Normally, when one travels to altitude after living at sea level, it’s best to ease into high-level physical activity. The physiologic adaptations, which allow us to tolerate exercising up high, take the better part of a week to get rolling. Certainly, several weeks are needed to feel strong. But with short vacations, it’s hard to be patient. On my recent trip to the Tetons, I demonstrated a complete disregard for what needs to happen.
Entries in ski mountaineering (36)
Skiing in the Front Range of South Central Alaska's Chugach mountains is an acquired taste. In the middle of summer when the mountains are mostly snow free they look like hills and inspire little hope for skiing adventure. But throw some snow on them and suddenly their intricate features and deceptively large scale start to show.
Pat and I had time for one more outing before he had to leave to guide a client on the Ortler Tour in Italy. Both of us had designs on summiting Mt. Blanc and thought that doing the classic traverse would be the way to go. This route starts at the top of the Midi and hits the tops of Mt. Blanc du Tacul, Mt. Maudit and, finally, the MB. This covers significant linear distance as well as the obvious vertical.
I came to Chamonix 3 weeks ago with a calm mind and no firm objectives. Over the years I’ve learned that the quickest way to a humbling beatdown is to show up at a new area with all guns blazing. Sure, the truly gifted and unfathomably talented (think Alex Honnold climbing anywhere in the world) can get away with it but most of us need to wade in from the shallow end.
There's no hiding the fact that this winter has been somewhat grim in Alaska. We've been high and dry and occasionally oddly warm during the last couple of months. We knew the drought would end eventually and it did in grand fashion this past week. Not all the local ranges got snow, however, and, in my opinion, the Front Range and Western Chugach faired the best. I sampled both offerings this week.