Friday, April 26, 2013

A few days in Moab

This past weekend Geoff Lane was kind enough to let us join him on a trip that was supposed to be with our buddy Craig.  I knew that Geoff was of half a mind to go down by himself to ponder the meaning of life and death and reflect on the loss of Craig and the ferocious emotions that battered him particularly hard the week prior, but the possible angst of him doing so alone was painful for me, Brother Paul, and (unbeknownst to Geoff) his wife Heidi, so Paul and I happily invited ourselves along.   We brought plenty to keep us busy:  mountain bikes, skis and accoutrements, rock shoes/rope/rack, running shoes, and plenty of Craig-appropriate refreshments:

Even though Geoff was unsurprisingly keen to do a lap on the White Rim, Paul and I were able to talk him out of that (the three of us had done a total of about 6 rides this year!) and it seemed like a good way to get overly saddle sore at best and tweak our IT bands for weeks at worst.  So we found ourselves on the relatively new Mag 7 trails near the Gemini Bridges that we rode last fall.  I didn’t get any shots from this weekend, but for a flavor here are some pics from the fall day:


On Sunday we had a great time trying to ride every inch of trail in that area and were able to keep ourselves busy for over 6 hours, so while it wasn’t as “fulfilling” as the WRAD, we were sufficiently torched but not blown enough to enjoy the next couple of days.     

The next day we headed up into the La Sals to do some skiing.  I had only skied the La Sals once before, on a memorable weekend of late-March deep blower powder in nineteen hundred and ninety-five, if memory serves.  But that was so long ago that it was essentially new, and this weekend we realized that we had neglected it for way too long.  The La Sals are super accessible with a plowed road that goes up over 9000 feet and the peaks are over 12k, so there’s plenty of snow and terrain to be had quickly.  It was a pretty short day since we were tired from the prior day’s riding and the fact that the snow was going to be going off in the afternoon, but we were able to ski two ~2000 foot lines off Tukuhnikivatz (“Tuk”) and Tuk No (it’s actual name).  Here are some of Geoff’s pics:
Paul booting up the summit ridge of Tuk No with Canyonlands looming in the distance.

Paul just below one of the "Rectangle Chutes" off the summit of Tuk No

me starting into the right Rectangle Chute

being a cool mountain guy, apparently. 

We had the good fortune to hook up with our friend Teague, who had just tried a full traverse of the La Sals a few days before; details here:
 who skied a couple of cool short, steep chutes off the Tuk ridge. And we met a handful of other Salt Lakers who were there doing the same. 

An awesome campsite overlooking the lifetimes of desert adventuring with our peaks looming behind us with a near-full moon standing guard capped a great day. 

The next day we hit up Elephant Butte, which is the highest point in Arches (not saying that much) that’s one part hike, one part technical scramble, and one part canyoneering.  Easy and quick, with just enough “technical” to keep the Arches hordes at bay.  

A bit of scrambling

A little canyoneering

it's true that there are little green men on Mars!

G Lane, pondering life

According to the beta we had, "one of the most beautiful sights in the world."  Hard to disagree that day. Tuk No is the second peak from the right (above the pass at the far right of the photo)
I must say, for some years I had sort of written off Moab as too crowded with joeys and jeeps, too little singletrack, too little canyoneering, etc and had spent more time in the Zion area, San Rafael Swell, Robber's Roost, and other desert areas, but the last few times I've been there it's been regaining its stature in my mind; there's a lot of fun stuff to do there, and it's easy to stay away from the hordes with a modicum of creativity/exploration. 

A weekend of fun like that doesn’t make up for the loss of a good friend, but it’s a good reminder that there’s a lot of awesome stuff to do and a lot of great people to do it with. 

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