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Photos of the Week | Skiing Devil’s Castle… in JULY!

7:00 AM

Depart from Park City and head down Parley’s to the valley so that we can pick up Kyle. We loaded up the truck and passed by BCC and pointed south towards Little Cottonwood Canyon.

8:00 AM

We reach the top of LCC, hop out the truck and start planning our tour. Not much snow to be found overall. All south faces are dry to the bone. North facing slopes in shaded spots have retained some snow. Our eyes set up the basin to the top of Devil’s Castle. A big snow field still exist underneath the rock. That’s our goal.

8:11 AM

We click our boots into our skis and throw everything onto our packs to prepare for the hike up Albion Basin Road. It’s a casual hike, but a slog nonetheless with all the weight of an airbag and gear on my back. 

9:20 AM

Snow! The three of us finally reach enough snow to start our tour. Packs all drop to the grass, boots get clicked in, and skins get thrown on. With how hot it was, we decided to throw a fresh layer of wax on our skins to counter the wetness of snow ahead of us.

9:38 AM

The snow is interesting, and we picked a steep line. So steep, we decided to start bootpacking. Mike found out quickly that the snow was not consistent, nor hard packed. He fell through down to his waist, smacking a rock as he crushed through the snowpack.

10:22 AM

Snow has gotten worse! We finally reached the large snowfield below the base of Devil’s Castle and the snow can barely hold a ski’s edge. Two confident steps forward get you thinking the snow is better, then the third step would have you sliding 10 feet downhill. It was a defeating march uphill. 

10:33 AM

We head for drier ground. The touring just wasn’t worth the last 300 vert. We got to the exposed ridge, threw our skis onto our packs, and decided to ascend the last bit by climbing. The rock was unstable, but much more stable than the snow below. We cleaned a few sections, feeling like true mountaineers before reaching the top of the ridge. 

11:15 AM

The chute has been reached at a peak elevation on our tour of 10,816ft. Is it an official chute? Doubtful. But due to the snow melt, it’s a deep patch of snow between two rock outcroppings. So it’s a chute. It looked sketchy, about a ski’s width wide, covered in mank snow, pitched at a modest 30degrees with another 20deg off axis too.  

11:17 AM

After inspecting the chute’s exit, and not confident in my July ski legs, or lack there of, we let Mike get first dibs on it. Thankfully we did, since he just scraped off all the surface crud for Kyle and I. 

11:22 AM

The three of us make it through the chute, even if we all didn’t make a single turn down it and side-slipped the whole thing. It was still epic! Now it’s time to head down the slope. The snow is sun-cupped to hell, with moon-like craters all over the place. Edges still hold well, and turns were fun, with spring, corn snow spraying everywhere.

11:30 AM

We finally reach the drainage and start our snow/route finding adventure. Every time we think we reached the end of the snow, we side step our way up a hill and find some more snow to slide on. Surprisingly enough, we almost made it back to the hiking trail on skis!

11:40 AM

Packs back on the ground and loaded up with our skis and boots. The ski tour was over and we couldn’t have been more stoked. 

12:30PM

After trudging down the 4×4 roads, and loosing the trail a few times due to snow, we reached the truck. Stoked that we just earned some turns on a hot day in July. No matter how poor the snow conditions were, it’s hard to complain about skiing on feet of snow in July. The whole thing took us 4 hours and 21 minutes to go 7.1 miles and 2,000 feet of vertical gain. Epic day was had!

To see the full photo album, click the link below:

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Moraine Lake| Banff National Park, Canada

The first alarm goes off at 4:30AM. Canada’s northern summer prevents the sun from every really setting, so it was still technically bright out when we rolled out of our tent. Court, Gregor, and I were all so exhausted, but we knew it’d be worth it. The one thing everyone, continuously told us we had to do while we were in Banff National Park was to catch sunrise at Moraine Lake. We got dressed as quickly as possible and all hopped into the truck and punched in Moraine Lake into the GPS. Turns out, the map of the park makes …

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Hike Mount Olympus (Utah)

You know that one hike, that everyone “seems” to have done, but is still on your bucket list? Well, Mt. Olympus was that one for me.  Mount Olympus, like many other mountain peaks, looms over the Salt Lake Valley below. It’s an intimidating mountain to look at when driving down I-215 South. And even though it’s only 9,030′ tall, it’s legendary status to those who live here. It is just one of those peaks, that no matter where you’re standing in Salt Lake, you can look up and see it towering above. And finally, on June 16th, Court, Gregor, and …

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Little Wild Horse Slot Canyon

Little Wild Horse Canyon is an awesome slot canyon, and one I can’t recommend enough to anyone looking to hike their first slot canyon. Located just outside of Goblin Valley State Park in the South-Central region of Utah’s desert, it’s only a 4hr drive from Salt Lake City and 2hrs from Moab. The canyon itself is stunningly beautiful, with eroded sandstone walls that you could spend a lifetime exploring. The best part about this experience, is that it isn’t a technical route. That means, no ropes (or canyoneering experience) is required. Simply lace up those hiking boots and follow the …

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Midweek MTB Race Series

Your heart rate is sky high, pumping at 170+ bpm for an hour straight. You’re chasing the rider in front of you, waiting for the moment to pass. You see the inside turn open up, you instinctually yell out, “On your left!”  You make the pass and then have your eyes set on the next rider a few switchbacks away. One down, and everyone else to go! That’s what it’s like, for me, riding in Utah’s Midweek Mountain Bike Race Series. From that description you’d think it’s some hardcore, CAT1 race series. Except, it couldn’t be anything further from the …

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Mountain Biking with your Dog

Riding mountain bikes with my dog Gregor has made mountain biking even more fun than ever thought was possible. Gregor just turned a year old and can really keep up when we ride now-a-days. I’ve been riding with Gregor since he was a little pup, but back then those rides were quite short. Started out with 1-mile rides, getting him used to running near the bike without getting hurt. Since then, he’s lead me up some of the steepest sections in Park City.

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