I’ve always wanted to do the big tours and traverses solo and as quick as I liked. I’m not into setting any speed records; I simply want to experience the feeling of going fast, all day, every day, for days on end. So when my boss asked me if I was interested in skiing the
As the start date came nearer, plans changed and the trip grew. I eventually planned to ski the Kearsarge Extension, and budgeted three days.
I left my house early on the morning of the first of May, and after a sunrise drive arrived at the defunct Wolverton Ski Area. Change clothes, a final mug of espresso, and I was on my way at noon.
I was able to put on my skis only 15 minutes after leaving the car, and steadily climbed up Panther Creek and on towards
The pre-dawn light woke me at 5:15am, and I cursed when I realized I could be skiing already. I was on the go by 6:30am, and made quick work crossing
I woke up at 4:30am to clear skies and was climbing up towards
What a fool I am.
Deerhorn Saddle was completely melted out, so I was forced to hike down 300 feet to snow on the other side. Since Verdette Creek runs north-south, and is framed by the tall peaks of Stanford, Ericson, East Verdette and
Shit. The shore was only 10 feet to my right, but I knew that these little glacier-carved lakes could quickly drop off in that distance. I sank in past my boot tops and kept sinking. Shit. The water was really slush, half-ice, and it took a few moments before my boots started to fill. Shit. The water was passing my knees, and I started struggling to reach the edge of the hole that had formed around me. Shit. I sank to mid-thigh just as I leaned over and got my arms and poles on the firmer ice.
Then I stopped sinking. Oh wow. Cold. A careful shuffling half-step to the right let me leaver my body out onto stronger ice. But I was still in the shade, cold, wet, and I still needed to get out. So I kept skiing.
In hindsight, I know I had grown too comfortable with the ice. I have a lot of sea-ice travel experience, and I’m comfortable moving about it. But this easily could have been much, much worse. I still skied across lakes – there were two more below this one and
A little further and I came across my first recent ski tracks. Someone was climbing up Verdette Creek, and had followed the east side of the valley while I was skiing down the west. I must have just missed them.
I continued to ski down to Bubs Creek, looking across at the bare brown wall that I knew lead up to
In the morning I was able to walk 500 feet down the road and get a reliable cell phone call for my ride. Connie showed up a few hours later with coffee and a cinnamon roll to take me home.