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Old 04-07-2014, 12:28 AM   #1 (permalink)
mhaas
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: SLC, UT
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Default Desert POW

The forecast for this weekend didn't really make me want to spend much time outside in the mountains. Gloomy and cold but with little fresh snow. :nononno: So I decided to go to the anti-Wasatch. The Henry Mountains.

The Henry's are really intriguing to me. They were the last range in the lower 48 to be mapped. They are in the middle of nowhere. They have a free range wild buffalo herd. As far as I can tell they really haven't been molested by man. They are supposedly haunted. They are mountains that are seen by many, visted by few.

They are also in the middle of one of the most geologically unique parts of the world. Capitol reef to the West, Canyonlands to the East, Boulder Mountain and Escalante to the South and the San Rafael Swell to the North. All things that come to mind when you think of snowboarding.

I tried to ride there last year in late April but when I got there, there was barely any snow left, so I aborted and hung out at capitol reef. I figured my window to hit it this year was running out so I decided to go for it.

I spent Saturday morning trying to get snowpack info and route beta. Since there are no weather stations there, I tried to use snotel data from Boulder mountain, 30 miles to the SW, and the few TRs on the web to figure out where the snow line was going to be. I figured that there was a 60% chance of decent riding conditions (corn). Good enough for me. At the very least it would be a fun drive on dirt roads in a remote area.

I tried to round up a partner for this last minute adventure but couldn't. I shouldn't have been so honest with my expectations I guess. Oh well. More solitude for me.

I loaded up the truck and headed down to the Goblin Valley area to spend the night.


Sunday was supposed to be sunny and breezy but to that hot. I planned to take my time and get a later start, hoping for softer climbing conditions.

The high country was looking way whiter that it did last year. Good news. Hope I don't have to skin on the road to get to the TH.


The road was rough but not to bad for a pick up. The last 1.5 miles to the TH had intermittent patches of snow that were easy enough to negotiate.

It climbed up the drainage looking like your standard desert environment. Then you drop over a little pass and BOOM! Your in a more traditional mountain setting


I see this stud and his harem hanging out by the TH. Lucky dude. And lucky me. If I get stuck up there I have food for months. Since I brought a gun with me


Thirty minutes of dirt hiking on a jeep road and I'm on snow. Ill take it. About a thousand switchback to go.

The terrain varied from huge well spaced Ponderosa to thick aspens and spruces. There was a fire a while back. The burn area was pretty cool.




The aspens, not so cool. There were patches of 1 inch thick by 10 feet tall aspen that would pop op out of no where and get trap you. I got captured more time that I wish to count.
I don't know how it kept happening but it did.



Once I was on the snow I realized it snowed recently. Not from the little storm last night but Im guessing mid week when the LaSals got some. There was 4-6 inches of settled, dry pow in the sheltered areas!

I got disoriented in the thick forest and once it opened up I realized I was on the opposite side of the gully that I wanted to be. Too late to turn back. I'll make my corrections on the ridge.
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