Hombres de Montana (Mountain Men)
Zo- Gay (happy) Glissader
Dan- Young Stud Number 1
Eric-Young Stud Number 2
Drewsky-Give me a Brewsky
Bad Aim Mark
El Lobo Grande
The boys got a little out of control when El Lobo
was displaced as the alpha wolf.
“Every mile is two in winter”
The Fractured Fairy Tale:
Day 1- Snowshoe up the Humphreys Peak Trail to the saddle at 11,600’
Set up winter camp
Practice self arrest techniques with the ice axes
Melt snow, have dinner, crash
Day 2 –Get up before daylight
Have a hot breakfast and break camp
Start at daylight and crampon to the summit with full packs
Turnaround time planned for no later than 2:00 P.M.
Perform a sitting glissade down to below the tree line
Snowshoe down to the Arizona Snow Bowl
Party at the Beaver Street Brewery
Warning: Contents may be offensive:
If you are sensitive or have any value of decency, please do not read any further. Do not share this email with any responsible person. Not since my misspent youth have I been associated with such a high concentration of disgusting behavior. (Men Behaving Badly) I believe that there is a direct correlation in the leadership, planning, organization, and execution of this adventure.
I will tell it like it is.
The group met at El Lobo’s Den and left about twenty minutes late. In Flagstaff, it was announced that Dan had left his hiking boots in the street back in Scottsdale.
Fortunately, Popular Outfitters in Flag opened at 9:00 and after a leisurely shopping trip a new pair of cheap boots was purchased. Popular’s customer service would be tested later when the boots were returned.
We started up the snow packed trail close to 11:00 A.M. approximately 2 1/2 hours later than planned.
At a break, Eric announced that his GPS was missing and he thought that he saw it fall in the snow. After much digging, the search was abandoned and we continued climbing up the trail.
Dan went ahead of the group and would wait for Lobo who was close behind. After climbing a couple of thousand feet Dan and Lobo stopped and waited for the group.
When Zo and Mark, the co leaders, arrived around 4:00 we discussed continuing on to the saddle or going back a quarter of a mile and setting up a camp with much less wind exposure. Due to diminishing day light and temperature, we went back and started setting up camp. There would be no self arrest practice today.
The rest of the group arrived shortly after. The temperature was close to 0.
Setting up camp proved to be a laborious effort. Snow had to be dug out and leveled with snowshoes and a shovel that Dingo Dan had brought. Zo, Mark and Lobo really struggled putting up the TAJ3 (3 man 3 season) tent, rented from REI.
We had a killer view, and a brilliant sunset triggered a group exuberance, despite the now sub zero temperature.
Dingo Dan and Drewsky brought over cigars, and a lemon drops concoction and plastic cocktail glasses. Eric broke out the Jack. Everyone defied the facts that alcohol thins the blood, making you colder and further dehydrates your body. An adult exhales a liter of water in his or her breath during a night of sleeping outside in freezing temperatures.
But--It was parteee time!!!
Dinner was put off until it was dark. Snow was melted and everyone ate in their sleeping bags. Water bottles were stored in the bags, along with our boots.
Pee bottles were made handy. El Lobo questioned the wisdom of Zo’s Gatorade pee bottle with the “pencil dick” opening. I elected to sleep next to Mark whose pee bottle had a “big beauty” opening. This later proved to be the wrong strategy.
No one slept more than a couple of hours. Periodically the thought arose that it was very cold and that I had never experienced such cold. It may have been colder when Mooseman & I camped on a frozen lake in the Minnesota Boundary waters, but this seemed like greater suffering.
El Lobo got up at five to take care of business. (I suffered only a mild case of frostbite on exposed cheeks.)
The leaders elected to stay in bed. The temperature was close to -20 per my Suunto.
Zo and Mark finally got up when the sun came out around 7:30.
No one else would get up.
Breaking camp was very painful. My cheek bones (face) were numb despite wearing a balaclava.
El Lobo became impatient waiting for the group and elected to go ahead and scout out a route to the saddle. The trail had stopped a quarter mile past camp and passage required plowing through deep powder straight up to the saddle.
El Lobo felt nauseous and his head was pounding with a nice case of dehydration & altitude sickness. Dehydration causes a decrease in blood volume resulting in less oxygen reaching the muscles, thus causing cramps. Mine were in my stomach. I cursed my stupidity and the plan to carry full packs to the summit.
Tell me again why we are not leaving our packs and returning the same way?
Oh, that’s right, we can glissade down, and it will be easier.
After climbing about a hundred feet, Mark arrived and beckoned me back down to a different route. Lorenzo also arrived and there was quite a bit of discussion as to the most efficient course to the saddle.
We trudged on and the rest of the group caught up, but without Drew. He had turned back, wisely, not wanting to carry a fifty five pound pack to the summit.
It was here that I asked if Drew should go back by himself, and if at our slowed down pace we could summit safely and get down in a comfortable daylight time frame. I was told that the turnaround time was 2:00. It would be no problem because we would glissade down. Zo was animated and confident. Eric said he felt good. Dingo Dan did not feel well, but wanted to continue. Mark had done this before and was confident. Dan was chomping at the bit.
“Know when to hold them, know when to fold them, know when to walk away, know when to run”
It seemed to me that glissading in full packs and deep powder might not be the best course. I felt like crap and could slow down the group and put everyone in jeopardy. The thought of having previously summitted several times, and not needing this check mark on the old list, was the final piece of data needed to make the decision.
Against my nature, I decided to go back, catch Drew and enjoy a leisurely trip down on a beautiful day.
This ended up being an excellent choice.
Drewsky and I had an enjoyable easy trip down and arrived at the Snowbowl before 1:00. We spent the afternoon at the lodge, had a great lunch, watched the ski bunnies and enjoyed the day. Drewsky is great company.
Drew and I anxiously waited for our comrades. At 5:45 I started to worry, there was not much daylight left and it was starting to get seriously cold. Although Drew thought I was thinking like a fatalist, I started to put together a rescue plan.
A short while later Dan and Dingo Dan arrived. Dan had cut trail and was feeling fine.
Dingo was spent, and very happy to see us. Eric looked good. The leaders staggered in about fifteen minutes later, whimpering and whining. There was no glissading today. The powder was too deep, often times up to the waist.
Eric announced “This was one F%#@^ed day!
Zo swore that he was never doing another outside activity; he would only do climbing in the gym.
All wished that they had turned back.
El Lobo had turned back with his tail between his legs. He missed a big part of the adventure. This was a first, it won’t happen again.
My amigos are all tough hombres and they did finish reasonably close to the time line. Their efforts may have been dumb but still commendable. In a couple of weeks all will be ready for another adventure.
The Magnificent Seven will ride again.
Men Behaving Badly:
Dingo Dan for repeating over and over again. “It is colder than a witch’s tit” or “It is cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey”
Mark for his bad pee bottle aim. El Lobo was the recipient of an ice cold splash in the face.
Zo for loaning me a -40 sleeping bag that weighed over 6 lbs. and took up almost all of my pack space. Stuffing the bag was like wrestling an alligator.
Dan for partying until 3:30 A.M. Friday night and then sheepishly mentioning that he left his hiking boots out in the street.
Dingo Dan for bringing a big bottle of an acidic lemon drops concoction with party glasses and then forced El Lobo to drink half of it.
Eric for bringing a big flask of Jack Daniels fire water and then forced El Lobo to drink it.
Drewsky for bringing those fire stick, headache inducing cigars.
Zo- For lying to the American people about glissading
Zo & Mark for arguing about how to put up the tent, cook dinner, level the snow and other important operational matters.
Mark for constantly asking Zo directions to the saddle when he had just camped there last week.
Zo-for trying to slide down a snow field on his sleeping pad. Glissading?
Mark for talking loudly most of the night, causing Lobo to get no sleep.
Mark for not wanting to get up until the sun came out.
Eric for laughing at the rip in El Lobo’s new Mountain Hardware jacket. El Lobo did not laugh when Eric lost his GPS in the snow.
El Lobo for flaunting his new REI Rock Jacket, Mountain Hardware Jacket, MSR Denali Evo Snowshoes, REI Boots, Hat, Balaclava, Mistral Windproof, Waterproof Pants, REI 1 Gloves and Expedition Socks.
El Lobo, Dingo Dan, and Drewsky for being rowdy at the Beaver Street Brewery in Flag before driving home. There was way too much pleasure taken when a poor innocent lady, in her tight, low cut pants bent over in front of them and exposed her plumbing.
El Lobo for loudly announcing in a crowd at McDonald’s that he had to drain his lizard. El Lobo had just finished a SOBE energy drink with a lizard on the label.
Mooseman for being a “no show”. He pretended to be surfing in San Diego. Cmon Mooseman, guys from Reno don’t surf. They just listen to surf music!!
REI Male Customer for bringing back a shell jacket, shredded, and covered with cat hair. He claimed that he was attacked by a bear!
This trip brought back fond memories of being a boy scout in Reno Nevada and spending my summers at Camp Fleishman in Northern California. It also brought thoughts of one of my favorite all time movies-Stand by Me-1986
The movie’s parting line---------
“I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?”
Lobo sez Yes