Stealth Adventure
MIKE HALL, Adventure Sports, Travel, Backcountry, Avalanche, Snowmobile, Snowmobiling, Snowboard, Snowboarding, Sledboarding, Winter Fat Tire Mountain Biking, Mountain Biking, Ski Patrol, Motorcycle, BMW Adventure Motorcycling, Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, Oregon, Utah, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Jackman, Maine

Monday, December 29, 2008

Colorado, 10th Mountain Division Hut Trip: Dec. 2008: 3 Day Snowshoe, Snowboard Backcountry Adventure @ 11,000 Ft.

This was an adventure that took place in the mountains south of Eagle, Colorado. There were 8 of us involved, the Minnesota 4 and the Colorado 4. Six were on skis and Weez and I were on snowshoes with our snowboards on our packs. We were keeping our eyes on the avalanche reports and weather. A man and woman had died in avalanches the Sunday before, one in Utah and one in Colorado. So we had some good discussions about the risk factor and terrain we would encounter. We dug snow pits to check for snow stability while on the mountain.

Check out avalanche info, check out the avalanche link on my page, it will give you all the latest info in North America. Check out USA weather at, the National Weather Map link on my page.

This segment was to last 3 days with a hike / ski up on Friday. The route we traveled was 4.5 miles and it gained about 2100 feet in elevation to reach the hut which sat at over 11,000 ft. Our group broke trail through fresh snow for most of the distance, we had some strong skiers up front and made the climb in 6 hours. Saturday was the day to snowboard some slopes and hike back up. We did 3 descents and hikes. Sunday was the snowshoe / ski out to the trailhead, pack the cars and head for home.

The Minnesota 4, Weez, Steve, Jay and I planned to do the whole drive back to Minnesota overnight. Sunday afternoon to Monday morning meant constant travel, we had to travel about 1070 miles. We arrived back in Minnesota by 7:30 AM Monday to -13 F temps and much fresh snow.
A bit of freeze dry food for the trip up to the hut. Never used it before, it turned out OK. But after snowshoeing 5 1/2 hours on Friday to arrive at the hut, any hot filling meal would taste good. I would use freeze dry food again, it is so easy to fix, open pouch, pour boiling water in, let sit 9 minutes. Serve. Eat.
Friday morning, gearing up at the trailhead. Ya gatta pack everything you need for the next 3 days in the backcountry. Food, extra clothes, first aid supplies, fire kits, sleeping bag, water filters, headlamps and odds and ends.
These were the views we were greeted to as we entered the deeper forest. The fresh snow and cold temps made for an enchanted forest.
A rest to hydrate, snack and readjust the packs.

Looking under the deck of the hut.
Inside the hut, still a little chilly when we first arrived. We had to heat the cabin with a wood burning stove. With temps in the single digits and below 0 F all week-end, the fire was always burning. The stove is also where we melted snow for drinking water, in a large pot.
Sometimes ya just use body heat. Brad, Krista and Brian.
The view of the outhouse in the dark at -5 F. Once back in the cabin it was time to stoke the fire.
Saturday morning looking out the front window after some freshies during the night.
Traversing a slope so we aren't so exposed to unstable snow.
In the woods hiking back up.
Eric, Steve and Brad. Preparing for a skin up the mountain for another powder run.


We both used the Atlas Backcountry Snowshoe. They worked great, they have a heel lift that helps with climbing and there is more crampon surface than a typical snowshoe. I tend to use a shorter snowshoe with more climbing and descending.
The wind at the top of the exposed mountain was roaring and with the temp around zero it was raw. There is something wild about the mountain winds that is captivating.
We ducked behind some trees to make the transition from snowshoes to board. It is all worth it for the ride down. I'm riding a Burton 166 Malolo and Weez is riding her Burton 156 Fish, both excellent powder boards.

Weez ripping it up.
Brad diving into the trees.
Brad and Eric after a run, getting ready to gear up for the skin back up. We took this last run on Saturday at dusk so we mounted the helmet lights to prepare for the hike in the dark.

Using all the daylight and returning in the dark is a great feeling. Add the snowfall, it's the best. Last week on the sled, this week on the snowshoes, this is living!!

A couple views Sunday morning before the hike out. Ya hate to leave. The snow was surreal this trip.

We had 2 slopes collapase on the snowshoe hike back to the traihead, a person has to be aware always. They were both on low angle slopes, so no slides, but it takes your breath away.

It was a great adventure, everybody in our group got off the mountain safe, we all pushed our limits and found powder. GOOD TIMES!! We had a great group.

4700 Miles in 2 Weeks, Chasing Snow in Colorado & Wyoming

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Colorado Snowboard: 10th Mountain Hut Trip

Heading up to a 10th Mountain Hut south of Eagle, CO, Fri. morning. Have been boarding at Copper Mt. all week for a warm-up. Just dumping snow today, Thur.

Pics & story next week when I get back. GOOD TIMES!!

Have a great SNOWY week-end!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Wyoming & Colorado Continued

Gould, Colorado.
Ducking in the trees and having a lunch.

Saw a moose about 20 feet off the trail this day.
A couple of the riders from Utah I rode with on the 4th day in northern Colorado.

These last 3 pictures were on the 4th day, the last day of riding on this trip. I had a view of the sun going down at the same time the moon was rising up in the mountains. I was still about 12 miles away from the truck up on top. I thought it was a neat sight to see the moon back at the truck at the end of the day.
This was a helmet light set-up I came up with one night in my hotel room. I used it to come down off the mountain in the dark a couple nights. The idea is that it lights up where you look, because the snowmobile headlight is shining straight ahead. It worked great, it is a high power bicycle head lamp, I cut all the straps off and used zip ties in the visor vents.