Monday, January 12, 2015

Sierra Skiers Anonymous: A 12 Step Program for Those Believing California Still Has a Winter Season.

OK, so the title may seem like all doom and gloom.  But I am sure there are many of you out there, myself included, who bought new powder skis this year to appease the fickle Snow Gods.  And we have paid for our sacrifice with core shots, ripped out edges, and combat skiing galore, even if never leaving the ski area boundary!

Not that skiing has been all bad, there have been some standout days on the ski hill, and the spring corn cycle has been kind of fun, but without much new snowfall to recharge the mountain, I am investing my energy this winter into what IS good, namely the ice and rock climbing, skate skiing and mountain biking.

Recently converted to the dark side of spandex and fanny packs, skate skiing has quickly become my workout of choice.  It is hard to imagine another activity which simultaneously makes every muscle in your body want to explode.  And you can do it with less than a foot of snow on the ground! 

The mountain biking has also been incredible this winter- Lower Rock Creek has been riding with a crispness and tackiness that we could only dream of in the summertime.  With temperatures like what we have been experiencing, one can imagine it will only continue until it snows again.  The road riding is also fantastic, with empty highways and warm breezes, bike touring the Eastside wounds pretty good right now.

But I think that the real standout for me has been the decent condition of our local ice climbing despite these wild temperature fluctuations.  Sure, Main Wall in Lee Vining could be filled in, or Roadside or whatever, but that just won't be happening until it gets cold again.  Until then, getting out at least a couple times per week, I have been able to find fun, climbable ice and had a great time.  

Ian follows up a long pitch in Parker Canyon

Ian leads another great pitch at Parker

Me leading one of the steeper pitches

"Worth the 3 hr. approach!"

The North Gully (Horsetail Falls) in good shape

Leading the first pitch of the N. Gully

Wending through bulges and pillars, midway up the route
 So we can keep making the weather the only topic of conversation, and continue trying to fit square pegs in round holes, but the first step to actually enjoying this winter is accepting that there is a higher power.  And this higher power doesn't have winter as we know it in mind for us, at least not yet, so we better just start learning again how to enjoy what we do have.

No comments: