Choosing to make an attempt at the NW Couloir instead of the lamer, tamer West Bowl, I recruited the mirthful Josh Anderson, who happens to live 3 blocks from the Deaf Smith TH (note: I'm sure the West Bowl is awesome and perhaps the NW Couloir is the lamer, tamer line?). Anyway, both lines are highly visible from the Salt Lake Valley and have been on my tick list for some time.
Arriving at Josh's house on Escalade Drive just after 5AM, I hastily packed my gear and we were off walking up the asphalt. Soon, we were moving under a canopy of foliage that rendered the near full moon rather useless. The trail was well maintained for the first mile or so but then abruptly ended in the stream. Peering through the branches, rock walls were turning gray in the predawn light and it was obvious we were in some sort of box canyon. Having recon'ed the route, Josh knew to always follow the stream, scrambling over rocky outcrops as needed to pick up the trail on the other side. This game continued for well over an hour before we finally caught sight of Twins. They were teasing in the distance looking far more rocky than snowy. Contemplating the rationale of our approach, I became resigned to our fate. This was going to simply end as a nice hike in the woods.
|One of many stream crossings. This one came equipped with this deluxe bridge.|
|Josh crampons up hard snow towards the NW Couloir|
|Josh taking the last few steps to the higher East Summit|
Our descent on the other hand was certain. We were going to ski the NW Couloir and then embrace the adventurous hike out. The only hesitation was the firm conditions that given enough time, would find that magic corn hour. For once, having the time but overcome by hunger and day dreams of the restaurant, Thai Basil, it was time to go.
|Just off the East Summit|
|Descending the upper face (photo by Josh Anderson)|
|Josh entering the lower chute|
|Entering the lower couloir (photo by Josh Anderson)|
|Josh finds undercooked corn on the south facing aspects of the bowl. The lower portion of the NW Couloir is visible in the backgound|
|Transitioning from my Dynafits to my Dynafits?|
|All part of the allure|
|The well maintained trail|
|Josh tries to keep his feet dry...|
|6000 feet later, we are startling women and children as we walk through a nice neighborhood with whippets and skis.|
Dynafit Nanga Parbat Skis
Dynafit Low Tech Bindings
CAMP XLC 390 crampons
BD Whippet x2
CAMP Speed Helment
OR Ferrosi Hoody and Pants
Dynafit MS Feline Superlight Trail Shoes