Monday, August 29, 2016

Lightning Kills Entire Reindeer Herd in Norway

A severe (electrical?) storm killed over 300 wild reindeer at the Hardangerviddathe largest high mountain plateau in northern Europe and a national park.
The national park which is the largest in Norway with wild reindeer populations, spans 3,000+ square miles and counts in excess of 10,000 wild reindeer.

The Norwegian Environment Agency has released below images of reindeer that seemingly fell over where they stood. The herd included 70 calves. It is likely that, in the severe storm, they huddled together which could explain why they all perished.
This is quite the freak accident as Norway has a very low frequency of lightning strikes.

The last picture show Eyjafjallajokul in Iceland which is on a similar latitude and climate as Norway. You can see the lightning streak across the sky as lava flows from the volcano in 2010. Cleary nothing to be trifled with...

Here are the pictures (click to enlarge):

A sad sight...

...the Norwegian forest service typically will let them decompose
where they fell as this is a nature preserve.

Eyjafjallajokul, Iceland in 2010.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Moose at PCMR

After seeing the litle guy as a newborn and crossing path every other week with these animals, I am on a first name basis with this single mom! The little one should be about 3 - 4 months old now. Every other hike or so I stumble into these guys and about 3 - 4 months ago the calf was minuscule. Now he is half her size so he is growing pretty fast. They eat straight of the Aspens and also grass, not sure what else.
The pictures were taken on the way back home between Creole and Quittin' Time. Here they are (click to enlarge):

Saturday, August 20, 2016

July 9 & 10, 2016: Lackawaxen Lake & Clayton Peak

This was a backpack in to Lackawaxen Lake via Clayton Peak from Guardsman Pass. These are no harrowing distances nor elevation gains but with 40 lbs. on the back it sure feels like it! You gain about 2,000' in part because you are yo-yoing up and down a couple of peaks on the way to Clayton. On the way to Clayton (named Majestic on the Brighton side) you walk up a peak at about 10,200' then down then up to 10,420' back down and then up to Clayton at 10,721' (you could walk around the first two but where's the fun in that?). This is the "backside" of Brighton i.e. east of the resort. 
Here are the pictures (click to enlarge):
Topo with approximate route.

Twin Lakes in Brighton, picture taken
from a bit below 10,420'.

The dogs enjoying space to roam.

...and roaming some more...

For these guys roaming is the meaning of life...

First picture of Lackawaxen from almost the top of Clayton.

View into Snake Creek that will take you all the way down to Midway.

Lackawaxn from Clayton summit with Silver Lake and
Brimhall Lake in the distance.

Down at the lake level i.e. about 10,200'.

Other view - same lake.

There was water everywhere and the dogs sure enjoyed it...

This is the site I used for the morning fire.

"Base camp"

Potential ski lines everywhere...

Leaving the lake behind.

Looking up Clayton on the way out. Notice that all the snow is still
not melted in July. Also, see the ski lines - they are everywhere!

More ski lines, this time under 10,420'.

We followed this creek almost all the way to Bloods Lake.

Bloods Lake so now there are no more than 10 min. left to Guardsman Pass.

June 5, 2016: Dog and Poney Show (ok, minus the poney...)

Last outing of the season in snow a bit too warm to be good, and that from someone who thinks bad skiing is always a heck of lot better than no skiing... So let's just make this about the dogs.
Here are the pictures (click to enlarge):
The protagonists are: Loki, yes the Norse god of mischief...

...and Skadi the Norse godess of winter and skiing.

One moment they are quietly posing for a picture...

...and next Loki is looking for trouble....

...and finding it...

...then things escalate...

...and escalate some more... we see Skadi's edge: She weighs twice as much as Loki... he is down but not out, see his hind legs, this guy never gives up.

As you were...

May 18, 2016: PCMR from Deer Valley

This was a a pretty warm spring tour from Empire Lodge, up Empire Express, over to Jupiter Peak summit. From there down Machete and then across to Sundog for a couple of laps and then back out Empire Lodge. Here are the pictures (click to enlarge):
Jupiter from bottom of Sundog with the very top of  Machete
visible to the top left above the trees.

Skinning up Sundog.

Skiing down Sundog, even in the spring
you can get freshies.

Back to skinning, its a dog's life!

...and back to the reward.

Last skin up Sundog...

...and skiing out over Supreme in Deer Valley.

Dogs catching up, the only time
I'm ever faster than these guys...

Friday, August 19, 2016

March 3, 2016: Suicide Chute

This was a really fun tour that started at Her Lady of the Snows in Alta. From there we went up the Pole Line trail to Cardiff Pass and then west on the ridge line till Little Superior. Little Superior was our first ski of the day and a great one at that. This was my first time doing Little Superior (I passed it a million times but never stopped), and that was much more of a treat than expected! It is a total playground with chokes that feel like mini-couloirs, twists and turns, bumps and more. I won't ever understimate the fun-factor of this line ever again! Before hitting the bottom you take a sharp right (west) and if you play it right, that will take you to the very bottom of Suicide Chute. You'll be able to skin for a bit and then pretty soon it'll be time to transition into crampon and ice axe or whippet. Here are the pictures (click to enlarge):
Mt Superior with Suicide Chute visible at center right of the picture.

The Pfeif in all its majesty!

View from the top of Suicide Chute with LCC road in the distance.

Here is the refreshing alternative we chose not to pick: Homicide Chute,
this one is a westen aspect while Suicide is and eastern aspect.

Yours truly slowly making it up.

Yours truly making it down.

Mike making it down.
What the line looks like where you take the
"sharp west" from Little Superior.

If this is not the best playground in America, I don't know what is!