This is the very ridge line we’ve been staring at from Bondurant, Wyoming for years. From the Bondurant parking lot looking 10 miles to the north and 4,000 feet up is the Fantasy Ridge, it’s steep and impenetrable for 20 miles east and west. We looked at so many different ways to get up there and finally we committed to this one. This approach avoids all the steep dangerous terrain on the south faces, but adds some miles in woods coming in from the North.
We started with a 12 mile sled ride to the Wilderness Boundary, half of which was off trail deep powder through trees. Not the most difficult terrain, but lots of looking around corners and seeing where we can make it through the trees. Pascal’s GPS saved us 2 times, once on the way up and once in the dark on the way back. The rest of our Navigation was Morley’s topo map, and memorizing the terrain on Google Earth in days before. I also saved the Google Earth image on my phone so in a couple places I locate where the opening in the trees ahead would be. Once we made it to the Wilderness Boundary line, the sleds stopped and the skiing started. From there it was about 4 miles of skinning to cover before the first kite traveling started. We ate about a mile out of our skin with the kite, but then we had to roll up and bust a short ski down through some trees before we were actually able to kite freely.
Once we were there it was a race to get up to the Peaks and explore around. Chaz busted right up Tosi Peak without even thinking about it. I barely had time to get my kite down and grab my camera. He put a couple of impressive runs right down the NW Face with strong winds and deep powder. Another mile of up wind exploring and Chaz had to bail. He was trying to pull off the day trip, so he turned to follow our tracks in and make it all the way out on his own. He nearly spent the night in the woods that night. The wind blew our tracks over in a few places making for difficult navigation. Not to mention that by the time Chaz covered the 4 miles skinning back to the Wilderness Boarder it was night. Luckily the moon was full and the sky was clear for his sled ride.
Morley and I were worried about Chaz while camping that night. Morley kept saying that if Chaz had gotten his sled stuck or lost, he’d be able to skin all night without freezing to death. I supposed that’d be possible and that’s what I’d probably do. Turns out he made it after freaking out lost in the woods for a while.
That night Morley and I had traveled a few miles further West up to Hodges Peak and camped at its base. It was a beautiful night and windy all the way until the morning. It was nice to wake up in warm sun, but we had to pack up and start skinning. Without wind it was going to be a long freaking skin with 60lbs packs and my dang camera. Fortunately, the wind showed up around 1pm and we made it back, and even did a little more exploring. We got lost on our way out on the final leg on the sled. I tried so many spots that ended in gullies and thick woods. As the night fell, I cracked out Pascal’s GPS with our route logged in and let me tell you, those things work!
Next time one more day, and one more bottle of fuel!