Double Carry up Motorcycle Hill, Cache Below 14,200 Camp

Post by blogger | June 4, 2010      

Today was brutal for me, and actually somewhat brutal for the boys as well. We grabbed as much gear and food as we could without compromising another night here in camp, then headed up the hill about 2,600 vertical feet to a cache location at 13,400 feet, just past a famed place known as Windy Corner. The 14,200 foot camp is only about 1,000 vertical feet above our cache, but we’re doing a few more ‘feasible’ double carries so we arrive at 14,200 at least somewhat acclimated.
‘Feasible’ is a relative term. Like I said, it was brutal.

Climbers just above Motorcycle Hill.

Climbers just above Motorcycle Hill.

The day started with a little wonder called Motorcycle Hill, which you’d think was an inconsequential bump at your favorite backcountry ski area of around 600 vertical feet. Instead, you’ve got 50 lbs on your back and 30 in your sled, which hangs from your waist like some kind of weight training setup you’d see in a body building gym. The sun beat us mercilessly and the weird side angles of the worn crampon track made climbing in ski boots feel like dancing with your feet in buckets. I actually got to the point where I was picking out snow lumps ten feet ahead of me and using them as my goal. That and a prayer or two got me up there. Shew. Talk about being humbled!
Lou's view of the world. Make that next snow chunk your goal, then another one, and another one. Climb that mountain, one step at a time.

Lou's view of the world. Make that next snow chunk your goal, then another one, and another one. Climb that mountain, one step at a time.

Digging our cache.

Digging our cache.

The boys dug a big cache hole and we got everything tucked away. Next, rip the hill. All these guys ski fast and aggressively. The spectacle they made flying down Motorcycle Hill, with their empty sleds swinging around like war cudgels, caused a guide down here at camp to say they looked like a bunch of banshees. As for me, it was the usual conservo style which got me down just fine.
Colby has skis, is on a mountain and sees snow. He is happy.

Colby has skis, is on a mountain and sees snow. He is happy.

Skiing just above Squirrel Point. A guy's sled pulled him off of here a few weeks ago.   It was icy then, much better now though still not exactly a powder day.

Skiing just above Squirrel Point. A guy's sled pulled him off of here a few weeks ago. It was icy then, much better now though still not exactly a powder day.

We cooked a big dinner a little while ago, now time for sleep and then do it again tomorrow only we’ll go all the way to the 14,200′ camp.
A banshee on motorcycle hill.

A banshee on motorcycle hill.

I’m always in doubt about what I can do up here in terms of my age, injuries, etcetera; but I keep surprising myself. Mostly, being up here with my son is just so special it leaves me speechless and tearful several times a day. Practical agenda with that is that safety is job one. To that end, Louie and I roped up for the downhill skiing in the more crevassed parts of the route today. I wish we could ski all of the downhill roped, but skiing roped introduces its own hazards, such as more frequent falls that could take you into a crevasse or worse. What helps is that while we and some other groups always rope for the uphill, I’d say about 3/4 of the climbers we see do not travel roped, and most of them are on foot or snowshoes. So the trick when you ski down is to stay where they’ve walked. If you do that and ski smoothly, the chances of falling in a crack are in my opinion nearly nil. But stray from the path, and you’re asking for trouble.


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22 Responses to “Double Carry up Motorcycle Hill, Cache Below 14,200 Camp”

  1. Amanda Ramsay June 4th, 2010 9:34 am

    Awesome guys!!!!! Way to push through Lou. What an accomplishment. It is so great to see a smile on Colby’s face.

  2. Brittany June 4th, 2010 9:55 am

    I’m sure this trip will bring lots of challenges for all of you boys, be they physical or mental, or both. But, pushing through them makes success all the more sweet in the end. Way to get today’s hard work done, and taking the proper precautions to do it safely!

  3. eric June 4th, 2010 10:26 am

    Sending positive mountain vibes from the Roaring Fork Valley. Keep up the hard work guys!!!!!!!!

  4. Darrell, Marci, Connor, Keenan & Tanner June 4th, 2010 10:32 am

    Ty & Colb,

    Watching your adventures here at approximately 860′ above sea level has been great. Don’t push the envelope to far. Enjoy and have a wonderful, safe adventure! We look forward to all your stories upon your return.

    The West Coast Christoff’s

  5. Andrew June 4th, 2010 10:45 am

    Motorcycle Hill = Murder Psycho Hell. 🙂

    But, skiing back down it is 1,000x better than walking it!

    Nice job Lou & Co.

  6. Mark W June 4th, 2010 12:22 pm

    You guys amaze! Skiing in such a place with your son truly is incomparable. I look forward to my son starting to walk, but skiing is on the docket down the road.

  7. Hal June 4th, 2010 12:46 pm

    You are right about the pride and satisfaction you feel when your son joins you in the things you love. The best back country ski and bikes trips of my life have been those that I’ve shared with my boy!

  8. Eurob June 4th, 2010 12:47 pm

    Seconded Mark W.

    Just waiting for my daughter to be born though. Hope she’ll share some of my outdoorish interests!

  9. CDawson June 4th, 2010 12:57 pm

    Take it easy, bro. Get those young bucks to carry the load!!
    Take it one lump at a time!!
    I remember something you said to me once long ago when we were on Capitols knife edge in a mid-winter snow storm.
    “Go slow, be safe, take it one step at a time” (or something to the effect)
    You were a great mentor back then, and those guys are lucky to have you there with them!!

  10. CDawson June 4th, 2010 1:08 pm

    Where did the name Motorcycle Hill come from?
    Don’t tell me it has been ridden!!!

  11. Dan Perl June 4th, 2010 3:17 pm

    Hey Jordan, you want a white emt jersey? I’d love to see you huck a disc off the top, im sure you found room for one in your pack :-). rock on, dp

  12. Breckjack June 4th, 2010 3:46 pm


    Pretty special to bag that peak with your son (and friends as well). Makes me motivated to get my 10 year old for a hike this weekend. Take care and remember to enjoy the journey!

  13. JR Udall June 4th, 2010 7:35 pm


    Just keep after it day by day. If you get to 14.2 and
    that’s more like 16k here in Colorado… great stuff.

    You may need to take an extra day of rest, or maybe you’ll
    get blessed with a storm day.

    However high you get…. we’ll be proud of you and the lads.


  14. Nick June 4th, 2010 7:57 pm

    Looks like a storm is coming indeed. Check this link for Denali weather

  15. Mark June 4th, 2010 11:46 pm

    Having trouble locating historical data for the name Motorcycle Hill. I’ll keep at it.

  16. scottyb June 5th, 2010 6:24 am

    stay safe

  17. ken reiche June 5th, 2010 8:22 am

    To this man who started climbing at 40 you are an inspiration Lou.
    Thanks Lisa for all your efforts in bringing us this adventure.
    Be well,

  18. JDawson June 5th, 2010 12:42 pm

    Sounds amazing and so inspiring! Can’t wait to read more…keep on trekin!

  19. janice June 5th, 2010 2:45 pm

    Appreciate all the pictures and commentaries. Jordan I have given the website to all my friends who are impressed with my nephew. Me too.

  20. verslant June 8th, 2010 8:31 pm

    Summit County is cheering for all the mountain folks.

  21. Jordan June 20th, 2010 8:28 pm

    Hey Thanks Janice. Trip was fun. I believe you owe me a trip to Colorado in the near future.

  22. janice June 20th, 2010 8:37 pm

    I will be in colorado on my birthday next month. Maybe you will be back I time to bake me a cake. On second thought forget the cake. Hope to see you though.

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