Mount Rainier – Skiing the Fuhrer Finger (14 May 2018)

I have a long history with Mount Rainier. I was just 14 years old when our plane flew alongside her and I was mesmerized – so much that I decided I wanted to go to college in Seattle, just so I could be close to Mount Rainier. But, after visiting the University of Washington campus and being disappointed, I set my sights elsewhere and ended up in Boulder. Still, Mount Rainier hung in my mind. My dad and I eventually climbed her in the mid-90’s, fully guided with RMI. The famed Dave Hahn was our lead guide.

But, then became a ski mountaineer and my eyes gazed back to Mount Rainier. I needed to ski her. Two previous volcano-skiing trips to the Pacific Northwest were fruitful, but did not give ample opportunity for skiing Rainier. After missing last ski season due to injury, and coming back to a rather mediocre season in Colorado, I needed something. I needed a big goal, something that would be the highlight of my season. I decided that would be Rainier.

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TR: Keller Mountain North Couloir (27 April 2018)

Keller Mountain is one of many Gore Range peaks that beckon backcountry skiers from CO-9, south of Silverthorne. A north-facing couloir strikes down from Keller Mountain’s ridge, and I studied this couloir every time I traveled between Steamboat and back. I meant to ski the Keller Mountain North Couloir a few years back while researching routes for our guidebook. But, the timing never quite worked out. So, there it stood – waiting. But 2018 is a good year for the Gore Range. And it was time to go ski that line that struck me during all those trips to the northern part of our state.

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TBT TR: East Partner Peak (Peak V) – 10 April 2006

East Partner Peak (Peak V) holds a special place in my heart. It was my first “Gore Range Mission”, and I skied it back in 2006 with some of my favorite backcountry skiing partners – Mark Cavaliero and Dave Bourassa. Since over 12 years have passed since we skied this route, I don’t remember exact details. In fact, only some of the details came alive when I started sorting through the pictures again. But, I do remember we started in the dark, and I remember it was a long day – probably the longest day I’d had in the backcountry up to that point. I also remember the exhilaration and excitement I felt exploring a new area on skis, and the potential for lines everywhere.

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TR: West Partner Peak (Peak U) – 25 April 2018

2006 was also the year that Dave, Mark and I skied Peak V together, otherwise known as East Partner Peak (look for a Throwback trip report later this week). That was my first Gore Range expedition and the last for many years as I undertook my goal of skiing all of Colorado’s fourteeners. Devoid of higher elevation peaks, the Gore Range sat waiting for me until I finished my goal. But, in recent years I’ve enjoyed exploring this unique and hard to navigate area. Earlier in the week, I had mentioned to Dave that Frank and I were hoping to head north for some skiing in the Gore Range as they were holding a decent amount of snow. Mark had the week off too, and it only seemed fitting to ski West Partner Peak, completing the Partner pair, with some of the best partners I’ve had in backcountry skiing.

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TBT: Backcountry skiing in Fernie (2/23/2010)

The account below is one small piece of a series of posts documenting our road trip to Montana and interior British Columbia in February, 2010. Stops included Bridger, Whitefish, Fernie, Roger’s Pass, Kicking Horse, Revelstoke, Whitewater, and Red (Rossland). This unforgettable adventure was made possible by the generosity of strangers – now friends – who time and time again let us crash on their floors or in their guest rooms, and then guided us around some of the best terrain that they knew. We were lucky to have this in almost every place we stopped.

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Tony Saracelli – A Tribute

Tony Saracelli was the quiet confident sort. Despite his Italian heritage, he was not the boisterous kind. He was humble beyond words. And liked to share his world with others. A pizza delivery guy by night and ski bum by day, Tony was a fantastic ski partner and took precautions to keep everyone safe – more pre-cautions than I have seen the average backcountry skier take. He was far too well aware of how dangerous backcountry skiing could be. But he was incredibly generous and loved skiing more than life.

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