I’m a little afraid to admit it, but “rookie moves” and “brain farts” still happen to the best of us. Not that I’m saying I’m the best, but still…it’s not my first go around at this stuff either. Forgetting your skins, your ski poles or even leaving your pack at home…I’ve seen it all. It hurts more when you realize what you’ve forgotten when you are hours from home and/or trying to get an alpine start to beat the heat, or even just need the extra hours to get to where you are going. It hurts less when you are just a 20 or so minutes away.
Usually, I pride myself in being uber-organized when prepping for trips into the mountains, especially multiday adventures. I’ll start organizing my gear days before, poking and prodding at it each day, taking stuff out of the pile and putting other stuff in. I’ll have it all laid out so I can see that I’ve got everything, then stuff everything into the pack the night before and only have a few things lingering nearby to shove in in the morning. It’s worked like a charm for me over the years and I can’t remember the last time I spaced something out…until today.
I had planned a 3-day ultra-rad suffer-fest for this week in the Wind River Range. With a 4am departure from Jackson, every hour and minute was going to be needed for the long approach into camp. About an hour and half from Jackson, and half hour until we arrived at the trailhead, I realized I had forgotten my climbing skins. OUCH…a crushing blow!!! Quickly, we turned the rig around and headed back to Jackson to retrieve them, but reality set in and we realized it was a lost cause and the trip would have to be salvaged for later this season. Adding to my forgetting my skins, my partner had gotten food poisoning the night before as well…puking and having diarrhea and adding to the weirdness in the morning.
Sometimes I think it is an omen when this kind of stuff happens and maybe it was today. The Winds have received close to 40” of snow over the past few days and I knew we were pushing things a little by not giving the snowpack time to settle out and stabilized. Plus, the weather forecast changed over the past few days and the original blue-bird forecast slowly turned to mostly cloudy with snow showers. Needless to say, I was too stubborn to listen to all these signs and kept pushing the trip forward. Anyway, maybe me forgetting my skins saved my life, or at least saved us from a long slog only to turn around due to avalanche danger. One will never know, but the one thing I do know…is that I feel like shooting myself in the head right now for being such nimrod and forgetting my skins. Anyway…life goes on I guess.
Steve I feel the same way on things like this. You get the feeling in the gut that it was not ment to happen. I have pushed through a few times with no problems but I have also learned the hard way. Good choice man. It much more fun when it feels right. I think.
The hardest thing for me to ever read is not the snowpack, but my own mind and body; when to push through adversity and when to perform and about-face. I had a day yesterday in which my body was wrecked, but pushed myself and wound up not having a good time. As they say….”you don’t have to have fun, to be having fun”…
I live my life with the little voice in my head constantly repeating, “Skis, Boots, Poles. Hat, Goggles, Gloves. Shovel, Transciever, Probe. Skins, Food, Water. Layers. Watch, Wallet, Weed…”
But I still sometimes space things… like a couple weeks ago when I realized I forgot all my food after I was already 3 hrs. into the mtns.
The best (meaning worst) is when your splitboarder buddy forgets his bindings..at least you don’t have to worry about that mistake!
Sounds like your instinct knew you shouldn’t be headed out in those conditions and subliminally caused you to leave your skins behind thereby killing the trip. Of course sometimes we’re just stupid too. For multi day trips I keep a gear list and use it to pack. The key is that as soon as I return I edit the list to remove the stuff I didn’t use/need and add the things I should have had. In this way the list continually improves and is ready to go for the next trip. I also try to attend to anything that needs restocking or repair as soon as I return from a trip (and before I forget) – restock the first aid kit, repair stuff that broke, add to the TP bag, etc.
thanks guys…all good suggestion and things i do or have done in the past. i find i don’t use the list anymore.
the crazy thing is…is i had my sleeping bag, puffy and skins sitting next to my pack…waiting to go in after i put in my hydration bladder. but in the early morning and in the darkness of my pad, the dark skin bag blended in with the rug…and i must have just stepped over them as i picked up my pack and moved it to my car. the gf must have walked right over them too, as she was making an early exit as well.
i forgot my skins once…but i was able to track and kill a marmot. i then fashioned some make-shift skins using its hide. they weren’t ideal, but they got the job done.
Maybe if Matt took the “weed” off his list he forget less of the important stuff. Hah!
My buddy is always dishing out crap when I tele or use skinny skis (under 100). It’s a beautiful moment, and time for payback, when he admits he forgot his skins, beacon or even boots, and must borrow my extras. I use a list and haven’t gone too far wrong – yet.
Happens to everyone. I was basically at the airport on my way to Chamonix before I realized that I had forgotten my ski boots at home (which of course I was carrying on so that the airline wouldn’t lose them). It turns out that they want you at the airport more than 30 minutes before an international flight leaves, but I managed to sweet talk my way onto the plane.
thanks a good one greg. glad they let you on the plane!