Friday, January 16, 2009

Winter on “Mount Sněžka“ 16/1/09 Day 183

Day 183 (Slide show)

(Video 1)

(Video 2)

(Video 3)

Today I’m not sure what I should do. My friend Andrew tells me to buy a two day pass at this small resort but I saw it yesterday and I would be bored to death up there. I’m tempted to take the lower chair up to the summit and tour around.

That’s what I did. I wrote that before I left the lodge at 8:30 and I’m so glad I made that decision. I went for the Peak Sněžka. I wasn’t expecting much but I sure got a lot. It was a “Bluebird Day” as my friend Andrew would say. There was very little wind and bright blue sky. The lower chair opened at 10:00. What a rickety old thing. Of course I’m not complaining but in the states it would be closed due to corrosion. It worked fine though and I was at the midway point by 10:30. I got off because the guy’s at the ski shop told me to climb to the top. I started to put my climbing skins on the skies and a nice guy named Peda came touring up with his friends and dogs. He spoke good English and told me he would ride up with me. It seems the upper chair is only running every hour. That little fact confused me when I got off and all of a sudden it shut down. It seems I was the last person on of about 10 folks. Well, Peda and I rode to the top and after a few words I asked if I could join him and his friends as they toured around. Only at the top did I find out that they were going for a 25klm tour. I thought for only a second and said “Lets go” What a break I thought as we waited for his friends Kozisek and George to climb to us with the dogs.

It took them about a 40 min which I thought was strong. It seemed like a long way. It turned out it was. I had my ski skins on already because I was ready to climb before Peda showed so we made our way off the mountain towards to polish side. I was checking out the area for my Sunday trip over to Poland and it was exciting. After going over a lot of Ice we cut around a closed gate. Avalanche Danger area it said but with no new snow I wasn’t worried. I saw very quickly that if you get 4 or 5 inches of new stuff this would be it. It falls straight off to the right. With the ice there is nothing to keep the new snow on the steep slope. Think about trying to keep an edge while traversing on a frozen window. This lasted about 30 minutes then onto some flat and trekking. Remember I still have the skins on. Big bummer, because I down hill I sucked but uphill I dominated. This area was flat so I sucked. Skins are great but you need to know the terrain. I have to know when to take them off and when to put them on. I had no help from the guys I was with.

We stopped at a real big lodge, Lučni bouda. You can only reach it by snowmobile or trekking. After a few Bohemian Beers and some rest we moved on for about 2 hours we moved on. This was uphill for the most part but these guys were strong climbers and on their touring skies they were keeping up with me. At the top of the ridge they told me we would stop for lunch about 1 km ahead. It seemed like the top so I let them go head while I took the skins off. This was not a good idea because just around this ridge where I thought it was on a downhill slope. No, it was to be a slight uphill slope. The skies were sliding too much, and then it became steeper.

At this point we were about 15klm from the summit and about 3 hours. It was coming on 3:00PM and I needed a lunch break. My new friends were way ahead of me. With all that going on I was caught in the middle of a group of young ski touring folks. Their light skies were much easier then my heavy mountaineer skis. I made it though and my friends had just ordered a beer and soup. We had a great time at lunch. It was a nice little lodge way up in the mountains and there were just a few folks there.

I forgot to say that my rental boots were killing me and I could feel some serious blisters coming on. Not in the usual places like the heal either. These bad boys were on the sides of both feet. F@*k it I just had another shot of Hennessy.

After another hour and just about getting dark I split off from my new friends and headed down a small ski run. Total they told me we had gone about 25 to 30K for the day and if I took off to the left and down the ridge I would come to the ski area. From there I could catch a bus. Their cars were still about 30 minutes away. I don’t think they wanted to try there touring skies on a downhill run anyway. As I reached the bottom I couldn’t figure out where I was. After skiing further then I thought I reached an area where there should be a bus but it was dark. Now think about this, your reading a log by Odysseus remember, I got on the wrong bus.

Something’s Wrong (Junior Watson, Bluesman)

I ended up about 20klm down the road past the turn off to my lodge. The damn bus just kept going. It stopped once and I asked a guy, what’s up. He motioned that the bus would go back up. Wrong, I got off and got a taxi after waiting 45min

What a great day and good company. I got so lucky to meet Peda, Kozisek and George. Thanks guys.

After a great dinner and dressing up my feet I hit the sack.

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