Yikes; it has been almost two months since my last post. I'd like to say that I waited to work on these so that when the early summer heat (I start to melt when it gets over 85 degrees) started to kick in I would have a way to daydream about cooler days. But in reality, my busy schedule and heavy editing load at work makes it difficult and not very appealing to edit at home. I have had a few little breaks however, and finally was able to edit some images from this past winter.
On an early morning in the middle of January, Scott and two of our friends, Katie and Ben, packed up our gear and headed to Rocky Mountain National Park for a day of ice climbing near Black Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. We planned to skin up (using skis with strips that attach to the bottom to allow you to ski uphill) to our climbing destination, spend the day climbing on the ice, and then ski back down to the car.
Unfortunately, the conditions that morning were not exactly ideal. The winds were blowing around 60 miles an hour, with temperatures well below zero and some light snow mixed in for good measure. We decided to head towards the climbs despite the weather, and set off skinning up the mountain. This was the first time I had skied in the back country, and only my third time skiing in the big mountains at all, which made the day even more interesting for me.
After a few hours of skinning we decided to stop and eat lunch in a somewhat sheltered spot in the forest. The sun managed to poke through slightly once or twice while there, and we got a tiny break from the wind as well. We boiled snow to make water for our instant noodles, stumbled around in the extremely deep snow, and just tried to keep warm as we made our lunch.
After refueling with some instant noodles and granola bars, we popped our skis back on and continued up. We encountered quite a few people coming down the mountain that looked haggard from the weather, and let us know that they wouldn't recommend going all the way to where we were hoping to. One man told us that he had been completely blown over by the wind on one of the lakes, so I was fairly intimidated at that point.
When we got higher up, and the trees started getting thinner, the wind became even stronger. The visibility was extremely low at times, and standing upright was difficult when the big wind gusts came through. We reached a point where it was particularly bad and all decided it would be best to bail and head back to the car.
After making the decision that we should head back, we opted to go down the main (and smoother) trail, instead of the "shortcut" that we had used on the way up. Before beginning our descent we had to stop and rip off the skins on our skis, and prepare our skis for the downhill portion of the trip. The wind was brutal at the spot we stopped at, with snow whipping our faces relentlessly. It was so windy that Scott had to stand and brace me as I clipped into my skis, since every time I tried to stand on one leg to do so I was getting blown over.
We did manage to get down safely, despite my poor skiing skills, and were very glad to get in the car with the heaters blasting. The guys had some nice ice formations on their beards, a testament to the frigid temperature.
Next time: More winter adventure photos (this time a successful ice climbing day). Be sure to check back soon (I promise my next post will not take 2 months to publish)!