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 Post subject: Pyramid Peak, CO, Landry Route 4/18-19/08
PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 6:59 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 11:44 pm
Posts: 55
Location: Mtns of the west
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Jesse Durrance picked me up at 7:30, and we headed out to his parents place in Carbondale to meet up with John. We double checked gear, got more food, checked some weather models, avy reports, then headed for "T Lazy 7 Ranch", the Maroon Creek TH. We saw Davenport on the way out, who had just skiied the SE face of Thunder Pyramid with a buddy. They had real nice fancy snowmobiles. We had old schloppy skins. We learned that the snow was well bonded up high, and he didn't find any slabs. This was our main concern, as the zone got 4-6" two days earlier.

We were stoked, but we also learned there was supposedly a team from the front range planning on 'biling in and hitting it in the A.M. This was now our main concern.

Despite Chris's recommendation to climb up into the N amphitheater, then meet the ridge to ski the E face, we still climbed the E face Landry Route direct. With a line this serious, I wouldn't consider otherwise.

Camp was on a bench at 10'400 ft, leaving us 3600 ft to deal with when the alarm went off at 2:30.

Finding the exit couloir was tricky in the dark, and I swung wide looking for it. I heard John shout down that they found it, so I crossed back over the apron, and continued up among ice chunks wizzing by at terminal velocity. The exit couloir was real steep, real hard icy runnels formed from wet sluff likely last monday.

The sun rose just as we topped out the exit couloir. We climbed increasingly steep snow in the main line until nearing the ridge. I was leading the bootpack ladder up 55 degree powder around the guarding cliffs, hoping to be able to stay on snow all the way up. I could feel the bottom becoming rotten the further over the 500 ft. cliff that I got, so we went through the guarding cliffs. John led through 3 fourth class cliff bands, and we hung out on the summit, nervously focusing on the commiting turns right below us after a very demanding climb. We threw snow at the 60 degree slope above the endless cliff. It bounced off. This aspect was more southerly, and therefore had a stout crust, and hadn't softened much. We shivered in terror, then remembered we could stay on the ridge and skirt around the rocks. This still led us to what was the best turn in my life.

I scooted out from the ridge, above the cliff, and grabbed some slope, feeling the innards of this snowpack that I would be trusting with my life. It felt good, real soft, a bit moist, well bonded. So I went for it. With one jump turn I dropped about 10 vertical feet, eased onto my heelside and cut the hell off that thing. Jesse and John followed one at a time, each sticking it. We rejoiced on the ridge, and stared down at what lay below. One of the most aesthetic, steep, extreme ski routes in the country, if not the world. 4600 ft. from summit to valley bottom.

We skied very conservatively, watching waterfalls of sluff pour down adjacent to our safe spots. Down at the exit couloir, we were once again scared. Pulled off on the soft snow of the right side, we considered downclimbing the weird runnel. We hung out on the 55 degree slope, waiting for the sun to hit it directly as the wind started to stir. "I'm going to go check it out" Jesse said. "Wait another 5 minutes, the sun is doing its thing" I said. This happend a couple times. Patience. By the time Jesse led through the exit couloir, it was just soft enough. We watched from above as Jesse styled the second crux of the route, a ski width slot that had to be traversed out of, then into the next main couloir which was also steep,narrow and one big runneled rib.

We cheered on as he sent it, then focused on our own problems.

We never saw any of the "Front Rangers", and were glad to not have to worry about that. Once out, we let er run loose on the smoother part of the apron, ripping endless smooth corn below debris fields. We packed up camp, thanked the mountain in our own unique ways, then continued our descent.

I am still continuing my descent.
-Matt

I have to thank Jesse Durrance and John Minier, the mountain gods, our window, and everybody that I have ever learned anything from. It all culminated and flourished on this day.

Photos: go to 07-08 season, then April
http://www.backcountryclub.org/1/index.php?option=com_expose&Itemid=49


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 7:36 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2005 3:44 pm
Posts: 539
Location: Flagstaff, AZ
:shock: BALLS! On a soft boot splitboard no less! A first????

I've read Davenport's report on that run, I recall it was one of his toughest of the 14r's.

I tip my hat to you sir.

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"Do not follow where the path may lead. Go where there is no path... and leave a trail." --Today's fortune cookie.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 7:43 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2005 8:56 pm
Posts: 472
Location: Meyers, CA
Impressive work Matt!

Looks like a great trip. You seem to be taking advantage of the tremendous CO conditions. Nice write up and photos. Glad you're having such a great late season.

Now you just need to get your skier bros to take few pics of you.

peace,

David


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 7:43 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2007 1:12 am
Posts: 828
Location: PNW Hood Canal
Matt, awesome TR, I like reading TRs that are text as much as those with lots of pics. Great photos at the bcclub too!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 7:57 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 10:10 am
Posts: 1177
Location: Denver
Awesome work! Quite an accomplishment.

congrats


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 8:23 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2007 6:18 pm
Posts: 322
Location: Prius Hell
Nice write up...sounds gripping!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 9:49 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2004 11:42 am
Posts: 2387
Location: California
Is that the first snowboard decent? Congrats. Big balls.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 7:36 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2005 5:12 pm
Posts: 1598
Location: Now Oaktowntastic
Gnarly! Congrats on getting the best turn of your life (so far that is...) Great write up & gripping pics. What a great accomplishment.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 7:42 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2008 3:34 pm
Posts: 165
Location: Boulder, CO
Well done, congrats!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 11:14 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2005 11:09 pm
Posts: 682
Location: white room
Sick...was that your party and line shown on Wildsnow?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 11:21 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2004 10:57 pm
Posts: 4956
Location: California
Sweet line and congrats! 8)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 12:06 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2004 12:37 pm
Posts: 1872
Location: in between
Hells yeah. Great to see a splitter in the mix.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 12:24 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 11:44 pm
Posts: 55
Location: Mtns of the west
Thanks guys.
Ecobrad, I believe it was the first time this route had been snowboarded.
Mtnman, That was us from Wildsnow... did you see the new route on Capitol???? my god.
Dave, here ya go, sorry for the low res
and these pics don't quite do it justice.

Image

Image

Image


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