benson1 (1 of 1)

My legs are tired and my feet are sore… Yesterday’s tour, my 6th day on skis in a row, was comprised of more than a mile of vertical gain and almost thirteen miles of distance.

peelerYesterday’s tour

What did I learn from the past week of touring in the local mountains? We have options and tours that are limited only by our own creativity and willingness to explore unknown, unfamiliar, and committing terrain. That and the fact that the Elk mountains are in fact: the shit. Getting blasted by a cold west wind for hours on end on one of those “wouldn’t that be cool” type of tours reminded me that there is something so uniquely exciting about exploring unknown terrain.

feb9 (1 of 6)


Yesterday, what appeared to be a short non-technical scramble on the map, was in fact 60m of some of the Ruby Range’s finest super-choss. It didn’t go: and left us atop a 1000′, 40 degree cliff-ridden East aspect that we eventually deemed an unacceptable amount of risk. This decision reached only after nearly an hour of “I think we can manage it!?’s” and “it looks like it will go!?’s”.

feb9 (2 of 6)

Nothing instills confidence like your partner deep-throating his Avalung!
Chris Benson arrives at the end of pitch 1.

Because this tour was intended to be a reconnaissance of sorts, we were okay with the fact that we had our skins on for far longer than we ordinarily prefer. We have also come to terms with the fact that the very objective we were reconoitering, also “might not go“. Only one thing is certain: this tour leaves me with renewed motivation for a tour next week that will be more committing, more technical, and far less certain. It’s going to be mega.

feb9 (4 of 6)

The end of next week’s proposed mega-tour looming in the mist.
This, the final ridge descent, almost certainly, maybe, might not go.