First hut trip of the winter has arrived, almost forgetting that the ski up was scheduled for Thursday, not Friday as I had assumed. After work I scrambled to assemble all my gear and food, only forgetting to bring my goose down filed booties for walking in and outside the cabin. By 9 PM I was on the road, having to deal with snow coming down, creating a snow and ice covered roadway for the entire trip. I pulled off the highway at Clinton Reservoir just below Fremont Pass at midnight. The moon shone through a mostly cloudy sky, a very light snow coming down. Not ready to go to bed, I cranked up the truck stereo in this isolated location.
On this early morning I listened to Baroness, a recording from their sold out midnight show on December 1, 2007 at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City.
Wikipedia describes them as such:
Baroness is a sludge metal band from Savannah, Georgia whose members grew up together in Lexington, Virginia.
Baroness started recording their first full-length album on March 2007. The Red Album was released on September 4, 2007 and met positive reception. Heavy metal magazine Revolver named it Album of the Year. On December 1, 2007, Baroness performed at New York City's Bowery Ballroom, and the concert was filmed in its entirety and can be viewed on their WoozyFly page. On September 20, 2008, the band announced via MySpace Brian Blickle would be parting ways, while also introducing a new guitarist named Peter Adams, also of Virginia-based band Valkyrie.
A good performance, muck like when I saw them perform at the Coachella Music festival where I got turned onto heavy metal music. I missed them on the last tour, but hope to see them when they come back next time.
Had a comfortable sleep overnight in the back of the truck, although it's difficult crawling out of a warm sleeping bag to go to the bathroom in such frigid conditions. The cold would cause my eyeballs to hurt if I did not keep them under the rim of the sleeping bags hood!
The next morning I woke up at 7:30 AM and met the crew at the Golden Burro in Leadville for breakfast. Onto the trail head where we geared up and began the relatively easy 3 mile and 700 foot ascent to Vance's cabin on the northern flank of Chicago Ridge. Nice views of the Sawatch Range from the deck of the cabin. It had been snowing the last couple days and there was massive amounts of fresh powder covering the slopes, with several more inches of snow falling the two nights we inhabited the cabin with a pair of other groups.
Friday was spent with one of our party touring the backcountry. The morning started off snowy and windy, but the skies cleared by noon revealing blue, the wind continuing to blow plumes of snow off the mountain peaks. We skied the trees where very deep powder was found, coming up to my knees even though I was riding extra fat skis. We ascended Chicago Ridge, the top of which was wind scoured, revealing the grass and rocks below. We descended through a sheltered trough on the ridge, carving turns in the powder, dropping into the trees blow where the terrain leveled off and we slogged our way back to the trail and then the hut. The sun had just gone down by the time I returned to the cabin. I was exhausted.
As always, the meals we prepare are relatively simple but are delicious, especially after a strenuous day. The evenings are spent drinking wine, playing cards and talking. People are usually in bed well before 10PM.
We departed from the cabin on Saturday, a new storm upon us dumping several inches of new snow by the time it was light outside, continuing all day. Packed and back on the trail by 10 AM, back at our vehicles by noon. Because the snow was so excellent and still coming down hard, adding an inch or more each hour, I decided to spend the afternoon at Ski Cooper carving turns in the fresh powder. I loved it, even though the wind was howling, driving the snow into ones face. The snow was so deep that at times it was difficult gaining speed on the the relatively gently slopes of this "family oriented" ski area. On the last run of the day the sun came out for a short time before it was once again enveloped in another wave of snow.
The next hut trip is a little more than a week away.
Since it was relatively easy to get to the cabin, I had enough energy Thursday night to stay up late and listen to the Sex Pistols live show on September 17, 1976 at Chelmsford Maximum Security Prison, before bass player Glen Matlock left the band (creating an opening for Sid Vicious to join the group). All the raw energy and aggressive punk style of the Sex Pistols are captured perfectly on this recording. The guys are in-tune, on-key, and are running on pure anger. From John baiting the crowd of inmates, to Steve wailing out classic riffs, this one is an absolute classic, and its excellent sound quality for a live recording. The only bad thing about the recording is that Johnny Rotten is not very audible on many tracks, which favors Steve Jones' guitar first and foremost during this nearly hour long set list.
This was NOT the recording that featured many non-Sex Pistols overdubs and insertions arranged by the band's early soundman Dave Goodman.
I was exhausted by the end of this show. It tried listening to another music recording by a different band, but the cigar and tequila had taken its toll at this high altitude, forcing me to bed inside the darkened cabin, faint sounds of snoring from someone sleeping elsewhere in the building.