June 14th, Chris' day, and a day to remember a good friend in the mountains he loved. Another bluebird special with no clouds and barely a puff of wind to cool us down.
Blake and I left the trailhead at 0730 and made it in good time to the summit in three hours, having been joined by Mike at the shoes transition. We lounged at the summit for awhile descending to a lookout over into Lantern Lake basin, thinking about Chris and the last beautiful moments he would have spent at peace here on this summit.
Then we broke south for the main Lolo Peak Summit and after touring over the baldtop ridge descended a fine line east to Reed Lake where we took a siesta on a perfect subalpine lawn in the full sun.
After reascending to the skier summit we regrouped with Mike and Ian and made our way to the skiers bowl above Carlton Lake and enjoyed fabulous corn snow to the lake. After a bit of confusion in the lost woods glades, I broke out the GPS to find the trail and then the waypoint SHOES. After everyone was accounted for we descended to the trailhead where we joined Chris' family for some beers and hot dogs roasted over the campfire. Another great day backcountry skiing western Montana, this time in shorts.
It can happen to any of us in the mountains or streets and roads, dying. We all understand this well; and realize most days that it is not how we die but how we have lived. Chris lived well and fully, a reminder to us all to take each day and make it special, reach out to loved ones and make our peace sooner. Another day to remember enjoying friends and skiing in the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness.