Thursday, May 13, 2010

NE Couloir, Lone Peak...Finally

After so much talking and lusting after this line, I finally got the chance to ski it today, May 13th, in prime powdery conditions. I've been spending a bunch of time running, climbing, and vacationing with Jessie so there hasn't been much time to ski lately. I even did my first bike race last night at the DMV Crit. I guess after the WURLOS I had had my fill for a bit. But, I was starting to think I should make the most of my time off and get in some skiing to prepare for the Volcano Tour 2010 (more to come on that in late May). I called Adam who called a friend of a friend, and we decided we'd head up Bell's around 6:30 AM. Why Bell's? I feel like I've hiked up and down that enough this year. We wore running shoes and ditched them in a tree at the snow line a couple miles up. I wasn't feeling all that strong, likely as a result of too much gluttony at sea level last week and the most time off snow I've had all winter. A couple sweaty hours later we found ourselves at the base of Lone Peak's impressive NE face wondering which line was the NE Couloir. From the bottom, there are a number of cliff bands and the chute proper isn't visible. We guessed right and traversed in above the cliffs ready to boot our way to the summit.

The guys switching to booting as we find the sneak entrance

Beautiful midwinter day in May. Huh, the peaks in the distance look all too familiar.

The snow was still a heavy powder that was a chore to boot up.

Near the top looking down with the boys plugging along.

We were able to boot directly to the summit with the last 10 feet being a bit of a scramble.

Summit shots

I chose to down climb the top few feet as did Adam, but Zack aired off the summit block onto the steep (50 degrees?) upper slopes. A little jaunt skier's left from the summit brought us to the top of the chute.

Adam, from just below the summit


We skied one at a time with Zack and Adam making it look easy. It was cool to watch their sluff pour down the chute and over the cliffs at the bottom. While I was working skier's right to avoid the lower cliff band, Zack decided to take the direct route. He said, "well, if I go fast enough, I'll clear anything." Good advice eh? He landed the jump in style.

Even though we're in the midst of a schizophrenic spring, the snowpack is super deep up high. There are a few more lines I'd like to get in before I turn my attention full time else where, but today felt like a capstone to an awesome winter.

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