After a day with very high avi risk, we hoped that Santa would bring us more stable conditions on Christmas day. We woke up to a clear and cold day, with a bit lower, but still considerable avalanche risk. Since we had skied Whimpy’s knob in February, and knew that the run was pretty mellow, we decided to go for that. Whimpy’s knob is, as the name suggests, the turn-around-point for people who either don’t have the energy, or the guts, to go all the way, where all the way is the all mighty Albright. Having the energy is not trivial. The approach even to Whimpy’s is long. Not Medicine Bow long, or Park View Mountain long, but long enough to get me all dizzy (especially since I refused to stop drinking on X-mas eve. It was julafton for god’s sake and I’m used to drink snaps with my family and sing x-mas songs all night thru!). Although for whimps, it also implies a climb of about 1000 vertical meters (hrmf, 1000 verts might not be that much for hobits, but its a hell of a distance for an Ent with American micro brews, AND prosecco in her body).
However, aiming for Whimpy’s is not the same as heading for Albright. Ah, Albright. You can see her Majesty, all dressed in gold, as you drive towards the park. It is the small throne slightly to the left of the highest peak in the picture.
As we climbed higher, the sight of Albright and her potential gifts got more and more tempting. By the time we reached the knob of Whimpy’s, we could see that others were skiing the face. I was completely exhausted, but having stood at the same spot nearly a year ago and then turned back, I sort of felt that it was now or never. Martin let me call the shot, and I said GO. I remember thinking, “so this is what summit fever feels like, I hope I’m not making the wrong decision”, and then, “what the hell, I WANT that face!”. So we started our traverse. Of course I got nervous, I hate traversing with terrain traps below, but MAN, I was SO eager to get on that slope. THE BEAUTY!
As we were closing up, we could see the effects of the wind more closely. I started to get really nervous, and so was Martin. After traversing the actual face of Albright, about 50 vertical meters below the very top, Martin dug a swift pit and found a layer that popped before he even set his hand on it. It was the mountain telling us to turn back. I am so immensely thankful that I travel with people who actually have some brain in their skulls, and not just horns in their forehead (although that is good too at times). So we turned our skis and headed downward. It was not that bad. Not bad at all actually. To be honest, it was pretty damn excellent.
After getting down, I was so full of adrenalin, endorfins and nearly-shitting-my-pants-happiness that I didnt know if I should hit or hug Martin, so I did both; knuckles-to-knuckles and Hell-yeah!-we’re-good-hugs. We celebrated by eating our sandwiches in the Fred’s fat ass.
It was my most exciting Christmas day so far. For sure.