Don't let the image fool you, this was not a "good" day and the snow was not kind. It looks like a blue bird day on a backcountry freshy, right? Wrong, in fact he is dropping into a Marmolada couloir predominantly crafted in ice patches, fueled by driving windblown snow obscuring the way and -21C temperatures at mid-mountain. Sign me up, right?
The search for the last pictures, adventures and memories of 2014 ended with my shoulder injury (still not sure how bad), very few images, and frozen everything. Auston's mid layer and shell froze together, my 5D Mark III was so cold it was ghosting the top screen. I had a condensation frozen viewfinder and windblown snow caking all the dials and lens hoods. While I framed up a shot, I watched my bag get blown down a couloir going end over end for what felt like forever, and I don't think I have fallen as much since the last time I went drunk skiing. We had to acknowledge the mountain won the day and begin our wound-licking retreat to the car for a cold beer and hot miso soup celebration.
I say celebration because every day on the mountain safely ending in smiles and laughter is a day worth keeping. We can't and won't win them all. In our desperation for full blown winter to arrive, a beautiful mountain kicked our ass. The ice climbing is almost ready and we are still waiting for the full inches of snow to arrive on the slopes but they are close. Until then I need to get this shoulder looked at and get 2015 ready to launch. To all, Happy New Year! I am thrilled for the adventures on the horizon.