Saturday, March 19, 2011

THE HULK HOGUM version 1.0

We finally got it done. I had been wanting to do a rather large linkup in the Hogum drainage for some time. Our day went as follows:
Start at White Pine, up Pfeifferhorn and down NW Couloir, over to unknown awesome couloir next to the rock climb Hogum's Heros (looking for Snap Dragon), up the Sliver, down Montgomery, up Sliver, down Sliver, up Needle/Coalpit shoulder, down Dresden Face, up Needle/Coalpit shoulder, down Needle, up Needle Coalpit shoulder, down Coalpit Headwall, traverse out to Y, down Y to car shuttle.
It was amazing.

Lines skied: 8
Total vertical up: 11,677
Total vertical skied: 14,000+
Total time: 13 hours 41 minutes.

The name for this day came at the suggestion of buddy John and it's the obvious choice. The beauty is, that just like the real Hulk, there are many possible variations on the same theme, thus version 1.0. If more lines are included, it could be like Hulk during his steroid days, in manky conditions - sloppy old Hulk, less lines - adolescent wimpy Hulk.

Here's a pic stolen from that shows lines 2-7 for the day:

2. Unamed  3. Montgomery  4. Sliver  5. Dresden Face  6. Hypodermic Needle  7. Coalpit Headwall

On to the pictures...

It was a beautiful but almost violently windy day heading up the Pfeiff.
Getting blasted on the East Ridge

20 second video showing the wicked winds:

Untitled from andy dorais on Vimeo.

A look back at line #1 of the day, the NW Couloir (Photo by Jared)
From there it was over to, Upper Hogum.
Our line of choice was the obvious right trending ramp towards the right side of the picture.
Anyone know the name of this striking chute?

JD exiting the unknown couloir.

This line held the best snow of the day as spindrift was constantly pouring in from above limiting the wind damage.
Looks better with our tracks
Looking up from where we were able to start skiing.
With two lines down, we sped over to the Sliver which we used as an up track to Montgomery. At the top of the Sliver, we traversed the ridge until looking down at the notch from which Montgomery begins. This must not be a very standard approach because we were faced with either a gnarly downclimb or a rappel to reach the notch. We rappelled. There, we pulled out a cord and cut off a decent sized cornice guarding the STEEP entrance. That's always satisfying, but we were disappointed to find that the upper 20 feet were nothing but sugar over rock mandating a continuation of our prior rappel to get to actual snow.

Upper section
Jason tried to find the piton anchors above the big cliff while getting blinded by the unrelenting wind.

As the trend seems to be, we couldn't find the purported piton anchor so we fixed another pin and nut. It's located approximately 20 feet above the cliff on the skier's left. Pull into the last "island of safety" and dig around a bit to find it.

JD rapped first and while disappearing over the edge we asked how big the cliff was and if the rope would reach. His reply was, "It's big enough to kill ya."

Jared on rappel:

We were using a 60 meter 6mm cord as our rap line, which for ski mountaineering is perfect as it weighs less than half as much as regular rope.

While rappelling, JD banged his knee and then left this trail which we used to hunt him down.

Found him heading back up the Sliver.

For those curious, this is the gear we were running. 167 BD Gurus with Low Techs and 170 Vokl Massaks with Low Tech Lights. Jared was on Trab race skis with Low Techs. These skis are 75 mm, 70 mm, and 65 mm underfoot respectively.  It's my opinion that for big days with climbing/raps/steep skiing, set ups like these will outperform anything else.  Not many people are going to charge on 50+ degree "you fall, you die" terrain, making the "need" for 120 underfoot a mental crutch.  What these set ups do allow is the ability to cover more terrain, faster, and in better overall style.  It's eye opening.

At this point, distressed by the wind, pulling out the camera was becoming tiresome.

Obligatory pic of the Sliver...Jared from the top:

We skied out the meat of the Sliver and down the apron to where we could traverse under the Dresden Face and access the Needle which we used 3 times as an up track to access the Desden, Needle, Coalpit.

JD negotiating his way around a cliff band on the Dresden Face

Jared in the Needle:

JD on the Coalpit Headwall:

Jared from the top of the Y:

The lower half of the Y was all avy debris...just what we were hopping for after 13 hours on the go. We finally reached the creek and while JD and I carefully stepped across on rocks and branches, Jared, indifferent, just walked right through the water.
JD in the creek
We made it to the car before dark throwing down our stuff, happy to be done.
The Hulk Hogum was a great adventure as I got to ski 4 lines I'd never done before. The vertical could have been much greater if we'd skied the aprons to the bottom each time but we were more interested in skiing the couloirs proper with some apron added in as necessary to get where we were going.

So that was our version 1.0. What's yours?


  1. Sherpa, congratulations on putting this behind you guys. What a day!! Good looking Gurus!

  2. All I have to say is holy crap.

  3. Love it...b9.2(I am reserving b10 for when JD and RS ski Denali)