Backcountry Magazine 117 - The Steep Issue

FEATURES THE REVIVAL TOUR Just west of the Continental Divide lie Colorado's Elk Mountains, strewn with some of the state's most formidable and photographed 14,000-foot peaks and an endless number just shy of that benchmark. The range's history is intertwined with that of its best-known town, Aspen, grown from meager...
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FEATURES

THE REVIVAL TOUR
Just west of the Continental Divide lie Colorado's Elk Mountains, strewn with some of the state's most formidable and photographed 14,000-foot peaks and an endless number just shy of that benchmark. The range's history is intertwined with that of its best-known town, Aspen, grown from meager mining roots to an encampment for 10th Mountain Division soldiers to a place where skiers tested their limits in the '70s and visitors later brought glitz and wealth. But underneath the blur of change, the mountains endure. And now, a community-wide movement is bringing Aspen's history back into the main- stream, refocusing on a range still daunting and unexplored.

FIFTY YEARS IN THE MAKING
In 1964, Karl Ricker and a group of graduate students in the University of British Columbia's Varsity Outdoor Club completed the first traverse of Whistler, B.C.'s Spearhead Range. Along the way, they envisioned a hut-to-hut network like those they'd seen in Europe. And while the British Columbia Mountaineering Club erected the Himmelsbach Hut along the route in 1967, such a hut- based ski traverse still doesn't exist west of the Rockies. But Ricker's vision became a reality this summer when the Spearhead Huts Society broke ground on the first of three huts along British Columbia's most popular traverse.

DEPARTMENTS

CONTRIBUTORS

PERSPECTIVE
Steep Respect

EDITOR'S NOTE: INCLINATIONS

SPECTACLE

STRAIGHT LINES
After triggering an avalanche in La Grave, France, Matt Coté ponders guilt's affect on growth. Vince Shuley explains how skintracks bring people together. And reader Nathaniel Gebhard finds enlightenment among Colorado's 14ers.

BLOWN IN

A ZONE ABUZZ
Valdez, Alaska's Thompson Pass is home to the state's deepest snow and most contentious mountains. Here's why.

THAT GUY: LUKE HINZ
Inside a Utah bartender's attempt to ski all of the Wasatch Mountain's named lines in a single season.

WISDOM: THE YOUNG-GUN GUIDE
What's next for Maine-native Mike Arnold, who earned his international guiding certification at age 27?

THE SHEPHERD'S POW
In Utah's Uinta Mountains, a guiding operation takes a fresh approach to avalanche forecasting.

BASECAMP
Essential inclinometer, how and when to transition from skinning to booting, and, after a January avalanche buries a Durango, Colo. man, he and his partner reflect.

GEAR BOX
Arc'teryx and Salomon's out-of-the-box walk mode disrupts the way we think about AT boots, three new airbags save both weight and space and the ultimate steep-skiing setup.

BLOWN OUT

LETTERS
The politics of politics, of grizzlies and of all the hubbub in the Wasatch right now.

DEPTH: SNOW, SILENT

LOCAL LEGEND: CHRIS LANDRY

BIFF AMERICA: STEEP AND PUCKERED
Biff knows even less about steep skiing than he does about grammar. He wrote about it anyway.

LAST COL
Castle Peak's storied east face.

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