Archive for March, 2009

Snow Report

March 21, 2009

We got hammered with snow last week so Hatch and I headed up to the yurt to shovel and resupply.  Snowstake at the yurt was at 195cm (6.5 feet!).  Shoveling took forever and soon it was 8:00pm and we were exhausted.  Better rest up for some powder skiing…

We toured into Marshal Basin and found excellent skiing.  A pit revealed storm snow from past 2.5 weeks has settled to 4 feet of new!  The classic Sawtooth lines are filling in quite nice, which is getting us psyched for the ski mountaineering camp in April.  The rest of our day consisted of breaking lots of trail, booting up knee and thigh deep powder and excellent skiing conditions.  Tough job but somebodies got to do it.

-Clark

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Meeker & United Pipe– February 24-27

March 13, 2009

Dan Meeker brought a veteran group of United Pipe backcountry enthusiasts for another Williams Peak rendezvous to join us for some epic powder skiing during a classic Sawtooth Powder Storm . The crew came in from Bozeman, MT, Portland, Oregon, Victor, ID , and Boise to a ‘Big Snow’ at the yurt. Meeker, Brent, Doug, & Mike drove around after making friends with the folks on Highway 21 to join us via headlamp.

Brent Skiing In

Brent Skiing In

Last Season Chute Patrolin'

Last Season Chute Patrolin

Last year’s theme was steep couloirs, this year’s skiing with snorkels. The crew joined Kirk, Hatch, and Clark to find face shots and cold smoke . Dan made sure there continued to be a nocturnal ski theme through the rendezvous.

More Night Riding

More Night Riding

Doug in the Cold Smoke

Doug in the Cold Smoke

Brigham Smokin' It

Brigham Smokin' It

Dan Settlin' into the Line

Dan Settlin' into the Line

Mike looking for ski tips!

Mike looking for ski tips!

The Tail Gunners

The Tail Gunners

TJ Knuckle Draggin' the Ridge Out

TJ Knuckle Draggin' the Ridge Out

Check out the face shots and ambiance!

Glad to be there with you,

Kirk

Chute Patrol Stikes Again

March 7, 2009

With weakening surfaces and strong storms approaching, Hatch and I decided to get out into the alpine before stability took a turn for the worse.  And yes, all you level 1 students, we know that scarcity is a human factor…but we did feel good about stability that day.

Elephants Perch in background

Elephants Perch in background

Getting closer...

Getting closer...

We decided to explore an area that neither one of us had done any skiing in, a spot that we had seen from Heyburn last year.  A scenic 4 mile tour led us to our basin and there was the entrance to the cooler…but we still couldn’t see the top.  The granite walls guarding both sides were plastered with a thin coating of snow, giving the exit a dramatic appearance.  We skinned through the alpine bowl and then skiis/board went onto our back, ice axes came out and up we marched…sawtooth style…climbing our line.  Skiing lines in the Sawtooths is all about ski mountaineering, there is no easy skin up the backside of your run.  Often times climbing a 50 degree chute is the only, and easiest, way to get to the top!

Hatch with the Sawtooth view

Hatch with the Sawtooth view

Finding some good snow

Finding some good snow

After a little bit of winding through rock islands, and wondering where the hell this chute leads to, we topped out and turned around to another beautiful sawtooth panorama.  We decided to drop in, as the weather was moving in.  The thin 48-50 degree top hundred feet kept us on edge, until it opened up to a nice 40 degree wide section.  We leap frogged the length of the couloir finding pockets of good snow at times and also variable funky pockets.  As we descended the couloir, the massive granite walls became bigger and bigger until we exited into the wind swept alpine bowl, back into the trees with soft snow and finally into the canyon bottom.

Love that toe edge!

Love that toe edge!


Hatch looks small

Hatch looks small

As we left this great area the wind began picking up and the temps started rising, typical patterns of a SW flow.  Both Hatch and I savored the day knowing that with the storm rolling in, and sampling the surfaces, it may be a little while before we are able to venture into the alpine again.