a friend and it's at his place.".....
Flat trailer tire in the dark, no jack. Macguyver, lookout....

The freely flowing Canadian beers and a long day consipered against us. We left the hotel several hours later than hoped, nursing the fruits of the pitchers of the night before. We headed to the trailhead....
We paid the fee, unloaded the sleds onto the convenient banks. Unfortunately I left the choke on the 800 a bit too long, it'd come back to haunt me. The sleds...
Followed a trail up the mountainside, switchbacking up and up, track sliding around in the soft , freshly groomed snow. Halfway up, just about to cross up into a cloud band...
The first bowl, called metaldome, socked in with fog....
We passed a tour group, turned left, and climbed up several steep pitches to summit above the clouds, enjoying the beautiful blue day. Remember the "choke on' comment? I'd fouled the spark plugs, the machine would intermittently bog during these long, full throttle technical climbs, making it much more interesting than usual. I kept expecting it to clear up, but it never did. Live and learn. The pic...

Climbing up onto the peaks....Sunny and beautiful....
Terrible scenery, though....
Cliumbing on, we were the only tracks that had ventured out so far today. Endless fields of white, all unmarked, gentle curving hills, scale unable to be comprehended as everything was so massive. We ventured towards the glacier fields, we were the only humans around for miles. Fresh powder, no tracks but our own. Nice.
The trail to the actual ice cap. We stopped and turned here. Little too avalanche-prone conditions to continue. If you look at the hill front and center, you can see all the little slides. We also had a mini slide 100 feet away, set off by our voices. As much as we wanted to ride the glacier, we stuck to the partially sane theory of living to ride another day. Discretion over valor and all that....
180 from the last photo, you can see the hardpacked chute we came down....
This hardpacked beast was fun to run up. No sense of scale here, everything's huge.The small first ripple, for instance, was enough to throw my sled near vertical. For some idea of size, the track width you see in the lower right is 15 inches or so.
The top of a chute called the Gauntlet. Relatively easy to climb with the big hp and long tracks/big paddles, it's way too steep to even consider being able to stop when coming down. You just roll over the edge, modulate the brake to keep the track turning, ( a fully locked track actually accelerates down steep corridors) , pick your line and ride it out.


Sunny and a great day, my bud at the top...

Yours truly....
Driving home after finding a replacement trailer tire, thereby ensuring we wouldn't need it. Beautiful sunset, relaxed, just beginning to feel the soreness from a hard day on the mountain. A Great day .

Here's the video. ( I really need a helmet cam mount )(~ 9minutes or so)

video



Or the Youtube version....(it's the same)




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