Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Splitboarding Gannett Peak

Story by Jeramie Prine
Photos: Steve Romeo/Jeramie Prine

With the upcoming ski season closely approaching, my thoughts flash back to stellar days spent in the backcountry with friends and family. A trip I daydream about often was a week-long journey spent in the Wind River mountain range to ski Wyoming's highest summit, Gannett Peak, this last June with skiers Steve Romeo, and brothers Chris and Tim Weydeveld.

This trip was a true test of the "Simple. Solid. Backcountry." motto for my gear. Over 30 miles were spent skinning with heavy packs, an unruly amount of transitioning took place on patchy snow in the Dinwoody drainage, and variable snow conditions were etched upon during the descent. All ingredients for a perfect trip.

Steve Romeo skins out of Ink Wells with Gannett Peak in view:
Being the lone splitboarder in the group, I knew that my Voile SD Mojo would have to hold up to the heavy use and abuse the Wind Rivers would throw at it. There would be no friends to bum spare parts from in a desperate situation far from civilization. I was confident never being let down in "the field" before riding different models of Voile's split-decision. Our only concerns were focused on weather, snow, and the glacier's conditions since we left our ropes at home due to a big snow year.

Tim, Jeramie, & Chris enjoying a June day in the Wind River Mountains at basecamp:After a day and a half of slogging, our basecamp was set. Thoughts of lighter packs filled our heads as we crashed in our sleeping bags early in preparation for next morning's climb. 2:45 came quick with howling winds and a clear star-filled sky. Content with lighter loads and consistent snow for skinning and booting, we quickly made our way up to Gooseneck glacier and to the base of Gooseneck Pinnacle just below the summit ridge of Gannett peak.


Tim and Jeramie climb Gooseneck glacier with Gannett Peak summit in the clouds:

The winds grew stronger and pushed a strange storm system in covering the summit of the mountain. Thoughts of retreat entered our minds. Below the Gooseneck Pinnacle with a brief discussion, we decided to push on despite lack of visibility. As we climbed further, the clouds let up slightly and we soon found ourselves on the top of Wyoming. Temperatures neared zero and we wasted little time switching over to enjoy the reward of the down.

View of the Gooseneck Pinnacle & route from the summit ridge:

A fine day of splitboarding on Wyoming's highest peak:
On a long trip and big climbs like this the Mojo is durable, yet light with new cap construction, aspen core, and carbon fiber. Light is nice on the up, but this board IS "all about the down" without any sacrifice in powder, on ice, or in between. Hoots and hollers penetrated through gusts of wind as each of us found our lines down the mountain. Now I know what it all really means to live the "Simple. Solid. Backcountry." way of life.

Jeramie enjoying his ride:

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