Friday, December 31, 2010

Storms in the Desert

It is Near Years Eve and I just came back from snow boarding up at Brian Head. They have 6 feet of new snow since I was last up there about 10 days ago. I enjoyed some serious powder on all of my favorite lines on the mountain. It was quite cold but with the sun shining and the winds at bay it was a fine day for boarding! I drove up there alone as I could not get anyone to join me. I broke away from the resort a few hours early to go scout out the ice climb in Parowan Canyon. Hidden Haven is an ice climb that basically forms up in a slot-type canyon with several short frozen waterfalls and one big one. I put on my snow shoes and broke a trail into the small side canyon. Apparently no one had yet hiked up and climbed Hidden Haven yet this year. It took me about 30 minutes to snow shoe up to the first fall. It was cold, clear and very beautiful up in there. I liked the work out as well as the quiet of the forest in contrast to the busy ski resort further up the mountain. I found the ice to be present but not yet thick enough to consider climbing it safely. It will have to wait another week I think to fatten up. All of this snow came in an incredible series of storms that first passed over California and then slammed Southern Utah. It rained 8 straight days in St. George and then after a brief respite, it rained some more. The city of St. George has registered almost 4 inches of rain in December!! That is almost our yearly rainfall! Nick and I were able to sneak out one day between storms and climb at Black Rocks. The wash was running with water as you can see in the photo. The Virgin River flooded big during the rains and a few of my friends kayaked the Virgin River Gorge during the high water. They invited me, but I didn't think I had the boating skills to try it at such scary levels. I do have my limits!

Friday, December 17, 2010

A New Season

A new season of making trips up to Brian Head to snowboard. The first day up this year was very good with surprisingly good coverage and some fun powder to get my back leg burning. The second day was a lot different with overcast skies and iced conditions. Nevertheless even a bad day up on the mountain is better than a good day at work. Debbie and Angie joined me on the second trip up this year and we often shared the whole ski lift with maybe 2 or 3 other people at any given time. It was like having our own private ski lift. I know the terrain at Brian Head is not particularly challenging but lack of lift lines and proximity to the warm low desert makes for a good winter combination. And I'll go with that.