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A Recent Journey to the Distant Past (TAY-related)

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  • A Recent Journey to the Distant Past (TAY-related)

    In November of 2002 I embarked on a TAY ski streak which ultimately lasted two months short of six years (5 years 10 months). Now, in the present day, I am here to document, with this post, the culmination of a subset of the story of that adventure.

    The story of the subset of the story...

    Around the end of year 2 of the ski streak I decided to stop humping my gear into summer ski zones (usually small glaciers) in order to tick off ski days in those hard-to-get months. I instead chose to stash my rock skis, along with some old boot shells and poles at the toe of my favourite "go to" glacier in a multi-fluorescent-coloured ski bag. Setting a waypoint on my yellow Garmin eTrex helped with finding the gear each time upon return.

    Over the next 3 summers this strategy expedited many great day trips and many summer turns of a level of quality ranging from blissful to desperate.

    That being said, in the fall of 2008 I decided it was time to relocate the ski stash for a change of scenery. On the map I had scoped out other potential snow holding zones in the vicinity so I moved my gear down to where the run-off from my glacier dumped into the main valley. The spot was near the edge of what you might call an alluvial fan in a lightly-treed rocky area. I recorded a waypoint (S08) on the eTrex with every intention of returning the following summer to continue exploring.

    It didn't happen. My TAY streak died. You will no doubt thank me for not elaborating on the reasons why. And I thank you for reading this far!

    I did not return to the ski stash. Until...

    Present day. The return to waypoint S08....

    This summer some friends organized a backpacking trip and invited the wife and I along. It just so happens that the destination was near waypoint S08. I regaled the story of the ski stash and indicated a desire to attempt a recovery of my skis. They were intrigued and were pumped at the historical significance of the endeavour (we're talking 12 years ago here!)

    The yellow eTrex had been long abandoned in a closet in the basement. I dug it out and replaced the dead and crusty AA's. Waypoint S08 was still in memory!

    On search day we headed up the drainage. I told everyone that the location was not far off the main trail and powered up the eTrex. "Wait...Locating satellites...Ready to navigate... Accuracy 38m... S08... Go To... <enter>".

    We decided to fan out as the stated accuracy did not inspire confidence. Not to mention, this drainage was a part of the watershed that had contributed to the great flood of 2013 which submerged half of Calgary and several small communities in Southern Alberta.

    Who knows? My ski could have be washed away... now nowhere near S08.

    We proceeded to conduct a highly unorganized free-flowing parabolic grid search. After stumbling around the rocky environs of the creekbed for quite some time the tone of the effort began to take on a needle-in-a-haystack vibe.

    However, as these stories usually go, just a I was feeling the group had lost hope and was ready to abandon the search, I caught a glimpse of pale yellow on the ground in a small tormented copse of bushes and trees. My first thought was that it was just a large dead leaf or some other dried up vegetation.

    But no, it was really it!

    The long lost ski stash.

    A Garmin in hand re-enactment of the discovery of the ski stash:

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    Now almost completely covered in silt:

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    Myself and other members of the team pose triumphantly:

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    Click image for larger version  Name:	Team2.jpg Views:	1 Size:	668.1 KB ID:	103249

    Last edited by aqua toque; 16 August 2020, 05:35 PM.

  • #2
    Back at home, the artifacts on display:

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    An Egyptian mummy for comparison purposes:

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    • #3
      Museum curators, please PM for further details.

      Last edited by aqua toque; 16 August 2020, 03:02 PM.


      • #4
        If you hadn't added the Egyptian mummy for reference I never would have comprehended the depth of your depravity for earning turns all year. Now we know.

        Incidentally, were those the same bindings they used in the days of the pyramids for urning terns?

        ain't no turn like tele!


        • #5
          Aqua Touque For The Archeological Win!!! Great story, I wish I had something other than envy to contribute... but I am overwhelmed by your canadian awesomeness....

          *Musically, I would have went for the bangles purely for the "hot chicks" version effect, rather than the all men wearing the same jumpsuit, dancing around together version... which kind of weirds me out.
          the fall line is your friend.... resistance is futile


          • #6
            Makes me wonder what else you have buried in shallow silt. Nice work!


            • #7
              And great use for possibly the most hideous ski bag ever.


              • #8
                No attacking marmots after you disturbed their home? Pshaw! Not impressed.


                • #9
                  I approve this thread!


                  • #10
                    Cool story.

                    Well, at least you don't have to worry about snakes.
                    Reminds me when these airplane parts came out of the toe of a glacier in Argentina. Turns out, tracing back the serial numbers on the RR Merlin engines, it was the wreck of a British South American Airways flight Lancastrian that had crashed in a storm, then been buried by snow for 50 years, and never found.

                    Back to the ski story,
                    Those edges will be rusty .
                    Too bad I didn't have a GPS, and log a waypoint, the time I skied down with my pack open on Big Jay in Vermont. Took a tumble, recovered, then kept skiing down. At the takeout, I realized my climbing skins had fallen out of my open pack, probably when I crashed ! The only thing of real value I ever lost on a ski outing.
                    Well, I did lose a ski pole , skiing off Piste in France, in a whiteout when I sailed into a giant hole. Lucky it was full of powder, and I wasn't hurt, on an AT binding no less. Dumb.
                    Last edited by chamonix; 19 August 2020, 07:22 PM.


                    • #11
                      Seeking further approval here's a selection of photos from that era.

                      Most trips where solo and selphie-based.

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                      This is what the ski stash typically looked like in the summer months at the toe of the glacier.

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                      Yes, it does look eerily similar to the wreckage of the BSAA Avro Lancastrian Stardust.

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                      Rust? No arguing, it never sleeps... (somebody else can post the video because apparently the cover versions I post are off-putting ) ....however, field tuning was fast and easy.

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                      They cleaned up real good.

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                      This could very well be the last photo ever taken of the stash before the ugly ski bag was zipped up and abandoned to the silts of time.

                      Click image for larger version  Name:	final stash.jpg Views:	0 Size:	673.8 KB ID:	103288

                      That's one for the ski historians to figure out.

                      Attached Files
                      Last edited by aqua toque; 19 August 2020, 10:53 PM.


                      • #12
                        The TAY thing lost a lot of meaning to me when guys on the site were saying how many consecutive months they had skied and others on the site were asking where they could go to find a patch of snow to keep their monthly streak alive... It kind of diminished to concept.

                        Then, of course everytime someone posted route information, there would be a crowd of new skiers there the next weekend... so giving route information became frowned upon too since backcountry skiing has taken off in this area.

                        Pictures Rule! Don't say where you went. Don't brag about how many months in a row you skied. Have fun, promote safe travel practices...

                        Awesome pictures Mr. Toque!
                        Last edited by tele.skier; 21 August 2020, 03:32 PM.
                        the fall line is your friend.... resistance is futile


                        • #13
                          Yeah, 100% agree with not blabbing secret stashes on the internet. Coyly withholding route information was always one of the funnest parts of trip reporting.

                          That being said, a good trip report should always have a little sprag.

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                          Now some additional story embellishment...

                          Yes, there were many solo outings to the stash but occasionally others were involved.

                          One individual in particular deserves honourable mention because A: He accompanied me on more trips here (and other TAY escapades) than he most likely cares to remember, and B: I'm sending him a link to this thread.

                          Known as Mex, we connected through the forum and its associated photo section (coincidentally another long lost relic of the past). I can honestly say -- best backcountry ski partner ever.

                          A Sept outing to the ski stash zone with a dusting of new snow:

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                          He was the most stylish skiing-son-of-a-gun a trip reporter could ever hope for. Never a bad shot!

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                          On the other hand, I've been told my skiing looks good from afar but is far from good. I attribute that to a keen sense of setting and enhanced situational awareness.

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                          Denouement of the post:

                          I once agreed to a summer non-skiing foray into the area with a maniacally obsessive peak-bagging friend. He wanted to scramble up a crumbly ridge on the namesake peak above my glacier. I went along because it would afford an opportunity for this great shot of where I'd been skiing.

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                          As well as a fantastic view of a big peak in the next valley over.

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                          Sprag Alert

                          Mex and I skiied that one too!

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                          • #14
                            Totally Cool ! And now I finally figured out what TAY means.


                            • #15
                              That was SWEEEEEEEET. You are obviously not an amateur spragger..
                              the fall line is your friend.... resistance is futile