The sunrise in the Buttermilks was glorious as usual, youth health blah, nurse blah, noun blah. I vaguely remember waking up for a split second and seeing an incredible light show playing out on the underside of the clouds on the eastern horizon, but it was probably just a dream. Back to sleep for another hour or so. When I finally woke up, the sun was already warming the car, getting out of my sleeping bag was enjoyable. Since I cant open my hatchback from the inside, I opened the back passenger side door and swing my body around, breakdance style. If its a bit nipply outside, I layer up, but Saturday morning was pleasant, and I hopped outside in my skivies and urinated for about 2 minutes straight.
I packed everything into the car except for Justin and his tent, because he was still sleeping in it. We drove another mile up a heavily rutted Buttermilk Rd. until the snow got deep. We cooked under the open hatchback for a wind barrier, but the winds were harsh and came from all directions. Halfway through breakfast, a man came up the road, lead by his dog. He stopped several yards before he reached us and began panting heavily, clearly trying to make us notice. When I asked him if he was alright, he answered, “Well not really, what is the worst thing that can happen to a person?” Given the current situation and the fact that some d-bag had recently stolen my laptop and wallet from my girlfriend’s car, at a trailhead, I answered with great sympathy, “someone broke into your car?” He shook his head, “you got the first part right.” I didn’t get it. He stepped closer to us and began to hyperventilate. “My heart,” he said, breathing heavily. Oh shit, this fucker’s going to die on us, I thought. “Have you ever had a heart attack?” I asked. “No,” he said, “Just a broken heart.” Now what do you say to that? He was geared up for a wintery dayhike in the buttermilk high country, so I told him that the mountains are a great place to strengthen the heart, and that he’s got the right idea. When he was out of earshot, Justin and I laughed awkwardly, and seriously hoped he was not going to kill himself and his dog. feeling bad about getting dumped is natural, but complaining about it to random people is the type of shit that only those weaklings at Pullharder.COM would do. check out what homos those guys are http://pullharder.com/index.php?option=com_gallery2&Itemid=46&g2_itemId=2069
It was a bit too blustery for early morning snowboarding, so we packed up and headed to the Sad Boulders to knock out all the V0+ problems we could get our fingers on. While hiking up to the canyon into the volcanic tableland, we began making excuses about why we were not going to climb hard boulder problems. “Man, my tendon really feels tweaked from the gym.” “Oh shit, I left my bouldering shoes in San Diego.” “I have not bouldered in forever, I think I’m going to take it easy today.” And take it easy is what we did. After about 1.5 hours of VB+ sending madness, we stumbled upon 2 chicks and a dude trying some heinous V5, 20 foot overhanging problem called Strength in Numbers. I politely said hello, but secretly cursed an entire generation of pebble wrestling punkass bitches who can boulder much better than myself. “You should get on this dude,” said the guy. I opted for the straight V2 around the corner, sans sit start. Then I agreed to lend the shortwall threesome my pad so that one of the girls could try the boulder problem for the umpteenth time while the dude pretended to spot her, but really just stared at her hairy ass crack sticking out of her jeans. I helped spot her too, saying things that boulderer’s say like, “you got this bra,” “send!” “crank dude,” and shouted out incorrect beta in the hopes that she wouldn’t get any farther than I would. Two moves later, she fell to the ground and I felt relieved. Soon, a whole crew of assmonkeys showed up, and began cheering each other on as they one by one, failed to send the problem. “you should get on this dude,” said one of the guys as I was packing up my stuff and getting ready to find my next V1 project. I gave him the death stare. Then his girlfriend stepped in and noticed my climbing shoes. “looks like you are a trad climber,” she said. “Yeah,” I said nonchalantly, “mostly just trad.” (read: damn right biatch, you better recognize!). “Man, trad is way too scary for me,” said the guy. “Is there even any trad around here?” That produced mixed emotions. One part of me wanted to crucify him to the highest boulder so that he could face the fucking Sierra Nevada in all its traditional glory, but the other part of me—the part that realizes causing such bodily harm to naive pebble wrestlers is a waste of precious climbing time—pitied this fool, for limiting his climbing horizons to the flat top of the volcanic tablelands. 3 hours and countless excuses later, Justin and I had sent every easy problem we could find. So back to the car we went, and headed up to Rock Creek, where we would start out the next morning for a day of backcountry snowboarding.
We drove to the “Trailhead” which is where the road is no longer plowed, and parked the car. I set up my tent next to the car and suggested Justin sleep in the car because he’s a little bitch and didn’t want to be cold all night. It got dark and cold at about 6pm, so we made some dinner and then sat in my car smoking pot and drinking scotch until 9pm. We discussed the finer points of being a dirtbag and listened to Justin’s eclectic music collection. I woke up at 530am and started getting geared up for the day. It was 8 degrees, which made everything miserable, aka glorious, but not really. We finally got moving around 730am. I paid the daily parking fee with Canadian coins I had left over from my trip up North. The first 5 miles were on a groomed snow road. Justin’s boots were giving him a lot of trouble, so I just ditched him and left signs in the snow whenever I deviated from other people’s tracks. Shortly after the road ended, I stumbled upon a small collapsible hut. The door was open and inside were two ladies seated around a wood burning stove, listening to obscure jam bands on a rusted boombox. I decided this would be a cool place to stop and wait for Justin’s chump ass to catch up. One girl told me that if I went to live in Camp 4, I might stay there for years, like she did. 45 minutes, and several cups of hot tea later, I decided that Justin was either having gear problems or had been attacked by a horny female sasquatch, so I told the girls to give him a message and I got moving. The going was mostly cross country for the next 2 miles through several lake basins and short foothills. Then, in typical Sierra fashion, the forest peetered out to reveal an army of colossal granite peaks and whitewashed Culuoir. The death star was out in full force, baking all of my exposed skin. It was still cold, but as the terrain got steeper, sweat began to swamp my cotton boxer briefs. My goal for the day was to approach the summit of Mt. Dade (13,600) and ride down the hourglass culuoir. I was within less than a mile of the base of the culuoir when 2 guys appeared from over the next foothill. I stopped to talk to them and they told me that unless I planned to get back to the car in the pitch dark, I would never be able to get up and down the Hourglass in time. Instead, they suggested the route they had done, which ascended a treeless drainage just over the next foothill. Seeing that I was by myself and that Justin was very far behind, I decided to take thier advice. With my new crampon attachments for my splitboard, I was able to fly straight up the 35-40 degree gully, hardly needing to switchback. the snow was well consolidated yet slightly crusty on top. I estimated that I was at about 12,500 feet based on my relative position to the obvious top of Mt. Dade. I scarfed down some trail mix and put the splitboard together, all the while scanning the area below for Justin. Cue the fun. Out came the iPod shuffle. I flipped through several songs until an acceptably hardcore(but not too hardcore) song came on…”Can you hear me knockin” by the Rolling Stones. The initial drop down the gully was about 700 feet of decent powder with some rotten crusty areas, but the gully was wide and allowed for runout. I was able to maintain my momentum for about another 3/4 mile, and just as Bobby Keys’ sick saxaphone solo was coming to a close, I came to the last lake I had passed on the way up and slowed to a stop. Here the terrain flattened out and I switched back to splitboard. Half a mile later, I was surprised to see Justin slogging towards me. We met along the banks of a frozen lake. He said that he had been having major boot discomfort issues, combined with the fact it was his first time using skis/skins. His watch read 3pm and I suggested that he turn back and follow me if he hoped to get back to the car by dark. We skinned back to the end of the road and then strapped on the boards for a nice icy 5-mile ride down a nearly flat icy, rutted, snow road. I was able to gain suffiecient momentum to ride the whole way back to the car, but Justin was not so lucky. He arrived almost an hour after me because he had to stop several times due to boot discomfort at which point I reminded him that P=G. We pulled over on the side of 395 about 10 miles north of Bishop to admire my next backcountry snowboarding goal. The monstrous gully on Mt. Tom, which offers 7,000 feet of vertical drop from the summit to the bottom of the snowline. Wawaweewah!!!