I sent my friend Will around midnight. "Want to go ski Y Couloir in the morning?"
He immediately responded "Hell yeah". That's what I like about Will. He's DOWN for anything. So we quickly made our plans, and set our alarms for 3:00am.
Will picked me up at 2:55am, with two warm cups of coffee in the truck. I tossed my skis in the back, and held the warm cup of coffee, grateful for something warm and welcoming in a still-dark morning. We drove up the canyon and sat below the couloir, barely lit up by the moon. We couldn't see that much of it...but we were ready.
Chugging our coffee, we packed our bags and strapped our skis up and began the approach. The approach included a river crossing and plenty of bush whacking...but we very quickly made it to the bottom of the couloir.
From there, it was just about putting one boot in front of the other. We were embarking on a giant stair stepper...but snow. We alternated leading and setting the boot pack.
For the first hour, we booted up in silence. Just admiring the crisp air and quiet. The only disruption was the crunch of our boots in the snow. Sometimes, it's nice to focus on what's right in front of you. To focus on the next step you need to take, or the next decision you need to make. To forget about everything in your future and just make that in-the-moment decision of stepping again. That's part of why I love these early morning objectives. You can't see too far ahead and you just focus on that very next step. And that's what we were doing. Focusing on the next step.
Eventually, the first rays of light started to hug the tips of the peaks behind us as we continued to boot up the couloir. We could finally look down and see how far we can climbed. We could finally look up and see how much further we still had to go.
We took a break and watched the sun move slowly over the peaks...illuminating the tips in a light orange. We snacked, joked around, and then kept moving upward.
Eventually, we got there. We strapped on our skis, and FINALLY got to ski one of the most classic couloirs. It was absolutely magical, and I'm so thankful and grateful that we got to ski it together.
By 11:00am, I was back home, icing my knees and grinning from ear to ear.