Sunday, January 29, 2012

A cache too far

 Great powder overnight and a calm cold morning, everything covered in beautiful ice crystals

 pushing past the new bowl area and going higher, a logged out area at around 1000m
 that will make a nice run on the way back down, stick to the shoulder and avoid stumps
 the summit of Futougamine フトウヶ峰 about 1100m 
 tea time
 the effort is well worth it to get here as the snow quality is so much better and the runs wide
   open and  longer. It takes twice as long as the bowl/glade area though
 still can't get to the cache even though it's only another kilometer from here
I met a guy near the summit who was on his way down, he said it was near impossible to make
it to Dangamine 段が峰 due to deep snow. I postholed once up to my hips, but overall the track
is in great shape and it's easy to make time.
logged about 1000m vertical on the day over 10km with about 30 minutes of downhill ski time

Sunday, January 15, 2012

one step forward two steps back

A new glade to ski, the new bowl is just over the top of the distant hill and connects to the the bottom of the glade on the lower right

halfway down the bowl, it's not huge but it's close to home and free to ski

フトウガ峰 Futougamine in the distance with the bowl nicely carved up, the cache lies even farther beyond that

We finally got the woodstove fixed just after Christmas. It cost a pretty penny but we're still ahead of the game. During the time the stove was down we relied on 2 kerosene heaters plus ran the woodstove on low. For a few years we heated only with wood, then got an electric heater. Now still mainly heating with wood though we use the big kerosene heater early in the morning, before the kids get off to school or when we've been out all day or longer, it's convenient to heat up the house quick before the woodstove gets up to temp, about half an hour or so. I've found over the years that heating completely with wood is possible, but for our situation not entirely practical.

Same for growing crops. I've learned how to plow, plant and tend some crops over the years but not perfectly and not to capacity given time constraints. But it's been fun, if not arduous learning the ropes in the field . I feel confident that it's possible to produce a good portion of our family's food if need be, but time constraints, or is it lifestyle constraints, take their toll. That's why I'll probably be scaling back the hobbyfarming in 2012, and focusing more on my own land, garden, and pursuits.

Finally what probably started off all this back-stepping, our muscovy duck Mr. Brown seems to have flown the coop. I hope he finds what he's looking for, probably heading towards the warmth and sun of the Inland Sea, it is after all, all downhill from here.

Speaking of which the skiing is getting better and better around here and I've found some new routes that've opened up because of the good conditions. Last time out was some of the best backcountry ever. The hike up the mountain gets easier as my legs get accustomed to climbing again and the runs likewise get longer and more plentiful.

Back at it again and conditions have worsened a bit but still good skiing.  We had some heavy rain down here, but I knew it would be snowing up high as usual.  The steep hike up to the ridge is not a chore anymore, but a good warm-up for the main event.  The heavy wet snow was a little worse than thought, made everything slow motion, which is ok with me on the steeps where it can get hairy.

The ridge runs like this for about 2km. Often 45 degrees or better, in some places it is so tempting to just ski off into the unknown, but at this grade and with the amount of snow it'd be a bear to get back up.

Before heading off down the bowl I tell myself to stick to the shoulder, this new snow may be a problem.
Sure enough it has caused the bowl to avalanche.  Just last week I was in the middle there but knew conditions were safer, though I didn't linger long.  Doesn't look like  a major slide but one wouldn't want to be in there when it went. On re-reading Avalanche Aware, this is a  dangerous type of slab avalanche caused by density inversion, heavier snow on top of soft snow.

The lunch kitchen.  I need to put the 2nd cache around here, preferably with a cheezy pop-up beach tent and an old sleeping bag for naptime after a big lunch and a few runs.