Joel Reichenberger: It’s adventure season
October 26, 2008
Many in Steamboat Springs seem to have the year divided into just two seasons. What exactly those seasons are depend on whom you ask.
Ask one of the powder addicts intent on logging 100 days on Mount Werner and there’s two seasons: ski season and waiting for ski season. Ask one of the river rats tearing it up Charlie’s Hole in a kayak in May and there’s still two seasons: runoff season and everything else. Same goes for those who live here for the singletrack or the hunting.
The past few weeks have shown me pretty clearly that whether it’s the Yampa River or the Vagabond ski run your eyes are fixed on month in and month out, there’s another season well worth attention.
The fall seems to be adventure season. There aren’t as many Steamboat adventures to be had between the time when the leaves fall from the trees to when the gondola carries the first skier to the top of Steamboat Ski Area, but there are a ridiculous number of people who spent their summer doing the wild things the Yampa Valley is accustomed to, and fall is when they’ve finally returned home and are ready to tell their stories.
Two of the country’s leading mountaineers – Ed Viesturs and Chris Davenport – shared their experiences with a standing-room-only audience earlier this season at the Steamboat Springs Community Center, speaking to benefit Everything Outdoor Steamboat.
Local resident Eugene Buchanan will do the same at 6 p.m. Thursday, speaking at the Community Center about his fascinating canyoneering trip to Peru. All he’s asking is a $5 donation to EOS, and having reported his story last month on this page, I can assure you, that’s a bargain.
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Eric Meyer, whose attempt to summit K2 we’ve documented here for the past two weeks, said he is open to giving a similar presentation later this winter.
There was so much from both men’s stories that we weren’t able to squeeze into the limited space we had to tell them. They truly were the things movies are made of.
Fall can be a frustrating time in Steamboat, especially seasons like this, when the whole town seems eager for more than the dusting of snow we’ve gotten.
But it’s a great time to live through the eyes of others. The Warren Miller ski film “Children of Winter” lands in town Wednesday at the Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel and should help whet the appetite.
There’s plenty of good reading out there to follow up with, too. Excellent articles appeared in Men’s Journal and Outside about the K2 affair, and there may never have been a better time to pick up Jon Krakauer’s mountaineering disaster classic, “Into Thin Air.”
In fact, there may be nothing better than such mountain stories to make one temporarily forget about the sweet sensation of first tracks. If tales of being stranded in minus 40 degree temperatures on a 28,000-foot peak don’t give pause to the praying for snow, nothing will.