Encore – 10 Cool Backcountry Things You Have Done

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | April 30, 2014      

Here we go again. Lots of new faces visiting WildSnow; perhaps some of you can work on a list, or perhaps new lists now that you’ve done new stuff? We published this post a while ago, but it’s timeless so instead of it getting lost in our nearly 3,000 blog posts, I bring this up to the front once or twice a year. If you make a new list please note that it’s a new version. Lou

What 10 cool BACKCOUNTRY things have you done (doesn’t have to be skiing)? Leave a comment with your list. Doesn’t have to be your “best” or your most radical, not necessarily a top ten, just 10 interesting cool things you’d like to share. Brag a little, get spiritual, honor someone or something, share some weird/wonderful stuff, whatever comes up.

Here are mine, I tried to stay a bit more gritty and soulful than just listing things like climbs:

1. Lived in a tepee my brother Craig built in the mountains above Aspen.
2. Drove a 1942 Chevy from Colorado to Yosemite at average speed 35 mph, climbed a few days, then got kicked out of the park for illegal camping with unleashed dogs.
3. Did yoga on a winter morning, outside, at 10,000 feet in the Capitol Creek valley.
4. Hunted on skis with my 10-year-old son.
5. Said final goodbye to my dad by myself on top of a mountain.
6. Skied Hayden Peak at night during a full moon in January.
7. Married a beach girl and convinced her to stay in the mountains with me.
8. Built random cairns with Raoul Wille up at Conundrum Hot Springs in the Maroon Bells Wilderness of Colorado.
9. Spent a year of my life in the Wind River Mountains wilderness working for NOLS, a favorite memory: sound of wind in timberline conifers. Funny memory: teaching students to eat “edible” berries and everyone finding out they were poisonous at approximately the same time (it was ugly, but everyone lived).
10. Said a prayer on top of Denali.

Get on it folks! Leave your 10 (or 5, or 20, or whatever).


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


143 Responses to “Encore – 10 Cool Backcountry Things You Have Done”

  1. Greg September 13th, 2010 10:29 am

    1) Skied Mt Katahdin (ME) from the summit to Chimney Pond via the Saddle. Then skied out from Chimney Pond to Roaring Brook with an 80 lbs. sled chasing me down the narrow trail. Then dragged said sled through slush and mud from Roaring Brook to the car at Togue Pond.
    2) Saw the artwork in the “Mud Room” in Knox Cave (NY).
    3) Skied from the high point of 5 states (ME, NH, VT, NY, MA).
    4) Biked through Killarney Nat. Park and around the Beara Peninsula (Ireland).
    5) Kayaked from Cape Cod to Martha’s Vineyard (MA) and back in a day.
    6) Stuck successive loops at Smooth Ledge on the Rapid River (ME). Also had the shuttle ride of my life in the bed of a pickup with 13 people, three kayaks, 2 inflated rafts + a shredder on an atrocious “road” at way too much speed.
    7) Hiked the old customs trail along the Rieviera between Marseille and Cassis (France).
    8) Cooked a cheeseburger on top of Old Speck (ME).
    9) Skied the Tramline at Cannon (NH) just before the Patriot’s Day Storm. Went back for more during the storm and got nailed by freezing rain and 60 mph winds on the bottom half of the mountain.
    10) Cut down a tree with a two man cross-cut saw.

  2. Lou September 13th, 2010 11:09 am

    Greg, nice!

  3. Greg September 13th, 2010 11:26 am

    The smiley face is supposed to be an “8” followed by a “)”. Silly automatic emoticon interpreters! 🙄

  4. SteveG September 13th, 2010 11:29 am

    Coolest – Skinned up 1800′ at night behind my sons house, talked of life, watched the stars, shared a beer and then skied down to his hot tub.
    Dumbest – Hiked across the first glacier I was ever on, un-roped with my equally ignorant brother to view a waterfall. Standing on the edge of an abyss, watching the water cascade into and under the glacier, I muttered “We shouldn’t be here” and backed away shaking.

  5. Bill September 13th, 2010 1:08 pm

    I like this blog subject and look forward to reading the responses. Unfortunately, being a flatlander, my list is quite limited, so I only have a few.
    1) all time spent in the mountains instead of in my office under the O’Hare flight path 2) starting my daughter on skis so hopefully within about 5 years I’ll have a backcountry partner (wife is not very adventurous on skis.) 3) taking hikes long enough to have my dog lay down on the trail, then refuse to go the next day 4) dropping his ashes into his favorite cooling off spot

  6. gringo September 13th, 2010 1:12 pm

    Skied a 2000′ shot of trackless Pow at 2 in the morning during a full moon, on mushrooms.
    Skied Mt. Glory naked…twice.
    Skied many so-so days with great friends
    Skied 30” of fresh with my retired Dad who taught me to ski between his legs all those years ago.
    Skied numerous (too many to list) lines in the Alps that I grew up drooling over in old ski and climbing mags.

  7. andrew September 13th, 2010 1:49 pm

    1. Camped in the woods in January because I was too poor to get a hotel room, much less a lift pass.
    2. Everytime I get to say “Kansas City” when the person picking me up at the bottom of the hill ask me where I’m from, and their reaction.
    3. Surviving my first day of backcountry skiing before we realized it’s dangerous (see “Kansas City”)
    4. Drinking beer with Friends of Berthoud’s pass on a poor snow day.
    5. Watching the sun rise from the top of the mountain…every single time.

  8. Steve September 13th, 2010 2:02 pm

    Taking a group of teenagers with Cancer Camping, one of them was so moved by the experience he camped out in his garden nearly every night until he died three months later.

    Skiing fresh powder at Hoch Fugen with by best friends on New Years day.

    Walking across the normally storm bound Cairngorm plateau with the moon casting our shadows on the snow.

    Standing on top of a 4000m peak in the Alps on my own.

    Sailing out to camp on uninhabited islands on the West Coast of Scotland.

    25 miles off shore in a sea kayak.

    Every mountain I’ve climbed with my Mum.

    Gritstone and the best hand jamming in the world.

  9. Steve September 13th, 2010 2:22 pm

    In no particular order:
    1. Slid down granite waterslides in the Sawtooths with my kids.
    2. Soaked in a backcountry Yellowstone hot spring while a getting showered by a waterfall.
    3. Skied from Old Faithful to Bechler Meadows and my buddy lost a ski in the river halfway through.
    4. Called SAR and cared for the same buddy when he got hit in the helmet by a rock on Mt. Moran. Having the ranger who dropped in, suspended from the heli, tell me weeks later that I built an awesome anchor felt nice.
    5. Explored a lava-tube cave in the middle of the SE Idaho desert and found two bear skeletons, mother and cub.
    6. Ate the first fish my daughter ever caught on her first backpacking trip.
    7. Skiing deep powder with good friends. Actually, skiing any kind of snow with good friends.
    8. Found comfort and peace through God, faith, and solitude.
    9. Ran the last 38 miles of the Wasatch 100, mostly in the dark, pacing a friend.
    10. Watched my kids grow to love the backcountry as much as I do. First hike, first ski, first ski tour, first winter camp, first climb, first lead…

  10. brad September 13th, 2010 2:40 pm

    10. 4 days straight of skiing in 12″+ at Jackson Hole (not really back-country, but still pretty frickin’ awesome!!).

    9. On a mellow family hike, my uptight flatlander sister voicing concerns about girls peeing in the woods. Her asking my 10-year-old daughter how she handles it, my daughter matter-of-factly replying “When you gotta go, you just go.”

    8. Having my daughter now asking about maybe doing backpacking trips.

    7. New gear!

    6. Camping at 11,000+ feet in Colorado’s Weminuche Wilderness on a clear moonless night, seeing my shadow being cast only by starlight.

    5. Another clear moonless night at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, seeing a fireball meteor light up the sky from horizon to horizon.

    4. Heli-skiing day in Alaska’s Chugach Mountains.

    3. Seeing the huge grin on my daughter’s face when when she finally “gets” mogul skiing (again, “inside the ropes”, but still pretty cool!).

    2. The anticipation of grandchildren, and skiing, hiking, camping, etc. with them.

    And the Number One cool thing I’ve done in the backcountry is…

    1. The many, many, MANY times that I’ve regained my sense of the perfection of this universe, and connected with my Higher Power.

  11. Christian September 13th, 2010 2:42 pm

    1. Skiing from Gravdalstind to Krossbu (Norway) as the sun was setting. Blue shadows, red light, gs-turns over the glacier.
    2. Canoe, ice-fall-climbing and hiking the Gjende and the Surtingsui glacier (Norway)
    3. Kite-skiing across the Finse water after a 6 hour kite-tour in -15c and 17m/s.
    4. Being stuck in bad weather in Sylane (Sweden) doing nordic skiing
    5. Marathon windsurfing around islands (should probably be number one, but not quite sure it qualifies)
    6. Introducing my “wife” to back country skiing (Oppdal, Norway)
    7. Hiking in the Atlas mountains, Morrocco
    8. 3 4000-meter peaks around saas-fe/zermatt in 3 days with good weather, nice snow and good friends.
    9. Haute Route
    10. Daytrips from where I live…this is what fuels me. Alpine touring, cross country skiing, trail biking, windsurfing, kiting, snow-kiting.

  12. Ben September 13th, 2010 3:32 pm

    1. Skiing with Nick Craddock and my Dad on Black Peak, Wanaka, NZ.
    2. Finally moving permanantly from Auckland to Christchurch, NZ, to ski most weekends with my partner, in the Cragieburn Ranges, Canterbury, NZ.
    3. Being completely alone on Mana Island looking back at Wellington City while the city went to work for the day.
    4. Standing alone on a ridge in Mustang, Nepal, with a lammergier circling quickly 30 feet overhead.
    5. Numerous winter climbs on Mt Taranaki, NZ, with my partner.
    6. Sailing in the Hauraki Gulf in our 14.5 ft openboat.
    7. Hiking in Fiordland, NZ, a week’s walk from the nearest civilisation.
    8. Countless hours alone, bouldering at Baring Head, Wellington, NZ, sometimes with seals for company.
    9. Teaching a friend with a chronic fear of heights to lead and abseil rock safely.
    10. Receiving help from an army of university volunteers helping to dig out our street damaged by liquefaction.

  13. gooch September 13th, 2010 3:52 pm

    – skiing over 600 miles in the Yellowstone backcountry in one winter seeking the elusive lynx.
    – watching a pack of wolves take down an elk 100 yards away
    – climbing Dix mountain in January without a clue
    – sharing love of skiing with Eagle Mount Kids @ Bridger
    – skiing the Tatoosh
    – camp Muir to the Nisqually bridge
    – switching from telemark to Dynafit
    – inspired most days on snow, esp when able to share the passion with others
    – full moon skis in Lake Placid with beers and music
    – being humbled by an avalanche

  14. Michael September 13th, 2010 4:12 pm

    1)Taught my 3 daughters how to ski. An investment in future backcountry ski trips

    2)Just took my 11yr old daughter on her first backpacking trip

    3)Climbed Mt Shasta, had some mild altitude sickness and when I took his summit photo, all you could see was his head and blue sky. Could have been taken anywhere (before the days of digital cameras). It still makes me laugh just to think about his reaction when the pictures came back

    4)3 night backcountry hut trip

    5)Spent a 4 day backpacking trip in the Sangre de Cristo’s moving from our tent to a shelter in the rocks waiting for the rain to stop, passing the time with intoxicants.

    6)camping with my wife at Hole in the Wall campground at Glacier National Park. Incredibly stunning site.

    7)Since I grew up in Chicago, I was amazed when I first saw snow in the summer in the mountains as a teenager.

  15. Bob September 13th, 2010 4:15 pm

    1. Fought wildfire for 32 years (12 years in Alaska) – too many bckcountry adventures to list in Alaska, Montana, Idaho, California, etc.

    2. Climbed in California’s Sierra with my late brother while he was still in high school.

    3. My first overnight backcountry skiing trip – four nights in the high Sierra in 1973. Fisher Europa 77s/Silveretta bindings. 😯

    4. Overnight skiing trip into the Teton Glacier/Glacier Gulch area in 76.

    5. Wintering for a couple of years in Mt. Shasta City and skiing on the mountain on a regular basis.

    6. Watching the aurora mid-winter in Interior Alaska

    7. Full moon skiing in Alaska…and other places

    8. Driving and ferrying between Alaska and the lower 48 in winter numerous times, including an awesome stopover at Liard Hot Springs one night when it was 20 below.

    9. Skiing my first Colorado 14er – La Plata – and the ones after.

    10. Reserved for future adventures.

  16. Bob September 13th, 2010 4:18 pm

    Oh, and skiing the Skillet Glacier route on Mt. Moran was cool, too…but that’s more than 10. 😉

  17. Lou September 13th, 2010 5:17 pm

    This stuff is gold you guys! Keep it coming!

  18. Matt Kinney September 13th, 2010 6:45 pm

    1. Ski Traverse of the Chugach Range
    2. Ski Traverse of the Chugach Range (again)
    3. Traverse of Yosemite National Park (summer) w/ Tabitha
    4. Traverse of Volcano National Park Big Island, Hawaii along the seashore w/Tabitha
    5. Traverse of Zion National Park.
    6. Mt. Whitney via the back door/Mt. Elbert via Black Cloud trail with Tabitha.(1st and 2nd highest Peaks in in Cont. USA
    7. Slot Canyons of Utah w/Tabitha
    8. 2009/2010 Ski season!! A+ lol: 😆 Who’s you’re daddy?!!
    9. Mt. Shouplina – Chugach Range
    10. Having good mentors to show me the way

    11? Having breakfast with Lou Dawson 8)

  19. Jacob September 13th, 2010 8:05 pm

    1. First Colorado backpacking trip in RMNP North Inlet trail, post-holing snow for 3 hours to reach the Flattop Summit and back out the Tonahutu trail.
    2. Taking a swim in the Colorado River my first time rafting it (in the middle of the biggest rapid of the day)
    3. Being a 7 year old, waking up in the old family camper on rivers in Missouri to dad cooking bacon and french toast before starting the day in a canoe.
    4. My first canoe at age 11 (A solo Old Town Pack with the thwart removed and another seat added so me and my 9 year old brother could paddle it together, and better than a good deal of the adults we passed on the river that summer 😉
    5. Solo backpacking in Denali, backcountry section 34.
    6. Stopping at Eielson visitor center in the park and getting to see Denali after the clouds that had been around for a couple of days broke.
    7. Rafting the longest stretch of continuous whitewater in the United States over 3 days on the Talkeetna River in Alaska.
    8. The ferry ride from Seward AK to Bellingham WA that took 8 days.
    9. First 1’+ powder day skinning Berthoud
    10. The bottle of wine and food I pulled out of a backpack on top of Byers Peak for a girlfriend.

  20. Njord September 13th, 2010 8:42 pm

    1. Walking away from a crashed helicopter.
    2. Getting a beat-down on a Nepalise Class V rivers with the closest hospital being 2 days way.
    3. Being 18 and not having a care in the world.
    4. Sailing through Hurrican Hugo.
    5. Midnight military parachuting with 64 of my closest friends.
    6. Smacking the devil on the ass and getting away with it.
    7. Skiing deep, deep powder with friends knowing the winter will never end.
    8. Saving someone’s life.
    9. Watching the moon rise over the desert and trying to describe it to someone on the otherside of the world.
    10. Walking into 12th grade Calculus class…

  21. Mickey September 14th, 2010 3:00 am

    1) Breakfast in the lodge with all my buddies and my wife and kid, even when he was a baby – every Saturday and Sunday at 7AM on Germany’s highest mountian
    2) Rabbit Ears Pass with a full moon and blower
    3) My first backcountry skiing expirience, in an Avi-course outside of Boulder. I came from South Carolina (!) to live a dream, and even though the altitude, and my lack of expirience made the day a physical hell – I was on my way to a life I had only read about! (I barfed over and over again when no one was looking!)
    4) Skiing with my 2 1/2 Year old! And then digging out a snow-cave to sit in
    5) Untracked Powder, no one else in sight, except my wife
    6) Riding down a cat-track in Jackson, come around a corner and RAN INTO a moose sitting on the trail! (she didn’t even move! but boy did I!)
    7) Having a cold beer at lunch with my pals in the sun after a morning with knee deep pow – and only 50 people or so on the mountian! (happens every so often!)
    8) One perfect run – from top to bottom in perfect powder in February – so good that we all called it a day afterwards and hung out in a cafe over cake and coffee to talk aobut it and plan the rest of our season.
    9) Taking my German wife back to Jackson to show it to her after 10 years away- looking up, and thinking “it’s so SMALL!” (no offense – love it!)
    10) My little boy wanting to sleep with his boots on, and cuddling his skis!

  22. Charles September 14th, 2010 4:31 am

    1) Taking full advantage of last years amazing snow conditions in Scotland. Some seriously good days.
    2) Touring round the peaks of the Cairngorm National Park over two days with a good mate. The weather going from bright sunshine to full on storm and back again.
    3) Spring chutes.
    4) First trad lead, very easy but amazing how much pucker-factor there is trusting your own gear.
    5) Mini epic climbing a mountain route that saw us only advance 100m in 8.5 hours.
    6) Self rescue after nearly falling into a mountain stream in the Alps on skis. Ended up wedged between a boulder and snow bank with gushing blackness below. The beer afterwards has never tasted so good.
    7) Sailing to Brest for a tall-ships festival on a Pilot Cutter.
    8) A magic day taking my girlfriend up to Glen Clova on Valentines Day to see the snow.
    9) The next two months I’ll be spending climbing and surfing in Australia before…
    10) Moving to Iceland for new adventures!

  23. Chase Harrison September 14th, 2010 5:53 am

    Here we go:
    1. Living and serviving in Aspen Colorado for 28 years.
    2. living in a Teepee for 2 years in Lanado.
    3. living in a cabin for a year in Lnanado.
    4. Surviving NOLS four 4 months.
    5. Riding my mt.bike from Aspen to Durango ALL OFF ROAD!!!!
    6. Touring for 5 days on Teton Pass.
    7. Going to BC FOR MY 50TH BD and backcountry touring out of a hut for 7 days.
    8. Finishing the Leadville One Hundred.
    9.Doing the Telluride to Moab hut tour solo on my mt. bike.
    10. Surviving my first bg ski tour with Lou.OUCH!!!!!!!!!

  24. Sal Paradise September 14th, 2010 6:51 am

    No particular order:

    1. Watching my son catch his first wild brook trout on a dry fly on a remote pond in the Adirondacks.
    2. Teaching my son and daughter to ski…. now trying to keep up with them.
    3. Dumbest: Getting high and then lost in a white-out on the summitt of Mt. Marcy on skis at ten below and surviving the bivouac with all toes and fingers intact.
    4. Spending the fall/ winter of 83′ in a NOLS semester course in the Rockies and learning to tele (thanks Darren!) and drink tequila in the cowboy bars in Lander.
    5. 1986: Standing at the bottom of Primo at Sunlight admiring my line; – I was a dirtbag lifty at Sunlight and after a major dump the Operations Manager let me rip the first run of the day, alone. Thanks Mike!
    6. Playing hockey with friends on frozen ponds in northern Vermont.
    7. Paddling canoe with my wife (and fly rod).
    8. Any backcountry powder day with friends.
    9. Driving home from my son’s alpine races with him fast asleep and gold medals hanging from his neck.
    10. Yet to come…..

  25. Lou September 14th, 2010 7:13 am


  26. Sal Paradise September 14th, 2010 7:50 am

    No. 5 …at Sunlight, nor Sunrise… its been a while (hope to get back some time).

  27. Lou September 14th, 2010 8:13 am

    Fixed it Sal, thanks.

  28. OMR September 14th, 2010 9:06 am

    1. 1969 – 7 years old – hanging with my river guide big brother in the Grand Canyon – numerous floats. Incidentally, that brother is still a river guide, still un-married, still no kids (that we know of) and still the only male in my family with a full set of hair.

    2. 1969 – still 7 years old – back of my Dad’s Dodge power Wagon with 2 brothers (Dad and older brother in the cab), bouncing down the Flint Trail to the rim of the Maze (Canyonlands), hking and exploring and feeling like I was at the ends of the earths.

    3. 1969 – still 7 years old – 2 days later, 2 am in a downpour – still in the back of my Dad’s Dodge Power Wagon, bouncing up the Flint Trail to avoide being trapped by the greased road, using the winch to make the last 100 yards to easier ground. My dad talked of that experience for years. It seems there could be much less desirable places to get stuck.

    4. Fast forward 15 years – climbing the Grand Teton while wearing Wal-Mart cotton sweats – choice of gear was not out of ignorance, just a pour college student looking for adventure. Luckily, no rain or snow.

    5. Fast forward another 15 years – climbing the Grand Teton with my Dad, now 76 years old – who was using his ratty, 30 year-old army surplus pack, laughed at by the youg bucks on the trail for his bad gear, at least until the old man passed them like they were standing still. Latest technology can’t make up for conditioning and experience.

    6. Last winter – skiing the Wasatch at least once every week, November to May, and never crosssing another ski track (except my own), Yes, it can be done!

  29. Bob September 14th, 2010 9:09 am

    Okay, since you mentioned that it doesn’t have to be limited to 10, then I’ll add some:

    – Riding a bicycle across the US coast to coast.

    – Rafting the Rogue River in early spring and having a steelhead and morel dinner one evening.

    – Visiting the Harvest Scene pictograph in the Maze in Canyonlands on a full moon autumn equinox night.

    – Teaching my daughter to ski.

    – Touring from Big Cottonwood Canyon to Little Cottonwood Canyon to attend a skier friend’s wedding at Alta, and meeting the presiding pastor – Lou Dawson – and other bc skiing luminaries at the reception. 8)

  30. Ben September 14th, 2010 9:21 am

    No particular order
    1. 7 Day kayaking trip on the San Juan River
    2. 5 day canoe trip with my family in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota
    3. Running from Jones Pass to Boulder in one day
    4. Many days of powder skiing in the backcountry
    5. Skiing out of a cabin up in the Sawtooth mountians in Idaho
    6. Exploring obscure canyons in the Idaho desert
    7. 3 day backpacking/canyoneering trip around Moab
    8. Too many excellent trail running experiences with my dog to count
    9. Making love in a tent
    10. Reconnecting with nature after a year in Iraq.

  31. Ed C September 14th, 2010 9:33 am

    1. My NOLS course in 2005. Sleeping in a snow cave on Togwotee Pass in Wyoming, spending nearly a month canyoneering in Utah, climbing for 3 weeks in Red Rocks in Nevada, and 2 and a half weeks on the river in Utah and CO.

    2. Finishing the Firecracker 50. Not sure I have ever been so exhausted.

    3. Linville Gorge, NC adventure with my best friends, hiking down and up, going back up to get something we forgot and then back up the other side in one day. I think I might have been more exhausted than after the Firecracker.

    4. My first splitboard descent of a 14er, Quandary Peak this winter. Snow was awful, but it still felt cool to accomplish.

    5. more to come…

  32. moulton September 14th, 2010 11:57 am

    Living at 8000ft year round for the last ten years. Skinning from my door every time. Raising a raccoon from a baby Watching Moose sex from my deck. Riding a 1973 Triumph from SLC to California by way of the Grand Canyon sleeping out with nothing but a bag. Hitting two deer. Skiing 40 degree snow ribbons and pine needles in June with friends . Being eyeball to eyeball with moose countless times. Riding my bicycle down hill through quakies in the midst of a running deer herd. Riding downhill behind a Bobcat cub for a few minutes. Skiing with Moose….

  33. Hal September 14th, 2010 12:02 pm

    Getting a permit to run the Yampa.

    Convincing my then pregnant wife (1983) that I REALLY needed to buy that Mountainsmith Sled with the passenger cover, so I could pull the soon-to be-child around with me in the high country around Crested Butte. ( a decision I later regretted, as most of the time, I mostly heard cries of “Faster Daddy!” coming from behind!) 2 kids, and MANY miles later, that Mountainsmith sled is as good as new. Thanks Pat!

    Watching my son catch his first wild trout in the North Cascades.

    Being privileged to have had my son and daughter actually want to ski, ride, mtn.bike,hunt,fish,camp,climb, hang out with their old man while they were growing up….and still today!

    Being lowered on the penetrator under a Chinook helicopter @ 11K ft. on North Italian Mtn.in 30 knot winds…..and then hoping the 6’8″ college kid we lashed into the 6 Ft. stokes liter, didn’t slide out when they tipped the litter to pull him aboard!

    The Telluride to Moab hut-to-hut mountain bike ride.

    21 days and nights running the Grand…. Friends and Family trips on the Green……Getting to do the Middle Fork and the Main Salmon back-to-back.

  34. Caleb Wray September 14th, 2010 1:45 pm

    Great post Lou! Some pretty amazing recollections posted.

    As I sit and think about this, I realize two things. First, I have spent an inordinate amount of time in the backcountry, perhaps I have a problem, so many trips. Second, all of my backcountry experiences are memorable and I think the level of memorability has more to do with the company than anything else. Though a little turmoil and hardship seem to imprint more vividly, it doesn’t seem to be directly related to the actual difficulty of the objective. In fact, I don’t think any of my most difficult objectives make the list (exception Denali). Interesting I thought. So here is a shot at a list that should be heavily revised and annotated before press.

    1. Every one of the hundreds of miles I have hiked, skied, climbed, hunted, and paddled with my mother, father, sister, wife, and the amazing friends that I have been lucky enough to have in my life.

    2. Every one of the hundreds of days I skied Sugar Mtn as a kid.

    3. Every second I’ve spent in places like Colorado, Alaska, India, Mongolia, Canada, Nepal, Peru, Chile, Bolivia…….where Earth’s greatest treasures reside.

    4. My buddy waking me up at 2am by pulling over on top of Loveland Pass when we were 18. My first trip west of Kansas. Also the first time I had ever seen or skied a real mountain. 14 inches of blower at A-Basin the next day. My 203’s didn’t perform so well, but I knew I had just acquired a life long vice, powder.

    5. Getting a call on a Thursday to climb Rainier on Saturday (I lived in Tennessee). Standing on said summit that Saturday at age 19 with rented gear, no experience, no guide, terrible nausea, a worse headache, and a close and equally stupid friend. I realized this was also something that I wanted to do the rest of my life.

    6. Alternating spoon positions through a very cold night with my now wife, after a Yosemite ice climb turned from a day trip to an overnight unexpectedly. That was a long night. And I can’t believe she married me after that one. Keeper.

    7. Watching the Leonid meteor shower one chilly October night from Leavitt Peak near Sonora Pass with my now wife. Coolest thing I have ever seen. Out of all my crazy stories, I find this one the most difficult to accurately convey in words. Hollywood couldn’t replicate it.

    8. Two nights in a snow cave on Shasta, during a particular brutal February storm. My partner became one of my closest friends. Nothing like torture to bring people together.

    9. Trying to survive 7 days off of the land in northern Labrador with two close friends after a paddling trip went really wrong. My wife is not a fan of this one, since she assumed we were dead. And hence I am required to carry a Sat phone on all expeditions now.

    10. Skiing to work in New York City. Not the backcountry, but after 3 feet of snow it’s pretty close and way more dangerous.

    Most recently: Watching my friends triumphantly cross Denali’s summit ridge in perfect weather and light.

  35. Caleb September 14th, 2010 2:05 pm

    If were are just going with “COOL”. Then drinking fermented horse milk with Mongolian nomads – drinking chuung with Sherpas – drinking beer, eating KFC, and listening to a boombox blaring 80’s music on top of various Colorado 14ers – surfing in general – first descents – anytime I get to use an ice screw – Tyrolian traversing – and being transported to skiing objectives via bush planes, helicopters, camels, horses, jeeps, canoes, dog sleds, and various other crazy modes of transport are all really cool, but not as memorable.

  36. Ben September 14th, 2010 2:14 pm

    Shared a flask of Black Velvet Whisky with my climbing partners at the top of the legendary climb, Epinephrine, on the Black Velvet Wall in Red Rocks, NV.

  37. john bender September 14th, 2010 4:33 pm

    My favorite, was climbing the south couloir of Babcock Ridge in the La Platas, in May 81, 4000 vertical – ski right to the car, getting to the top and seeing an even better couloir on the north, coming back in July to ski it.

  38. John S September 14th, 2010 5:05 pm

    Top Ten Things…

    1. Shared the summit of Mt. Thompson, 3065M in Banff, Alberta on August 18, 2010 with my 11 year old daughter. Her first technical mountaineering summit, and the first of many to come, I’m sure. 30km of horizontal distance and 1200M of gain. Three nights, and she carried her own load. One proud Dad.

    2. Summer of 2005, my then four year old daughter grunted up a 5.3 on top rope, and looked down from the anchor, about 20M away, grinning like she was on top of the world. She loves rock climbing more each time she gets out, and outclimbs me by a serious margin today.

    3. February of 1980, a friend and I hauled huge sleds and overfilled backpacks for a just-short-of two week ski tour on the Arctic Ocean, north of Tuktoyaktuk. It was -55C and we loved every minute. Would you let your 14 yr old do that? Kudos to my Dad.

    4. Summer of 1969 and my Mom and Dad took me into the Tonquin Valley in Jasper. it was my first backcountry adventure, age four, and when I saw the Ramparts, the Rockies became part of me.

    5. Winter of 2008 and my daughter embraces downhill skiing to the point where she begs to go almost everyday all winter. She skies her first black run that winter too.

    6. Spring of 2010, my daughter has her first backcountry ski experience, skinning up for the first time.

    7. Summer of 2004 I ran the Skyline Trail in Jasper south to north, turned around and ran back. 48km each direction, totaling just shy of 100km and several thousand meters of gain/loss. I have little memory of the last 5km, and my wife found me wandering aimlessly at the end. Somethings are better when they’re over…

    8. Summer of 1982 I flew with Andy Williams around Mt. Logan and have been awe struck by the sheer size of that peak ever since. I don’t have any ambition to climb it, but seeing all of it was amazing.

    9. Sharing a ton of summits over the years with my best friend and climbing partner, Dave. We’ve slammed each other on the helmet in celebration, and cowered in fear hoping to come out in one piece.

    10. Being able to spend so much of my life since age four in the backcountry backpacking, climbing and skiing has ingrained such joy of that world that my daughter has caught the same passion, and perhaps even more.

  39. Rob September 14th, 2010 5:57 pm

    In no particular order…

    1) Racing sailboats through a blizzard and a hurricane. Simultaneously.

    2) First ever run down Tux. My first backcountry run.

    3) Leading my friend, one of whom I learned had never even hiked before and was totally unprepared up Katahdin. The Knife’s Edge only took him two hours, but we made it.

    4) Cooking a turkey over an open fire for Loj Thanksgiving. My shell still smelled of smoke a year later…

    5) Learning to ice climb from Mark Synnott, and then hitting Frankenstein, the Flume, or Black Dike every weekend thereafter…

    6) Having my parents forget the plates on our first camping trip. We ate off river stones that week.

    7) Watching the Chilcotin Mountains cast their shadows on the clouds as the sun set.

    8) The Christmas blizzard several years ago in Whistler, BC. It snowed 9 m in two and a half days.

    9) Learning to build a spruce shelter while on a pack trip in the Rockies.

    10) Reserved for many more future adventures….

  40. CDawson September 14th, 2010 6:33 pm

    After reading through this incredible list of “tens” my mind is flooded with what may be mine, but the swirling will not cease long enough to post, or perhaps I am just too busy. So, hopefully I will have time later…but I’ll just say this is one of the best to date. It truly shows the heart of the back country and how it has affected us all!!! Bravo!!! ENCORE, ENCORE!!!!http://www.wildsnow.com/wp-includes/images/smilies/icon_razz.gif

  41. Lou September 14th, 2010 6:38 pm

    Nice C, you make sure you post ten. Remember they don’t have to be “top,” just soulful.

    And let me echo your sentiments. I am blown away by this. What a life we all lead! We are so blessed…

    Oh, and Dostie, you are next!

  42. Lou September 14th, 2010 6:39 pm

    Rob, thanks!

    Gad, every time I read the comment thread I tear up….

    All you guys are just, the best….


  43. Lou September 14th, 2010 6:42 pm

    “But how splendid is this intimate dialogue between man and the forces of nature!”
    – Gaston Rebuffat, Between Heaven and Earth

  44. Jim September 14th, 2010 6:48 pm

    1. Surfing Tavarua with family.
    2. Surfing G-Land, Indo with son.
    3. Hiking Inca trail to Machu Piccu with family.
    4. Skiing Chugach Range.
    5. Biking Tibet with family.
    6. Camping Sierras with wife and daughter.
    7. Surfing big waves at Mahaiula with best buddy.
    8. Canoe surf trip to wilderness Honopue in Hawaiian canoe…huge waves.
    9. First backcountry ski trip Little Cottonwood.
    10. Surf exploring Chile in German assault vehicle.
    11. One day about 30 years ago in Utah when it snowed 20″, then 15″ then 12″ and the flakes were over an inch across and you could see 3 feet through the snow to the skis, and blow it away with a breath. Never seen anything like that since.
    12. Planned trip to Antarctica!

  45. Lou September 14th, 2010 6:51 pm


  46. Lou September 14th, 2010 6:53 pm

    Everyone, cool can = a bit wacky, so don’t hesitate to share a few of those in your list somewhere…

  47. Mom September 14th, 2010 8:16 pm

    LOU , A few of my top 10…
    Late 60’s spent a winters night alone in the Patrol Shack on top of Highlands Ski area..Skied down to the base at 7am on my Head 190’S..I think that is what they were called..hugely long …I loved those skis ..I owned the mountain that morning!
    In the late 60’s spent a summer in a cabin on the back of Ajax Mt. Hiking to town over the Mt down the ski slopes.
    Climbed Capitol Peak (Colorado Elk Mountains) summer 1970..So scared crossing the “knife” edge begging the two “gentlemen” I was with to rope me up!!!
    Camping up Castle Creek alone to celebrate my 40the B’Day..two dogs and my new Ice Ax for protection.
    The really top 10 is..
    1995 I remember my last ski through the bumps the day before my first knee replacement…I can still feel myself flying down the mountain sailing through the bumps… This is just touching the edge of my memories!!!!

  48. Halsted September 14th, 2010 10:27 pm

    There have been lots of GREAT experiences and lots of bad experiences. Each is a lesson in life. One of the harest was to hold my father’s hand as he died. But, watching the sun shine off the ocean while skiing a peak in New Zealand at sunset stands out. So, here are a few other positive experiences that standout to me:

    Baffin Island ski trip, mostly north of the Arctic Circle.

    Working as a photographer for two of the 24 hours of Aspen races, and getting to ski through the night for 26 hours.

    Getting to be at the controls of a helicopter once, for 20 minutes.

    January attempt on Gannett Peak, in the Wind River Mountains. After that I know what “Into thin Air” was like.

    Ducking a HUGE ass falling rock while climbing the Black Ice Couloir, on the Grand Teton.

    Having been involved in saving a couple of lives while working on ski patrol and heliskiing, where the “victim” came back to say thanks.

    ALL of my day’s heliskiing in Canada…..

    Most of the days on my Alaska climbing expeditions in the Alaska Range for about 70 days (some of theose tentbound days don’t rank up there, etc..).

    Lots of “dawn patrol” and lots of “patrol sunsets,” for climbs and control work days.

    Working for the CAIC as the first ever education outreach director.

  49. Adam Olson September 14th, 2010 11:23 pm

    1) Living @ Sam’s Knob on Snowmass for an entire winter.
    2) Tripping my face of at a Dead Show. 😯
    3) Surviving large triggered avalanches.
    4) Surviving divorce.
    5) First Tracks.
    6) Last Tracks.
    7) Catching my newborn son’s.
    8) Watching the sunset.
    9) Watching the sunrise (reference #2)
    10) Living in this day and age!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  50. Dostie September 15th, 2010 12:40 am


    Like your #10. Makes me nervous and giddy and scared and excited all at the same time.

  51. Dostie September 15th, 2010 12:44 am

    Couldn’t keep it to 10, but I did chop about eight. No need to write a book here. 😉

    10 Cool Backcountry-ish things I’ve done:

    1) Coined the phrase “Earn Your Turns” in 1984. Still the most succinct description of backcountry skiing (in English).

    2) Started the first publication devoted to exclusively to backcountry skiing (Couloir) – AT, tele, snowboard, long as you earned your turns we talked about it. Turned a lot of folks on to backcountry skiing as a result. Couldn’t have done it alone, thanks to the Couloir crew and key contributors like Lou and Peter Kray.

    3) All the friends I’ve made with folks I would have only known from afar, such as the host of WildSnow, as well as key competitors like Howie, Mitch & Litz, plus my ski bros John-son, Rober’, Gilski, Chip Budddeeeeeee, & Zeke.

    4) Finding out God is real after falling down The Dare, a 48-degree, dog-legged couloir covered in glazed ice without so much as a bruise or a scratch. Based on my trajectory I should have been maimed or crippled. Realizing “Somebody” had spared me was an overdue wakeup call.

    5) Every trip I ever made to Baldy Hut, but especially the ones done in the middle of a storm, at night, while leading various friends and acquaintances up to the goods. Not once did anyone get lost or hurt, though there were a few, memorable close calls.

    6) Meeting John Wedberg, my backcountry skiing mentor, the very first time I rustled up the gumption to earn my turns. Not only did John show the way to the coolest sport on the planet, he unwittingly destroyed any lingering anger toward my Dad.

    7) Windsurfing on the coast of California during storm winds. Still remember launching, with speed, off the glassed-out face of an 8-footer at Jalama and trembling as the sea receded while the wind carried me higher. Or playing in the waves at Cabrillo while dolphins lept and flying fish raced alongside.

    8) Switching to tele in spite of the rational superiority of AT. Soulful turns or powerful turns? Neither, I just prefer comfortable shoes.

    9) Successfully bullied all telemark binding manufacturers to provide a free-pivot after dreaming up my own binding (the Dostinator) in 10 minutes, but not soon enough to prevent AT from dominating the sport (as it should).

    10) Skiing the Giant’s Steps Couloir (N face, Mt. Williamson, 14,375’), a true extreme (you fall, you die) route, on summer solstice, 1998, with Dave Braun despite being scared spitless and falling on my first turn.

    11) Doing three cart-wheel turns while skiing the U-Notch Couloir in leather boots & 3-pins, two on purpose.

    12) Climbing Mt. Shasta in a total whiteout, on a route I’d never been on before, yet knowing exactly where I was.

  52. Lou September 15th, 2010 6:18 am

    Now, when your mom leaves a blog comment like that, has WildSnow.com reached yet another level?

    Adam, Dostie, Halsted, THANKS for sharing!

  53. Peter September 15th, 2010 6:40 am

    Nice thread! Very inspiring experiences… Here are my At least the once that are worth a mention:

    1. Summer Night skiing! A new tradition my buddies and do when we end our season in early June on our annual ski trip to Norway. One could almost call it midnight sun skiing because the sun sets an hour before midnight and man, the light in the sky is beautiful!

    2. Skinning up a new peak (for us) in a whiteout. Only navigation was a map and a GPS navigator…

    3. Going solo for the time in Finnish Lapland. Skinned to a place where shamans used to do their magic. Thought I heard some distant drumming. Or was it falling stones?

    4. Meeting a friend in the middle of a mountain 1000 km from home. He just happened to be climbing the hill when I skied down. He had run out of water and snacks, so I shared some of the stuff I had left.

    5. Next time, I met the guy in Japan! That’s perhaps 10 000 km from home.

    6. Getting very painfully sunburned on a narrow part of my thighs, when climbing with the leg zippers wide open.

    7. Skiing a line so sweet, that an older more experienced friend said he was moved to tears when he watched…

    Thanks Wildsnow!

  54. eric September 15th, 2010 9:23 am

    Many climbs and descents with great friends who are no longer with us or have moved on with their lives

    Many climbs and descents with great new friends

    A climb or a ski with an old friend…there’s no better way to reconnect

    Living in a trailer on the beach and surfing whenever there was a swell, fishing when there wasn’t

    A week backpacking in the desert of Big Bend National Park with my dad…in August

    New Year’s eve 1998/1999 at the Teton Teepee watching Continuum over and over while it dumped harder and harder outside then getting first chair at Targhee

    Unplanned bivy at 14,000 feet in January

    Introducing my wife to Colorado and Utah

    Fremont canyon swing

    …and pulling into Moab after midnight, sleeping in the dirt next to the car and waking up surrounded by the amazing, dramatic landscape gets me every time!

  55. moulton September 15th, 2010 10:14 am

    Chickadees eat from my hand. Hummingbirds land on my fingers. Deciding to be snowed in for a few days.

  56. Randonnee September 15th, 2010 10:46 am

    1) My first randonnee ski tour May 1980 into the Goat Rocks Wilderness for a week. Trucker skis with Ramer bindings and Nordica lift boots. I walked in/out probably 5 miles of snow-free Trail in those Nordica boots while carrying a pack for a week (ouch). We had a huge snow cave, much good weather and great skiing. We were there 10 days before the St Helens large eruption that dumped ash on the Goat Rocks.
    2) Skiing from the summit of Mt Baker in June down the Roman Wall and Coleman Glacier in 1980 on Epoke 900, 215 cm, 47 mm-waist skis, with a short ice axe duct-taped to my bamboo ski pole. My partner had Trak Fishscale skis. We turned it in the nice corn snow on the Roman Wall, telemarking on toothpicks with hands held high above shoulders grasping 155 cm poles. Skiing those toothpicks across some snow bridges on yawning crevasses. We were young.
    3) Sweet memory of being fit and on my skis the day that I was able to crank nice linked alpine turns down a nice run on those 47 mm-waist Epoke 900 skis.
    4) First Mt Adams ski tour in 1984, using tele skis that had metal edges- Karhu XCD 220 cm. We had an electric experience as a thunder cell enveloped us on the false summit- we retreated. Big peak, no crevasses on the South Route, Sweet..
    5) Ski touring the Wenatchee Mountains in 1988-89 using Asolo Supercomp leather/ plastic cuff boots on skinny skis, able to use BD 145 cm extendable nordic touring poles to skate logging roads yet having the gear capable of just doing nice controlled alpine turns most of the time.
    6) Taking a break from a Pro Patrol career to fur trap for Pine Marten in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness on foot and on skis, living in a wall tent. After the fur trap season, 45 days ski touring with some snowmo-assist on Roads in the Wenatchee Mountains before returning to SE Alaska logging camp for the season.
    7)The 1990 realization that randonnee boots were of similar weight to the Asolo Supercomp tele boot, and the switch to exclusively touring on randonnee gear.
    8) Getting caught in an avalanche in the Henry Jackson Wilderness, tossed bodily endo and under three times black/ white/ black/white, catching a glimpse of my avalanche dog black lab swimming downhill in the avalanche with her tail wagging. Ended up on top. Partner ok as well. Survived a poor decision without injury. Thank you God!
    9) Discovery of Dynafit for the liberating lighweight backcountry experience.
    10) Wide skis for skiing sweet Wenatchee Mountains powder, Many great days when placing a single track down my first favorite peak, followed by viewing that track from my second favorite peak before putting a track down the second. Many more great days sharing the great Wenatchee Mountains powder with wife and friends, and now with my daughter!

  57. Lou September 15th, 2010 1:56 pm

    Nice Rando, thanks!

  58. Penn September 15th, 2010 3:51 pm

    in no particular order…

    horse packed into the Gallatin Mtns with my dad,uncle and cousin. Climbed peaks in cowboy boots and lived off lake trout

    winter camped, snowshoed and dog sledded near Ely MN over New Years 1985 – Northern Lights!

    left NYC job to climb Aconcagua in 1989

    skied/climbed Denali in Asolo 401 plastic boots, old Salewa AT bindings and snake skins

    met my wife on ski tour over Pearl Pass to Friends Hut. CO – years later skied the Star Couloir on Star peak with my wife when she was 6 months pregnant

    rafted the grand canyon, rougue and middle fork of the salmon

    many climbing trips with wife and now kids to COR, and all over states and Canada

    skied a 12K peak with wife and son in perfect spring powder, and later a 14er with the kid

    liberty ridge with Slinger, Sulli and Jethro

  59. Lou September 15th, 2010 7:29 pm

    Nice Penn!

  60. Andrew S September 15th, 2010 9:37 pm

    It is really great to read about all the awesome things everybody has done. I just turned 20 a month ago so I can tell that I’m a fair bit younger than most here and haven’t done quite as much, but I thought I would share anyway.

    1. Camped for two nights in October in the Wallowa mountains on the first big snowy weekend of the year. (a little ill prepared but eager for adventure)

    2. Spent over 8 hours skinning up Grand Teton only to have the guide tell our group that we weren’t going to make it where we needed to go to camp and that we had to ski down to try the next day.

    3. Got stuck in my jeep on a half dried up lake bed for 6 hours with my girlfriend on a road trip.

    4. Spent countless hours playing in the snow every year even though I was cold, wet and probably should have gone back inside.

    5. (Not backcountry) Hiked Peak 8 in Breckenridge (back when Imperial wasn’t there…) just after it closed with my brother and then got caught by the patroller. We got a warning and one last long powder run for the day.

    6. Spent many hours ski touring the “backcountry” in my backyard in Colorado.

    7. Went on a two night/three day trip with my girlfriend around Sand Dunes National Park right before we both left for school this year. Being able to share experiences like that with a girl like her makes the wait and long distance relationship easy as pie.

    8. Hiked the Washington coast in Olympic National Park with 11 other people that I didn’t know but now some are probably my best friends at school (Whitman College).

    9. (Also not backcountry) Watched with my friend as ski patrollers carried down what turned out to be one of her best friends on a sled. He was pronounced dead less than an hour later.

    10. Stared at the stars on a cool, clear night and tried to feel the earth moving.

  61. Andrew S September 15th, 2010 10:15 pm

    As you can probably tell, some of those weren’t necessarily cool things (especially not 9). But I just wanted to share some of my more memorable experiences. Good and bad.

  62. Paul September 15th, 2010 10:36 pm

    35 day backpacking trip with my teenage buddies – nobody over 17.

    First snow camping trip in 1973 with tube tents and Levis jeans

    First solo backpacking trip at 17 in the Warner Mountains

    Backpacking with just me and my son when he was 6.

    Walking across the Grand Canyon in one day.

    Spending the night on top of Mt. Whitney

    Backcountry ski trip where we saw no other humans or tracks for 6 days.

    Endured a 3-day non-stop rainstorm on a backpacking trip in the sierra under a homemade tent fly – which blew down on the second night. Actually slept in a puddle, everything in my pack got wet, including the gorp inside its plastic bag.

    Skiing in a whiteout on a circumnavigation of Mt. Lassen, and being comfortable enough to enjoy and appreciate the ice crystals forming on the trees.

    Spending the night on top of Mt. Whitney a second time.

  63. Lou September 16th, 2010 5:58 am

    Andrew, good stuff and “backcountry” can mean the mountain life broadly defined so all your things fit. Sad tale about watching the sled come down. The life is bitter sweet sometimes, and you already know that…

    Paul, Mt. Whitney!

  64. CDawson September 16th, 2010 1:06 pm

    I’ll try this again, I had my whole list ready and then pushed the wrong button and bingo–all gone.

    Note: a theme throughout the early years that my list includes many experiences with older bro Lou, and that I could not have been luckier to have him as a guide and mentor out in the back country, always leading the way and teaching at the same time. Thanks for the memories , bro.

    1. Growing up with the Elk Mountains as our backyard playground, climbing, hiking, skiing-and having parents who let us GO without question.
    2. Living in the same tepee for a year, just out of high school.
    3. Sleeping at 13,000 ft. on the shoulder of Pyramid during a mid-winter climb.
    4. Epic winter climb of Capitol Peak with Lou.
    5. Several months spent in Yosemite climbing with brother and friends, including lowering one friend several hundred feet off the Apron after a long tumble, and a wonderful day on the Steck-Salathe route with M. Kennedy, days I will always remember!!
    6. Flying for about 2 hours across the Alaskan wilderness in a bush plane from Anchorage, landing on a Lake and hiking through the woods to go to a fantastic dinner at a remote cabin, then flying back the same night to make our performance at Chilkoot Charlies.
    7. Running the Maroon Creek road naked under the full moon?? Teenagers!!
    8. Several epic winter trips up the valley to Conundrum Hot Springs.
    9. One great several day slog mid winter out to the back of Aspen Mountain and Taylor Park, swore we saw a UFO one night!
    10. #1 has to be the memories of treks into the wild with our father, rest his soul. He is the reason I am instilled with such a sense of adventure and confidence!!
    The list goes on and on…

  65. Eric Steig September 16th, 2010 10:41 pm

    1) Sliding down a couloir on Mt. DeWitt, Antarctica, 500 km from the nearest other people. Perspective was wierd and we thought it was a 100 foot long baby couloir. Turned out to be 1000+ foot ice slide. Oops.
    2) Climbing Rainier in 24 hours flat (23:59:59, actually), quite by accident
    3) Skiing across Juneau Icefield at night for 10 hours, on a grade just steep enough to keep going going going, Aurora overhead.
    4) Catching mackeral while kayaking the entire east side of South Morseby (Haida Gwaii), 3 weeks sun, 1 day rain.
    5) Paddling ocean waterfalls in Bella Bella
    6) Snowmobiling on Baffin Island for lake research (does that count?)
    7) First real backcountry ski trip when I was about 15, to Elfin Lakes Hut and beyond, in 3 feet of fresh snow and whiteout conditions (near Squamish/Whistler)
    8) Climbing into an old mine shaft in Wyoming that was full of monstrous (2 feet wide) ice crystals
    9) Skiing backcountry powder early every morning for a week in Queyras, France, then back in time to bring fresh croissants to the family
    10) HIking coastal Greenland among calving caribou with the ice sheet beyond

  66. Paul September 16th, 2010 11:23 pm

    OK, I’ll bite…
    1) Rescued a rabbit from a weasel on the Cape Lookout trail on the Oregon coast.
    2) Took a young lady who had never been on skis before on a ski tour on Rabbit Ears Pass in Colorado during a total lunar eclipse.
    3) Watched the sun come up while hiking/running down South Kaibab trail in the Grand Canyon at the beginning of a R2R2R trip.
    4) Rappelled off the ice-covered north face of Long’s Peak (old cable route) with my sister and another friend one late November evening during a spectacular sunset.
    5) Saw a fish swim in front of my face while submerged in the Arkansas River and fighting to get to the surface after the raft I was in wrapped around a bridge abutment in the Arkansas River in 1962. No one wore life jackets back then. I will never forget that fish.
    6) Miraculously found the hole we chopped in the ice after I became disoriented and then ran out of breath and then panicked while foolishly snorkeling under ice in a flooded Missouri quarry without my scuba tank.
    7) Crawled two miles to the end of Airman’s cave in Austin, Texas with a friend and then had a terrible struggle after we discovered that speaking ill of people you don’t care for brings on claustrophobia while under stress.
    8) Watched a surprised mountain lion bound across the sage brush in front of my family and I in Nevada and tried to run after it to get a picture while my two children screamed for me to stop.
    9) Heard the echoing sound of an enormous boulder crashing down a cliff face during a thunder storm in the middle of the night while camped in Yampa Canyon in Dinosaur National Monument.
    10) Sat on top of a Mayan Temple in Tikal National Park in Guatemala with my wife and children while parrots and toucans streamed by at eye level on their way to roost.
    11) Sat in my drift boat in early morning fog with my five-year old daughter beneath the cliffs at the mouth of the Salmon River (the one near Otis, OR) and watched a sea lion chase down a chinook salmon in one foot of water thirty feet away while a bald eagle soared slowly by just fifteen feet over our heads.
    12) Was the first human being (I think), along with my wife, to enter a large room full of thousands of swarming bats and a tremendous stench of ammonia in the hot foul air, while surveying Gruta de Carrizal with the AMCS in Mexico.
    13) Heard the jib boom break loose from the mast directly above my head in the middle of the night in a ferocious storm on a 40’ sailboat in the Gulf of Mexico while lying terribly seasick below deck between watches.
    14) Took a nighttime hike in the Chihuahuan desert and came across a coiled rattlesnake at least once a minute. After fifteen minutes my wife had had enough.
    15) Been on skis on a mountain many times and gone from the lonely, isolated, scary feeling of being in a full-blown whiteout blizzard and getting vertigo and not being able to tell if I was moving or not and then having it pass through and five minutes later there is blue sky and sunshine and all is well in the universe once again. I am still awed by this transformation.

  67. Lou September 17th, 2010 5:15 am

    CDawson, thanks! Might Raoul have been along on that run?

  68. Lou September 17th, 2010 5:25 am

    Paul, your post got stuck in the moderation lineup for some reason. Sorry about that. Nice stuff, thanks!

  69. Lou September 17th, 2010 5:28 am

    If you’re doing a complex blog comment that takes some writing time, do it first in some sort of reliable word processing environment, such as writing it as an email to yourself or whatever. Then copy/paste into WildSnow. Using the comment editing box for complex compositions can be hurtful, as you’re working web based and one tiny glitch can cause you to loose your whole post, as happened to Cdawson.

    Writing on your local computer also allows you to do some editing before you post.


  70. CDawson September 17th, 2010 8:24 am

    Yes, you guessed it, running Maroon with who else, Raoul Wille, Lou, were you there, too?

  71. sourceoutdoor September 20th, 2010 1:35 am

    I don’t have any amazing things to say that I’ve done, but I just wanted to say that I enjoyed reading your blog and all these exciting and amazing posts!

  72. James September 29th, 2010 10:44 am

    (1) First trip up Mt Washington and reading the “block of ice the size of cars” maybe falling sign. Followed by climbing over a 20ft deep crevasse, not far from a waterfall at the top of the lip. Skiing from the snowfields back down. Drinking cold Sierra Nevada in the Pinkham Notch parking lot post the slog out.
    (2) First view of Katahdin from Chimney Pond, followed by approach to Knife edge from Helon Taylor. Am I really on the east coast????
    (3) Driving from NYC to New Hampshire on Friday night. Arriving at Pinkham Notch at 1am and hiking upto Hermit Lake under torch-light. Followed by sleeping under the stars in a crisp October breeze.
    (4) Eating lunch and drinking a cold brew on top of Killington in late October having just skied 2 runs (on whatever they managed to blow) wearing shorts.
    (5) Figuring out skinning was much easier (and less upper body workout) if you put the skins on the right way around.
    (6) First trip up Teton Pass and Mount Glory hike, the first real introduction to the BC and one I will never forget. Especially the tele dude on shrooms skiing down. Of course followed by trip to Stagecoach, and sacrificing skis to the snow gods at a Wilson Wyoming BBQ.
    (7) Sunday powder day in VT in negative 25 temps. First trip into the sidecountry, and off the back. Getting back to the share-house and discovering some rather black looking cold toes to warm up in the car on the ride back to NY.
    (8) First yurt trip / extended tour in the Wymoing / Idaho BC. Hearing my buddy shouting when he discovers some critter (squirrel type thing) has got stuck in the pooper. Said creature escapes and trecks poop around the yurt!
    (9) On said Yurt trip, 3 days of overcast and snowing. Fourth day is perfect sunshine. Views of the Grand. Lap, after lap of the greatest snow and terrain on the planet. Without another soul in sight. Earn em! Beer tastes soooo good!
    (10) Road tripping around Utah, Idaho, Wyoming in an RV. 6 of my best friends. Parking next to the J-Hole tram. Drinking beers on the roof. Sneaking into the fancy teton lodges to use the showers. Driving over Teton pass, listening to bluegrass, smiling after powder day at Targhee. Watching buddy drink too much John Daniels on the RV and unable to figure out the workings of a seat belt.

  73. telek September 29th, 2010 1:14 pm

    1. Summited Shasta every year (except for one… when I was abroad) for the last 15 years.
    2. Skiing crescent couloir off Round Top under full moon with my ski partner.
    3. A 11 day ski tour across the Sierra where we didn’t see anyone for the 9 days until we met up with 6 of our buddies (carrying in Pliny the Elder) to Pear Lake Hut.
    4. Skiing the mountaineers route on Whitney with my dog.
    5. Skiing Red Slate Couloir…
    6. Doing backflips over the Glide Crack near Pear Lake hut.
    7. The palisades traverse, doing five 14ers on a long 18hour push (non-skiing…)
    8. Skied Shasta 2x in one day for my first 10K+ ft day
    9. Skiing Cat’s Ear’s Couloir off Mt Dade.
    10. Having been involved in 4 avys with no injuries…

  74. Geoff September 29th, 2010 1:44 pm

    1. 28 inches of blower on Big Jay, and bushwacking out to the road
    2. Skiing Killington for 25 years, and THEN finding two of the best kept secrets on the mountain (thought I knew them all)
    3. Hiking Left Gulley at Mt. Washington with no ax or crampons, and entering the pucker zone as I watched people above me fall and fail to self-arrest
    4. Granite Canyon….I was told before we dropped in that it was the best skiing in North America….I believe that was a true statement
    5. During an East Coast January thaw, breaking out the rock skis to hike and ski the grassy hills
    6. Waking up at sunrise at our campsite the day following my first Katahdin summit and seeing the whole mountain in the distance on a cloudless morning.
    7. Taking 3 extra laps outside of the yurt on a 5 day tour while dinner was being prepped.
    8. 30 minute standoff with a female moose in the Killington sidecountry and being completely immobile in the deep wet snow.
    9. Rafting the Deschutes River as a 13 year old while at Mt. Hood ski camp
    10. That same camp and my first delve into climbing

  75. Lou September 29th, 2010 5:38 pm

    Thanks for bumping this thread Geoff! And nice list…

  76. Chris B November 14th, 2010 8:12 pm

    Just going to add to this thread, months later…

    1. Sat at the top of a climbing wall aged 14 with my brother at the bottom refusing to let me downclimb, telling me I had to learn to trust the rope
    2. As part of a week long HS graduation hike with my buddy, left a hut for a 2 day detour and when we set up the tent realising we each thought the other brought the food.
    3. -20 celsius and 18 inches of powder and a full moon.
    4. Watching a rabbit and a marten play hide and go seek in (I am not lying) 92 cm of new powder (trailbreaking was not easy)
    5. A fog descending during a glacier traverse and having to go for 10 hours at crawling pace, and evenually making it off and to ah ut after 15 hours of travel.
    6. On a 5 day backpacking trip on an island off the coast of Vancouver Island, getting water upstream and looking up and seeing a big black bear swimming across the river, not 30 feet from me
    7. Spending a night in a hut with an 80 year old who had built that hut 40 years earlier, and listening to his mountaineering/climbing and cycling stories (including cycling from Newcastle to Lisbon for a job, getting there and finding out they weren’t hiring, but there was a shipyard in Copenhagen that was, so off he went).
    8. Cycling and hiking in les Alpilles in southern France with my girlfriend.
    9. My first lead climb on a 5.4 monstrosity. Still felt great.
    10. Every time I put on skis

  77. Lou November 15th, 2010 8:05 am

    Chris, thanks for sharing. I love #2, and #7!

  78. naginalf July 7th, 2011 9:46 am

    – Explored the cave on my parent’s property in eastern TN with a crappy, intermittent flashlight, including squirming through a narrow passage on my belly.
    – On said property, shot my first groundhog after being assured by my parents that they would let me do it justice by dressing and eating it, then the bungholes told me no, go bury the thing. Never shot another.
    – Learned that there are beautiful people everywhere and that the universe is wholly good by hitchhiking across the northern US with my two best friends (a human and a dog).
    – Destination of said hitchhiking found me deep in the wooded mountains of southern Idaho with 10,000 hippies. Helped setup and run a kitchen, found elk bones in the woods and did some carving with them, made a knife block out of a hollow tree, bathed in solar hot springs off the side of a mountain and swam in the nearby river, then helped take each and every sapling that had been moved from the kitchen site and plant it back where it came from and left it looking like no one had ever been there.
    – While there, also saw a huge rainbow in a circle around the sun, then watched as the stringy clouds drifted behind it to form a peace sign in the middle. If I hadn’t seen it first hand without drugs, I would’ve called it the imaginings of silly hippies, but it happened. Also saw some triple rainbows (no I did not carry on for 10 minutes about it, but it did have its effect).
    – After spending a year in Olympia, WA, left for WI in the middle of January, had a breakdown in The Dalles, OR, bought a $250, 1979 Ford Granada wagon with no heat, changed the head with minimal tools in a shucks parking lot, and drove at no more than 55mph through idaho, utah, wyoming, nebraska, and iowa with my dog, laughing, loving, and thanking the universe for all our blessings, including our hardship.
    – During the trip, got scared out of my willies after getting into Nebraska at night. Saw a dim shadow dash across the road at the edge of my headlights, then saw a couple more, WTF was THAT?! Then one JUMPED out in front of me and my POS car hit it, CRUNCH! It was tumbleweed. . . Laughed out loud and woke the dog who gave me a wierd look.
    – A friend mentioned getting into cross country skiing this past winter, and I haven’t stopped dreaming about ski touring after looking for a way to have both a xcntry and downhill ski and finding this website! You guys are great, thanks! I can’t wait to climb mountains and ski down them.

  79. Pierce Oz July 7th, 2011 10:01 am

    1. Using llamas to pack into snow line and ski a bunch of lines high in the gorgeous Middle St. Vrain drainage in the Indian Peaks outside Boulder. The stories from this trip are classic, and llamas are very cool. Realizations like ice axes are a poor defense against bears, llamas have no reverse gear, and checking your beacon batteries before you leave camp were all made on this trip.

    2. Getting faceshots in late May this season in the BC around Montezuma!

    3. My first forays outside the gates at Alpental, WA as a young punk during a record season, and being humbled by the crusty old dude in the vintage brown toot-suit and rear entry boots each time I followed him out there.

    4. 6 years of planning and leading Memorial Day Weekend Hut Trips around Colorado with all of our friends has been nothing short of cool, including nailing big lines in perfect corn to building kickers in front of the deck, slogging hundreds of pounds of beer and food throug mud, rocks, and snow, and performing a rescue of a badly injured friend from the Tagert hut. They are always very different and awesome trips.

    5. Camping below Lone Eagle Peak with my wife and catching trout until we were bored, under spectacular scenery.

    6. Watching my dad and sister “get it” while skiing three feet of pow at Wolf Creek.

    7. Elk hunting and sitting quietly, watching the sun rise and set over newly snow-covered peaks, and hiking off-trail for miles alone in the mountains. I never even chambered a round, but it was that cool.

    8. Skiing Dead Dog on Torrey’s for the first time early in my BC ski days with friends and a very experienced co-worker who was acting as a guide. At 50+ years old, he ran ahead of us since he was only hiking, broke trail for most of the couliour and then nailed the most amazing seated glissade I’ve ever witnessed, as he reached 50+ MPH down the middle of chute. He was up and running back to the jeeps before we got our skis on at the top. We were all laughing pretty hard at the post-ski lunch when he realized he had been applying hand lotion instead of sunscreen all day to his now purple, Irish-complected face.

    9. Jeep-assisted skiing in the San Juans in May. Really, doing anything in BC in the San Juans is pretty cool.

    10. So many amazing powder days hooting and hollering with my wife and friends over the years. And then it went bluebird….

  80. Lou July 7th, 2011 12:18 pm

    Nag and Oz, thanks for sharing! Ditto on the elk stalking…

  81. Stanton July 7th, 2011 2:11 pm

    1. Thru hiked the long trail 2 days after graduating from UVM
    2. Skied the Mt. Marcy on a windless sunny day in april
    3. Hellbrook hiked & Skied
    4. Skiing Teardrop powder on a school day
    5. Gothics in October
    6. Hiking the Mahoosuc Range
    7. Pheasant hunting with dad
    8. MTW in june
    9. Follow skin track in BC at stowe to hidden gladed area and turned out to be Erme’s skintrack from skitheeast.
    10. Camels Hump the best view in vermont.

  82. brian h July 7th, 2011 3:00 pm

    * A month plus in Montana and fishing nearly every single day. Living out of the truck. Tying flies, while riding shotgun, off a homemade mini bench, as we drove on to the next river.
    * “Driving” a V.W. bug over Scotch Creek pass on my way to my first Telluride Bluegrass festival.
    * Having a herd of elk cross the Rio Grande right where I was duck hunting in the San Louis valley.
    * Skiing waist deep pow with my teenager and realizing he already is a better skier than I am or ever was.
    * Following grizzly tracks across Grasshopper glacier in Montana (he was headed the same way we were).

  83. Hunter July 7th, 2011 4:07 pm

    Thanks for resurrecting this Lou! Love to read about what people have done with their time and it allows me a pause to reflect on what I’ve done in mine. Forgive the long list, but now that I’m trapped in the urban nightmare of a city and now have a titanium hip, my opportunities for adventure are a fraction of what they once were.

    1: Spent a summer living in a tent at 9000 feet with my parents when I was 4 (I remember learning how to play chess next to the campfire)

    2: Spent lots of 14 hour summer days as a kid exploring the rocks, caves, mines, creeks and aspen groves in the mountains above Boulder (and directly out our back door)

    3: Backpacked across the Flat Tops with my dad among spring snowfields, ran out of food but found hidden caves and disappearing creeks that I’ve never been able to find again

    4: Got the mountaineering bug when summiting my first 14’er (Uncompaghre) at the age of 12

    5: Spent a few hours jumping up into an 80 mph wind at the top of Mt. Juneau in Alaska and was carried 20-30 feet backwards into a huge snow drift (and survived, somehow, when I didn’t pay attention to where I was jumping from and landed in the 45 degree top face of Chop Gully –with a 3000’ vertical drop to the bottom- 6 feet below the summit triggering an avalanche with a 4 foot high crown)

    6: Rode my mountain bike around the Mt. Blanc massif

    7: Skied 1000+ vertical foot lines on Mt. Massive in shorts and a t-shirt over Labor Day (sadly the snowfields are no longer that expansive up there anymore, maybe this year?)

    8: Explored unknown volcanoes in Ecuador

    9: Got caught out while kayaking the Grande Ronde Rver at dark with no supplies and had a great night anyway (despite being starving in the morning)

    10: Skied Independence Pass in November in pitch blackness –on our way home to Leadville after a night of partying in Aspen- and could see where my friends were when their edges would hit rocks just below the snow and shoot sparks into the air

    11: Spent 18 hours at a time exploring the far reaches of caves on the White River Plateau

    12: Glacier skipped among the crevasses on the Argentire Glacier in Chamonix

    13: Fought crazy squalls to keep from being knocked down and swamped while sailing on my dad’s boat in the Bahamas, the Keys and Belize

    14: Looked down between my feet while backpacking in horrible weather just north of Yellowstone NP and saw the biggest grizzly track I’d ever encountered just filling up with water. Must have missed him by no more than 30 seconds

    15: Spent hours mesmerized by the Aurora Borealis while camping at the base of a climb far up the Mendenhall Glacier

  84. Lou July 7th, 2011 4:18 pm

    Hunter, fantastic! No one can do everything forever, the memories are important — they help inspire others to make such memories!

  85. chase harrison July 7th, 2011 4:20 pm

    1. Surviving a 4 month NOLS course 1981.
    2. Lived in a teepee in Lenado.
    3. Road my MT. Bike from Aspen to Durango, all on dirt. Think about it.
    4. Lived in a van down by the river. No,I really did.
    5. Riding the comlpete Alpine Loop on my Mt, Bike.
    6. Running Cattaract canyon at 50,000 cfs.
    7. spending half a summer rowing the San Jaun below 1000 cfs. That just really sucked.
    8. Skiing epic lines on Indy Pass all spring.
    9. Riding the Contenintal Divide Mt. Bike Trail through Colorado with a Bob Trailor.
    10. Hiking the full length of Grand Gulch one fall.

  86. Lou July 7th, 2011 4:33 pm

    Thanks Chase! One thing this is really stunning me with, and I hope all you other readers, is how many of us are out there having truly world-class experiences — stuff they write about in the magazines, or better! Really makes it thankful for where we live and the resources we have that give us the leisure time to go out and just experience the great wild, which is frequently done as a wild snow experience (grin).

  87. M.Ar July 7th, 2011 4:58 pm

    1 – 10) every time beeing out in nature enjoying ski-touring, hiking, biking, paragliding. I’m super stoked every time after having a major injury a few years ago, f-ing up my backbone which left me paraplegic. Was beeing told I would never be able to walk w/o crutches again and never be able to do sports w/o a wheelchair again. After lots of training, pain and suffering I proofed those suckers wrong! Every time doing sports my family, friends and I can hardly believe of what has happend and what is possible for me to do now. Obviously so amazed that I need to share it with the rest of the world… (sorry for my bad english)

  88. Lou July 7th, 2011 5:56 pm

    Wow M., sweet!

  89. Jay July 7th, 2011 6:15 pm

    1. Skied the Grizzly Couloir on Grizzly Peak (via mtn bike on the Lincoln Creek Rd) then followed that up with the Silver Couloir on Buffalo Mountain the next day (June 13the & 14th 2011)

    2. was snowblinded on my very first snow climb on Mt. Belford many years ago.

    3. Was turned on to the amazing backcountry skiing on Independence Pass by a good friend.

    4. Turned a good friend on to the amazing backcountry skiing on Independence Pass.

    5. Climbed Grand Traverse Peak from Bighorn Creek then skied down to Deluge Lake and into the Gore Creek drainange.

    6. Put my quest to finish climbing all the 14ers on the back burner because I realized that 11, 000′, 12,000′ and 13,000′ Peaks are just as fun if not better.

    7. Skinned/skied every full moon this past season (November 2010 – May 2011)

    8. Stayed at the Pass Creek Yurt (near the Wolf Creek Ski Area) when we received over 50 inches in 2/12 days.

    9. Have met some truly incredible people during my travels in the mountains and have collected so many great memories.

    10. Moved to Colorado with 3 bags, a one way plane ticket, a few hundred dollars and plans to only stay for just that summer. I climbed Mt. Elbert that summer, 17 years ago and I am still here.

    11. Bought a Dynafit setup this past season!

  90. Dostie July 7th, 2011 6:37 pm

    Wellllll, I can finally say I skied the Sierra High Route. Make that one of umpteen awesome experiences I’ve had in the backcountry. If it’s not on your list of ten, you need to add it (by doing it). Truly spectacular.

    Ditto to all the comments about just lovin’ being out there and the reasons why – like the sweat, the views, the friendships, the hardships, the close calls, the conversations on the skin track or ’round the table, the adventure and the turns. It’s why it’s still my fave sport, bar none after 29 years.

  91. Timothy July 7th, 2011 10:40 pm

    Getting flown in to the Temagami region of Canada as a 13 yr old, with uncles cousins and canoes, then spending two weeks paddling back out.

    Rappelling a 160 ft cliff in S Ohio as a teenager with a 150 ft, 3/8 inch Goldline, knowing it would stretch enough to reach the bottom by the time I got there

    Skiing from Cameron Pass to Estes Park in late Feb with my college ski buddies

    Waking up in a snow-covered hammock on Longs Peak’s Diamond, with the dawn sun turning each snow- covered micro ledge bright, blood red

    Taking my, then elementary aged kids, on their first multi-pitched rock climbs in Vedauwoo

    Watching my sons progress from trying to keep up on skis, then easily keeping up, then carrying all my stuff so I could keep up with them, then coaching me down through the cliff bands while they giggle at my complaints

    Spending a week with only my daughter, after her freshman year of high school, paddling Stillwater canyon and hiking up to the Maze to spend the night under a full moon.

    Rowing the grand Canyon with only my wife as a rafting companion, and watching our kids nail their lines in kayaks

    Working with returning combat vets from Iraq and Afghanistan, as an Outward Bound instructor in Moab.

    Last weekend, beating one of my sons, now in Grad school, to the top of Mt Shasta, and then skiing down together.

    The list goes on and on, as does a wonderful life.

    I’ve been a long time fan of your endeavors, a reader of your books, and in recent years your website Lou, thanks so much!

  92. john doyle July 8th, 2011 7:07 am

    Number One: Trying to hang with Raoul Wille. Raooooul! We miss you – Thanks Lou

  93. Lou July 8th, 2011 7:32 am

    Thanks John!

  94. Eric July 8th, 2011 8:22 am

    (no particular order)
    1) Open bivy below the Matterhorn
    2) Climb Cathedral Peak in Tuolumne Meadows
    3) Skiing off the Pfiefferhorn
    4) Staring down into the crevasses (first I’d seen) below Mt Baker’s North Ridge
    5) Simul-soloing Dreamweaver in RMNP
    6) Climbing the Petit Grepon with my wife
    7) Having to bail off the Lower Exum due to too much verglas
    8) Skiing off the top of Mt St Helens with friends
    9) Climbing Irene’s Arete with my wife
    10) learning to backcounry ski in the Wasatch (I’m from Arkansas)

  95. D July 8th, 2011 9:38 am

    1. Fishing for Brook Trout in the Wind River Range.

    2. Skiing the Tetons pre 2000.

    3. Back Packing/Hunting the Wind River Range and Wyoming Range.

    4. Getting it on while floating Cataract Canyon.

    5. Fly Fishing the Green River below Flaming Gorge Damn.

  96. Lou July 8th, 2011 9:45 am

    Indeed, let’s not forget backcountry lovin!

  97. reggiebj July 10th, 2011 6:57 am

    1. First overnight ski tour. Bushwacked through a river and heavy undergrowth to climb up the mountain opposite our home resort, camped out overnight and made a fire to dry out our socks and stuff. Watched the fire sink about six feet as the snow beneath it melted. Spent a cold night without any insulation. Had a couple of epic runs in breakable crust the next morning sending saucers of crust sliding away below us with every turn. A lot of effort for not much skiing reward but the memories makes it worth it!
    2. Three day trip in Mt Cook region of New Zealand with two good friends. Sat out a blizzard in a hut the first day then woke to clear skies with 11 inches powder the next.
    3. Four month road trip in the USA skiing as many places as we could and living in the back of a station wagon. Met lots of people, some of who then offered us a place to sleep and became friends for life. Travelled the west coast up to Canada and back down through the Rockies to NewMexico and back up again zig zagging Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Utah and finally California.
    4. Discovering skins and touring bindings (tyrolia trbs) mid 80’s. Mounted them on some 205 Lacroix slalom skis as they were the lightest I could find, and then going “backcountry” on my days off, skiing all those lines I’d been checking out for ten years prior. Always loved it when people would say “wow, how did you get over there?”
    5. Going camping and climbing and skiing with my kids when they were young and now having them say how they love camping and climbing and skiing as teenagers/young adults.
    6. Living in a backpackers in Argentiere, Chamonix with an assortment of ski bums from all over the world. Scamming ski passes for the Grand Montets and skiing some awesome side country. I almost split with my girlfriend then as I wanted to stay for ever but somehow she tore me away. Dam that little head…
    7. Re discovering Alpine touring gear especially lightweight comfortable Scarpa boots, Dynafit bindings, fat skis, and loads of other information courtesy of Wildsnow.com
    8. Midnight powder runs with headlamps, usually during a storm and after a night of partying. Looking back someone could easily have died but somehow we all survived.
    9. Going down a canyon in the Blue mountains near Sydney with a buddy from Colorado. A six pack of beer, some chocolate, a rope and a sling harness. Three abseils in waterfalls into a slot so narrow you could touch both sides at the same time. Blown away by the wilderness so close to the big smoke.
    10. Saving this spot till next March after a couple of weeks in Canada backcountry skiing…Can’t wait
    In no particular order but in the spirit of things backcountry slash skiing

  98. Lou July 10th, 2011 7:38 am

    Nice Reggie, it just blows me away the wonderful, almost interstellar sounding adventures and happenings you guys have experienced with the backcountry. If anyone is jaded, or wondering if the true grit is alive and well, they should read every comment on this thread.

  99. Woodrow Dixon July 13th, 2011 10:56 am

    I’m just turning 22, so I feel like the prime of my adventuring is much ahead of me, but so far I’ve managed to have some great experiences in the mountains:

    1. Joining Boy Scouts at age 13. Learning the basic outdoor skills, and finding that I really love being in the mountains. Highlight for me was a backpacking trip in eastern Washington and getting hit by a freak thunderstorm- 2 inches of hail/slush plus an inch of rain. Made for a wet night, and an interesting drive out since the road partially washed out and we had fill several spots in with rocks. Eventually earned the Eagle Scout award.
    2. Learning to ski at Mt. Baker during one of the worst seasons on record (04-05). Still got 20 days in and discovered my all consuming passion.
    3. Getting my Dad back into climbing and skiing, and getting to share my adventures outside with him. We still climb and ski together to this day.
    4. Figuring out how to ski powder on a 35″ of new, 15 degree sunny day at Mt. Baker with some of my best friends. My skis were only 70mm underfoot. It was challenging, but I had a blast.
    5. Skiing Mt. Pilchuck in late June with friends while the sun was setting, only to have it go pitch black by the time the we hit the snow line. We then bushwacked through slide alder and vine maple for two hours with headlamps trying to find the trail back to the car. Who knew a little mountain could seem so big?
    6. Skiing 30″ of powder in October at Washington Pass on a perfectly bluebird day.
    7. Ski instructing full-time for 2 years at Stevens Pass, teaching the next generation of little shredders. Having a crew of 6 to12 year old kids who love double diamonds, powder and cliffs? Awesome! That I got to teach them almost every weekend? Amazing! I never expected that 7 year old kids would challenge me to step up my skiing, but they did.
    8. Night skiing at Stevens where it snowed 20″+ from 5pm-10pm. Getting faceshots and fresh lines all night, even on the “groomed” runs. Best part was that I knew just about everyone out skiing that night.
    9. Realizing that one of my best friends and climbing partners was actually the girl of my dreams. We got married a little over a year ago on the top of a local mountain with a small group of close friends, with a view of the Stuart Range and the Chiwaukum mountains.
    10. Living in Leavenworth with said girl, and having amazing climbing, skiing, mountain biking, backpacking and jeep trails at our fingertips. Plus all the beer, brautwurst, and lederhosen a person could want.

  100. stephen July 20th, 2011 1:22 am

    My list – or perhaps Nigel Tufnel’s:

    0. Going snow camping for the first time and realising we never see even a tiny fraction of the stars here in the city
    1. Skiing on Ben Macdhui in Scotland on blue ice on XC skis and wondering why all the other people had ice axes and crampons. (This was in 1980.)
    2. Cycle touring from Bergen to Nordkapp in Norway
    3. Bushwalking in Southwest Tasmania then being keen/stupid enough to return more than once
    4. Cycling in Paris-Brest-Paris
    5. Backcountry skiing in the Indian Himalayas
    6. Cycling the Karakorum Highway from Pakistan into China – really amazing scenery, especially north of Gilgit
    7. Cycling from Geelong to Cape York via fire roads and trails as much as possible
    8. Reaching the top of a 6000+ metre peak near Leh
    8a. Finally getting to ski some of those things I’d once considered impossible
    8b. Walking the Australian Alps Walking Track end-to-end last year after thinking about doing it since the 1988 Geelong to Cape York trip
    9. Many, many books
    10. Lots of great music
    11. “This is Spinal Tap”

    Now if we’re talking about “most memorable” that would most probably include a list of especially vile weather, trips that should never have been, almost-rescues and other near-disasters…

  101. Lou July 20th, 2011 7:08 am

    But, do your bindings go to eleven? Good stuff Stephen, thanks!


  102. stephen July 20th, 2011 10:25 am

    “But, do your bindings go to eleven?”

    Not yet, but I can fix that! 💡

  103. Mike Marolt March 8th, 2013 8:20 am

    10) read this article, and the incredible comments, and realized how the mountain culture has impacted so many in such a great way……..realized what a gift it really is….said a prayer at my desk to thank the man upstairs……

  104. Lou Dawson March 8th, 2013 9:02 am

    Mike, I know, the comments are a fantastic reality check on what really matters to us humans. I love it. Way beyond the white room Gopro chatter, though that “one run of my life” could go on the list, even if it is hard to pick just one (grin)!

  105. Jen Dial Santoro March 8th, 2013 9:28 am

    In no particular order until the last one…

    10. First backcountry ski trip where I came home with no skin on my heels and in pain but loved every second.

    9. “Backcountry” camping in Washington National Forest in VA, making elaborate chicken pot pies over a tiny stove in the dark and then realizing that you could see civilization from our mountain-top camp (and realized we needed to move).

    8. Skied a number of coveted Wasatch lines for the first time while pregnant, hence baby skied them too!

    7. Finding a run we had skied years earlier that was a legend in our mind, quite by accident, and realizing it was right under our noses all along.

    6. Trekking to a yurt in the Uintahs with some friends and their two little girls – watching them discover ski touring for the first time and love every second of the trip. Probably one of my favorites.

    5. A friend’s unbelievable cooking of the elk he hunted in said yurt – worthy of a restaurant in New York. Or maybe we were hungry, but it was good.

    4. The first time we turned around mere feet from the top of something that freaked us out only to find out it slid later that day…

    3. Driving up Little Cottonwood to hike and ski during a Memorial day snowstorm at 5am only to have the canyon close minutes after arrival and have the entire Alta backcountry to ourselves for an entire morning. If you have ever skied there you know what an accomplishment that is.

    2. Celebrating a dear childhood friend’s wedding, not as much at the ceremony, but by doing an 8 hour hike/skin/climb to the site of their engagement near Crested Butte. It was very special because she was my ski buddy from a young age and we had always dreamed of big things and it was a coming together of many big things.

    1. Taking my infant daughter on the same ski tour that was our first one to show her the peak she was named after.

  106. Mike Kelly March 8th, 2013 9:51 am

    1) Annapurna Circuit and Base Camp trek

    2) Skiing Popo in Mexico with my friend Mark

    3) Several trips skiing Grizzly.

    4) Climbing Pyramid, alone, not seeing anyone, having a smoke on top, descending through the fog into East Maroon by mistake and not telling anyone where I had gone. Oops! Several mistakes there, but lived anyway.

    5) Skiing Haute Route. Chamonix to Zermatt.

    6) Winter camping at Conundrum Hot Springs.

    7) Maroon Bells and Crestone traverses sans rope.

    8) General enjoyment of Elk Mountains for 35 years. Hard to beat.

  107. RandoSwede March 8th, 2013 9:56 am

    – Feeling my wifes hand as I lay in the ER with a broken neck… and it all turned out fine.

    – Hanging out at Bardini’s place in Bishop and just listening. Fast forward a few years- he is gone and I have moved to a new place. When I plug in the answering machine and on the “tape” is an old voice message from Alan… “I am going to Matterhorn Peak, meet us there.” Hearing his voice after his passing buckled my knees.

    – Apprenticing under Dave Beck on the Sierra High Route.

    – The feeling of warm Sierra granite radiating heat long into the night.

    – Watching Yvon make piton.

    – Twilight skiing on Mt Logan.

    – Learning how to make bread from an 8 year old Nepali girl.

    – Waiting out a huge storm in the French Ridge hut in NZ.

    – Stepping on Antarctic ice for the first time.

    – Kaffekoppen! Stockholm

  108. Lou Dawson March 8th, 2013 10:00 am

    Wow Jen, wow Mike, wow Rando!

  109. Jailhouse Hopkins March 8th, 2013 11:15 am

    Building an illegal ski cabin.
    Having it featured in a major skiing magazine.
    Over sampling Pierre’s (hut master at Lac des Dix) grappa made from the flowers surrounding the hut.
    Pulling up at safe spot while skiing a line and coming face to face with a mountain goat.
    Skied with a friend who beat brain cancer.
    Skied with a great friend, a Canadian legend, and his two young boys. Nothing like getting your ass handed to you by a nine year old.
    Took the full brunt of a can of bear spray half way through an epic mountain bike ride. “Effects will wear off after one hour” my ass!
    Huddling with an injured buddy to ward off hypothermia. A sure-fire cure for homophobia!
    Watching my seventy two year old father smoke weed on backcountry trip and then eat three nights worth of appetizers in twenty minutes.
    But the coolest was while sitting motionless while hunting, having a fawn come up to me and put her head on my lap. True story.

  110. George March 8th, 2013 2:54 pm

    1. Slept in a snow cave with several boy scouts; burnt my sleeping bag by sleeping to close to the fire and getting soaked when the roof collapsed. A typical Boy Scout trip ?.
    2. Getting lost in the woods (age ~12) in Northern Wisconsin and hearing Timber Wolves howling. I felt under-gunned with my shotgun.
    3. Canoe trips on the Wisconsin River with my brother at age 13 and again in my 30s with our sons. Sleeping on sand bars, fishing and big fires.
    4. Hunting wild boar and roebuck in Germany. Singing in German (Waidmanns Heil) and clanking biers during the hunt ceremony.
    5. A solo elk/bear muzzleloader hunt for 7 days. I had bull elk bugling and thrashing trees in my camp at night and I wondered if I would be trampled.
    6. Skinning up Pearl Basin with my future wife on a bluebird day; staying at Green-Wilson & Friend’s Hut.
    7. Watching the sun rise over Star Peak during the Grand Traverse.
    8. Hunting mule deer with my son while camped at 11,300 feet in Avalanche Creek.
    9. Frequently mountain biking in the “Ridden Gems” especially the Hay Park and Coal Basin areas.
    10. Teaching my 8 year old son to ski powder and hearing his “Yahoo”.

  111. Jack March 8th, 2013 3:34 pm

    Hey!! Love it!!
    1. Canoe trip in Algonquin Park Canada for 150 miles with my best friend at age
    2. Received skis as a gift for my firstborn when he was in utero.
    3. Raised 2 boys to be skiers. Skiied with them in the trees in Utah, Maine, Colorado, and New Hampshire.
    4. Skied the Stairway to Heaven in Verbier
    5. Sailed from Boston to Chesapeake, Ocean City Maryland to Boston offshore.
    6. Taught two boys to sail racing dinghies and J30.
    7. Had my 9 year old swim with sharks off a sailboat in BVI (he was excited).
    8. Taking up backcountry skiing at age 58.

  112. Nick s. March 8th, 2013 4:12 pm

    1. Spread my grandfathers ashes in the branches of a pinyon tree.
    2. Shared countless cold ones on the tailgate after a good day of Sierra corn skiing.
    3. Skied North Peaks North Couloir, Before my senior prom was only 15 minutes late to pick up my date after a 13 mile and 5,000+ foot day.
    4. Skinny dipped in every lake in the Bishop Pass drainage in a day.
    5. Found and left many ancient Paiute Indian sites, arrowheads, grinding rocks, a basket, tee-pee rings.
    6. Created lifelong friendships with two of the greatest mentors you could ever have.
    7. Sat in a tent during a two day long thunderstorms while working trails above 12,000 feet, and got paid to witness mother natures wrath.
    8. Skied 18″ of powder snow down a classic Sierra couloir that is visible from my home 8,000 feet below in a season that supposedly sucked 2012.
    9. Lost my virginity in the grass next to the creek in the Paiute Pass drainage.

  113. jon March 8th, 2013 5:40 pm

    My cool 10 backcountry things:
    Lived off the grid in log cabin for a year
    Picked and gorged myself on wild blueberries, salmon berry and raspberries all on the same day
    Paddle, bike, and hike in fishing trips
    Proposed to my wife while mountain biking
    Rafted some wild Alaska rivers
    Fly in ski trip to the Tordrillos with great friends
    Retrieved wife’s runaway ski from a glide crack
    Scattered my dogs ashes on a Kenai Mtns. ridge
    Took a nap backcountry spring skiing Turnagain Pass
    Hiked with my wife, dog, friends, and toddler son in my backpack

  114. Kevin S March 8th, 2013 6:39 pm

    10. Skiing the north coulior’s of Torrey’s
    9. Skiing great backcountry around Breck and Copper before the runs became part of the areas
    8. Riding trail 405 for the first time in the days before full suspension bikes
    7. Skiing around Betty Bear hut in epic powder
    6. Hiking Moab before mountain bikes were happening
    5. Calling my mother from the top of James peak on a Sunday morning in September to tell her I am skiing a foot of fresh powder
    4. Hearing the whump of snow way too many times and feeling fortunate to never being buried (yet)
    3. Losing my Oakley glasses skiing the glades below Uneva and finding them the following September
    2. Skinning up to the radio tower behind Red Rocks in 3 feet of snow with no one around
    1. Listening to my 11 and 13 ski racer kids ask me for AT gear!!!

  115. Kevin S March 8th, 2013 6:43 pm

    Oops, I meant trail 401 and #1 is the current ages of my kids…..

  116. Tim Nagle March 8th, 2013 9:41 pm

    Dostie… Jalama? Your #7 made me dig out pics of camping there in the sand with Matt Schweitzer and Mike Waltz. No flying fish for me at Cabrillo, but experienced their wonder while windsurfing off Catalina. Gonna pull out some of my favorite Couloir magazines to get stoked for tomorrow’s earn your turns powder.

  117. Willis Richardson March 9th, 2013 8:33 am

    1) Marrying my wife with whom I have been with for over 30 years and never regretting one minute.
    2) Building a small memorial in the mountains where I burn incense and say prayers for two friends one of whom died with me in the mountains, and others.
    3) Picking up my bags and traveling anywhere.
    4) Eating mushrooms on the rim of the Grand Canyons during a meteor shower.
    5) Friends with whom I have met across the world and stayed in contact with for over 40 years.
    6) My wife teaching me to ski.
    7) Drinking wine under the stars.
    8) Living in the mountains.
    9) Never regretting leaving a job.
    10) Living in the 60’s, best music, weed. Boones Farm Strawberry Wine and birth control.

  118. Lou Dawson March 9th, 2013 9:30 am

    Willis! LOL you hippy!

  119. Glenn Sliva March 10th, 2013 7:14 pm

    1. Ate soup almost naked next to a lake.
    2. Skinned up to shoot a video for a contest only to find out it was hurricane force winds that caused me to walk out of frame. Some kid won.
    3. Skinned up twice and almost punched the Sat Beacon because of sudden chilling.
    4. Climbed Massive the hard way only to find out I couldn’t go back the way I came. Turned a 4 hour trip into 12 hours.
    5. Tried a winter first only to find Navy Seals were training in my backyard.
    6. Forgot Toilet Paper for the girls.
    7. Only brought 1,000 calories for an overnight to a Hut. Needed 10,000.
    8. Smuggled a six pack for my father in law.
    9. Snorred in the tent keeping the 12 year olds awake all night.
    10. Took a huge risk interrupting by surprising Lou and Lisa at their Porta RV with a visit. Sweet and what wonderful people they are.

  120. Michael March 10th, 2013 7:47 pm

    1. Six months after Nelson Mandela’s release, instruct 10 eight day Outward Bound Courses for South African miners, bankers for interacial team building in the highlands of Lesotho. Twenty years later one of my African co-instructors finds me on Facebook.
    2. Learn to make beaver tail splashing sounds with rocks and sticks to lure my Samoyed dog back to me after hours of chasing beavers.
    3. Surprise my 10 and 12 year old daughters and their two friends with a can of whip cream in the middle of a hot summer hike in Idaho.
    4. Spend a week dog sledding the cabin logs of the last resident of the Boundary Waters Wilderness (Dorothy Molter the root beer lady) 18 miles each day to be reconstructed as a museum in Ely, MN.
    5. Visit by canoe and dogsled the oldest known Northern White Cedar Tree in the world, 1,100 years old on Basewood Lake on the MN / Canada border.
    6. Take a 15 day honeymoon canoe paddle through Quetico Provincial Park while reading together Howard Zinn’s Peoples History of the United States.
    7. Wake up in my cabin to find a black bear eating my cantaloupe in the living room.
    8. Chase a black bear 1/4 mile thru the woods while he carried my foodpack before he dropped it.
    9. Take my 10 month old daughter canoeing for 5 days in the BWCA wilderness during what turned out to be the epic windstorm that took down 100 mile stretch of over a million trees.
    10. Just lay on my back and take in the amazing sky so full of stars.

  121. Lou Dawson March 10th, 2013 8:20 pm

    All, I just removed a post mocking the sincere efforts you all are making to share your lives. Let’s keep this honest and soulful, a bit of bragging is ok too so long as it’s about things that really have meaning to you. Thanks, Lou

  122. Nodz March 11th, 2013 7:08 am

    Wow – you guys have done a lot! Very cool. Im a little late to the game (spent most of my youth training in a pool), and this might not match up but here goes:
    1) Spent 2 months hiking in Nepal. Came out of the highlands into the jungle after about 20 days with no bathing. Stripped down and scrubbed off in a freezing river – best bath I ever had
    2) Scientific diving and collecting trip in Papua New Guinea. About a month diving 3-4 solo dives per day, in pristine coral reefs. Also, regular night dives with Kyla the crazy seal at Whitecliff were memorable. (Is underwater backcountry? I say yes).
    3) Skiing trees non-stop with my brothers in BC. We were about 11-12 and were rocking 210cm long skis (hey – it was the ‘80s!).
    4) Moving to Munich 3 years ago and generally enjoying every weekend in the alps.
    5) Teaching my wife to ski powder, how to live with discomfort, and generally watching her improve her skiing in every way. Shes now tougher than most my friends.
    6) Going on several backcountry ski trips that really, really tested my endurance and realizing that the human body can withstand an amazing amount of punishment. Everything else is cake.
    7) Biking, and building mtb trails out of Vancouver. Some of my most peaceful, happy times were in that misty wet-ass forest up to my shoulders in mud.
    8) Being hustled in a soccer game by some Ecuadoran natives in the amazon. 40oC, 100% humidity – I was sure I was going to die.
    9) Being forced to deal with heights (you kind of have to in Europe). Im still a girls blouse when it comes to exposure, but Im getting there…
    10) On the way…

  123. silvertonslim March 11th, 2013 10:40 am

    – a week long canoe trip out of Jackman ME when I was in grade school with my father & brother; dad taught us how to smoke cigars ’cause the black flies were real thick

    -1973 NOLS Mountaineering Guide course; I was 16, encouraged by schoolmate Scott Fisher who briefly dated my sister; that NOLS course fully changed my life up to this day

    -first ascents of some meaningless but BIG peaks in a remote part of the Indian Himalaya

    -making a splitboard for my brothers 12 year old son; then watching him rage up and down in the Canadien Rockies (My Carlyle hut)

    -unplanned bivis when storms blew in on Mt Athabasca late 1970’s, after climbing Birds of Prey on Chiefshead, RMNP, when skiing up Arizona snowbowl and down into the Inner Basin same day my daughter graduated from college, and just this year when we got “powerfull confused” off Teton Pass and spent 14 hours around a nice fire we made while waiting for the SAR chopper

    —Something about unplanned bivi time is real enlightening; you get to think about all the folks who are special in your life ( because you know they are woried sick about you); but mostly because you get to see what you are really all about

    -realizing that dreams had as a youth can live inside you still come to fruition after years of just being a dream; I’m into year 6 of the cabin building project up at my mining claims; still cannot believe that a man can purchase patented claims in the middle of the mountains for a song

    -just back from 3 days skiing powder out the front door of my property in the San Juans; knowing that I will probably make my very last ski run somewhere near there and then my daughter will inherit the place and keep the ski runs going long after I’m gone


  124. alex March 11th, 2013 12:05 pm

    Wow, thanks for the question Lou! It brought about some very enjoyable reminiscing.

    -slept in an unheated shed which I re-roofed myself for 6 months through an Oregon winter. I built my bed out of scrap wood and foam also.

    -soloed a lot of rock without knowing it had “climbing routes” on it. Noticed bolts up high and wondered: “What are those for?”

    -went to the top of illumination rock from Portland and back all under human power (bike hike climb).

    -crossed sloping blue glacier ice in XC running waffles with no sharp metal points at all. Used patches of pebbles embedded in the ice and strung together suncups for traction.

    -rode a bike from Mexico to Columbia. Crossed the darien gap by working on a cargo ship. Bonus: I spent 2 months beforehand assembling/hacking/testing a custom 5-speed drivetrain for my touring bike, and it worked perfectly on the tour!

    -drove a car I bought for $100 from Oregon to the tip of the Baja Peninsula and back. Crashed it once and fixed the body panel with a leatherman, ratchet set, and a hammer. Fixed the bent bumper by intentionally driving into a cement wall a bunch of times. Mountain biked, skied, and swam in the ocean. Bonus: averaged 37 mpg!

    -slept in a hammock in a big tree 80 feet off the deck. Was eventually discovered by authorities.

    -rode 50 miles of singletrack in the dark, alone, using a mag-lite and a tikka headlamp.

    -rode bike paths & singletracks I knew to be smooth using no lights at all, just going by feel and following the “blackest hole” through the foliage.

    -taught many people how to walk & balance on steep snow, and glissade. Got to see them have little moments of kinesthetic understanding & excitement.

    -around the age of twelve I salvaged and maintained a network of overgrown trails behind my house using a folding saw as a machete. I don’t think anyone used those trails except me and the deer.

    -sailed an ancient, waterlogged Sailfish (tiny sailboat) in ~50mph winds and got the hull planing. When I was a kid, with my even-younger kid cousin who I was teaching to sail. I don’t think our parents knew how windy it was.

    -walked through tiny pockets of ancient old-growth forest hidden in thousands of acres of logged BLM land where very pew people go. Realized how crazy it is that most forests used to look like that!

    -kayaked through a river in a deep, narrow gorge during a lightning storm. We knew we were safe, and could look up and watch lightning striking the rim right above us!

    -stealth camped in so many bizarre places: abandoned buildings, rooftops, graveyards, farmers’ fields.

  125. Patrick March 12th, 2013 12:42 am

    – In the 60s and 70s, hitch-hiked by small airplanes in Alberta, BC, Colorado, Tennessee, N Carolina. A lost travel art. Low-elevation flights – great way to see wild and tamed land, rivers, landscapes.
    – First retirement at age 30. Lived in mountains of BC, MT, CO, and ID. 17 years away from -career- mode. Lots of dirt-bag travel: North America, Europe, Africa, Central America. Yes Alex, lots of stealth camping, especially when hitch-hiking.
    – First degree was in economics. From my 30s onwards, my pathway led to Buddhist Economics – way different perspective. (Google Buddhist Economics). Eventually led me to ecological economics, full-cost accounting, and deeper understandings about the ecosystem services we’ve all come to love (e.g., backcountry recreation, clean air/water, powder thrills, beauty, renewed spirit, exercise, healthy life).
    – First tele-turns at Teton Pass in 1977. Wood Trak skis, fish-scale plastic base, bear-trap bindings, work-boots. One car in the Pass parking lot besides my own.
    – Worked at a backcountry ski hut for 5 years during 1980s. Kharu XCD-GTs, Voile plate bindings, Alpha boots. Mello wax up-tracks. Valhalla powder which is measured in metres, not inches.
    – Eventually, back to school, became a Professional Forester, age 49. Got me into beautiful backcountry places. Worked hard to take care of the backcountry and forest ecosystems.
    – Second retirement, last year at age 66. As a volunteer, I continue to advocate for improved management of the public lands (including backcountry). No small feat here in B.C., as public lands comprise ~95% of the province.
    – Backcounty skiing continues – mostly in the Selkirks.
    – After a 40-year break, I’m back playing hockey – not very good at it, but great fun with lots of sweat, adrenaline, exercise. Skating helps condition my knees for skiing.

  126. Caleb Wray March 13th, 2013 5:56 pm

    Nice story Patrick. A life journey I really respect.

    I need to amend my list after spending the last 2 weeks in the Selkirks. So skiing in the Selkirks is on now on my “coolest” list.

  127. William March 20th, 2013 2:01 pm

    Greeting fellow Wildsnowers, here is my list:

    1) Swam 14 miles on Long Lake (NY) end to end as a memorial to my Dad

    2) Biked 300 miles in one day across Maine, New Hamshire and Vermont

    3) Completed a vintage motocross race at Unadilla in New York State

    4) 20th person to thru-hiked the AT (2100 miles), PCT (2600) and CDT (2700)

    5) Climbed four of Seven Summits including Mt. Elbrus and Kilimanjaro

    6) Solo summited Aconcagua as my first big mountain climb, got lost and lived

    7) Denali top from 14,000ft base camp and then rode sled out on lower Mt

    8) Left a good job with company car to “live the dream” years ago

    9) Ran over 80 ultramaratons mostly on trail

    10) Competed in 2001 World Championship Ride ‘n Tie horse/running race

    I love to AT skin/ski too, but you already knew that because that is what wildsnow.com is all about!

    William 🙂

  128. Mike Marolt April 30th, 2014 11:22 am

    1) Grew up and learned to climb and ski in the Elk range which provided me with the ultimate training to take my climbing and skiing to the greatest ranges in the world and to then realize that without question, the Elk range is the most beautiful range on the planet….

  129. Scott Nelson April 30th, 2014 12:47 pm

    Being able to ski in the west Elks the last several days in row. Watching it snow while inside a local hut , sipping chai, and having wireless access at said hut?? Priceless. Did I mention the pow?! Not ten, but pretty darn good!

  130. OMR April 30th, 2014 3:21 pm

    No order, just a few great memories that come to mind:

    -Saw Glen Canyon before it was completely flooded, when Lake Powell was just beginning to fill. (Lucked out that my Dad thought desert camping was the only way to ‘vacation’.)

    -Hiked to Rainbow Bridge when it was still a long hike.

    -Ran Cataract, Desolation, West Water and the Grand Canyons multiple times before age 8. (Lucked out to have a Mom, Dad and older brothers who ran rivers.)

    -1969: at age seven, rode down the Flint Trail to the Maze in the back of a pickup truck with my brother Mark (Dad and brother Stuart in the cab). Camped a week and saw no one else; climbing the old chain ladders up and down the rim to gain access to and from the Maze.

    -1969: rode up the Flint Trail at 2am in the back of a pickup truck in a downpour with my brother Mark, in sleeping bags, having a great adventure while my Dad and older brother, Stuart, “white-knuckled” the muddy road, using the winch three times to escape.

    -Name dropping, but here goes: at age nine, on a ten-day float, ran the Grand Canyon with my Dad and brothers, not knowing and not caring, that the park ranger accompanying us was Edward Abbey.

    -In 2006, spent two weeks with my ageing Mother, in her home town of Perth, Australia. She was as alive for those two weeks, at age 82, as I’ve ever seen her.

    -In 2013, spent three weeks in Northern Spain. Te quiero Espana!

    -Living five minutes from the skin track of a little used (me and one other regular) corner of the highly over-used Wasatch backcountry; but offering high quality, solitary skiing. My advice: get off the beaten path; you’ll be surprised what’s available within a few miles of a huge city (SLC).

    -Felt my Dad’s last heart beat, at age 82, after a long life of showing his family the spiritual life found only outside, in the desert and the mountains.

  131. Lou Dawson April 30th, 2014 4:24 pm

    wow OMR, just wow.

    And guess what? My Dad took myself and two brothers and friends on a long trip into Glen Canyon just when they were filling it, used the nascent lake (just a strip of water down low, to get to Rainbow Bridge trail, Eden in the Desert, Oak Canyon, and a bunch of other now drowned places I only remember with no names). I have photos!



  132. Eric Steig April 30th, 2014 5:49 pm

    Might have said this last year but here goes anyway….

    Coolest yet dumbest: Butt-sliding down a 30° slope in Antarctica that we thought was maybe 200 feet of soft snow, turned out to be about 2000 feet of ice with 1/2 of powder on top, no way to stop. No sense of vertical scale on a remote nunatak in Antarctica. Fortunately, there was a long runout at the bottom, no problem. My friend David said “let’s do that again”. No thanks, I said. Took us three hours to hike get back up to our camp.

    In the top 10: skiing along some glacier on the Juneau Icefield for about 6 hours straight down a gentle slope at night, with Northern Lights for company the entire time.

  133. Lou Dawson April 30th, 2014 7:17 pm

    I like #2 above. It’s like the android in Blade Runner, “I’ve seen things…”


    Thanks for placing your memories here, to live.

    (This here especially for MK.)


  134. Glenn Sliva April 30th, 2014 7:38 pm

    Searching for commitment while skinning up, learning to do it anyway when I’m scared, and being fortunate to travel the back country up the Frying Pan in secret worlds.

    This taught me the way to be truly happy is to really enjoy the times you are. It couldn’t get any better then this.

    Meeting Lou and Lisa at their porta cabin. All priceless. Great thread of comments.

  135. Sean Lynch May 1st, 2014 10:17 am

    I don’t have a list because I took my first backcountry turns at the end of this season but…

    #1 Took the Avy1 class with the Jackson Hole Mountain Guides and during the course of the class, did my first real backcountry tour.

    This time next year I’ll have a better list 🙂

  136. JQ May 1st, 2014 7:13 pm

    Ashcrofters 1963
    The next 50 years just followed that lead
    Thanks Dave & Sherry

  137. Richard May 2nd, 2014 7:12 am

    Loving everyones responses! Here’s mine:

    1. Snowboarding down Mt Billy Mitchell, the Chugach in March 2012 – best season in AK since snow was invented. 🙂
    2. 3 days snow camping and split boarding on the Razorback and Mt Feathertop in Australia, yes, ❗ Australia.
    3. Taking the train to the highest point on the Oslo-Bergen (Norway) rail line in late spring and skiing / walking / camping for 3 days back all the way to the fjords.
    4. Watching the sun set over the ocean from 2,300m above sea level on a glacier on the west coast of New Zealand, possibly with a single malt scotch.
    5. Enjoying a beer in the Fukiage volcanic hot spring after a day split boarding on Furano-dake (Hokkaido, Japan).
    6. Traverse from Barron Saddle Hut to Mueller Hut in the Mt Cook backcountry, New Zealand.
    7. Flying from Anchorage in a ski plane and landing on Judd Lake (frozen!) at the base of the Tordrillos, Alaska.
    8. Heli-boarding in the Arrowsmith range, South Island New Zealand in September 2012 after a 2 metre storm.
    9. A week splitboard touring in the Selkirks at Durrand Glacier Chalet.
    10. Having an entire lift and bowl to ourselves (Me and 3 friends) for the afternoon at Temple Basin, New Zealand.

  138. Bob May 3rd, 2014 11:20 am

    To add to my 9/13/10 post, under “reserved for future adventures:”
    – 2 attempts to ski the Grand, I’ll get it yet.
    – One day traverse of the three Truchas peaks and Pecos wilderness in New Mexico
    – Many sublime days skiing the NM bc with friends.

  139. Grant Alexander May 4th, 2014 2:16 pm

    Cool Thread

    1. Hiked to the top of Mt Katahdin all by myself on a bluebird day
    2. Backcountry Skied in Iceland with my 3 best friends
    3. Got caught in an avalanche in Chile and broke my leg (not cool)
    4. Made about a million friends in Chile before and after I broke my leg (very cool)
    5. Solo camped for the first time in a park outside of the SF bay area
    6. Woke up at the base of Tuckerman’s Ravine and climbed up right gully as the sun rose on a bluebird day. Not another soul was in the Ravine…
    7. Spent 27 days in the Waddington Range (not as fun as it sounds…)
    8. Made friends with the Brazilian Snowboard Team (kind of like a Jamaican bobsled team)
    9. I once encouraged Ingrid Backstrom to huck a 40 footer at Squaw when she was a bit nervous. She thanked me 🙂
    10. Met Bill Briggs in Wyoming, one of my heroes 🙂

  140. Don Gisselbeck May 4th, 2014 6:25 pm

    Great thread, wish I had time to read all of it.
    1) Spent the night in a snow cave above Montana Snowbowl wearing cotton waffle underwear. (It was the 70s)
    2) Learnt to sail a lanteen rigged dugout canoe.
    3) Skied up a peak in the Cabinets with klister and fir needles substituting for skins.
    4) Saw a wolverine on Logan Pass on my 50th birthday.
    5) Skied the NE couloir on Homer Young ‘s.
    6) Skied the cirque west of Storm Lake Pass.
    7) Skied 3000 vert of 4 in of perfect 3 day old spring powder above Lake Como.
    8) “Skied” suncups on the Grinnell Glacier.
    9) Skied and pond skimmed the Salamander Glacier (multiple times).
    10) Saw a wolverine while I was skate skiing at Lolo Pass.

  141. GeorgeT May 4th, 2014 7:27 pm

    Ten Cool Backcountry Adventures
    1. Trapping mink, muskrat and raccoons as an 11 year old kid solo. Surviving a raccoon attack — it leapt for my neck but instead chomped on my leather jacket (~1974).
    2. Winter camping as a snot-nosed kid in Wisconsin, burning my sleeping bag and laughing all night with friends (1975)
    3. Getting lost at the age of 12 while hunting in Northern Wisconsin. Pucker factor was amped when I heard Timber Wolves howling (1975).
    4. Floating the Wisconsin River in a canoe with my brother. Same with Prairie River floats (Age 13-17).
    5. Fully sponsored expedition in 1985 for 6 weeks outside Tacoma, WA. Camping, hiking, climbing mountains, tactical maneuvers and fully sponsored by the US Army.
    6. Five-day drop camp below Avalanche Pass with my son, Scott (2009). Walking among bighorns, mulies and marmots.
    7. Ski huts with my wife and sons (2000-2008) – Especially Braun Huts.
    8. Skiing down to Janet’s Cabin under a full-moon with my future wife (2001).
    9. Seven day solo hunt during the elk rut in West Elks (2010). Bull elk bugling outside my tent at 4 AM., scared I would be trampled and laughing the next morning…priceless.
    10. Unknown…but likely to include mountains, family, friends and gemutlichkeit or people eating tasty animals (PETA).

  142. RPiltingsrud May 16th, 2014 10:20 am

    Hiked (on a packed snowmobile trail) up to Uncle Bud’s dragging 100lbs of beer and gear (and skis) in a sled behind me in the middle of the night, alone, and then digging a trench, throwing the pulk over the trench and bagging out. That was awesome.

    Either of the two Alps hut-to-hut trips I’ve done. Phenomenal and unlike anything I’ve found in the US

    Rainier. I’ve never seen shades of blue like that before or since.

    Bathing naked in icy streams all over the world with my backcountry buddy, Ted.

    Our first backcountry abortion trips in and around Camp Hale. Ted again.

    Any of the times I carried any of my children into the treeline.

    Skiing Conquistador with about two inches of snow on the ground and gliding over the grass praying there weren’t any rocks waiting for us.

    Glissading down the long ass slope between Grays and Torreys. Ted

    Approaching the saddle on the Swiss/Austrian border in a white out, wondering how in the hell we were going to get over the 15 foot tall cornice that blocked our route a hundred meters ahead of us, then realizing it was 10 inches tall and right in front of our faces

    That weird humanoid thing we saw in the white out on the way up to Camp Muir. Anybody else?

  143. Lou Dawson May 16th, 2014 10:33 am

    Nice RP, thanks!

    Indeed, time for Yeti sightings to make it into the mix.

  Your Comments

  Recent Posts

Facebook Twitter Email Instagram Youtube

WildSnow Twitter Feed


  • Blogroll & Links

  • Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

    All material on this website is copyrighted, the name WildSnow is trademarked, permission required for reproduction (electronic or otherwise) and display on other websites. PLEASE SEE OUR COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK INFORMATION.

    We include "affiliate sales" links with most of our blog posts. This means we receive a percentage of a sale if you click over from our site (at no cost to you). None of our affiliate commission links are direct relationships with specific gear companies or shopping carts, instead we remain removed by using a third party who manages all our affiliate sales and relationships. We also sell display "banner" advertising, in this case our relationships are closer to the companies who advertise, but our display advertising income is carefully separated financially and editorially from our blog content, over which we always maintain 100% editorial control -- we make this clear during every advertising deal we work out. Please also notice we do the occasional "sponsored" post, these are under similar financial arrangements as our banner advertising, only the banner or other type of reference to a company are included in the blog post, simply to show they provided financial support to WildSnow.com and provide them with advertising in return. Unlike most other "sponsored content" you find on the internet, our sponsored posts are entirely under our editorial control and created by WildSnow specific writers.See our full disclosures here.

    Backcountry skiing is dangerous. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. Due to human error and passing time, the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow owners and contributors of liability for use of said items for ski touring or any other use.

    Switch To Mobile Version