On Tuesday of this week, Jerad Merbs, Karter Riach and myself took a gamble in search for some of the goods our Brothers, to the North at Stevens and to the South at Crystal, have been slashing in recent days. The two options for the easiest ski approach, we felt, were Alpental or Silver Peak. We chose to head for Silver Peak, (making that call at 5AM Tuesday) because of two reasons, 1) Monday night’s storm didn’t produce the snow we had hoped to see on the ground when we woke up, 2) Jerad would rock his jeep with tough rubber, that could possibly get us to Windy Pass. The Windy Pass target was almost hit with the jeep, but the goods were very spotty as we reached the lower dome of Silver (just under the Cirque). If I were to head back to Silver with these current conditions, I will be rolling with crampons and an ice axe. The low angle skiing, in this wind effected zone, is your best bet, but conditions are still quite boney. Think BIG SNOW!
The temps were in the teens and Silver Peak was already blingin’ from the beautiful sunrise. However, Trooper dog wasn’t enjoying the good morning we were, due to what I call the cold weather “STINGERS” on his paws. I have found over Trooper’s 10 years (him being mostly a Golden Retriever, which has the wrong hair for snow) of skiing year round in the Cascades, there is only a couple of weeks a year when the below normal temps sting his pads. The “stingers” happen when we are in the ICE Station Zebra mode here in the Cascades and the backcountry skiing is usually locked up good and tight too. This can be a great time to take up another sport that might be at it’s best in these type of conditions, like cross country skating/skiing. In these apx two weeks a year of “frozen lock down” time, we will hit a fresh groomer for a walk/ski, but I have learned with Trooper, when the cold temps/moisture content are just right he will start holding his paw up as if he has a piece of cactus in it. Trooper, will then take a few more steps, stop, and now, he will be holding (maybe) a front left and a back rear (which would let me know he didn’t have a strain or something in his paw, but it did show his wicked balance on a funnier note).
You will see in the video, I found a fix for the rare problem he was having on Tuesday, by using a product I am currently using for myself called Gurney Goo (an anti-friction, silicone based product made for marathon runners (feet, crouch, etc… -A better example might be the Tough Mudders, mucking through a mud puddle, then running for miles with some serious mud (just call it sand paper) between their thighs). Very cool product for all sorts of ultra outdoor activities.