Turtle Mountain 2013-02-24

The Revelstoke area mountains have received a huge dump of fresh powder, most areas are being reported as being at least three feet of fresh, and several reports of four feet and more in some locals. We couldn’t resist getting out though it was still raining/snowing depending on elevations and temperatures, we needed to get out there and play in it, even without sunshine.

Laird and myself hooked up with our regular riding friends for a ride into Turtle on Saturday, the group consisted of Clint, Rozzy, Riley, Trottier, Randy, Laird and myself. We broke the trail in, there was another foot plus since a few riders had been in on Friday. A foot of fresh dry pow on the moguled trail up was fun in itself. The previous days riders hadn’t gone far, as we didn’t see any trace of their trails after the first cut block. Clint was leading the way up through the trees and drainage to the first left turn, …it was deep and tough going, definitely Turbo Yammy conditions, …the snow was heavy enough that the Honda was getting around fine as well. We experienced a minor mechanical issue with Laird’s sled on the third drainage run, as such we opted to go down and make the required adjustments. The group continued on for the day, they broke trail and busted up the pow as they made their way back to Pebble Beach. Later in the afternoon around Pebble Beach, Clint’s T Nytro broke the drive chain. As so often happens when these machines spit out the chain, the case cover housing usually goes with it, as it did this time.

Clint had a spare chain with him and soon had his sled operational again, but unable to hold any lubricating oil as the cover was broken. They got his sled back on top of the high ridge overlooking the north/south crossover point, when the dry chain seized up from lack of lubrication.  His sled had to spend the night out on the mountain, while Clint doubled out with Rozzy.

We had all the required repair components for the chaincase at the shop, Clint checked in when they got down and we made plans for a Sunday Ride/Recovery Mission back into Turtle.

Same group as yesterday, minus Randy Swenson, but adding both Jimmy and Steve. More new snow overnight but the previous days trail was still mostly good so it was a casual ride in, except for the limited visibility as it started snowing heavy before we left the staging area. Limited visibility can always make for some interesting stucks, today was no exception.

We found Clint’s sled covered in snow, dusted it off and fired it up to get some temperature into it. The wind was howling at the peak of this ridge, which made working with bare hands unpleasurable to say the least. Clint and Laird tore into the repairs while Rozzy, Riley and Steve starting jockeying the spare sled back out to the base of the first cut-block. The chaincase gears required some cleanup with a file but otherwise all went well. We had the sled together soon and dropped down the drainage to a vantage point out of the wind while we waited for the groups return.

Together again we proceeded north through the crossover and dropped down into the meadows for some serious playing in the four feet deep Powder. Rozzy, Laird and Steve were busy “setting bait” and “fishing” each other into deep tree runs trying to get each other stuck in the steep and deep. Always good fun with these guys. The snow was incredible, there were a few stucks but mostly just good powder ripping.

Laird found a very unexpected entrance to a wind blown section of the creek, as he was ripping along the creek edge this massive hole opened up in front of him. Just the way the snow falls and the wind re-arranges it in this area, there was a 4 plus meter deep hole, all blanketed with fresh pow but still open water at the base of the creek. He had no choice but to bail as gravity pulled his sled into the depths. The top of the wind blown trench was only as wide as it was deep, watch for Go-Pro video of the mishap, and the resulting rescue pics. All was good, nobody was hurt, the sled was fine too, perhaps the worst issue was some water in our boots.

After some more tree runs we started heading back out around 3:30 pm as we had a long ways to go. Once back at Clint’s logging area, Rozzy noted an unusual and abnormal sound coming from the proximity of the primary clutch, subsequent investigation did not reveal a source for the noise, …we opted to keep and eye on it, …or an ear on it! We checked again after another kilometer or so, the noise was more detectable and pronounced  but still no source could be found. When Rozzy dropped down the west side of the Ditch, the sled quit running, requiring a hard start-up from the bottom of the ditch, …I was above him when he pulled up the east side under load, ..the noise had progressed to a pronounced hammering. He rode it down through the trees where we looked at it again and opted to tow it back the remaining way to the staging. What started as a sense of something amiss, then progressed to a distinct sound when engaging the drive belt, became a sever hammering sound when idling, …with a double knock sound, …indicating potential issues with the bottom end. We will get to the bottom of it back in the shop.

As usual, we got back to the trucks well into the dark. Another great day in some spectacularly deep snow, great friends and great adventures.

Cheers!     Cpt. Ron

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