Saturday, March 13, 2010

Mother Nature is a Big Fat Jerk

We had a plan: Climb Mt. Leatherman and ski the north face.

Mother nature had a plan: Ruin matt irving's day. Thanks a lot, Mother Nature. Mission accomplished.

Ok, so i guess, regardless of the weather, our plan probably wouldn't have panned out. First off, i don't ski that well, second, it's a big hike, and i was tired. Well......actually, we probably would have figured it out if we could have seen anything but whatever. . . . let me start at the beginning.

Mark, Hairy and I left Idaho Falls around 3ish and made our way west. Our goal was Mackay,
but we weren't in a huge hurry, so when we were driving through Arco, we noticed something interesting so we stopped. It was the top part of an old de-commissioned submarine that had been on about 15 missions to the north pole. We found all this out just after we climbed down from the top of it. A man came over followed by the sheriff and some other lady who was taking pictures of my car. We ended up talking to the guy (richard) and found out he was in WWII in the Navy and had spent most of his time on surface ships, but had been on a few submarine stints. The sheriff told us it was illegal to be on the sub/monument and he could technically fine us for trespassing (NO SIGNS ANYWHERE), but since we made friends with Richard, i think he decided not to do anything.

We left Arco and made our way up north to Mackay, stopping briefly to throw some shoes up in a tree full of shoes.
After the shoe slinging, we drove up a side canyon and set up camp. It was early, so we decided to watch a movie on Mark's laptop (zombieland. . . . AWESOME). Afterwards, we packed for the next day and went to bed. When i say went to bed, i mean i got in my sleeping bag. Our tent was on a slope, so i just kept sliding to the bottom of my bag all night. ug. i HATE that. More than anything. Seriously.

I woke up at 5 and had to wake everyone else up. After breakfast, we geared up and headed out. Hiking was easy at first, but when the snow became deep, we put the skins on and started skiing up. The logging road we were on was super mellow going up. It didn't stay that way for too long. Eventually, it ended and we scoped out a spot that looked like it would be the best way up. It was steep, but doable. At least for a bit.

After about half hour, it became too steep, so we switched the skis for crampons. Those worked great for a while, but as we climbed, we encountered soft snow, so instead of being on top of the snow, we decided to wade through it. When i say "we", i mean Hairy and I. Mark had snowshoes (that he borrowed from me) since he brought a snowboard so he was able to stay on top. Idiot.

This wouldn't have been bad except nobody had a definite idea where we were. Mother nature had blessed us with white-out conditions making it impossible to know if we were on the right ridge, or even the right mountain. Despite all this, we plodded on, switching from crampons to skis and back to crampons before we topped out (or at least we thought we topped out) on the most confusing summit. Turns out it wasn't a summit, but a knoll, but we couldn't tell because we couldn't see anything.

The most confusing point came when mark looked at his compass. What i thought was south, was actually north. I stood there for about 3 minutes trying to wrap my head around this change, but i couldn't. All three of us stood on "top", knowing that we weren't on Leatherman, wondering where exactly we were, and how we ended up there. We exchanged glances and promptly headed back down.

After reaching the saddle, Hairy and put our skis on, Mark put his dumboard on, and headed down. When i say "headed down" i mean mark and hairy went down, and i just went deeper into the snow. Just kidding. Even though i've only skied a handful of times, i feel like i did ok, given the conditions. I fell a lot. and by the time i reached the bottom, i was SO TIRED. I wanted to die. All-in-all i had a reasonably good time and might do it again if given the opportunity. Maybe. Actually Probably not.


Brent said...

So maybe a 3 on the fun scale? BTW, AFI was freaking awesome and Davey is the man, even though his hair isn't as cool as it used to be.

Matthew said...

it would have been a 3 had we reached the summit, but since we didn't, i'll have to attempt it again sometime. ug.

Dean Lords said...

Three things to consider:
2. Wait till May when the LRR is at its peak snow depth and avy conditions are low.

Okay, seriously now. INVITE ME.. ok sorry, just had to do that one last time. Exicted to see you guys adventuring in the LRR. It is a place full of suffering, misery, and some of the best alpine experiences i've had. NICE WORK!