Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Skiing? Really?

I have always said self-righteously that I am saving skiing and aid climbing for when I am old and decrepit. I suppose I must be hitting that certain age, because recently I found myself skinning uphill with not much more than a thermos of hot drink in my pack, only to turn around at the top and ski back down. Even worse, I caught myself having fun. Who would have thought it would ever come to this? Hanging from gear and calling it climbing cannot be far behind.

Mt. Whymper along the Radium Highway. By the time eponymous Edward made its first ascent, he was far less fit and drank far more than when he made the first ascent of the Matterhorn that made him (in)famous.

Juan Henriquez putting his head down on the way up, with the delights of Haffner Creek far below.

I have heard it said that ski mountaineering begins when the skis come off. If so, then Eamonn Walsh is a ski mountaineer par excellence.

Scott Withers skinning across the sastrugi on the summit plateau.

Juan having a blast on the way down. Who says there is never good snow in the Rockies? I suppose though that "good" is a relative term. 

Another time, another place. On a late-spring attempt on the Moonflower Buttress on Mt. Hunter in Alaska, at one point we ran out of ice  and gumption and resorted to a tension traverse. Such tactics are best reserved for a ripe old age.


  1. Welcome to that "certain age" where actually having some fun in the mountains is a good thing although I was surprised to see Eamonn there with you. Isn't he too young to have fun?

  2. I know, I am feeling really guilty for actually having fun in the mountains. I will have to go out and flagellate myself at some point. But as far as Eamonn is concerned, this season he has been spending a lot more time on boards than on tools. I suppose we are all getting long in the tooth...