(Last Updated On: November 9, 2017)
It’s been ten long months. Ten long months of two surgeries, pain, suffering, frustration, tears, and recovery. But the ten long months culminated today to my first backcountry tour since that fated day in February which crushed any hopes and desires I had for the rest of the ski season. But, today I can finally say, “I’m back”. 🙂
I’d been waiting patiently, but eagerly, for conditions to ripen in the backcountry. I didn’t want to take a chance on early season snowpack with it’s skimp coverage. With a recovering knee, the last thing I need is some “ankle-biter” to get me. Last weekend’s blizzard dropped 3+ feet of snow at the ski area, which means even more fell in the surrounding backcountry. We had to wait all week for the snow to stabilize to something we felt comfortable with skiing.
Originally, Frank and I were planning on heading to the Anthracites. But, Sean Crossen called us on Friday night and suggested we join him and Maeve Nevins on a tour of Rewell Basin off of Red Lady. It was a bigger tour than we had planned, but I couldn’t turn down 3000′ vert of skinning and skiing.
The four of us met at the Slate River winter closure and left a car, as that would be the drainage we followed out. We then headed to the Kebler pass trailhead to begin hiking up Red Lady.
The weather was perfect- bluebird and calm.
A view of Axtel – not quite ready for the skiing action yet.
The upper ridge.
Red Lady bowl is a popular ski, and is one of the few backcountry areas that can be accessed without a sled. Now, I’m no sled-hater, but I hate it when the sledneckers high-mark on the bowl when there is so much other terrain available.
Frank with Whetstone behind.
Sean and Maeve approaching the summit.
One of the best things about summiting Red Lady is the spectacular views this peak has to offer.
On the summit after a 2.5 hour skin!
To get to Redwell Basin we had to do a little 14er skiing practice 😉
But, it was all worth it. The snow did not suck! 3000’+ of creaminess was put the icing on the cake for my first backountry tour back 🙂
Sean dropped into Redwell Basin first.
A view looking back up Redwell Basin.
Maeve busting out some acroski moves at a stream crossing.
The beautiful Slate River Valley.
Temperatures dropped quickly, and now I know what I’ll look like when my hair turns gray 🙂
My knee performed wonderfully through the 5 hours we were out, 3000′ vert of skinning and skiing, and a 45 min hike out from the basin. Perfect weather, wonderful snow, and fantastic company- I couldn’t have asked for a better day to get back into the backcountry 🙂 Thanks Maeve, Sean, and Frank!