We spent last night out at 11,300 feet up behind Aspen Mountain ski area. It could have been colder, but some gusty wind gave it the edge. Louie and I slogged our pulk sleds up from the valley. I feel like a 10th Mountain Division vet I met once, who said “after the 10th, I vowed to never ski uphill again.” I’ll paraphrase that and say “after Denali, I’ll never ever ever strap on a sled again.” Following is the report and photos I sent via my satphone from inside our tent.
Slogging with a pig isn’t my favorite mountain recreation. I’d rather eat pork than be tortured by it. But hauling a cargo sled is the best way to move poundage up a flat glacier, so we tow the “pig” during our practice trip so we’re ready for the big one.
Problem is, the pig puts some weird stresses on your body. The trace rods anchor to your hip belt and dig into your pelvis, and no matter how hard you try to walk smooth you still get a little jerky push/pull as the momentum of the sled doesn’t match your body motion.
But you progress if you keep your nose down and think good thoughts. In that way, Louie and I did the 4 mile 2,400 vertical foot slog up the Little Annie Road to our campsite here at 11,300 feet on Richmond Ridge behind Aspen Mountain ski resort.
We’ve got two Hilleberg tents set up, myself and Louie in one, Joe, Tyler, Colby in the other. And we’ve of course got our huge Golite “circus” tent set up as the dining hall. It was windy last night, but not a gale. Now, as morning light glows our red tent walls, it’s still and I can hear fresh snow pattering as we get what sounds like a decent accumulation.
Main purpose of this trip is to dial gear. To that end, I can see that having a chair system for blogging in the tent is essential. Also need to work on my electronics a bit more, such as adding a barrel connector to my Brunton battery connector splitter. Also will need thin gloves with the fingers cut out, for typing.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.