Taylor Pass: a remote escape February 02 2015
Tony & I prepared and packed all the ski gear before returning to the shop for a couple more hours of work late Saturday night. We'd just been out with Sam - a huge Bernese Mountain dog for a fast pace skin/ski - returning to the car at dusk. The sunset ski had left us wanting more and a trip to Taylor Pass (Gold Hill Plateau as I often like to call it) appeared to be the answer.
Taylor Pass is accessed via driving Castle Creek, parking at Ashcroft and skinning 4-6 miles up Express Creek. The area offers low angle bowls facing every direction meaning that we can always find wind. The only caveat being that in a whiteout - you're asking to get lost. There's more than a few stories of cold bivouacs behind that statement! (thankfully none of them are mine)
On a clear day you can see all the way to the Flat Tops and beyond, but the most beautiful part of the view is Cathedral Peak and it's jaw dropping couliors to the North. Lines that beckon to be skied by those with a passion for steep and narrow. An accomplished climber, Tony has done more than his share of laps on Cathedral, but we may yet make a skier out of him and get him to strap on a set of boards for the way down.
I've been carrying around a new canopy design the last 4 days waiting for wind. When the wind does not come to you - instead, you must go find the wind! Yes - that means a trip to Ashcroft. The new canopy is a smaller size designed to provide reduced power. It will broaden our product options in keeping with the needs of those with stronger air at lower altitude. But, its small size and reduced power didn't hold me back from climbing 35deg slopes at 12,000ft! Please fit another day of "testing" into my work schedule ASAP!!
ps. additional awesomeness: the new design reduces bulk and cuts a pound of weight - always of great significance to those of us making long approaches in green boots!