|Skiing off the summit.|
The circuit went about as smoothly as could be expected. I went out at a hard sub-threshold pace, which felt like full effort at 6 am. I made one quick skis on transition at snowline, then a long transition on top of Carlton ridge, well ahead of my previous best time. The snow was consolidated and fast, which allowed me to skate around the lake. I slapped skins on, sucked down some calories, and pinned it up into the fog. The snow on Lolo peak was grippy, skiinable ice, and I was able to top out well ahead of my previous best time at a hard but sustainable pace.
To my delight, the summit was just above the clouds, and it was pretty cool to look and only see the tippy tops of the Bitterroot summits poking above the clouds. I skied slowly back down to Carlton lake, taking time to manage the ice. Also, I couldn't see anything with the fog, so I blindly followed ski tracks. Another long skate around the lake and a quick hard skin back to Carlton had me transitioning about 20 minutes ahead of my previous pace. It is almost impossible to not get a little turned around on the ski back down from Carlton, and this time was no different. I detoured off to the left, but a long summer trail switchback put me back on the main skin track. I skipped a few patches of snow before throwing the skis on the back, stripping to a t-shirt, and clunking down the last two miles to the trailhead at a respectable running pace in ski boots. 2 hrs, 15 mins, 20 seconds.
|Excited to have shaved a half hour off my previous time.|
This is a solid time for me. The day went off without a hitch and conditions were fast. The only way to go significantly faster would be to push at full race pace or show up with better fitness. Running in ski boots kind of sucks, but doing it all in ski boots is critical for a solid time. For general information, skiiable snow is about half way up. Overall coverage is still good, and it should be that way for another week at least. Also, MTB Missoula in collaboration with the Forest Service has cleared the Lolo and Mill creek trails. Thanks guys.