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 Post subject: liberty at last - denouement on the dana plateau
PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 4:51 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2009 9:31 am
Posts: 269
Location: a vanagon somewhere in WA
as many of you know, my beautiful monk151 rome notch custom splitboard did not survive my 98th day of snowboarding this season. a broken splitboard is not what i wanted to be looking at as i pondered the approaching storm, the two days of snowboarding i still needed to reach my triple-digit goal, and the single chute still remaining on my hit list for the season.

fortunately, sentury stepped up with an offer to demo two of their splitboards. so i took off for reno... but not without stopping at mt rose to spend a powder filled afternoon bonding with my snowshoes and rockered resort board.
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with day 99 out of the way, and a sentury backcountry 162 splitboard in my van, i was ready ready to finally join the "century club". so i met up with aksltxlt (aaron) and a group of splitboard-toting locals at good old carson pass.
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i fell in love with the board after sticking a few decent sized airs on our first run through a nice little cliff line.
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still, i wanted to try it out the sentury BC on something bigger. we headed over to the sisters with the hope of getting into some chutes, but our snowpits indicated a heavy, cohesive wind slab sitting on top of a hard rain crust and shearing easily.
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so we were forced to go session the trees and cliffs above woods lake, which was probably more fun in the end.
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jimw, who came by later on his way to the moon crescent, shot this photo of our tracks. mine is the leftmost. i wish someone had been there with a camera when i launched way over the skin track! (visible on the left edge of the frame)
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there was no time to celebrate my hundredth day on the snow, however. the snow was melting fast and there was still one line left on my hit list for the season; it was time to drive down to tioga pass and ride it.

we camped by the power plant and got an early start hiking up the rock hard snow in V bowl.
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the sentury dimension 165 that i was carrying felt noticably lighter than my old rome, and we quickly hiked to within view of our goal--liberty chute.
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the wind was transporting snow into the lower section of the chute, so i skinned up and dug a pit on the apron.
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the snow looked stable and fun, so we hurried to climb up 3rd pillar chute.
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and finally, we reached our goal. the snow in the upper chute looked decent, the cornice looked huge, and the time had arrived...
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i had been wanting to rappel into a chute since before i even knew about liberty. and after 2 prior failed attempts this season, my chance had finally arrived.
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(side note: thanks to jimw for setting up the rappel station the weekend before)

it was so nice to finally be out of the sun and under the shade of that nice, big cornice that i stopped to take a photo of ken.
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the 30m rope we had was just long enough to get down to a little ledge where i was able to get my board off my pack and onto my feet. the snow in the upper chute was hard but not completely icy. it was a little sketchy getting through the narrow choke right at the top, but below that i was able to get in a few proper turns before entering the much wider lower chute, which had received enough sun to turn into proper corn snow.

ken, who deftly took care of all the rope-handling, rides down after me.
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the lower chute was a nice relaxing reward for surviving the treacherous "arm" chute above.
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and the run below that was nothing but smiles and soft corn snow turns. i couldn't have dreamed up a more satisfying way to conclude the northern hempisphere winter. i can't remember the last time i hollered and cheered and grinned so much in one run.
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thanks to sentury for hooking me up with a kick-ass demo board. i'll post my full review in the sentury thread but suffice it to say that the dimension 165 handled beautifully on a run representative of the conditions in which i demand the most from my board. i am completely stoked on that deck and am having one built as i write this.

i know that there's still snow on the ground, and the season isn't really "over", but after that run i felt a genuine sense of closure on the first half of the best season of my life.
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it was time to pack up my tahoe house, sell most of my posessions, make one last visit to my family, and prepare to leave for new zealand.

and what better way to welcome a new season than to embrace it fully?
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we joined ken's climbing partner the next day to usher in summer with a day of rock climbing near woodfords.
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content with the passage of an amazing winter, ken relaxes in the summer sun and schemes on his next adventure.
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 Post subject: Re: liberty at last - denouement on the dana plateau
PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 5:15 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2006 1:57 am
Posts: 1110
Location: Santa Barbara, CA/Ashland, OR
Wow fellas.....very very impressive!

Jimw? I didn't know you did liberty last weekend? You told me you were taking the weekend off!!!!

I'm a little bitter nobody called! Unless of course you did it Sunday, in which case I'm grateful you didn't make me choose between the mother of my child and the mother of all rapp shots ;-)

B.S...you kicked ass completely this winter, now best wishes THIS winter!!!!!! We expect many many TRs to come...and watch your PMs because you never know when I just might cash in all the miles on my miles card!

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"Winter is not a season, it's an occupation."
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 Post subject: Re: liberty at last - denouement on the dana plateau
PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 5:35 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2009 9:31 am
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Location: a vanagon somewhere in WA
jbaysurfer wrote:
Wow fellas.....very very impressive!
Jimw? I didn't know you did liberty last weekend? You told me you were taking the weekend off!!!!


whoops, guess i should have actually specified the dates. we rode liberty on 5/1 (the weekend i emailed you at the last minute about joining us). jim was up there the weekend before and left behind a sling and rap ring, which we used.

can't wait to post my first TR from the southern hemisphere. should be about mid june. and as soon as i pick a mountain and settle, i'll be sure to get a place with ample couch space for all my friends!!


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 Post subject: Re: liberty at last - denouement on the dana plateau
PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 6:20 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 9:18 pm
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Location: reno
Been a little busy lately...Actually almost no time to breathe...but did manage to get a short video of Ben's rappel into Liberty... When I find some more time, I'll get the full video done and posted. Until then, enjoy!!!


BTW... Nice pics Ben!

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 Post subject: Re: liberty at last - denouement on the dana plateau
PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2010 7:59 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2004 12:55 pm
Posts: 924
Location: socal
Nice work, way to end the season. What size rope and what length is needed to rap into Liberty?

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 Post subject: Re: liberty at last - denouement on the dana plateau
PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2010 9:36 am 
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Location: Santa Barbara, CA/Ashland, OR
bs. wrote:
jbaysurfer wrote:
Wow fellas.....very very impressive!
Jimw? I didn't know you did liberty last weekend? You told me you were taking the weekend off!!!!


whoops, guess i should have actually specified the dates. we rode liberty on 5/1 (the weekend i emailed you at the last minute about joining us). jim was up there the weekend before and left behind a sling and rap ring, which we used.

can't wait to post my first TR from the southern hemisphere. should be about mid june. and as soon as i pick a mountain and settle, i'll be sure to get a place with ample couch space for all my friends!!


LOL...no worries Ben, I was just "taken the piss" (do they say that in New Zealand?)...again, great great season, and I look forward to your TRs from your next great season!

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"Winter is not a season, it's an occupation."
-Sinclair Lewis


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 Post subject: Re: liberty at last - denouement on the dana plateau
PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 2:26 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2007 11:42 am
Posts: 529
Location: Oakland, CA
nice work fellas, too much pucker factor for me :)


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 Post subject: Re: liberty at last - denouement on the dana plateau
PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 11:29 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 2:51 pm
Posts: 101
Location: San Francisco
very nice trip report indeed...looking forward to the New Zealand segment!

p.s. if anybody know fun outdoorsy people in Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand, Nepal, India, Turkey, Egypt, South Africa, blah blah blah please let me know! I'm headed out on my RTW trip mid June, starting first in Australia.


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 Post subject: Re: liberty at last - denouement on the dana plateau
PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 3:44 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2004 8:41 pm
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Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Nice work! I know I gave you some shit about the way things played out on previous trips, so I'll be the first to say props on the way you got this one done. It sure feels good once you're out of the arm on that run huh! :)

A few random notes:

- Looks like some of the cornice fell off between the time we were there and the following weekend when you were. Not surprising, that thing is HUGE! And not a good place to be when it breaks off. A big objective hazard for sure that each person must evaluate for themselves... I probably wouldn't recommend that chute now to anyone for that reason. Crazy how much that top part can change though in such a short time. When we were there the very top wasn't rideable, we had to downclimb a bit.

- Speaking of change, I can't believe how much more filled in 3rd Pillar was when you guys were there! The rock was a lot more exposed when we climbed it.

- That was my sling and rap ring, but dishwasher-dave set it up. Probably going to retrieve it soon.

- Were you on an 8mm rope (also to answer mtnrider's question)? That's what we had, and 30 m long, and yeah it was just long enough to get to the snow under the cornice. Would have been nice to have a bit more rope. I think next time I would also bring 30 m of something like 6mm rope, and tie the two together if extra length is necessary. That way you have the extra length, but it's not as heavy as another 8mm rope, and it's still perfectly fine to rap on it (just might need a bit more friction).

- edit to add: you suck for getting 100 days in! I think that's more than I've had in the last 4 years! :)


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 Post subject: Re: liberty at last - denouement on the dana plateau
PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 4:52 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 13, 2005 8:05 am
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Location: 395
Your killing it this year! You better get some snow in NZ.
Ok, so now I'm wondering when someone is gonna send that line between 3rd pillar and liberty w/ the 100ft mandatory rap at the end. The chute itself looks awesome and I'm sure there's no shortage of places to set an anchor too!


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 Post subject: Re: liberty at last - denouement on the dana plateau
PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 8:03 pm 
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BGnight wrote:
Ok, so now I'm wondering when someone is gonna send that line between 3rd pillar and liberty w/ the 100ft mandatory rap at the end. The chute itself looks awesome and I'm sure there's no shortage of places to set an anchor too!

I think next year nomad and jparker are going to hit that one and just air out of it.


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 Post subject: Re: liberty at last - denouement on the dana plateau
PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2010 6:43 am 
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Location: a vanagon somewhere in WA
yeah ken and i stopped to look into that line between liberty and 3rd pillar.... if the slope at the entrance is maintained all the way down, i'd be pretty sketched about trying to stop and set up an anchor lower down--that shit is steep!

and we observed quite a bit of wind transport into the chutes while we were there, so not too surprised to hear that we got better coverage than a week before. in fact, based on my observations at carson pass the day before, i was a little afraid there would be too much new snow in the chutes to safely climb or ride them. glad that wasn't the case!

thanks for the props, and the high res version of that photo, jim. i think i've irked more than a few people by getting so many days in this year. oh well... now you guys get a chance to catch up--i'm in vermont rock climbing and visiting family and it looks like the snow just keeps going in the sierras!


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