Thursday, February 6, 2014

Touring in The Tushars: Part One

This past weekend was filled with adventure, high altitude, freezing temperatures, blisters, vomit and powder.

All the fixings for a quality backcountry skiing tale.

My mom, the ringleader of this adventure, had planned and organized this second trip to the Tushar Mountains. Our friends Eric, Anna and Nate would be joining us for a two nights stay at the luxurious Snorkeling Elk Yurt at a 10,400 ft.

We lucked out with the conditions, arriving the day after a healthy storm putting 5-6 inches of light powder on top of a reasonably solid base.

How the trip unfolded was another story.

As a claimed "gearhead" by profession, I should have known better than to use alpine boots for a 3 day touring trip. But alas, my stubbornness in not forking out the cash for a AT boot proved to be a painful mistake. Maybe 3/4 of a mile into the 4.5 mile skin to the yurt, I could feel blisters forming all around my heels.

It was game over.

Every step the rest of the trip was painful, and my heels are still screaming at me today.

After the long trek with heavy packs to the yurt, we had a phenomenal afternoon, taking a few laps on the untouched, powdery and low angle slopes around the Yurt.

Eric, and the rest of the crew skinning back up through our turns.
That evening we settled into the yurt, ate lots of great food, and looked forward to a full day of skiing on Saturday.

Sleeping at 10,000 ft. is difficult in and of itself, toss in a freezing yurt, needy fire, and top it with 3 members of your group vomitting all night and getting locked outside, and you'll find it's difficult to get much rest.

Who I am kidding? I actually slept the whole night through. Go me.

Eric, Anna, and Nate on the other hand, spent the night puking, stoking the fire and getting locked outside of the yurt. They had a really rough night, and were in no condition to ski the next day.

To Anna and Nate's credit, they did give it a shot but couldn't make it past the first ridge the next morning.

The three members of our group headed home early, but thankfully my mom and I were feeling great as we made our way up the -20degree wind-chilled ridge of the 12,000 foot Mt. Delano.


  1. Sounds like acute mountain sickness, bet they had terrible headaches to go with their bad stomachs.

    1. Yep! That and their kids had been sick all week as well.