On the plus side, everything we encountered on our lap off of Highlands Ridge was better than we expected. Of course in full disclosure we had all set the bar pretty low.
Deeming it an important product research/ snow conditions survey, Dirk checked out of the Aspen Expeditions office on an extra long lunch– and along with Jesse Durrance and Adam Dennis, the four of us made the run off the west side of Highlands. Now midway through the season, the snowpack still leaves much to be desired insofar as depth and quality, but with the avalanche danger having subsided a bit lately, we thought we would go check things out.
The hasty snowpit confirmed lousy but acceptable conditions, it was clear from the abundance of facets and dearth of layers that a good back seat technique combined with some downhill momentum would come in handy. So, much like another recent foray into the backcountry– keep those Tips Up!
Actually, like that day, it skied pretty OK, and it only improved as we got lower down. In fact the middle stretches skied really well.
The exit– usually the most challenging stretch of these runs due to thick willows, shallow snow and tight gullies– didn’t put up much of a fight. And the final crux of any run off off Highlands Ridge– the creek crossing– wasn’t too bad either. That is, after Adam went first and determined the easiest way. FYI- take your skis off.
It was fun to ski with Jesse, Adam and Dirk and a great ‘one and done’ day for me. I’m just guessing that Dirk agrees– it was a productive lunch hour(or two) for him. He makes the nine to five office hour thing seem pretty manageable.