Throwback Thursday — San Juans, Denali and Elks, 1980s and 1970s

Post by blogger | September 17, 2015      

I was digging through the archives (scanner practice!) and found a few photos you might find amusing.

Tim Lane and friends near Velocity Peak, Silverton, Colorado.

Tim Lane and friends near Velocity (Storm) Peak, Silverton, Colorado. That’s Keith Daniels taking his skin off to the right. I was pretty amused by his getup, onesie Carhartts and surplus army goggles that were probably manufactured in 1942. He skied like a wildman, would easily have made the grade for a TGR straightline segment. Lois McKinsey right foreground. Weezie Chandler (Tim’s girlfriend) and Tim’s dog Cholo de Portillo in the background. Those are my Fischer alpine touring skis, mounted up with Ramer bindings. Click all images to enlarge.

I’ve hit the Silverton, Colorado area (see yesterday’s post) regularly over the years (though less now that we’ve got our WildSnow Field HQ so styled out). Back in 1983 not a whole lot of people were ski touring the San Juans, but the sport did exist for a hearty few. At the time, Tim Lane (known for his years of avalanche safety work down in Portillo) was working for the Colorado highway department doing avalanche evaluation on Red Mountain Pass. I was living in Crested Butte on and off, and would head over to the San Juans to meet up with Tim and others such as Jerry Roberts to partake in the abundant alpine ski touring the area is now famous for. I climbed Denali with Tim in 1972, and when I went back to ski Denali in 2010 thoughts of Tim kept popping up in my mind. Out of the nine guys on our 1973 trip he probably had the hardest time, eventually suffering serious frostbite on his feet that nowadays would have been a mandatory heli evac. But we didn’t have a radio or any other means of emergency communication, so Tim skied and walked out the Muldrow Glacier to Wonder Lake with the rest of us. He even kept his skis instead of tossing them into the bushes after we ran out of food and tried to lighten our packs. Hardcore.

Tim Lane, Denali Muldrow Glacier route, 1973.

I dug up this photo of Tim Lane, Denali Muldrow Glacier route, 1973. The shot was taken by the late Robert Pimental, one of the individuals (pilot) who died in the 1984 plane crash commemorated by the Friends Hut out of Crested Butte, Colorado.

To really make this a Throwback Thursday, I'll throw in this B&W I made in 1988 while doing my 'ski the fourteeners' descent on Handies Peak out of American Basin in the San Juans. That's Keith Daniels, still in the Carhartt one-piece.

To really make this a Throwback Thursday, I’ll throw in this B&W I made in 1988 while doing my ‘ski the fourteeners’ descent on Handies Peak out of American Basin in the San Juans. That’s Keith, still in the Carhartt one-piece. Click to enlarge.

1987, me on a ridge traverse from Ski Hayden Peak to Electric Pass. I call this Roch Ridge after pioneer ski alpinist Andre Roch.

1987, prolific author Jonathan Waterman grabbed this pic of me on a ridge traverse from Ski Hayden Peak to Electric Pass up in the Elk Mountains between Aspen and Crested Butte. I threw this in because it’s an amusing depiction of late 1980s alpine ski touring gear. Ramer Grand Tour skis (they were light but at least they skied terribly) and Ramer frame bindings, the inspiration for today’s tech bindings. I call this Roch Ridge after pioneer ski alpinist Andre Roch.


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


13 Responses to “Throwback Thursday — San Juans, Denali and Elks, 1980s and 1970s”

  1. Bill B September 17th, 2015 10:25 am

    Nice stuff Lou
    A real treat to read.

  2. Rob September 17th, 2015 12:19 pm

    Loving the throwback THs. Keep them coming!

  3. Randy September 17th, 2015 9:20 pm

    That was some good memories. Thanks for sharing those pics.

  4. Charlie Hagedorn September 17th, 2015 10:02 pm

    That Handies photo is in your guidebook, no? Those photos and routes opened my middle-school-age Virginian mind to myriad possibilities in the mountains.

  5. ptor September 17th, 2015 10:57 pm

    Tim Lane is one of my all time favourites! Nice to see his fuzzy face again. Thanks Lou.

  6. Lou Dawson 2 September 18th, 2015 8:52 am

    Hi Charlie, I forgot but I believe you’re right. Good powder that day but I’m remembering something about needing to go back and ski the peak again in the springtime, when I did the East side from the summit. I skied it with my son as well about 10 years later in a spring wind gale that was pretty funny, I had the young man on a rope to keep him from getting blown off the mountain. American Basin is an excellent place as the access road is often plowed early in the spring. If the San Juans have a good winter snowpack, springtime up there can be incredibly nice. I wish I had more time to head down there every year!

  7. randy September 18th, 2015 9:42 am

    Lou, great read and I love the photos.

  8. Lou Dawson 2 September 18th, 2015 10:31 am

    Thanks Randy, I’ll keep trying ramp up the writing now that I’m done with being a building contractor (at least for now). Encouragement for being a “real” blogger is always welcome. Nice for a moment to not be a mouth breathing gear “blogger,” along with 300 other guys reviewing the same pair of socks. But back to the gear reviews today. After all, it’s that gear time of year, and we do try to publish useful stuff that’ll help everyone with their shopping… Lou

  9. Charlie Hagedorn September 18th, 2015 12:45 pm

    Yep – just found it on page 10 of Volume 2. The line you drew on the East face of Wetterhorn on page 120 was burned into my brain. Standing at the notch many years later in summertime, I remember thinking, ‘man, I want to ski THAT’.

  10. Lou Dawson 2 September 18th, 2015 1:50 pm

    That Wetterhorn line is super good. It has become a classic. I remember Bob Perlmutter and I dropping into whiteout mist on the thing. I was incredibly dialed at the time and thought nothing of doing peddle turns on 50 degree frozen corn in the middle of a whiteout. Now, I’d probably put my crampons on and downclimb. My, how things change (grin). Lou

  11. Rachel Bellamy September 19th, 2015 12:42 pm

    These are great photos! How cool to see the ways things have changed. We should bring back the sweaters.

  12. Andreas September 26th, 2015 1:27 am

    more sweaters, yes please!

  13. Sharon Vasquez May 31st, 2016 7:16 am

    Respect to Weezie Chandler!!

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