Sunday, March 10, 2013

Overambition, Bad Conditions, and a Host of Complaints

The Kessler 4x4 is a BIG day in the mountains. It consists of skiing 4 of the major aspects of Kessler peak(east couloir, Gods Lawnmower, West Couloir, and Argenta), all in one day. This clocks in at around 12,000 vert for one day. Past successful finishers of this monumental task seem to take around 11+ hours to accomplish it. Having hiked Kessler twice this year, I decided to not participate despite my obvious love of doing hard things in the mountains for 3 reasons:

1. My ski setup weighs about 45 pounds per leg. The guys who are going fast and light, including Court and Nick, but more so the Sherpa crowd, are stating their ski setup weights in grams. I like golden grams, and sometimes I listen to Gunther and Graham, but my ski setup is not accurately measured in grams. That's like using feet as a measurement of how far light travels in a year. There was no way I was going to be able to haul that luggage up the mountain 4 times in one day without an escalator.
2. I'm not super interested in doing the same thing over and over again, like hiking Grandeur Peak 12 times in day(impressive for sure Mr. Campbell , but boring). Honestly I think it would have been a great training workout, but likely after 2 times I would have been done. Plus I had run Mt Wire the day before so my legs were already tired. Lame excuse of course. 
3. I like hanging out with Annie on Saturdays, since I don't get to see her much during the week, so I can only justify skiing for 3-4 hours most Saturdays.


Anyway, Court was the main proponent of this task, while Pete, Jake, and I were all on different levels of understanding of how it actually worked. Jake thought we were just going to ski parts of all the aspects, rather than the purist road to summit to road component. He was a bit shocked when Court told him he had to hike the mountain 4 times. Pete had just gotten a new ski setup so he was anxious to try it out, but had to leave at 4 pm for some arbitrary reason. I was going out for one lap in hopes of skiing another new aspect on Kessler, the East couloir.

We all seemed psyched to ski as we dropped all 4 of our individual cars at the different locations to aid shuttling and whatnot. Conditions were 6 inches or so of new snow on top of hard crust with major wind drifts at different points on the mountain. Seeing as I was only CLAIMING to do one lap, I was designated trail breaker once again. We plugged our way up Argenta, but we did not set any speed records as the skinning was deep, slippery, and cold. Court was whining about the screaming barfies in his hands, or rather how he wished they would come, Pete had some weird thigh issue he kept mentioning, I was bitter about having to break trail the whole way, and Jake didn't really have a complaint other than he wished he was driving his new Frontier instead of being with us.

The summit was socked in, and when I asked Court if he was still committed to the project, he responded, "I am definitely not commited". He started down the east couloir, but due to bad visibility(50 yards) and scary windblown drifts, he climbed back up and we bailed back down Argenta. Court is usually quite bold, and rarely backs down on ski lines. He usually is harrassing us, calling us hurtful names like Alice or Nancy, to get us to sack up. It was he who was Sally this time. Regardless, we had a safe journey down Argenta where everyone called it a day. We retrieved our now completely unnecessary shuttled cars and ate day old cold pizza. Wahoo! Kessler 1x1 baby! I now know not to be talked into breaking trail the whole way on days like these. Its merely a ploy by those behind to avoid the horrendous task.

Jake skinning to the summit. Not great views today

Too hot to skin with a hat on, my hair turned to rime ice.

Court getting scared to drop into the ghostly couloir

Enjoying dust on crust

Great form by Pete. I'm no better.

Annie and I saw the Hobbit afterwards at the $ theater, which I thought was excellent despite its DMV wait time length of 2:45. 

1 comment:

  1. Awesome write up once again Spence. Whats next on the adventure list?