Colter Hinchliffe Feeds the Stoke!
While many of us have moved past the ski season, the Aspen Local is just getting started. Putting the easy, fun-fueled resort days behind him, Colter sets his sights a bit further. Often times, Colter checks in with some rambling post about a half-crocked mission — usually involving his dirtbike and a TON of walking — to bag some remote and rarely skied peak.
This year is no different; The lifts have shut down, but Colter is — perhaps unsurprisingly — Not Over It. We reached out to Colter and ask him to recount one of his favorite late season missions. Oh, and while you’re at it, enter the LINE Not Over It Photo Contest. Maybe you can snag a pair of LINE Sick Day Tourists for those late season pushes.
It’s 9 PM in Aspen, Colorado. I can’t take my eyes off the sky. I’m looking for the stars. If I see what I’m looking for, I will toss my skis in my truck next to my dirt bike and begin my journey no later than 11pm. All I need is a weather window.
Our lift served skiing came to an end only a few days ago here in Aspen Snowmass. We are one of the later operations to shut off the lifts – especially with the bonus week tacked on. But with a healthy snowpack and longer days ahead, I am Not Over It – I never am. My love for skiing gets me out searching for turns amongst the rocks as early as September and as late as July here in the high mountains of the Colorado Rockies.
Colter and Tim Durtschi Take on Moab
More often than not, I find myself walking. It’s not easy; it’s type 2 fun at best and often type 3. Walking with my skis, boots, skins, crampons, ice axe, full water bottle, lunch, camera, shovel, probe, first aid kit, and more strapped to my back. But the with prospect of harvesting high-alpine turns in new zones, I find myself walking – usually at 1 in the morning – with all of my gear strapped to my back. It’s for the love of it, right? Something like that.
The slogs – those long days deep in the mountains have become a staple of my spring. Last May, I decided to capitalize on this, and even pieced together a project, Sandstone and Snow. We skied the north face of Mt. Tukuhnikivatz – a technical climb and ski that involved a dicey rappel mid-line – and I was still hungry for more.So as I left behind those sandstone cliffs of the La Sal Mountains, I started scheming, plotting my next mission.
My route home took me south of the La Sal Mountains towards Telluride and the San Juan mountains of Southern Colorado. Late in the afternoon I came into the town of Naturita. To the south, a striking peak rose out of the horizon, basking in the last light. It looked like a mini volcano. I saw a sign for the local forest service office and pulled up, looked at a map outside and quickly learned that the mountain was aptly named Lone Cone with a summit elevation of 12,618 ft.
I wasn’t planning on skiing anything on the way back to Aspen – my thoughts were focused on peaks closer to home – but the weather was nice, and I didn’t have a reason to book it home. My thoughts quickly focused on a solo mission. But I was hungry, and I don’t think well when I’m hungry. Or if I have to pee really bad. So I went and got a slice of pizza on Main Street in Naturita as I contemplated my next move.
In the end I decided I might as well give it a shot. I ordered a couple extra sliced of pizza for the road and followed National Forest Access signs towards Lone Cone in the fading light. Eventually the road got muddy and rutted out, and I decided to find a flat spot and call it a night. It would be the farthest my truck would go. I pulled my dirt bike out of my truck, pitched my tent, and scarfed down one last slice of ‘za.
Not a bad place to start the day. Photo: Colter Hinchliffe
I slept in – a rare occurrence on these adventures. I planned on skiing the North Face of Lone Cone. The couloir itself that had a big wall that would shade the slope well into the afternoon. Corn o’clock is a fickle and fleeting beast, and too many times I’ve found myself too early or late to actually harvest her bounty. So I chanced it with a late start, departing shortly before sunrise.
I only made it a few miles on my dirtbike before I had to switch to foot power. So, like many of these half-crocked ideas, I soon was hoofing it with all my gear loaded on my back, trudging through the low angle flanks of this volcanic megalith. For what seemed like an eternity, I stumbled around, unable to see the objective. I was navigating off of pure luck and hope. But I’ve made enough wrong turns in my life to trust my instincts, and sure enough, I crested into the basin of my planned ascent route.
Pushing the West Ridge of Lone Cone
I kept moving up the west ridge. I switched from skins to crampons and began directly ascending the ridge, front-pointing most of the climb. The breeze kept things firm, and I was in no hurry; so naturally I took a bunch of selfies with my go-pro. GTS at all costs, am I right?! There’s something enjoyable about being alone in the mountains. I can move at my own pace, chose my own route, listen to music, and waste as much time as I want taking stupid pictures.
I dilly dally’ed my way to the top of the frozen Lone Cone hoping the sun would begin to do its thing, gracing me with soft corn to plunder. But it never did. I dropped into that North facing couloir around noon and skied frozen snow 1500 feet – not exactly the reward I was expecting. The angle finally eased and the snow began to soften for another 500-1000 feet of mellower skiing into the basin that drains the north face.
I followed the basin and followed it and followed it until it ran out of snow. It was only this point I realized how far west I had travelled. I would have to backtrack to my campsite – plus the additional 2 miles to my dirtbike. So I ditched my gear and moved quickly on the road with no weight. At camp, I re-hydrated, switched from ski boots to hiking boots, and jogged up to my dirtbike. By late afternoon I was rambling back down the muddy road with the Lone Cone in my rear view mirror. Satisfied, relieved, and happy that I just went for it.
As for now, it’s 10 PM here in Aspen, and the stars are not shining. In fact, its snowing. It looks like I will be sleeping tonight. But the entirety of #NotOverIt season lies ahead. I am just beginning to feel the inspiration to endure early mornings, long days, and less-than-great snow. I know the inspiration to push onward and upward will come. It always does. I usually just need to see a mountain to light the fire.
How Not Over It are you? Check out the LINE Not Over it Photo Contest on Facebook. Upload a shot of you showcasing how far you’d go to get your summer shred on, and enter to win a pair of LINE Sick Day Tourists!
Summer is here! School’s out and and/or you’ve got some vacation stored up and looking to hit the road…now what?
Well, we’ve checked in with the most trusted travel guides here at HQ, LINE’s Traveling Circus’s Will Wesson, Andy Parry, Jake Strassman & Shane McFalls, and they’ve got a list of where to go, what to do and what to put on that hot dog!
WATCH: LINE Traveling Circus 1.1 – Will & Andy Go To Hood
Where are you currently?
“Silverthorne, Colorado” – Jake
“Living in Government Camp, Oregon” – Andy
“Home in Southern Vermont” – Shane
“Whistler, BC Canada” -Will
What have you been up to?
“Being a Dad” – Shane
“Started off summer by visiting Woodward Copper or Line Week, now I’m guest coaching at Momentum for two weeks and I’ll be flying to Europe in early July to start filming for season two of Zermatt Glacier Days with Sämi and Rob.” – Will
“Healing from surgery and making my own ski wax, Wizardz Wax” – Andy
“I’m still skiing here in Colorado, but have been fishing, camping and canoeing in Minnesota as well.” – Jake
WATCH: Glacier Days EP1 – Summer Snowpark Zermatt
What are your top five summertime activities?
“My favorite things to do in the summer would be stay at a cabin for a weekend with friends, fish, camp, ski (water and snow), and canoe.” – Jake
“Skiing, skiing, skiing, skiing, and…. skiing” – Andy
“Skiing, attempting skating/ surfing, hiking, and biking” – Will
“Skateboarding, running, biking, swimming and eating” – Shane
What are the perfect toppings for a hot dog?
“Ketchup. Sorry mustard people.” – Will
“Sauerkraut and spicy mustard” – Shane
“Fired onions and spicy mustard, with a side of potato or pasta salad” – Jake
“I dont eat that shit. Give me a sausage.” – Andy
What are the top five places you’ve traveled to in the US? In the world?
“PNW, BC, Japan, France, Korea etc… They are all awesome.” – Andy
“In the world? Japan, New Zealand, The Alps, The Andes, Australia” – Will
“Japan rules above all” – Shane
“The top 5 places I’ve been to in the U.S. would have to be 1) the North Shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota. 2) Hood River, Oregon. 3) Ketchum, Idaho. 4) Ashcroft, Colorado. 5) Minnaqua, Wisconsin. Top 5 in the world would be 1) British Columbia, Canada. 2) Schwanden, Switzerland 3) Hokkaido, Japan 4) Nevados de Chillian, Chile. 5) Bariloche, Argentina” – Jake
So you’re getting in the van for a long road trip, what are three things you don’t forget to bring?
” What you need for a long trip in the van is a Sharpie marker to add some new artwork to the ceiling and walls, new stickers to add to the collections, and lots of snacks.” – Jake
“Depends on when I’m doing it but music, food, and proper clothes.” – Andy
“Sleeping Bag, Water, Ski Stuff” – Will
“Toothbrush, sleeping bag and clean socks for the drive home.” – Shane
What are three things you hope your traveling companions don’t bring?
“On trips you mainly hope everyone doesn’t bring dirty clothes that they should have washed before packing them – like Andy’s socks, and LJ’s knee brace.” – Jake
“Sickness. That stuff spreads like wildfire.” – Andy
“Less than three full sets of clothing, well used ski boots, contagious sickness.” – Will
“Their bad music or bad attitudes.” – Shane
Cold Turkey – A film by LINE Traveling Circus
What SPF would you recommend for skiing at summer camps?
“35 max, get a good burn first day for a protective base” – Shane
“30+” – Will
“60+” – Andy
“The best sunscreen for summer camps is blend of Banana Boat 45 and Coppertone 15.” – Jake
How would you recommend kids prep their skis for skiing either at a glacier / snowfield or summer backyard setup?
“To get your skis ready for summer skiing on the glacier, just cake a bunch of all temp wax on there and don’t bother scrapping.” – Jake
“BUY WIZARDZ WAX wizardzwax.com” – Andy
“Put bindings on them” – Will
Will, mounting bindings, at LINE’s HQ for #LINESpringBreak16 – SEE MORE
If you were to have to go to summer school, what subject would it be for?
“If I went to summer school, I’d take a filmmaking class.” – Jake
“Were to have to? I did for math in 6th grade.” – Andy
“Surfing” – Will
“How to do your taxes 101” – Shane
“Better Late Than Never”
Sämi Ortlieb has procrastinated this season! The Swiss MC dropped a fresh edit from this past summer season to get you prepped ahead of warmer weather and slushy parks. Watch him and Elmar Bossard send it at Zermatt!
Want to get your perfect park set-up for hot laps this Spring & Summer? Well we’ve put together a few of our favorites! Check them out >>HERE<<
Temps are rising, gas is even MORE expensive and Windell’s has put out their first session edit.
Summer is now official.
Couple things to take notice:
– Andy Parry has left Pizza Hut and is now back on snow where he belongs, teaching kids weird stuff and backflips
– Jeff Curry’s effortless style is one thing we don’t think his students can replicate
– Will Wesson is absolutely ridiculous… he may be more comfortable on rails then most of us are on snow
Also make sure to check out the CRASH EDIT from Windells.
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