"I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with the nonhuman world and somehow survives...Paradox and bedrock."-Edward Abbey

21 October 2014

Hardcore Desperation

Mount Sniktau and the Roof of the World as seen from atop the Bull's Head the other day...

A-Basin has opened, being the first such ski area to do so this season. Part of me is amazed by this, given the how little snow there is up on the tundra. Were it not for the wonders of modern technology, this would've never happened.

Desperate skiers and boarders head up, looking for a thrill. There's only one run open, which one meteorological prophet whose gospels I read called a WROD-White Ribbon of Death. I imagine it must be like the hardest of the hardcore surfers on the beach when the first signs of a new season are upon them.

Pass Lake, looking toward A-Basin...

I brought gaiters, microspikes, and had my down sweater in my pack, but needed none of it. Better to be over-prepared than under. My pack thermometer read forty degrees, eight above the temperature of frozen water on the fahrenheit scale. The slate colored clouds made what little snow there was on the ridges and in the shady spots that much more dramatic.

There were some rock formations I wanted to commit to my montane memory. Share some alpine intimacy with as I explored. Up along some of the terraces, I found a few excellent camping spots. Already, I think that far ahead. Having been up to Pass Lake during a meteor shower, I know the stars at night would be nothing short of striking.

Wandering along the ridges and rivulets, I eventually got to where I could see the lone run of A-Basin. Little black forms, like ants swarming over a clean and sun-bleached bone, sped up and down. The hardest of the hardcore. Part of me wanted to chide them for what I perceived as an act of desperation.

Yet, there I was, on a high tundra ridge surrounded by the mountain silence with chilled gentle breezes blowing by. It was sublime, certainly. I was endeavoring to experience some more alpine intimacy before the snow really starts flying and the snowpack really starts to build. Obviously, I was no better or worse.

Hardcore? Desperate? I reckon it is all a matter of aspect.


  1. Addiction and compulsion take many guises, eh? Some better than others I suppose, leaving health out of the equation. In 1969, fresh out of the military I had a season pass to Mt. Bachelor, near Bend. A hundred bucks. It was a good snow year, I started skiing in early November that year, dodging rock outcroppings. My last year before life took over and my obsession turned to medicine.
    Both are the same, and the people I've found most interesting are those who feed their obsession. Doesn't always turn out well for them, but it's great fun to be around often.
    We were Seattle-like today, high 30's and rain.

    1. Dreams/addiction/passion/obsession...they're all one and the same really. Different aspects of the same condition. It is only when said condition becomes destructive that negative labels are applied.

      I had an x-girlfriend who said I lived on dreams. Given it was during a...discussion...I doubt it was a compliment. Still, I must concede, she had a point; it has been my dreams, that Tao of Chaos, I sometimes call it, that has rocketfueled me through my adventures, that's gotten me up here and pushes me beyond. As I alluded to in the post; positive or negative is a matter of aspect.

      It rained like Africa here last night. A dusting of snow above eleven-thousand. Today, the sky has a few leftover clouds and it's supposed to get into the fifties.