Location: Adams Peak, Osgood Mountains
Conditions: Sagebrush, ice, corn, and light old fluff (on north facing)
Snowpack: Not super deep, only skiable on north thru east aspects above 7,500 ft. Seemed well consolidated.
Alls good at sunset over the Osgoods
Story: I love the basin and range so much, that I’ll do just about anything for a good adventure out there. Sometimes that results in good skiing and other times, well… it’s a good ol’ sagebrush smashing adventure. Often times I think that the best laid plans, which I am most eager about, are those that turn into the biggest sage brush clusterfucks. That’s why I always try and keep my expectations and excitement low (not just for NV skiing but life), and prefer to celebrate in the moment -when I know it’s all worked out.
So where am I going with all this? Well, I just wanted to give a little lead in for what turned out to be a heinous weekend, which we thought was going to work out great! Sometimes you get shut down by the mountain; in this case we got shut down by the mountain, gear, cold temps, flat tires, wind, modern technology, and... well I’ll just let you read the story. Only half of that happened on Saturday (Sunday to come later).
After our presidents weekend success story, I was eager to get back out to the east Humboldt Range. I couldn’t stop thinking about a huge couloir we had seen, which had possibly never been descended -and needed our tracks down it. As usual, Connor was down for the Nevada adventure, but only if I agreed to help him with his Prominence Peak project first. He is trying to ski all of Nevada‘s great prominence peaks, a list of 50 or so mountains with varying amounts of good skiing. I was just happy to have a partner for my East Humboldt goal, so I told him I would agree to ski anything in exchange.
After an early Saturday wake up, we were on the road to Winnemucca and then quickly making time to Golconda where we exited 80 onto dirt roads. Our goal was Adams Peak, High Point of the Osgood Mountains -yet another nondescript Nevada range that would prove to be impressive up close. After pushing my truck as far as it could go up a horribly brushy road, we started slogging through sagebrush and vegetation by around 10 in the morning. Our plan was to access the mountain from the east side, and make the best of what we expected to be low snow conditions and warm temperatures. Skies were blue and wind was virtually nonexistent, the perfect set up for a casual day of winter time corn skiing.
Sage roads always lead to the good skiing...
After some brushy battling, we skinned up to the summit ridge and got our first views of the skiing options (or maybe I should say option, as it was really only the northeast bowl). Though as often happens in Nevada, the peak was much more awesome looking from up close -with plenty of mini golf and complex “small mountain” terrain to chose from. I was stoked! It seemed like we had found the perfect spot for some warm corn laps and playful skiing.
Connor on the up
The summit and summit ridge!
From the ridge I eyed up a complex line with a good-sized cliff at the entrance. My confidence and determination were further bolstered by Connor’s suggestion that he take some drone footage -so I couldn’t back out after all that talk and deliberation. Soon I was blasting the sugary top snow and zooming out the bottom at Mach ski. Although the snow wasn’t "all time", it was smooth and fun with plenty of sun to actually provide visibility!
Peering in (thanks Connor for the photo)
Yours truly, enjoying the carve (thanks Connor for the photo)
Connor came next, finding some soft pockets and making the skiing look equally as fun. He cruised up to me and exclaimed, “Dude! I just got a sick drone shot of you. That footage is going to be so rad!". Fully stoked, we slapped on skins for another lap.
Connor enjoys it too!
Moderately soft snow in the shade.....
About three minutes later, shit hit the fan. While skinning up I found a firm patch of snow, and kicked in my edge hard for the step. All of a sudden I felt a distinct slipping sensation, and looked down to see my ski off my foot, with the binding still attached to the boot. Immediately I had a sinking feeling, knowing that I had just had a day -or even weekend- ending failure. After lots of swearing on my part, Connor came over to see what the fuss was.
Shit! The screws pulled out clean -leaving only sawdust.
Unfortunately, our previous lap had only taking us to the summit ridge and not the actual summit. I knew that I couldn’t let this peak go to the wayside, and Connor was certainly not going to miss it. We both decided to go back up regardless, and a little while later we were standing on top of the mountain again. This time actually ON TOP of the mountain, and this time with me only in possession of one ski.
Still smiling (thanks Connor for the shot)
Actually on the summit
The final steps to the top!
After enjoying the view, I knew it was time for the struggle to begin. Connor skied first, and then I took my time on one ski. All of those high school ski team training exercises paid off, as I was able to link two (and sometimes even up to three) turns on one foot before falling over. After a few minutes of struggle I might have even figured out how to link four turns, before falling over with my leg twitching and exhausted! Finally, after switching active ski legs only three times, we were back at the bushwack. If you think skiing through barely covered sagebrush is hard, try doing it on one ski!
We got back to the truck and celebrated (somewhat sadly) our successful climb of the peak. Connor remarked that at least he had gotten sweet drone footage before the day went to hell, and I agreed… Hoping to focus on a positive rather than the negative. It was then that we decided to look at the footage, and quickly realized that the awesome shot had not even recorded. Well...you can’t win every day!
Despite the setbacks, we were happy to watch an amazing sunset, and revel in the amazing adventure opportunities that surrounded us. And, I was even happier when we called our friend who was meeting us for the next day's adventure. He said that he had an extra pair of skis I could borrow! (To be continued)