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 Post subject: Solo Sierra...but no match for Steeleman
PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2006 2:41 pm 
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Location: California
I had a great four day Shasta trip planned for this weekend. The night before we were supposed to leave one partner called and flaked. No big deal, just a slight adjustment in plans. Twenty minutes before I'm out the door and I get a call from another parnter, yep you guessed it. FLAKED AGAIN. Bummed but not KO'd I decide to do a couple solo days on the eastside.

On Thurs. morning Leavitt Peak off of Sonora Pass was my objective.

Here's a view of the peak and main couloir.
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Here's my view right before I dropped the motha'.
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The snow was in great shape and the turns were sweet.

After finishing up at my truck around 6:30pm I decided to check out Tiooooga. Although they had stopped serving dinner, I managed to pick up a couple maps at the MoMart.

I slept at the Saddlebag turnoff with visions of the Dana Couloir and Ellery Bowl.

Here's my first view of Mt. Dana and the Dana Couloir.
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I could be wrong but I'm thinking I was looking at False White, Mt. Conness, and North Peak.
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I ended up making a couple stupid decisions and wasted a bunch of time on the approach. Because of time I was forced to choice between heading over and doing the Dana Couloir or riding the Ellery Bowl. Based on the easy exit to civilization and my desire to see the Dana Plateau first hand, I decided to go over to the Ellery Bowl.

Holy Shit!! It turns out my options for getting into the bowl were: a. dropping a 10 footer off a cracked cornice onto a 50 degree slope; or b. entering the 50 degree slope heelside and traversing 10-20 feet above huge boulders before I could make my first turns.

Basically my only real option was the heelside traverse and I totally pussed out. I was unsure what the snow was going to do and a fall = death so I opted out. I'm still really bummed that I didn't complete either objective but the more I think about it the more sure I am that I made the right decision. Looking back, my real screw up was on my approach. I lost a couple hours and tons of energy because of the route I chose. Live and learn. This was my first solo trip and am stokked to do it again. I had a blast.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2006 3:46 pm 
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Location: socal
Wish you would have gave me a ring :(

I had an eventful Saturday though, got to see my friend jump a new Harley off the road. He's okay couple broken ribs and broken thumb. Nothing a little $$$ won't take care of.

Nice pics.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2006 4:00 pm 
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Location: California
mtnrider wrote:
Wish you would have gave me a ring :(


Didn't think I could call you Thursday at 6am and expect you to be at Sonora Pass in a couple hours. I would have been stoked to have a partner.

What are you doing this weekend? Sonora, Ginny Lakes, Lundy????? I've got another hall pass!!


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2006 4:31 pm 
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Sweet. Glad you made the most of it. Did you like your ride?

I should be able to get out this weekend. Maybe get back out to Dana and Ellery with everyone else on the planet.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2006 4:43 pm 
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powderjunkie wrote:
Did you like your ride?


The ride was sweeeeet. Very solid and easy to initiate turns with. My only issue, and it wasn't the boards fault, was freaking skin glue sticking to my board!!! One of my skins is pissing me off. It's super sticky and white. I'm tempted to buy a new set but am pissed cause my current set is barely a year old.

powderjunkie wrote:
I should be able to get out this weekend. Maybe get back out to Dana and Ellery with everyone else on the planet.


Wanna stick to Sonora? It's a lot less driving for both of us and less people too. Lundy and Ginny are closer as well. I know...Tioooooga. Nothing like waking up at the Saddlebag turnoff.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2006 4:38 am 
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Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Dude, I think you need new partners. :) We should hook up for a trip sometime, it would be bound to be an epic. We'd probably end up about 6 miles off course, on top of a cliff at 8 PM after losing half our gear on the way!

But no partners is fun sometimes as well. Nice work on Leavitt. About Tioga... well, I can relate, knowing more than I need to know about making bad decisions up there. I think you made the right decision not dropping into Ellery in that circumstance. In retrospect, maybe Dana would have been the way to go, since you would have been climbing the chute and would have known what the conditions were like. I know all about wanting to get up on that plateau and check things out though. Did you get a chance to check out anything else on the east side of the plateau? Pretty awesome.

I think solo trips are great even when you don't get to your original objective... I always seem to learn a lot more on those trips. Chalk it up to "experience". I heard this somewhere, maybe even on this forum: good decisionmaking comes from experience; experience comes from bad decisionmaking!

Oh, here's a secret. For a sketchy heelside entrance/traverse, sometimes you can do a fakie toeside, assuming you can get into the thing toeside. I've used this and toeside zigzags to get out of a jam on more than one occasion. One thing that's nice from this position is that you can also use a tool to self-belay, and you're in position to self-arrest if you need to. Doesn't get you any style points but if it saves your ass who cares...

BTW, I hear that steeleman guy is a wuss. I think you can take him! :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2006 8:03 am 
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jimw wrote:
We'd probably end up about 6 miles off course, on top of a cliff at 8 PM after losing half our gear on the way!

Sounds like a rough outline of most of your TR's, JimW. :wink:

Steeleman would have dropped it... switch... in his rockclimbing shoes (duct taped to his skis)... in a Hawaiian shirt...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2006 8:26 am 
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jimw wrote:
Dude, I think you need new partners. :) We should hook up for a trip sometime, it would be bound to be an epic. We'd probably end up about 6 miles off course, on top of a cliff at 8 PM after losing half our gear on the way!


On the partners, one is excused and the other is not. No further comment, they check-in here every once in awhile. I'm on the way for Tioga and Sonora.We definetly should hook-up and carpool. That goes for all you Bay Area folks.

jimw wrote:
In retrospect, maybe Dana would have been the way to go, since you would have been climbing the chute and would have known what the conditions were like. I know all about wanting to get up on that plateau and check things out though. Did you get a chance to check out anything else on the east side of the plateau? Pretty awesome.


No doubt I should have done Dana. I was right freakin there. My curiosity to see the Plateau got the best of me. I was thinkin...it's a bowl, how hard could it be, I love bowls. Plus I could ride to Hwy 120.

My plan was to get to Ellery, drop my pack, then cruise along the platuea checking out the chutes and back. I ended up checkin out the entrance to Ellery for 30-45 minutes. At one point I was strapped in with ice axe in hand. I had thrown a boulder to try to get a section of the cornice to drop. Tryed to down climb beneath the do or die section. Etc. etc. etc. Needless to say, after fussing at Ellery for all that time I wasn't in the mood to "check shit out".

jimw wrote:
I think solo trips are great even when you don't get to your original objective... I always seem to learn a lot more on those trips. Chalk it up to "experience". I heard this somewhere, maybe even on this forum: good decisionmaking comes from experience; experience comes from bad decisionmaking!


Nice, I like it.

jimw wrote:
Oh, here's a secret. For a sketchy heelside entrance/traverse, sometimes you can do a fakie toeside, assuming you can get into the thing toeside. I've used this and toeside zigzags to get out of a jam on more than one occasion. One thing that's nice from this position is that you can also use a tool to self-belay, and you're in position to self-arrest if you need to. Doesn't get you any style points but if it saves your ass who cares...


Thanks for the tip. I'll practise that on my next mellow entrance. If I could have gone in toeside I would have rode it for sure. My main concern coming in heelside was if I slipped I would have dropped FAR before I could roll-over and self arrest.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2006 9:08 am 
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Ecobrad wrote:
No doubt I should have done Dana. I was right freakin there. My curiosity to see the Plateau got the best of me.

Heh... I hear ya! Man, you could spend a day just checking out the plateau before you even get to dropping anything. Oh wait, I did that... :) Seriously I think just checking out the plateau is worthy of a trip, even without any descent.

Quote:
My plan was to get to Ellery, drop my pack, then cruise along the platuea checking out the chutes and back. I ended up checkin out the entrance to Ellery for 30-45 minutes. At one point I was strapped in with ice axe in hand.

Dude I'm having deja vu! That sounds like my first trip up there (just don't tell me you dropped a GPS up there!). Only you were smart and checked out the entrance first, then made the smart decision to bail when you didn't feel good about it. I walked all over the plateau first, then meandered over to the chute when it was too late, sat on top for half an hour watching it get icier... and then dropped in.

Heelside.

Duh.

:roll:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2006 3:05 pm 
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Quote:
sat on top for half an hour watching it get icier... and then dropped in.

Heelside.

Duh.


Kids vs. no Kids????


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2006 3:27 pm 
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Let's just call it "gaining experience". I don't want to get into the whole Doug Coombs debate. It's also a matter of degree. I didn't feel like there was no way I could drop into the chute. Everyone has a risk threshold, and I felt this risk was below mine. But, you're not always right in risk assessment. Anyway I analyzed the hell out of it in my original TR, so probably don't need to get back into it here. I'm just saying I recognize the thoughts and process you went through.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2006 3:41 pm 
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I know what you were saying, man. I appreciate your parallel analysis. I was just giving you shit. Maybe I should have written:
Skill vs. No Skill :wink:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2006 4:13 pm 
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Sleep vs. No Sleep? :)


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