Sheeple or people? It’s always interesting to me when backcountry user restrictions finally trickle down to us human powered denizens of the outback (first they took our ATVs, then they took our skis, then they took our socks!).
In the Jackson, Wyoming area a study of bighorn sheep winter range shows the noble beasts intersect with backcountry skiing routes in some zones. Using what appear to be the intriguing (to put it nicely) cause-effect assumptions of conservation biology, as well as a dose of preemptive caution, the idea of more sheep habitat restrictions on backcountry skiing range is being floated as a result of the study. (Note the Teton skier restrictions began some time ago, this is just a continuation of the process).
The study biologist said (according to Jackson Hole News) “I want to reiterate that the population is small… it [presence of backcountry skiers] does put them at risk, but it’s currently stable.” So, the population is currently stable but at risk?
We’re all for reasonable efforts at wildlife conservation and it may well be that the Teton bighorn need a winter environment with no humans within their threat zone (some areas are already restricted). Yet clearly the extrapolation and guesswork in this sort of thing is worrisome. Moreover, one has to wonder if helicopter mugging and collaring about 23% of the small sheep herd might be at least as bad as the presence of backcountry skiers? Avalanches. Read more backcountry skiing
“Pacific Northwest powder.” Perhaps that’s an oxymoron to those who ski in drier climates, but every winter the PNW-P draws me back to the mountains, and I freely admit that I’m completely addicted. While we might not get the dry, light, fluffy stuff of higher and colder ranges, we get record-breaking quantities of snow on a pretty consistent basis.
Unfortunately, Pacific Northwest pow doesn’t materialize as cowboy cold smoke except for a handful of times a season, which leaves us with a strange paradigm. Float on top and you’ll call it Baker-pow, sink and you shall know it as Cascade concrete. Thus, spend any length of time around the west side of the North Cascades in mid winter and you’ll find that we like our skis wide. Read more backcountry skiing
We start covering anti-twist solutions for tech binding heels, and look what ends up on the front porch: Dynafit’s “original equipment manufacturer” (OEM) solution to the less than perfect anti-rotation of their Speed Radical binding heel. (In case you live in a bergschrund: Tech binding heels are usually designed with rotation to effect sideways safety release. This sometimes results in the heel unit rotating accidentally while in touring mode. Various solutions are directed at this problem, the best being hardware ‘stops’ that 100% block rotation.) Read more backcountry skiing
The Bugaboos! Weird name, breathtaking spires, incredible climbing (yeah, ski season is done for at least a few weeks so I forced the WildSnow “editors” to publish a climbing post). I’ve been wanting to check out the SE British Columbia climbing area ever since seeing the picture of Bugaboo and Snowpatch spires on the cover of my old copy of the the Freedom of the Hills, when I was a kid.
Coop had similar dreams of granite spires and splitter cracks, so we planned a trip to the Bugaboos for this July. As luck would have it, the weather window lined up, with a rare multi-week high pressure in the forecast. We set out on the long drive from Washington. Read more backcountry skiingNext Page »