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Bryant Peak, February 26, 2008

A typical crack-of-noon Tuesday arrival at Alpental, and somehow Kevin and I miscommunicated about the plan for the day. I had assumed that a late start meant lift skiing, and so brought the long Havocs with Fritschis for which I don't even own skins . . . fortunately, I was also planning on trying out my "race" rig Trab Duo Sint Aeros with some straight 65mm mohair skins with no tail hardware and a DIY shock-cord tip connector, so I had them and my F1's in the car as well.

I didn't even notice something was up until I walked up to the Shot 10 bathroom and asked Kevin why he was wearing his pack.

"I thought we were touring!"

I wasn't even sure the skins would stay on, much less get me up Bryant Col or Chair Peak, as they weren't quite wall-to-wall and were cut off about a foot from the tail of the ski, but Kevin talked me into going back to the car and changing gear. Since we were short on time, we took the "easy" way up, and skied out the high traverse to Pineapple Pass before putting the skins on. That's what I call getting your money's worth out of that Alpy season pass!

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The weather was perfect for touring, and there was a nice track buried under about an inch or two of fresh snow. I only slipped and fell once on the way up, which was nice since the Bryant Col up route is fairly steep. We took the skis off and booted once we reached the top of the col, and looked around the Alpental basin a bit. Very nice.

My sub-1100 gram Trabs did quite well on the steep, slightly crusty snow off the top of Bryant, with nice edgehold and reasonable stability at speed for a super-light setup. They were a little more of a handfull once we got lower and found ourselves hacking around in refrozen avy debris, but all in all they are quite impressive for a rig that feels like your walking uphill in tennis shoes. With my regular wall-to-wall BD Ascensions and the 74mm ski crampons, it should be just the ticket for light-and-fast mountain travel. This is going to make the choice of skis for the Haute Route difficult!

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