Once I topped out on Mt Ellen, the views were amazing. Red rock as far as I could see. But I also saw rain to the north which was bad news. The road down low had a lot of clay in it and I was a little worried that if it rained enough, the road would become impassible. I took a few pictures and transitioned, hoping to beat the rain.
The light was kinda funny so my pictures didn't come out as well as I hoped. I Guess you had to be there.
Canyonlands and the LaSals
Capitol Reefs Water Pocket Fold
I chose to ride a NE facing slide path that went for 1500 feet before it joined a few more paths in a gully for another 500 of so feet. It had a perfect aspect the made you feel like you were going to end up in the Colorado river in Canyonlands, with the LaSals as a back drop. I had to look up every few turns to take it in. It might be the most aesthetically pleasing run Ive ever had.
The snow was about 4-6 inches of dry soft settled, but wind damaged powder on top of 3 feet of facets to the ground. It rode great.
I really wanted to take another lap but I was worried about the rain. I had to work Monday and didn't want to get stuck out there with no way of getting ahold of anyone.
So I got back to the truck using a combination of glissading, post-holing, bush wacking, dirt hiking and even some riding. I met up with the jeep road I hiked up and realized that I started up one sub drainage to soon on the way up. Now I know.
My burrito was waiting for me nice and warm on the dash board.
And of course I had to hydrate.
But the adventure wasn't over yet. Those snow patches that were nice and hard this morning were slushy and muddy. After some white knuckle driving I made it back down to desert 7000 feet below the ridge.
The rain ended up being a short period of a light drizzle/flurries but Im Ok with my decision to skidattle.
My route. Red = descent.
It wasn't the most physically demanding tour or gnarliest line but it was an awesome adventure. I thought it would just be something I would do so I could say I did. But ended up being a great time climbing up and riding down. Its a trip I plan on repeating.
Each of Utahs islands in the sky brings something unique to the table. The Stansburys have the twin couloirs. LaSals have big lines. The Oquirrhs have a lot of cougars. The Henrys take the cake for scenery.