Dec 302017
 
Dec 152017
 

Morning beacon check on the way out of Coyote en route to Tornak Hut

We are just returning from a hut to hut tour between Coyote Yurts and the Tornak Hut.  While the valley approaches are relatively thin snow, it is quite supportable and allows for quick and easy skinning.  Once above 8500′, the snowpack gets deeper and we were finding good to very good boot-top powder skiing on cold aspects (East-North-Northwest) and even skied a run of corn on the south bowl of Fox Peak.  Yep, corn in December!  The Thanksgiving rains, early December powder and the past 2 weeks of high pressure (with inverted temperatures) have made for some of the most unique early December ski conditions we have seen.  The snowpack and ski conditions resemble spring-just thinner.  It’s not really a bad thing, although we would welcome a 3 foot storm of cold smoke!  Skinning is easy, the pack is supportable and the stability is generally good.  We are seeing snow depths of around 1 meter above 8500′ in this zone (on cold slopes) and around 50-60cm of supportable melt/freeze (corn!?) on warmer aspects.  Both Coyote and Tornak Huts are looking great and awaiting more skiers to enjoy their cozy confines.  The new sauna at Tornak Hut is fantastic!  Laying on the top Sauna bench while gazing out the window and catching the alpinglow  lighting up the Boulder Mountains is quite a way to top off a ski day.  Come on Up!

Shadows in the burn

Spooning them nicely

It’s a powder skiing palyground out here!

Ridge running

arcing through fields of untracked pow

Laying into smooth powder

Backcountry Art

Climbing toward the mighty Tornak Peak

Climbing the “American Direct” on the mighty Tornak Peak

Izzy, stoked after a mixed ascent

The team atop the mighty Tornak Peak

Enjoying a hot lunch at Tornak Hut

Wolverine tracks atop Fox Peak

The Pioneers dominate the view south

Jess, conducting some baseline stability tests

Sampling the East powder on Fox Peak

The Grouse are numerous in this area

Ski track, and the Coyote Yurt visible on the point

ah, the burn creates some striking textures

Evening light on the tour back to Coyote Yurt

Sunrise at Coyote Yurts

Morning light at Coyote

Where to next? Let the signs point the way!

Practice, practice, practice is the only way to become truly proficient with avalanche rescue

Tracks in the Burn

Morning powder off the point of Coyote

Who says Tele is dead? Miles sure doesn’t think so!

Dec 112017
 

One of our guides, Crystal Winn, shares 8 tips for a successful backcountry ski trip:

1. Come Prepared:
Your guides will take care of your daily itinerary, asses the snowpack, and give you a weather report, but it’s not a bad idea to do a little investigating yourself, too. You will feel more involved and better prepared.  There is nothing better than pulling out maps and looking at the weather and avalanche forecast before I go on a trip to get excited.

2. Arrive Feeling Fit:
Try to work some sort of exercise into your schedule every day.  Whether it’s going out for a ski tour, getting in a run and some yoga, working out at the gym, or walking to work, you will be way more psyched once you arrive at 8,000 feet and begin skinning.  This way, you can focus more on enjoying touring and skiing through the beautiful burned monochromatic forest, a truly unique experience.

3. Pack Light:
You will only need the essentials you go out day touring with, plus a couple luxury items to keep you cozy in the yurts. For packing purposes think about having to carry everything you bring, on your back on day one.  We’ll get a snowmobile boost most of the way into the yurt, but the last 2 miles are on our skis.   No need for a new pair of long underwear everyday…

The yurts have everything from ceramic mugs for your coffee and comfortable sleeping mats, to magazines and games to keep you entertained.  Save room for those luxury items- click here for a pro packing list.

4. Be a Good Yurt Mate.
There are dialed methods for yurt living in the wilderness, which your guides will go over once you arrive.  Here are a couple insider tips: Make sure to dry out your ski socks and gloves by the fire, but not too close. Keep your items organized so you can find your belongings, this will enable you to get dressed first thing in the morning.  Collect snow for the snow melting pot.  It’s a good deed your yurt mates will love, but it also brings you outside to view a star filled night sky like you’ve never seen before.

Arriving at the Coyote yurts after a great day of skiing

5. Take First Tracks, But Not All of Them:
On guided backcountry trips, you’ll get plenty of first tracks.  I’ll also share a little secret from a tail guide’s perspective:  Skiing last is the best! You can see where everyone else lays down their track and then you have the rest to yourself. People tend to follow where others have gone, which leaves you with fresh tracks and the feeling of solitude.

6. Listen to Your Guide:
This one seems obvious, but I have been in many situations where a guide will lay out the law and then inevitably someone will break it. You don’t want to be “that gal”. Our guides are highly trained, experienced, and competent individuals who are in it for your best interest.  If they tell you to ski within a certain area, or tell you where not to ski, it is to keep you as safe as possible.  There could be hazards they are trying to keep you away from, or simply, they could be making sure you get another amazing powder run in.

7. Take the Powder Plunge:
The wood fired sauna will be cranking and your muscles will be sore.  Not only does it feel good to hop back in the hot sauna after plunging your bare body into the snow, but it also has really good therapeutic qualities. Wilderness spa anyone?

8. Eat, Drink, Sleep, Ski, Repeat:
The food is fabulous and tastes that much better when you’ve skied hard all day.  Your guides will build a fire and prepare dinner while you sit back, relax and enjoy a glass of wine with appetizers.  Even though we’ve been told a million times, I’ll remind us all again, stay hydrated.  There is nothing worse than a wine hangover holding you back from enjoying that sparkly champagne powder.  Did someone say champagne? Okay, powder usually fixes all problems.

If you would like to join us you can sign up HERE

 

 Posted by at 1:14 PM
Oct 122017
 
Dec 312016
 
Nov 252016
 
Jul 072016
 
Niner evangelist, Brad Cole, showcasing the amazing bikes deep in the Idaho backcountry

Niner evangelist, Brad Cole, showcasing the amazing bikes deep in the Idaho backcountry

We recently had the pleasure of hosting the launch of the latest Niner Bikes (the Rip and the Jet) up at the Coyote Yurts.  Two phenomenal days of riding these amazing bikes on miles of backcountry single track and enjoying the culinary delights of Chef Z and the Cyclist Menu on the point at the yurts.  Bike critics from PinkBike, Bike Magazine, Bike Rumor and Singletracks joined the crew on this backcountry cycling adventure. Great folks, awesome bikes, amazing food and stupendous riding = Good Times!!!

Niner photographer, Ian, ripping the down Edge of the World

Niner photographer, Ian, ripping the down Edge of the World

The steeds at the stable

The steeds at the stable

Bike advocate extraordinaire, Adrian Montgomery, in his element

Bike advocate extraordinaire, Adrian Montgomery, in his element

Oh yeah, cranking through 12 miles of high mountain single track on route to Coyote Yurts

Oh yeah, cranking through 12 miles of high mountain single track on route to Coyote Yurts

 Posted by at 10:24 AM
Jun 172016
 
The new firepit provides a cozy gathering place to catch the evening alpinglow

The new firepit provides a cozy gathering place to catch the evening alpinglow

We have just returned from the lofty Pionneer Mountains, high above Sun Valley. SVT guides: Joe St.Onge, Jon Preuss and Everett Coba trekked into the Pioneer Yurt to open the hut for it’s inaugural summer season. The trail in was cleared of downed timber, outdoor benches and a beautiful fire-pit were built and the yurt was set up for summer living.

After the work was completed, the peaks called for a journey into the alpine. We completed a mixed ascent/traverse of Cobb Peak, climbing perfect frozen snow/neve and aesthetic alpine rock. A classic alpine climb!

We hope the word gets out out about the Pioneer Yurt and the world class opportunities for wilderness, beauty and adventure that await visitors. The Yurt is open for reservations to both guided and self guided (DYI) groups throughout the summer and autumn seasons (and winter of course!). This is the ultimate adventure base-camp with cozy accommodations in the midst of pure alpine awesomeness.

Everett finding fun fluid movement on the west ridge

Everett finding fun fluid movement on the west ridge

Choose your line on the plentiful holds high on Cobb

Choose your line on the plentiful holds high on Cobb

The summit of Cobb Peak offers beautiful quartzite for over a 1000'

The summit of Cobb Peak offers beautiful quartzite for over a 1000′

From hand jams to in-cut face holds

From hand jams to in-cut face holds

The quartzite high on Cobb Peak is some of the oldest exposed rock in the state of Idaho

The quartzite high on Cobb Peak is some of the oldest exposed rock in the state of Idaho

Stoked to summit after a fun mixed climb

Stoked to summit after a fun mixed climb

It's not uncommon to find lady bugs, gathered by the 100's at the very summits of these 11-12,000' peaks.

It’s not uncommon to find lady bugs, gathered by the 100’s at the very summits of these 11-12,000′ peaks.

Descending the NE Ridge on the way toward Old Hyndman, a long and very exposed ridge traverse that is part of the "Triple Crown", connecting Hyndman, Old Hyndman and Cobb

Descending the NE Ridge on the way toward Old Hyndman, a long and very exposed ridge traverse that is part of the “Triple Crown”, connecting Hyndman, Old Hyndman and Cobb

The new tables and benches look great in the yurt

The new tables and benches look great in the yurt

This old porcupine has been chewing on the wood exterior of the sauna for years. I caught him in this photo when he was on his way over for his evening chew....

This old porcupine has been chewing on the wood exterior of the sauna for years. I caught him in this photo when he was on his way over for his evening chew….

A yurt in it's place

A yurt in it’s place

Hyndman Peak towers above the yurt: a perfect base-camp for climbing the tallest peaks in the Pioneers

Hyndman Peak towers above the yurt: a perfect base-camp for climbing the tallest peaks in the Pioneers

The deck gathering spot for breakfast and evening coktails

The deck gathering spot for breakfast and evening cocktails

trekking above the yurts past waterfalls and slot canyons allows access to the alpine basins above

trekking above the yurts past waterfalls and slot canyons allows access to the alpine basins above

the snow has been rapidly melting, but there is still significant snow for climbing and glissading

the snow has been rapidly melting, but there is still significant snow for climbing and glissading

Purple cliff dwellers on the ancient quartzite

Purple cliff dwellers on the ancient quartzite

Cramponing toward the north couloir on Cobb

Cramponing toward the north couloir on Cobb

JP, high in the North couloir

JP, high in the North couloir

Everett, finding the flow on neve with one tool and crampons

Everett, finding the flow on neve with spikes on the feet and a ax in hand

What a setting

What a setting

Apr 212016
 
Arriving into the basin with all you need on your back

Arriving into the basin with all you need on your back

When the days are long, the nights are cold and the peaks are covered under a thick blanket of snow it’s time to traverse the big mountains. Every year we choose a destination from the plethora of beautiful mountains that surround our valley. The Sawtooth, White Cloud, Smokey, Pioneer and Boulder Mountains all hold phenomenal potential for wilderness ski traverses and ski camps. This year we decided to take advantage of perfect melt/freeze conditions and good high elevation coverage to explore the southern Boulder Mountains around the ghost town of Boulder City. While a bit sunburnt, we were not disappointed.

This steep south facing ridge-line held many beautiful lines like this one named "Jose Cuervo"

This steep south facing ridge-line held many beautiful lines like this one named “Jose Cuervo”

A room with a view

A room with a view

The Egret arcing the coombacks

The Egret arcing the coombacks

fun turns back to camp

fun turns back to camp

What a place to call home for a few days!

What a place to call home for a few days!

nothing like a fire to warm the soul while winter camping

Nothing like a fire to warm the soul while winter camping

Comfy after the sun set around the fire

Comfy after the sun set around the fire

Artsy Alex shot

Artsy Alex shot

Lunch break at 11'000' while waiting for the corn to soften

Lunch break at 11’000′ while waiting for the corn to soften

many aesthetic ridgelines surround the Boulder Basin with tons of ski lines

many aesthetic ridgelines surround the Boulder Basin with tons of ski lines

Alex in his Idahome

Alex in his Idahome

Alex carving

Alex carving

The Egret laying into the corn

The Egret laying into the corn

Niels dropping

Niels dropping

A happy crew

A happy crew

Whoop!

Whoop!

Spring fun

Spring fun

Climbing couloirs

Climbing couloirs

Even found some powder on high elevation north shots, like this one dropping into the newly created Boulder-White Clouds Wilderness

Even found some powder on high elevation north shots, like this one dropping into the newly created Boulder-White Clouds Wilderness

The exit is getting a little thin in the low country

The exit is getting a little thin in the low country

Nov 192015
 
The clouds part to reveal one of the worlds biggest pieces of stone: El Capitan

The clouds part to reveal one of the worlds biggest pieces of stone: El Capitan

With the snow starting to fall in the mountains, the stoke for the upcoming winter is palatable. At times the feeling of time is transcended throughout our life and our daily routine; as I prepare for winter, I feel that both the last ski season just ended, and its been an eternity since I put away for boards for the summer. Reflecting back on the past 8 months, the latter is probably more accurate. I don’t spend the off months in Sun Valley and work takes me to other amazing places in the West, and a lot of mountain stoke has happened. As a professional guide, and one that is one final exam away from full AMGA/IFMGA international Mountain Guide certification, I need to critically balance my time in the outdoors, and make sure that I am giving due process to work (pays the bills), professional development and training (important for the profession), and lastly, having some personal fun.
This past year, I focused heavily on working and professional development. I was successful in passing my AMGA Ski Guide Exam in April, working a full summer guiding season in the Pacific Northwest, passing my Alpine Aspirant Exam in September, and passing my Rock Exam in October. Whew! That was a lot. While I attribute this success to both personal dedication and professional development, the role that mentorship has played cannot be understated. Once my Rock Exam was over, I wanted to take some personal climbing time to revisit the stoke and passion that climbing has always brought to me, which at times can be overshadowed by work. I also wanted to take the opportunity to visit and spend time with friends throughout climbing areas in the West that have played a pivotal role in who I am today and also wanted to create new milestones in my climbing career. Furthermore, I wanted to take the opportunity to give back and offer mentorship and share my experience with others. Apprentice guide, Niels Meyer was game to come along on the wild ride with me. Please enjoy the photo essay of our adventures below, and I hope to ski with you this season! :SVT Guide Chris Marshall

Our first stop was Red Rock Canyon. The climbing here is super varied, with everything between overhanging sport routes, excellent splitter crack, technical face climbs, and long multi-pitch adventure routes.

Looking down the 4th pitch of Risky Buisness (5.10c R). This climb has a reputation for being run out and spicy. I wanted to see for myself and found five-star technical face climbing on bulletproof rock (and some run outs).

Looking down the 4th pitch of Risky Buisness (5.10c R). This climb has a reputation for being run out and spicy. I wanted to see for myself and found five-star technical face climbing on bulletproof rock (and some run outs).

Levy best: Levitation 29 (5.11c) has been called the best multi-pitch route in Red Rock. Last year it was too hot, and then I lost motivation. Feeling strong and with cool-enough temperatures, Nick Malik and I had the route to ourselves. We found sustained technical face climbing in an outstanding setting on a huge wall. A milestone for sure.

Levy best: Levitation 29 (5.11c) has been called the best multi-pitch route in Red Rock. Last year it was too hot, and then I lost motivation. Feeling strong and with cool-enough temperatures, Nick Malik and I had the route to ourselves. We found sustained technical face climbing in an outstanding setting on a huge wall. A milestone for sure.

Niels gets the redpoint on a classic 5.10 in the Black Corridor.

Niels gets the redpoint on a classic 5.10 in the Black Corridor.

Eventually it was time to leave the desert, Yosemite Valley was calling. The Valley was another monumental place as I developed as a climber, and not having climbed there much in the last few years, the bucket list was starting to grow.

The North Face of the Rostrum feels like an entrance exam into hard Yosemite climbing. At 5.11c with seven of the eight pitches 5.10 or harder, this route requires excellent technique from overhanging fingers to squeeze chimney, to burly overhanging wide hands, to offwidth. I had the pleasure of climbing this with Valley guide Greg Coit. Standing exhausted on top of a climb I had aspired to do for six years was surreal. Another milestone and inspiration for the future.

The North Face of the Rostrum feels like an entrance exam into hard Yosemite climbing. At 5.11c with seven of the eight pitches 5.10 or harder, this route requires excellent technique from overhanging fingers to squeeze chimney, to burly overhanging wide hands, to offwidth. I had the pleasure of climbing this with Valley guide Greg Coit. Standing exhausted on top of a climb I had aspired to do for six years was surreal. Another milestone and inspiration for the future.

Chris jamming up the Rostrum

Chris jamming up the Rostrum

Coming from the desert, a day remembering how to jam splitter granite was in order. Niels follows Salathe Pitch 1 (5.10c) at the base of El Capitan. Climbing under the Big Stone was an inspiration for the days to come.

Coming from the desert, a day remembering how to jam splitter granite was in order. Niels follows Salathe Pitch 1 (5.10c) at the base of El Capitan. Climbing under the Big Stone was an inspiration for the days to come.

Cool temps and the first winter storm had chased away many folks from the Valley and off of El Capitan. As a team of three, Niels, Greg, and I had been planning on climbing the Muir Wall, but with the possibility of another winter storm on the horizon, we set our sights on the classic and steep Zodiac (5.8 A3/C3). We took a few days prepping, teaching Niels the ins and outs of aid climbing, and packing for 4-5 days on the wall. We had hoped to spend 3 nights, but with the cold, the storm, and the short days, we topped out after 5 long and amazing days living and breathing in the vertical. We believe that we were one of two parties on El Cap for the storm, which brought snow down to the valley floor and temperatures in the 20s.

Greg stoked as I lead p2.

Greg stoked as I lead p2.

The upside of snow on top of El Capitan was that Horsetail Falls was pumping. The Zodiac is so steep that water runoff from the top was 10-20’ out from the cliff.

The upside of snow on top of El Capitan was that Horsetail Falls was pumping. The Zodiac is so steep that water runoff from the top was 10-20’ out from the cliff.

3

Niels jugging in the evening golden hour. Plenty of space jugging on this steep route!

Greg making good vertical progress after the storm.

Greg making good vertical progress after the storm.

Looking down to our portaledge camp as I lead the Mark of Zoro pitch. By the time I had lead this pitch, the clouds had swirled around and it was snowing. We ended up spending two nights at this protected bivy woken by ice fall throughout the night.

Looking down to our portaledge camp as I lead the Mark of Zoro pitch. By the time I had lead this pitch, the clouds had swirled around and it was snowing. We ended up spending two nights at this protected bivy woken by ice fall throughout the night.

Portaledge life: even though we were three feet apart, we often didn’t see each other!

Portaledge life: even though we were three feet apart, we often didn’t see each other!

: As the storm clouds clear, Niels space jugs wearing four jackets with El Capitan’s icon Nose in the background. Jugging is hard work; it was cold!

As the storm clouds clear, Niels space jugs wearing four jackets with El Capitan’s icon Nose in the background. Jugging is hard work; it was cold!

A stoked summit team. While human nature was to sit in and revel in the view and accomplishment, the reality of descending down the snow, verglass, and water covered East Ledges descent set in quickly. This ended up being fairly serious, and it wasn’t until we were past this part, the six ensuing rappels, and walking down the trail toward valley bottom under the beam of our headlamps that a sense of fulfillment of a lifelong dream set in.

A stoked summit team. While human nature was to sit in and revel in the view and accomplishment, the reality of descending down the snow, verglass, and water covered East Ledges descent set in quickly. This ended up being fairly serious, and it wasn’t until we were past this part, the six ensuing rappels, and walking down the trail toward valley bottom under the beam of our headlamps that a sense of fulfillment of a lifelong dream set in.

Niels and I are in Indian Creek sampling some of the best desert splitters on earth in a lower stress environment.  We’ll head over to the San Juan Mountains for some early season ice before this adventure ends, back in Sun Valley, where we’ll have time to reflect on this journey, dream of the next adventure, and get stoked for the ski season ahead!