We’ve been testing a couple of e-bikes, current steeds being being high-end Haibike mountain bikes powered by “pedal assist” motors goosed with big lithium-ion batteries mounted on the down-tube. After seeing the e-bike craze in Europe during our long spring and summer stint there a year ago, we’ve been keen to purpose e-bikes to solving the ski touring access problems we have here in Colorado, due to springtime roads becoming wheel navigable but gated to automobile traffic — or simply too rough to drive with anything but a real 4×4.
Although this trip was somewhat of a ski traverse, we didn’t exactly intend to just skate along the icefield the entire time. I wanted to move across some country, but also find the time to do fun and rewarding skiing.
By day 7 of our trip, about halfway through, this plan had worked out perfectly. Although we had moved camp every day that we had good weather, we still managed to do quite a bit of good skiing. The conditions were admittedly sub-par on many aspects, but we made do. Our current camp, dubbed “sunset camp” for the awesome displays every evening, was near the top of the icefield. Now that we were at the highest area of the icefield, we decided to stay until we ran out of ski options.
As a working professional (ACMG Ski Guide and CAA Level 3) and an active recreationalist, I’ve seen my fair share of gear over the years. Everything from ski touring boots and bindings that weigh less than my car keys to hard charging, “plug” style AT boots and frame bindings that would slow down an elephant.
During this past season, I spent 110 days skiing uphill. Previously, during periods of work that have been very uphill intensive I’ve opted for light gear to aid in trail breaking efforts and to help conserve energy so I could focus on my guests. Usually the season would end with one or all pieces of my ski touring kit being destroyed due to the lack of durability light gear generally tends to come with. This season, my aim was to not have this happen; to create a ski touring setup that would stand up to a season of abuse, not slow me down on the uphill, and descend well.
After sitting in our yellow dome for a day, we were a bit rested but still quite tired. Nonetheless, when day four of our trip dawned clear, we packed up camp and got on the move.
We roped up and slogged several miles up the Fyles Glacier. At this point it was the middle of a cloudless day, and it was hot. We covered any exposed skin and trudged in silence for several hours, connected by 15 meters of cord. At the end of the long, flat glacier we found ourselves at a steep pass overlooking the Jacobsen Glacier, an area we would explore for the rest of the trip.