Lolo Peak, 6-14-11, Chris’ Day

June 15, 2011 at 09:40 | Posted in Backcountry skiing the Bitterroots | 1 Comment

To remember Chris Spurgeon in the best way we know how, a group of seven of us toured up to Carlton Ridge, into the lake basin and up to Lolo Peak, where Chris’ days with the living ended. With a cool wind blowing and intermittent sunshine we remembered our friend we had shared a passion for the mountains with the passed few years. The weather continued to dry out during the day giving us the blessing of one of the nicest days of June so far. A few snap shots, some food, a couple beers and some incense and it was time to descend. We toured the ridge down to the fall line above Carlton Lake and all took a line down through this rollover bowl towards the lake. We might have all started some sort of wet slide sluff which chased a few of us down the hill. Remember sluff management, I only left my perfect fall line run because I could hear the sluff approaching behind me. A little off my game after a few weeks absence skiing, I was granted a break through  my good ears and the knowledge of what the sound behind me meant. I traversed right and let the sluff charge passed me vigorously on the left, and continued making turns down to Brian who was waiting at a small bench above the lake. Everyone made it safely down to lake at last with a few more sluffs to dodge and good dried out mash to ski. The snowpack has yet to firmly consolidate and there was much evidence of wet slides throughout the upper and lake basins. Noone got lost on the descent into the forest on the ridgeline trail, though many shared stories of being to far right into Mormon Creek or too far left into Mill Creek. There was a gathering at the trailhead in memory of Chris, with many more people there, his family and friends, and we were all blessed with each other’s company and the fine Montana afternoon of blue sky and warm weather.

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  1. It sure was a beautiful, meaningful day. We miss you Chris.

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