Mt. Tukuhinikivatz 12,482
Mt. Tukuhinikivatz 12,482
|Journey to the West|
The 3 stooges took a journey to the west. Keyton, Travis and Carrie.
Sometimes, plans change.
It's a workaround we all must deal with at some point, in mountaineering especially. Well, memorial day was one of those times. We had plans to do some end of the season skiing in the Gore range, I've wanted to ski there since I picked up touring. However, the weather took a turn for the worst that weekend of memorial day, effectively shutting down any hopes for much mountain activity in Colorado. Keyton was at work until 3pm on Saturday, and while he was working cooked up a plan in his head.
He proposed the idea of going out to Utah instead, he offered to drive us even. It was going to be a long night, but we were all game. Who doesn't love a little adventure? So Mt. Tuk was our new destination.
We had no recent beta on the snow conditions, or if there was much of anything to ski at all. But we knew the weather was supposed to be phenomenal, so the Stoke was coursing strong through our veins.
Driving all through the night, we had probably every emotion go through our heads. Hours of pondering every possible outcome. For all we knew, we would have a 6 mile hike with the skis on our backs without being able to ever use them, but we were game to do wherever. Sometimes you just have to try. The more we drive, and the closer we get to the trailhead we see no signs of snow anywhere. Plenty of cows, or "beef demons" as Travis calls them.
It was pretty dark, but there was one point we could partially see the area we would be climbing, and low and behold, we see snow! Let the giddiness ensue, the stoke was strong again. We rolled into the trail head sometime around 2:45am.
We try to sleep for a little while, but we got all of maybe 45 minutes of not restful sleep. We shuffle around and get our gear ready to go and soon after our boots are on the move.
The trail... The trail was impossible to follow. Without snow melting out, it would be been straight forward, but that was not our case.
All the snow lower down was rotten, soggy snow. The kind that no matter what floatation you have, its pointless. There were patches on the ground that we could find the true trail, but that was far and few between.
It was a morning full of miserable postholeing, and scrambling over tons of fallen trees with big planks on our backs. It was a very slow going approach, with lots of grunting and yelling at mother nature. Finally we reached the upper basin, where we could actually skin most of the rest of the way up. Oh what a relief it is.
Moving on from there was pretty uneventful, we were finally able to make some quick painless progress until we got to where we could no longer skin. The sun cups were proving to be a challenge, and there was one area that really tested the patience trying to boot up. Rotten unsupportive snow covering lots of talus. What's not to love? All of it. After that section of pain, we boot our way up to the saddle, soaking in the gorgeous views of the islands in the sky off in the distsnce.
What a contrast. Seeing the deep dry canyons while being on a snowy mountain. Utah is spectacular, this was my first real adventure in this place.
We hear some voices as we top out on the saddle, there was a group of 3 or 4. Those people came up the other side that was completely melted out so they didnt have that fun morning we had. They looked at us a little funny since we all had skis, wondering what snow was skiiable. We ditched our skis there at the saddle, the snow coverage on the top was there, but our line was not continuous anyways, and it wasn't worth painfully piecing together.
We didn't have far from there to the summit. At least not in numbers, but from the morning we had, we were tired.
We made it to the summit eventually, and stayed for a while to enjoy the time out.
The views from the top of Tuk were phenomenal, a contrast of deep greens and forest on one side, over to the vast canyons and dried up rivers on the other.
Views that take away the memories of pain and suffering and wallowing in the hours before standing on that point. However, that time eventually comes that what went up, must come back down. We make our way to the skis, rip skins, the splitboarders put all the pieces together and get ready to shred.
The ski down wasn't the best, but damn was it still fun. It was mostly waterskiing at that point, but turns were had, and laughs were belted out. Carving out white "s" patterns in the red dust tinted snow. Didn't get many pics of that part unfortunately. More time spent having fun with what we had. Although short lived, it was a great last ski of the season, and a hell of an adventure to hang up the sticks on. After getting as low as we can, we finally reach an end of the skiiable snow, and the sticks go on the back once again to make the rest of that miserable trudge out.
We make it to the cars in as decent time as was possible... We all have a beer and decide to make our way down to the Canyon Lands to mess around, be hooligans and camp out for a night.
We drive far back and right to the rim of the canyon, grab our case of trulys and some food and hang around on the canyon edge to enjoy what turned in to a seriously amazing sunset.
That place is tricky for the brain and eyes to fully comprehend you are looking ~3000ft straight down from that point you stand. It doesnt look quite that far, but I'm sure if you fell it would feel far different.
I tried to get as close as I could to the edge and do a headstand, but I didn't want to get "too" close. Still a sweet shot none the less.
Once the sun set, we hung out for a while before turning in for the night. We wake up pretty early the next morning to try and get home before traffic hits to bad.
We hit up the Area 52 gas station in Utah before hitting the road the rest of the way, and discovered one of the most bizarre bathrooms I've seen to date.
Behold, the Golden Throne
We were lucky and from what I remember we didn't get much traffic with the exception of one spot and made it home in good time.
The adventure was such a rollercoaster from beginning to end, and one that was thoroughly enjoyed. I'm sure the Gore range is amazing to ski, but it would not have been an adventure like the one we made. Hopefully better luck this season for me in that range.
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