Two weekends ago I escaped for a day at Arapahoe Basin. I couldn’t convince any kids to go, but that didn’t stop me.
For the first time that I can remember, the East Wall was open! I’ve skied here for nearly 30 years, but rarely late in the season when the wall opens up (some seasons it never opens). Well, I figured it might be my only chance. And I figured I could survive it, so I took the 20 minute hike.
This shot shows the hike up and along the ridge to First Notch, the run I did. It’s not quite as tight as it looks here, the bottom half is pretty wide as you see in another shot below.
After the first steep section of the hike, there was still a long way to go. As you can see, there were many more people taking advantage of the experience. This is probably the closest I’ll ever come to climbing Everest. It was cold and windy, and the ridge was very narrow after you get past the summit.
There were a couple other folks at the top next to me. They seemed a bit hesitant to drop in, but I was rather excited. The alternative is to hike another 10 minutes to the top of North Pole, supposedly an easier run, though I’ve never been there.
Here’s a look back up into the notch. There are two skiers above me, one coming down through the narrowest part. (So, if they had been hesitant, perhaps the site an old, fat dude getting through so easily shamed them into it.)
This was certainly the most memorable run I’ve done in many years. (A couple of runs in Utah and Jackson Hole also stick out.) It wasn’t really all that difficult, and probably not even the hardest run I did that day. The snow was soft, but packed down enough to make turning easy. The hard part was, by far, the hike up.