Monday, January 31, 2011

Ascent and Ascent

It was my friend Yonton who introduced me to the concept of Ascent and Descent, or A&D. A summertime A&D is defined as such: a single day wherein you go climbing and then you go kayaking. Based on the amount of driving, shuttles, equipment, and energy required for both these sports, A&D is a real feat. Yesterday, Sunday, I had my own A&D, only it was the Winter version, and it felt more like an A&A, Ascent and Ascent.

Technically skiing is more of a downhill operation, but this was my first time on my AT (All Terrain) set up. I skinned up and walked straight up the mountain, and it takes a while. The way down is just swish swish and it's over. Really, it felt like an Ascent to me.

But if I want to be truly accurate about the day, it looked more like this:

Ascent.  Getting up the mountain. I skinned. Jenny Stepped:

Descent- my summit sandwich going down:

Descent. The classic kind:

Ascent. A few hours later, back in the city, on one of our favorite problems:

Descent. Coming down:

Descent. Self explanatory. Down the hatch:

Jenny got a panic stricken message from me late on Saturday night: "Jenny! It's, as you know, I know how to downhill, but I've  never been on AT's before and I imagine you dress different? don't know what to wear so, how about this- I'll just bring everything to your house tomorrow. Okay, see you then. Also, how necessary are poles?"
Oh, man.
A few hours later, "Hi Jenny, it's me. Just want you to know that I went to bed early and everything, but then I was woken up by a party next door, and there was no way I was going to sleep so I had to sleep somewhere else, so I'm farther away now and I'll be later than I said I would. Also, do you have any extra snowpants? Mine are too big all of a sudden. Bye!"

Jenny is a natural morning person. She wakes up at 6:30 every day without an alarm. I, on the other not.

Long story short, Jenny is extremely patient and it doesn't phase her a bit when, after finally getting my boots on, I go- "Wait, wait, I think I have too many pairs of socks on. Let's start over."  And another stop on the way to the mountain to get more coffee? She's all about it! I think I love her.

When we made it to the summit, we sat down to eat some food and celebrated having an entire mountain to ourselves.   
While we were chilling out, a couple of men came skinning up the face. The first thing the lead guy said to us? "Woah! You guys part of the blond army or something?" And without hesitation we replied, "Why, yes, yes we are."   Then the other guys came gliding up to us. There were three of them. "Well," said the third, "now you're outnumbered."
Jenny tossed her head back and responded, "We're not worried. There are more of us hiding in the woods." Then she turned back to her pasta.
It was a strange conversation.

And then the fog and the ice and the snow came. And the map didn't seem to make sense.

Probably because it a map of Alpine trails. We were not interested in alpine trails.

But don't worry, the blond army made it down no sweat. I have to say, Jenny is one hell of an athlete.  And the whole concept of skinning, AT bindings and the promise of back country almost made those countless, insufferable, ubiquitous Facebook statuses of Earn your Turns, Bro!  Free Your Heals Free your Mind or Whatever! Shredding Some Gnar up at Whistler this weekend! and anything with the word "pow"....bearable. (I said Almost.) (I'm looking at you, large majority of my friends.)

 Ten o'clock, after eating an entire pizza, working on endurance, last soldier at the gym.

And finally, Prost on Phinney Ridge, for somebody's birthday, where I literally stopped all conversation when I ordered a margarita instead of a beer. Relax, haters- that's just how it is.

So, that's about it for Sunday.  We don't have any money, we don't have kids, we're confused about careers, we're halfheartedly employed. But we do have snow, and friends with sail boats, and there are 36 places to drink beer in Ballard alone. So I guess we're doing alright. 


mona said...

This is so random but did your friend Jenny go to UW? I feel like I had a class with her and she told me that I should use plain yogurt in my sandwiches instead of mayo.

Melina said...

Yes she did! As a matter of fact, she was on my dorm hall (lander 5 baby!) freshman year. we didn't really become friends till years later though, I left the dorm after 1 quarter. She would definitely eat plain yogurt instead of mayo. btw, plain yogurt as substitute for sour cream on mexican food! huzzah!

mona said...

Hahaha! I think I might have had the same English class, I remember it was a medieval class or something like that. My brain has atrophied!

Michelle said...

come ski with me Lina and the "ALMOST" will disappear from your vocabulary :)

Anonymous said...

AT = Alpine touring, but you could also say all terrain, especially when it's you and me!

Bramski said...

I dig the writing, well done on you first skinning adventure. Hopefully the snow in the PNW will get better for you. Did I see that right, did you guys go and skin up Hyak? You should pic a better location in future :-).

Oh, and here's a BC joke when you meet some telemarkers.
Do you know what randonee is french for?
- Can't Tele
Do you know what telemark is french for?
- Wait for me

Melina said...

Oh we loved Hyak! For our purposes that day, it was just what we needed. Terrible snow! Just terrible! But it's cool. What do you suggest for our next excursion? We're both ready for more. Contrary to what it may look like.

Jax said...

You Rock Melina!! Loved the post, super jealous of the skiing/climbing. My ankle is a lot better already, but it's been two weeks since I was out skiing- I'm in ski/climbing withdrawal.

Kelly said...

Great post Melina. And way to add yet another awesome adventure sport to your arsenal. (That's a lot of "a"s).

Bramski said...

Well, if Yodelin is plenty filled in, that's a great & easy tour, or Heather ridge. Both up Stevens pass. All depends on the snow. I also say that Hex mountain is awesome & fun, but a lot of others say it's too much work for a few turns.

Check out TAY and NWAC for what's safe. Have you taken an avy course? Take Chris Joose with you, he needs exercise.

Adriane said...

Yes, I feel as if I may want to slap someone when I listen to them wax poetic about the "fresh pow". GAH.