The madness started when the Inouye bros decided we should meet in Mona to ski Nebo at 5:20 AM. That would mean leaving SLC at 4 sharp with a 3:30 wake up. I opted for the 4:15 wake up in PG, picked up Bart, met Sam, Jared, and Aaron in Mona and then followed them up a dirt road for a couple miles that became impassible due to snow around 6200 ft.
It was dark, cloudy, and a storm was brewing. I was not too optimistic we'd get to the top of anything, let alone find good skiing. By 8:30, we found ourselves around 10,000 ft on a ridge heading toward North Peak, a sub peak on the north end of Nebo. It felt like mid winter...in the arctic. The snow was falling UP and it was the wrong day to wear tights. We took shelter in a small stand of pine trees to decide our fate.
The consensus was to wait out the storm, hoping for a weather window to make a dash at the summit. I'm not sure if it's legal in designated wilderness areas, but to endure the wait, an old fashioned bon fire was absolutely necessary. Bart and I eschewed Sam's toilet paper and made a fire any boy scout would be proud of. We only used about 30 matches and a lighter.
Jared collecting wood. His DNAs tour well, ski well, and apparently climb trees well.
Bart doing his best to catch his nappy goatee on fire.
A real proper mid tour bon fire.
A break in the weather was our cue to get moving. This is as good as it got all day.
We worked our way up and around North Peak and along the ridge connecting it with Nebo's summit ridge proper.
We couldn't see a thing and the brothers weren't sure where the summit lay, so we decided to just keep going along the ridge until we couldn't get any higher.
Jared and Bart scrambling up the summit ridge, using the rocks as braille.
Sam's summit shot.
My summit shot. Had to make one of Jason's patented summit holes to get out of the wind.
So far the day had been a fun exercise in perseverance, but the question of how to get down had been looming since realizing we'd make the summit. There are a couple of striking couloirs that descend from near the summit and connect with a nearly straight fall line through a massive bowl, nicely spaced trees, and down to the road and cars, totaling close to 6,000 feet. I believe one is the NW Couloir and the other may be the Champagne? Reversing the ridge seemed tedious so we took the beautiful shot (thought to be the NW) from just off the north summit. It was a risky move, given the recent storm, but the wind had been scouring the face below and we felt the choice reasonable.
The Samurai easing into the couloir
Around this section, we realized the couloir had been a bit loaded by wind and spindrift pouring over the rock walls.
With some trepidation, we pushed ahead, skiing one at a time and found stable ridiculous powder for the next 5,500 feet. Unfortunately my camera died and I didn't get any further pictures. Not that it matters too much since the weather was garbage but I'll post some more when I get them from the brothers.
Possibly the best line in the Wasatch?