Traditionally, New Year's resolutions are about self-improvement of some sort. Of course, most people fail miserably at them, making me wonder what the point of the resolutions is. But no matter.
Why not apply the concept of New Year's resolutions to outdoor activities? Most people who have a passion for the outdoors have a mental ticklist of stuff they want to do at some point. For instance, I still want to make another attempt on Denali's Cassin Ridge (I spent fourteen days in a tent waiting out snowstorms the last time), and I know I have to get to Switzerland to try the Matterhorn.
For now, those grandiose trips will have to wait. But here's a list of five things I plan to do close to home that should provide nice fodder for "On the Edge." Look for reports on these activities at some point this year.
1) Ski Silverton
It's possibly the baddest, raddest mountain in Colorado. It's been on my hit list since it opened, and I saw the videos of people making laps in waist deep powder. It's on. I don't care if I have to sleep in the parking lot and beg for spare change to get a lift ticket, I'm getting to Silverton this season. For one thing, if this ridiculous weather trend keeps up, that's where the snow is. For another, the steeps look like the cat's meow.
2) Full Moon Ski and Climb
With good preparation and a little luck, climbing or skiing by full moon can be a religious experience. Choose the right route and you may not even need a headlamp. Some friends have suggested good possibilities for backcountry ski routes by full moon, such as The Professor off Loveland Pass, and climbing the Third Flatiron by full moon is a summer tradition that I plan to enjoy this season, once it opens in July.
3) Ski Mountaineering
Ski mountaineering is a challenge I've hitherto not embraced, but have been considering for a while. I may not be Chris Davenport, but there are challenges for ski mountaineering that look like a blast. I once backed off an April trip up James Peak above St. Mary's Glacier because one person in the party wasn't comfortable, but James offers good ski mountaineering. Torrey's Peak is another good choice, and if laziness is part of the backcountry routine, there's always running laps with cars from the summit of Mt. Evans. I've climbed a few fourteeners by technical mountaineering routes; it's time to start skiing them too.
4) Alpine Rock Climbing
It's been a few years since I've done a rock route in the Colorado high country. Rocky Mountain National Park alone holds challenges to keep a climber occupied for a lifetime, and I've only done a few of them. There's also plenty of rock climbing in the Elks, some good rock in the Ten Mile Range, and crumbly alpine rock to put the fear of God in you in the San Juans. Besides, I'm hoping to combine a ski mountaineering trip with alpine rock climbing in the Tetons in June.
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5) Overnight Hike on the Colorado Trail
Number five is a toughie, because I'm also dying to get back to the desert and do some splitter sandstone cracks in Canyonlands or Moab, but the Colorado Trail entranced me from the moment I saw John Fielder's photos in the Fielder/M. John Fayhee book Along the Colorado Trail. Almost twenty years ago, I hiked the Long Trail in Vermont over the course of eighteen days. I don't think doing the entire Denver-to-Durango hike is in the cards this summer, but getting out for a few days for a hike simply for the sake of hiking, instead of hiking to get to a climb or ski, seems like a worthwhile trip.
Other things I hope to get to this season, besides the aforementioned desert trip, include some of the spring alpine ice routes in Rocky Mountain National Park, attending the Extreme Telemark Freeskiing Championships in Crested Butte in March, doing a hut trip in the 10th Mountain Division Hut system, and maybe trying the indoor skydiving thing in Denver.
What is on your hit list for 2010?