On February 4th, I was feeling back to normal after the ‘vid, but weaker than before as I hadn’t been able to work out in a few weeks. I had a good day in the backcountry and we were able to get out and up the Wasatch. We took the lift up Solitude and then skinned up the back side of Brighton. We skied down into Alta, took the lift up, then skied and skinned back to Solitude. It was a long day and I was gassed but grateful to be able to get back into the game!
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On February 5th, we took sleds into the Uintas. It was the same threesome that did the Mud Peak adventure, and fortunately we were all laughing about it at this point. I definitely had some lingering sentiments and unease after that one, but I figured we would get out, try for an objective, and see where it took us. It was a perfect blue-sky day and COLD, so the powder remained in the trees and on the trails even though it hadn’t snowed in weeks.
We ripped in full throttle 21 miles deep into the Uintas on existing trails that were pretty smooth, flat, and fast, as they’re dirt roads in the summer. It was a serious blast-of-adrenaline thrill ride! We came across Kletting Peak at 12,041 ft. and it looked to be a pretty achievable summit objective. As we turned off the existing trail into the fresh powder in the trees, it immediately got very deep but still navigable. We crawled through the tight tree forest until we couldn’t go any further, parked the sleds, and started skinning. About four hours later at 1:00 p.m., we still were not at the summit and it made the most sense to me to put on crampons, strap the skis to my back, and boot step to the top.
I’m not going to lie—I voted to turn around at this time, with the memory of Mud Peak so recent in my mind. We talked through it and instead forged on, getting to the summit at 2:20 p.m. For much of the day, I was definitely concerned with the time, sun setting, and the cold, so I pushed about as hard as I could travel and took breaks as sparingly as possible, only stopping to eat and drink in order to keep going.
It was a great ski down, sled through the powder, and a cold, fast blast out of the mountains. We made it out a bit after the sun set, loaded up the trailers, and called it a day. At the end of the day, I was glad we were able to summit, even though it isn’t a huge objective or anything. However, the top is always better than not, and that area of the Uintas is beautiful—they are some of the greatest and most stunning mountains in the U.S.