Monday, May 02, 2011

Flesher Pass and beyond

Jim Heckel ponders whether he'll ski off this snow berm.
There was plenty of uphill on this Continental Divide trip that was highlighted by fabulous clouds.  This will have to count as my 63rd birthday photo.

Those are the Anaconda Hills in the background
The rock on the Continental Divide Trail between Flesher and Rogers passes is a brilliant red.
What started as a Flesher to Rogers run ended as an out and back, but covered more than 11 hours of great spring backcountry skiing Sunday.
The long and arduous Flesher-Rogers trip involves multiple small summits and lots of trail-finding even though this is part of the Continental Divide Trail.  The trail is easy to follow in the summer, but is so full of snow right now that it is easier to veer off course.
And, that's what we did.
I'd estimate we covered about 40 percent of the distance of the run before turning around and heading back; but I think we did the bulk of the elevation gain and loss.  Jim Heckel, who carries a watch that estimates these things, says we did over 4,000 feet of elevation gain.
We miscalculated a spot where the trail crosses over between the Anaconda and Canyon creek drainages and telemarked low into a spot that we had to regain.
By the time we actually arrived at that destination we figured it would be better to turn around than ski out to Rogers Pass in the dark.
On the way back I caused some consternation when I got separated from the group and side-hilled around where they were, proving once again not to leave a group without specific intentions and announcements to prevent chaos.
I'm quite certain of the full route now, even without trail signs, and would love to do this marathon ski again some spring.
With the weather we've been having, who knows, maybe yet this spring.

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