Ski Touring News Roundup — Closing out August 2016

Post by blogger | August 25, 2016      

We got a significant little snowfall here in Colorado, USA. Lisa and I are in Albuquerque New Mexico, of all places. During the drive south to here, through the majestic San Juan mountains, we noted that recent heavy storms nicely whitened things above about 12,500 feet. Anything more than a dusting snowfall at those elevations during August is not common, but it happens and gets skiers excited.

Lou checking out a friend, anyone one got the story?

Lou checking out a friend in New Mexico, anyone got the story?

And what are we doing in the land of enchantment? We’re getting our Global Entry passport stuff taken care of to ease international travel. You have to do an in-person interview, and this was the only place we could get it done in a reasonable time frame. I hope this thing is worth the epic drive, stay tuned.

We’re salvaging the trip by bunking in a classic motel on the old Route 66, next to Old Town Albuquerque. A little touristy, but hey, it’s fun to run around with a camera and join the throng now and then.

Readers in far lands who may not be familiar with our famed Route 66, wiki here, come drive or motorcycle it some day! Total Americana. August is beautiful.

It is quality amusement to watch the Europeans compete for the fastest climb of Mont Blanc out of Chamonix. The Ueli just Uelied it — with a coffee break at a hut. Check.

WildSnow supporter Backcountry Access is going after prime user generated content. They want stories of “Un-epic Adventures,” those times that things went right instead of wrong in your ski touring. Help them out, get some swag, start your writing career. More here. ALSO, for the month of September BCA is running a sweet contest. Details below:

Enter to for a chance to win a two (2) BC LinkTM Radios when you sign up for BCA News. MSRP $299.90 value. All fields required to complete entry below. (yes, we need your phone so we can contact you if you win!) New registrations received by September 30, 2016 will be eligible to win. Winner will be selected by October 15, 2016 and contacted by email and phone by October 31, 2016. You agree to opt-in and to receive BCA email by entering this contest. See BCA contest rules

As far as I’m concerned this is the big one, the kahuna that’ll change the world as we know it. Ready to double the range of your e-bike? Ready for your backcountry electronics to get lighter and stay powered longer? According to MIT a vastly improved lithium battery is just around the corner, with at least some retail happening as early as a year from now. Report in the MIT news. Tesla just made a minimal improvement to their batteries that they made a big deal about, but this MIT thing is actually the big deal as far as I can tell. Electrical engineer readers, comments?

Back home in the Aspen area, we’ve been predicting for a while that the sheer volume of people recreating in the high country would eventually trigger a surge in mountain rescue activity. Eventually, this will lead to something like Chamonix where nearly every day the SAR helicopters and teams are out swooping about. A portent happened recently, when Mountain Rescue Aspen had two technical missions in the same day. The victims are ok, but it sounds like they need a lesson in taking our mountains more seriously. Or did they already get schooled?

I’ve written previously about my feelings that the “14er bagger” culture in Colorado seems to comprise various attitudes that are not conducive to mountain safety. Being poorly prepared and unskilled as to route finding seem to top the list, yet again, I’d say it’s more a problem of overall attitude; in thinking our more difficult peaks are mere hikes, when in reality they’re often complex journeys through hazardous terrain. More, a rope could be useful on peaks such as Pyramid and the Maroons, but is generally not used due to loose rock that doesn’t provide reliable anchors and showers climbers with projectiles when dislodged by your cord. In other parts of the world, such terrain would most often be professionally guided for all but super experienced. Not so the tradition in Colorado. The situation will be something to watch. (Note in the newspaper article that at least one of the rescued groups was communicating with satellite texting device.)

Department of Website Design: Many of you have noticed we have a simple “clean” fast loading website with “polite” advertising. We’ve sacrificed revenue to deliver that, but we’re glad to do so. On the other hand, it’s been frustrating to see websites seemingly rewarded for obnoxious pop-up and take-over advertising. Well, no more. Beginning in January, Google will apparently hit such websites with a search ranking penalty. Often this is more talk than action by Google, as they never say exactly how much of a ranking reduction the obnoxious sites will receive — and it’s often imperceptible to other than to the rocket scientists who obsess on this sort of thing. Let’s just hope for the sake of the internet they really do punish those websites you can hardly even read due to poorly implemented advertising.

Department of mountain town housing: I’ve said it before, in my opinion the housing “crunch” in mountain towns is a BS construct that could be almost instantly solved with a few signatures from the commissars to amend zoning and land use codes that favor commercial space and large homes over efficient attached apartments, tiny houses, and even camping on raw land, or, should I even use the dreaded and politically incorrect phrase “mobile homes?”. I try to share good journalism on this issue as it’s dear to my heart, here is another report. From the big city, but it applies.

Bringing it directly back to ski touring, how do you get fit for a winter of human powered vert? No mystery. Main thing is good cardio. Trail running combines your heart workout with balance and aesthetics, and perhaps even a quad workout on the down if you’re knees are down for it. Nice article here about one of our local contest winners up on the trails.

Lastly, since I’m a travel blogger at the moment why not shout out the good breakfast place? Sitting here blogging like I’m made for it (at least after a double espresso and an omelet) in Central Grill Coffee House, Albuquerque. Quality.


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


17 Responses to “Ski Touring News Roundup — Closing out August 2016”

  1. Chet Roe August 25th, 2016 11:44 am

    you could have done it at DIA for less of a drive…is a $100 and the application and interview hassle worth it for traveling “back” to the USA once or twice a year? it doesn’t look like it makes any difference to any other ski countries except Germany….so how much help is this?? thanks, Chet Roe

  2. Lou2 August 25th, 2016 12:30 pm

    The problem was schedule, that’s why we ended up in NM.

  3. ptor August 25th, 2016 2:15 pm

    Ueli is obviously much smarter gaining the advantage of avoiding French coffee.

  4. Bill August 25th, 2016 6:21 pm

    I highly recommend breakfast or lunch at the Grove on Central.

  5. Karl August 25th, 2016 7:39 pm

    The Frontier: cinnamon rolls!

  6. Lou Dawson 2 August 25th, 2016 8:34 pm

    Chet, now that I’m off my messed up phone for making comments, I wanted to elaborate a bit. First, all the Global Entry Enrollment centers put you on a schedule, often weeks later than request, we had to pick one we could fit into other stuff, so this is what worked. Also, Global Entry gets you set up for Pre-pass with TSA, which works for all security check lines in the U.S. and from what I’ve seen is extremely useful. The Global Entry subscription lasts 5 years. We’ll give it a try and report, it could be a joke or it could be good, only way to find out is to use it. Lou

  7. Lou Dawson 2 August 25th, 2016 8:36 pm

    Bill and Karl, we’ll try to hit it tomorrow before we leave town. Just had some really good margs at the High Noon Saloon, to celebrate our completion of the Global Entry finger printing (smile). Thanks, Lou

  8. Bard August 26th, 2016 4:42 pm

    “smashed the record set by Catalan ski mountaineer and long distance runner Kilian Jornet ”
    Probably the first time this sentence has been written.

  9. Lou Dawson 2 August 26th, 2016 7:39 pm

    Bard, that stood out for me as well! Lou

  10. Jim Milstein August 26th, 2016 10:03 pm

    There’s a South American runner, whose name I forget, who has bested one or more of Kilian’s records. Kilian may be a homo sapiens after all.

  11. Charlie Hagedorn August 27th, 2016 4:57 am

    Entirely agreed regarding the steeper fourteeners. The progression of peaks provide plenty of physical preparation for the steeper mountains, but there’s a substantial step upward in objective hazard when people encounter the steep looseness of the Elks and the focused rockfall of Little Bear.

    Helicopters are beginning to fly multiple missions on weekends here in the Cascades, too. So long as people don’t come to rely upon expedient rescue, this is actually good news: accident victims are suffering less, with better outcomes, and SAR missions are shorter/require far fewer rescuers.

    I used to be saddened to hear a helicopter heading into our backcountry, as it meant an accident had happened, but now I feel that the sound of a helicopter means someone in need is likely to get critical care.

  12. aemono August 27th, 2016 12:00 pm

    Karl Egloff is the South American in question.

  13. Pablo August 29th, 2016 3:19 am

    Jim Milstein,
    There’s a big difference between Kilian Jornet and Karl Egloff.
    Kilian has made these records while competing and winning on trail running and skimo.
    He make this challenges on fast ascents and wins almost all competitions at the same time.
    Karl Egoff, however, expend most of his time on the preparation for this challenges, he is not a top class competitor neither Trail nor Skimo.

    It’s very dificult to make this kind of records while most of your time you are training specifically to compete in trail and skimo. Kilian does.

  14. Jim Milstein August 29th, 2016 6:39 am

    You are criticizing Egloff because he trains, Pablo? I get your point, but it’s an unusual one.

  15. Pablo August 29th, 2016 7:09 am

    No, no Jim, Karl Egloff is an incredible athlete too!!
    I ‘m not trying to criticize him because of that.

    I only put the focus on that (for me) big diference.

    Egloff is an ultra-specialist in fast ascents, one of the best but is not so complete as Jornet.

    Is the same with Ueli Steck. He is “the King” on fast alpinism, maybe the best of the world, but in a trail race or skiing he’s good but not that good.

    Kilian is the best in KV races, best on ultratrail races, 100miles races, skimo races, he’s one of the best steep skiers now in the alps, and has taken several world records on fast ascent by de way.

  16. Sky August 29th, 2016 11:25 am

    Just noticed this. I suspect you’re already gone. But Lou, drop me a line or give me a call if you want to have a bite and/or beer in Santa Fe! Our house is a 10 minute walk from the plaza.

  17. Lisa Dawson August 29th, 2016 3:43 pm

    Sky, too bad we missed stopping by! Next trip for sure, and in the meantime, come visit and ski.

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