Friday, January 12, 2007

In the no-fall zone: Davenport posts latest pics

Aspen skier Chris Davenport, who is three peaks away from skiing all Colorado's 14ers in one year, just posted photos from his latest peaks, Little Bear and Crestone Needle. His party had a very close call in Little Bear's Hour Glass, which is sketchy in the summer, and must be downright terrifying to ski. Here's an excerpt:

Once on the ski route the group skied the firm and slightly crusty descent. Arriving several hundred feet above the hourglass, we all had to make a committing turn around some water ice that bulged in to the line. I went first and stopped to look back and take a photo of Christian. When he made the move however, his heavy pack combined with the fact the he hadn’t snapped his ski mode levers on his boots into place pulled him over backwards and he began to fall. Christian quickly accelerated on his back, all the while trying desperately to self-arrest. When he finally got his skis under him he was out of control and he shot sideways into the rocks, and then spun around back wards, airing ten feet off one cliff and landing hard on another. He then back-flipped twice off of that cliff and finally self-arrested in some softer snow a hundred feet below the hourglass and three hundred feet below us. I was astounded when he put his hand up and shouted to us that he was OK. In fifty peaks on this project that was the first fall and also one of the scariest falls I have ever seen. He came away with a laceration to one finger and some bumps and bruises, but most importantly a very humbling learning experience about control in a no-fall-zone.

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