Forums Trip Reports jimw hasn’t "plateaued" yet!
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  • #616156
    nothingmuch
    358 Posts

    one trick you can do with any tube style belay device is to use two carabiners. thread the rope through both of them in parallel. The second one can be nonlocking too, and in fact doesn’t even have to connect to anything, it’s just there to provide more girth and to make the bends in the rope sharper as they enter the tubes again.

    #616173
    jimw
    1421 Posts

    OK, finally getting my pics up from this trip.

    I was supposed to meet up with BGnight on Friday, but I didn’t get into Tahoe till 3:30 AM, so when he called at 6 AM, it just wasn’t gonna happen. Missed out on the sweet day at Matterhorn. Oh well, at least I got to sleep in and then go, um, shred the kiddie park at Heavenly. 🙄

    So after getting the snow report Friday evening (BGnight said it was awesome), we made plans to meet up at the Mo-mart on Sat and check out the plateau. It was totally his idea, I swear.

    I was a little worried since I’d never actually toured with BGnight, and some of his legendary schwack TR’s had me scared. But it turned out that the only schwacking on this trip was self-induced.

    Driving down 120, the plateau comes into view. I had been thinking about Liberty chute for a while (marked with the arrow), so the plan was to climb up Powerhouse, then go over and check it out.

    Closer view:

    Along the way to Powerhouse, there are a series of other lower chutes that drop off this knob separating the Coke chute/3rd Pillar drainage from the Powerhouse drainage. Always wanted to do one of these. Hmm…

    BGnight brought the monster camera. That thing is huge! Takes good pics though…

    We started skinning up Powerhouse, and the conditions varied from solid windboard, to refrozen corn, to consolidated pow.

    Glide crack near the bottom of the run. Don’t recall seeing this a couple weeks ago. Someone should go air over this.

    BGnight checking out the ice.

    Mr. Chomps rock!

    BGnight having fun boot-slipping up the headwall of the first chute midway through the climb. I had just about as much fun skinning this section. Did I mention that Mr. Chomps rock?!

    Finally at the midway point.

    From here it’s a mellow, rolling climb until you reach the base of the main chutes.

    Verts were the ticket for the climb up. The snow was pretty deep in places, but then it would suddenly change to solid windboard, then back.

    A couple chutes off to looker’s right of the main chute, that look cool but never seem to be filled in:

    This is about halfway up. I think the cornice that broke off later was one of the ones in the center right. Hugging the left side of the chute is the “safest” way up, but you’re never completely out of the line of fire, particularly in the choke.

    Almost there…

    The top 50 feet or so always seem to be the most sketchy, as it gets really steep just before you top out. Normally there’s kind of a ramp that forms in the middle of the top that makes for an easier exit, but I missed the traverse over and so ended up hitting an area that was more difficult to top out at, which involved the traverse around the rock that BGnight mentioned.

    @BGnight wrote:

    I didn’t want to have to traverse in sugar 5 feet from top and at same time underclinging a rock w/ the top of my board hitting feeling like I was gonna peel off backward. Jim should have some pics of me crying somewhere.

    I have a whole sequence!

    It was a relief to finally top out. I love the view of Mt. Dana when you finally reach the top of the plateau. BGnight was not admiring the view at this point. I think this shot is exactly when he was saying this:

    @BGnight wrote:

    I told him at the top that “this is why I quit climbing. I’m sick of being fucking scared!”

    Notice the ice axe in mid-toss. 🙂

    We started the short walk across the plateau to check out 3rd Pillar and Liberty.

    I was curious if 3rd Pillar went. There was a big chockstone exposed in the middle last season. I was also wondering about the snow conditions in there. If it was good, I figured maybe I could talk BGnight into riding that one (or if Liberty looked bad, we could both hit 3rd Pillar) so that we’d end up in the same drainage, and could take the same exit chute.

    Looking into the top of 3rd Pillar:

    After downclimbing a bit, I could tell that it doesn’t go, at least not without some serious scrambling/downclimbing to get around that rock.

    So, off to check out Liberty. We got there and found a pretty decent anchor already in place.

    Looking over the edge:

    It seemed well filled in; in fact it seemed like you could almost downclimb to it, which I started doing before BGnight talked some sense into me. We threw a few rocks, and they sank deep into the snow, so it looked good to go (in retrospect, we should have thrown a few much further down the chute…). So we set up a couple backup anchors, threw the rope, and got the rappel ready.

    Bottom of the rappel:

    At this point I lost interest in taking pictures for a while because I was totally gripped and focused on not making any mistakes while transitioning. I finally got everything packed up and the board strapped on, and it was time to figure out how to get out of there in one piece.

    Here’s the view from where I strapped in. Hmm…

    Again, lost interest in taking pics until I got out of the chute, since after the soft snow in the very top narrow part, it turned to refrozen crust, and it was damn sketchy. It wasn’t until about halfway down the main chute that I could make some real turns.

    Relieved to be in one piece!

    Where the drainage flattens out, I traversed over and found a way into the chute on the knob that we were checking out on the way in. Meanwhile I had gotten radio contact with BGnight and found out that he was safely down at the bottom. No pics from this chute because it was getting late, but the snow in there was actually great! Real pow up top, changing to heavier but still turnable stuff down low. Super fun, and quite a relief after the tension from Liberty.

    Finally got a pic at the bottom. I’d say this is a pretty active avy path…

    And of course, no eastside trip would be complete without a nice schwack getting back to the road!

    Here’s a pic of the chute from the road:

    The winds were really starting to pick up at this point as a storm approached. BGnight and I high-fived and went our separate ways, vowing to hook up for another trip soon… maybe with a little less pucker factor next time!

    Here’s a shot of the plateau as I was leaving:

    Made it to Bridgeport with perfect timing, as the upper pool was empty. There is nothing like sitting in there with a beer, enjoying the sunset, after a day like that. At that moment, I sure felt alive!

    #616174
    jimw
    1421 Posts

    Oh yeah, about the helmetcam… that thing is really starting annoy me (VIO POV.1). The main issues:

    – The remote doesn’t always work. It needs to be pretty close to the base unit (like less than 2 feet in my experience). And when it does work, it’s not always clear that it’s doing the right thing, because starting and stopping both make the same beep from the base unit (which is also hard to hear when it’s in your pack). So, for example, I ended up not getting the footage from the rappel. Sweet.

    – The top right corner of the recorded image has some weird bluish tint to it when it’s recording images with snow. I’ve seen other POV.1 snow footage that has the same issue, so I don’t think it’s a problem with my unit.

    – The audio has random clicks and pops in it.

    It’s frustrating that it doesn’t “just work”, especially when consider how much $$$ I’ve sank into this thing already. I’m planning on giving VIO a call.

    I’ll see if I can salvage some of the footage that did turn out OK…

    #616175
    rod9301
    34 Posts

    Jim, the refrozen snow at the bottom of Liberty, do you think it would’ve been softer earlier in the day?

    #616176
    nothingmuch
    358 Posts

    you mentioned being sketched out while transitioning… why not just stay on rappel? with the autobloc you have both hands free, and you’re perfectly safe.

    #616177
    jimw
    1421 Posts

    @rod9301 wrote:

    Jim, the refrozen snow at the bottom of Liberty, do you think it would’ve been softer earlier in the day?

    In retrospect, I think so. In the first pic the sun is clearly blasting the chute, and that was at 9 AM. It seems hard to believe that it could have been soft earlier in the day, and then in a matter of a few hours frozen up solid even with ambient temps in the mid 40’s or higher, but yeah… I think it would have been softer earlier on that particular day. Which is what BGnight suspected, but did I listen? 🙂 The soft snow at the top also kinda suckered me in…

    @nothingmuch wrote:

    you mentioned being sketched out while transitioning… why not just stay on rappel? with the autobloc you have both hands free, and you’re perfectly safe.

    True, but at some point you still have to pull the rope and put it on the pack. I figured I wanted to get everything on the pack, my pack on, and my board on, all while being attached to something… and that something was the ice axe, which I had in my hand for the descent anyway. I also thought the rope dangling would be getting in the way while doing all that stuff. But you’re right, yeah it is safe to stay on the rappel with the autoblock. Actually, I think I might have stayed on rappel for part of the transition, but then switched to the ice axe at some point midway, I don’t completely remember as it is now kind of a blur. I dunno if anything would have made that transition feel any less sketchy though! 😯

    #616178
    jbaysurfer
    947 Posts

    @jimw wrote:

    @rod9301 wrote:

    Jim, the refrozen snow at the bottom of Liberty, do you think it would’ve been softer earlier in the day?

    In retrospect, I think so. In the first pic the sun is clearly blasting the chute, and that was at 9 AM. It seems hard to believe that it could have been soft earlier in the day, and then in a matter of a few hours frozen up solid even with ambient temps in the mid 40’s or higher, but yeah… I think it would have been softer earlier on that particular day. Which is what BGnight suspected, but did I listen? 🙂 The soft snow at the top also kinda suckered me in…

    @nothingmuch wrote:

    you mentioned being sketched out while transitioning… why not just stay on rappel? with the autobloc you have both hands free, and you’re perfectly safe.

    True, but at some point you still have to pull the rope and put it on the pack. I figured I wanted to get everything on the pack, my pack on, and my board on, all while being attached to something… and that something was the ice axe, which I had in my hand for the descent anyway. I also thought the rope dangling would be getting in the way while doing all that stuff. But you’re right, yeah it is safe to stay on the rappel with the autoblock. Actually, I think I might have stayed on rappel for part of the transition, but then switched to the ice axe at some point midway, I don’t completely remember as it is now kind of a blur. I dunno if anything would have made that transition feel any less sketchy though! 😯

    Jimw, BGnight, Great to meet you guys this weekend. Jim/Buffy/Storn (and whoever else went on sunday’s tour), I’m interested in hearing how ripper went….

    #616179
    bigdood
    457 Posts

    Whoa!

    #616180
    samh
    726 Posts

    This is an awesome trip report!

    --
    samh.net

    #616181
    Nikon
    218 Posts

    Couple of questions as I am new to a lot of this stuff and I live on the east coast so I don’t see terrain like you aholes out west.

    What are the things on your feet as you get into the steep stuff? They look like mini snowshoes or something but I’ve never seen em before.

    How do all these chutes and everything get named and how the hell do you guys seem to know all the chutes and peaks by name when they all look alike to someone like me, from the east coast where we don’t have shit like that?

    -Will

    #616182
    NoKnees
    336 Posts

    Yah, it’s a west coast thing… You actually learn the chute names growing up here in middle school…. 😉 Naw, it’s just that the best ones are popular enough to get names, written about, bragged about, and well documented. We actually have some okay guide books that cover a lot of these “classics”.

    They were using “http://www.verts.com/“. It’s a real basic type of plastic snowshoe that work great in specific places. They can still be found online and in some stores. They aren’t good for slogging in real powder on the flats, but they are the perfect tool for “split booting”, or just boot packing up a soft snow slope that is too steep to skin, and too deep to just front point. Oh, and they are quite light, so packing them isn’t a big deal.

    Edited for the link…

    Greg - NoKnees

    #616183
    jimw
    1421 Posts

    You mean there are splitboarders that don’t live in CA? 🙂

    Yeah, sorry about that. So used to the names out here that I don’t think about them. If you want to put some pics to the names, as well as have something to drool over in the thinking room, I highly recommend picking up a copy of bcd’s book.

    As NoKnees mentioned, the snowshoes are Verts. A search on the forum should turn up all sorts of interesting opinions on them. I love ’em. Nothing beats Verts for going straight up steep chutes in anything but the hardest snow.

    #616184
    Nikon
    218 Posts

    Those verts are pretty cool. I don’t think that I have much use for them out here as of yet but maybe after I get to some more exploring next season I’ll find a use for them.

    Whenever you have an online forum you get all kinds of people on the board but I think it’s interesting how we have some people here that have done things – I can’t think of a better way to put it. I mean, bcd has a published book, monk splits boards for some pretty famous people in the snowboard world, Tom Burt pops in, bcrider gets to spend time in the woods with Jeremy Jones. Pretty cool stuff

    #616185
    JC
    90 Posts

    Hey Jimw/Noknees,

    Sorry to get a little off topic here, the Verts are the one piece of gear I haven’t replaced since my Clicker conversion. I haven’t really searched for them yet, but any tips on who carries these nowadays?

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