Monster week! This is by far the most vert I've logged touring in the mountains since I moved back East. It's incredible how all of the winter activity has allowed me to put in big days and still have the energy to do it again the next day or go for an afternoon run. Monday and Tuesday were more or less recovery runs from the Inferno but Wednesday I was able to get in a decent workout doing 6 x 800s in a flat neighborhood. That afternoon Hilary and I met up with Josh Flanagan and his dog to go lap a frozen Hillman's Highway and call it good. Thursday Josh and I biked up the Kanc at a moderate pace and nothing is easy about the five mile climb especially with my current gearing. After that I ended up doing a loop around Silver Lake with Double J who pushed the pace faster than I ever would have tried on spent legs but it was a good workout. Friday I met up with Tristan Williams to go check off a few runs next to Hillman's, Dodge's in particular as well as Stove Pipe. Although the ambient temperature was typical of Spring conditions, the northeast wind prevented the snow from softening up. Although this results in crappy snow it does up the level of technical skiing and is something I have a lot of admiration for, those athletes who can perform in sub-optimal conditions.
I followed up Friday with another great day up on Washington, this time with the NE Rando Crew. We were surprised that the northeast winds again kept the conditions firm until 10:30 or so for the zones with prominent sun exposure while other runs with northeast aspects never softened up. We lapped the snowfields a few times before descending down the Lip, up the Chute, down the headwall, and finally down Dodge's Drop. All I can say is that I was worked up before that last run. The skier's left entry is steep but also has much more exposure to rocks and small cliffs as the fall line is away from the main chute. The snow was also frozen and crusty. The run doesn't really let up until you're well below the drop. It feels great to check it off and I look forward to skiing it with better conditions and a lot more relaxed!
Sunday I was registered for the Patriot Day 5-miler in Portland. It's a race I've done a couple times and my goal is to keep a consistent running schedule in the face of doing all these other sports. But Sunday morning the weather was too nice to even think about spending three hours in a car and it was clear that my priority was to get more skiing in. I had to remount a ski first and I didn't get on the trail until 11am but I packed relatively light and I was able to make it to the Auto Road in a couple hours. There was still enough snow to ski quite a ways down to the Jewel Trail Junction next to the Cog. Airplane Gully had great coverage and is a nice long run. It wasn't very technical but has a nice even pitch to it before relaxing as it drops down to the base of the Great Gulf. I didn't go down as far as I could have but it wouldn't have been worth it. The boot pack was also excellent so thanks to those who lapped it ahead of me.
The plan was to head back to Pinkham but I met a guy at the top who recommended we take Turkey Chute which was basically an entrance further up towards Washington that connects to Airplane halfway down. It was firm but I was able to get first tracks so thanks CJ! Oh, and Squall was with me the entire day. He was a trooper, dealing with less than idea dog skiing conditions. We made our way back out of the Gully and I slogged back up to the snowfields and began my descent back to the bowl. I thought I'd ski the Lip because it's the most direct but when I got to the choke I realized that it wasn't worth the risk for Squall. Instead we traversed under Sluice and down along Lunch Rocks. There was some great snow in that area although risky because it's exposed to icefall above. It was an interesting few days of skiing though - not the best conditions but still a ton of skiing and was pleased with how much snow is still up there. Looking forward to spending a little more time in the Great Gulf and continuing to check off new runs!
Run: 32.2 mi | 2,575'
Backcountry: 22,503' | Mt. Washington
Bike: 46.2 mi | Kanc climb