Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2007 11:18 pm Posts: 940 Location: reiter hills
ping PING PING pink FUCK!
i listened to this sequence of noise in several successions while hudling on my perch trying to stay warm and out of the line of fire of the consitant river of spin drift sugar cascading down on us. I'd shout out to John to hold on as you could hear the river of snow flowing towards us, like frozen flash floods, they would hit and then be gone. Leaving us cold, wet, and plastered with snow. In our coats, gloves, boots, ears and mouths. to be caught off guard would mean being swept over the cliffs below. After finally finding a solid placement, john called for me to come down to join him. and we'd both anchor in.
i tell him with humoured pun "so glad we could hang out together tonight John". Knowing that attitude and that'mental edge' could make or break us, it's always best to remain in postive spirits. earlier in the day while on the long road approach road we had time to talk. It was a good thing because I haven't had the pleasure to get out with John in a while. He has been my mentor of sorts the past few years, teaching me all i know about the funny thing called alpinism. we talked about real life things.. commitment, lasting real friendships, and becoming wiser by only the mistakes we choose to make. a sort of story book foreshadowing of the next 24 hours.
A couple days earlier I was rolling up to my faovrite mt range in the cascade with my usuall crew of suspects, Leyland B.S. and Saign for a spectacular winter day on Mt Stuart. Along the way we got the view I kept telling Saign about. The infamous dragontail and it's famed Triple Couloirs, skied all three by only some crazy dude on tele's name Ross. and the iron man day thrown down by transient Steepy makng cascadians look like lazy un motivated slouches. Leyland, our teleboarding firend exclaims 'crazy'. i agree and tell everyone how much it scares me, and that I would never ride it. We scurry off on our long day with visions of what was ahead, and not behind.
The long day out with the crew meant a long days rest. It wasn't the first either. We had a banner Decemeber, a phat stable snowpack, and somehow managing to pack a seasons worth of fun into one month.Other then an over dose of pillow lines and face shots, the year ended with seasons goals getting done daily. So stoked to be along with my best friends and touring partners Ben and Leyland and watch them become solid and confidant cascadians on and off the hill. I love these guys and trust them with my life. As I tell my girlfriend the story of the awesome day we had, I make her my list of promises of the chores i will get done the following day.
whistle whistle... that menas a text
my favorite kind. one that requires not much thought, but just a simple answer to a question. yes or no. it read 'hey, do you want to ride dragontail tomorrow?' It was from John, so I knew what he meant. Ther are a couple otions for decents. The first day tour I went on with B.S. we rode the west chute, aka, pandora's box. aesthetic, but not comtting. colchuck glacier and asgard pass both offer long scenic decents around the flanks of Dragontail. Both beautiful, but kind of the standard up there... And John isn't your stanrd type of guy. I knew in an instant what he wanted to do. I paused, and replied with a simple yes.
My bags where still yet to be unpacked from the previous adventure, so I had some scurying to do to get ready. drying clothes, gloves, and skins. eat man eat! I was feeling so tired and drained from the previous few weeks I wondered if I would even have it in me. a 75g december and some approachmiles really had me drained. At least I already have me alpine kit packed. I giggled as I put it in my back pack. The prospect of carrying this shit up another mt only to never see the light of day. you bring it so you don't need it, or you will, eh?
John and I joked about this as we skinned the four mile long 8 mile rd.. Don't quite get the connection, but I do have one with the name. I lived the first thirtyfive years of my in Detroit. I'm often asked the question " how the fuck did you end up here?" sometimes here could be anywhere from the out of the way town I live in or the mountain enviroment. it is a complex question I struggle to answer. Usually it ends up being more like I am having to defend or justify how I could possibly love this depressing little methed out logging town, or that I would rather deal with a few miles approach then crowded back country. Just trying to grow where I planted myself, as everyone should. If your not digging your life, go there and be that guy. we all have that capability.
Soon, all our mindless, mindfull, and gossiping banter got us to the Colchuck Lake. In no record time for that matter. As maturing gentlemen, we are becoming more adapt to using mind over body. Mt climbing and snowboarding has long been about style. Style isn't something you copy, thats fad. Style is about doing things your own way. Now that most everything in the cascades has been done, it's time to up the style factor. It doesnt have to be steep or gnarly, fast, or epic.. just true to you. I appreciate them all. John and I have simular styles. Steep, committing, and usually decending stuff in winter conditions that most might be appauled by....' that's a spring line'.. 'it's not steep skiing season'. I hear this often, but i disagree. This is snow boarding. not ice boarding. I do like spring touring, but it seems so inviting and mellow compartivly.I jokingly call it scotish cascadian style. winter lines in winter conditions. I love it!
Soon the banter is gone and replaced by the hulking intimidating task we where about to take on. one I swore I would never take on.
front and center. dragontail and I. parts of all three couloirs are visable.
To be continued....
note.. I have largely stopped reproting trips for many reasons. I am choosing to write this for those who want to know. It's not about chest beating or whatever negative reasonings peole can come up with to justify why i do what i do. i tell you one thing, it's not for the internet. I could easily have a following of hot chiks by racking up record days on muir or something far less dangerous. But it's not the noteriaty that drives me.it's just a pure love for what I do. feel free to analyze, but you are probably off base.. . I've never recieved so many texts, phone calls, and overall interest from anyting else I've ever snowboarded. I hope I am doing the day justice.
Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2007 11:18 pm Posts: 940 Location: reiter hills
i'm still kinda processing this all as i write. I pretty much write off the cuff with little editting. so what you see is what you get.
I'd like to ass that people do not be put off by the title. I have said before that I'm not really a big an of using verbage like, slay, conquer, own or whatever else terminology people use. I usually feel like i was 'allowed' to ride a line at any particular time if i ask real nice. the only slaying that went on here was of me on my emotions.
Not to knock anyone elses writing. just my personal feelings.
Joined: Fri May 13, 2005 8:05 am Posts: 1470 Location: 395
Rad! Can't wait to see part 2. Don't over think it. If you're stoked on it and have pics to prove it then just post that shit and let us decide how big your penis is As far as wordage, I've never heard anyone use "conquer" in a TR and I think "slay" is a perfectly respectable verb in snowboarding terms (it's actually quite appropriate given the name of the line!). Now I can't wait to see how you made that mountain your bitch!
Absolutely Epic! To use Sherpa as your warm up lap and then ride this huge line is pretty sick. It's great when the mountain opens up and lets you play for a little while. And who needs daylight?
This is a huge and inspiring line! Dragontail is such a big, imposing rock. Unbelievable. The way you rode down reminds me a little of the way Xavier and Andreas Fransson have been ticking off big lines in the Alps. Very cool.
ale, despite your limited TR's you've earned our respect over the years. I think most the guys on here get it and appreciate you taking the time to share something that's rather intimate. It's nice when you create a piece of art but it's even better when you share with those that really appreciate it. Looking forward to the words and pictures to come.
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2009 9:31 am Posts: 268 Location: a vanagon somewhere in WA
staring at that line for a few moments last week it was burned into my mind. not so much as an objective, but a definition of what is possible, almost sane even, with the skills and mindset that are perhaps my actual goal.
since i heard of your descent, i've been a little preoccupied, and thoughts of the mountains have dominated my mind even more than usual. i wondered about all the details--finding rappel anchors in the dark, determining where to downclimb, where to ride, and when to get out the rope. but your writing so far tells the real story, not one of half set pitons or bollards cut with a snowboard, but of, as you say, trust, commitment, and level headed dedication. thanks for the story. and the inspiration.