Friday, December 10, 2010

Day 31: The Grunge

A recent trip report and the stable conditions inspired brother JD, Adam and me to take a long walk on the Alpine Loop/Timpanooke road in search of...

The Grunge Couloir:
(Photo by JD)

After nearly two hours of boredom, we finally reached what some consider to be the standard access couloir approach. Not having sleds or bikes, I might consider a more direct approach next time.

Adam skinning the approach couloir:

From the shoulder below the Grunge, looking SE toward Timp's other summits:

Booting the Grunge:
(Photo by JD)

Nearing the top with cornices threatening:

As the recent TR mentioned, the exit right looked excessively dangerous...wind loaded, yet to slide, steep, and above cliffs. They were comfortable stopping about where this picture was taken (20 feet from the top). We tried to climb the rock above, but it was too rotten and icy, and our Dynafit boots don't climb as well as we thought (or maybe we don't climb as well as we thought). So it turned out we stomped out a platform likely in the same place they did.

An overnight dusting of graupel and some wind from the west had erased any evidence of prior passage. A pit on the way up and a couple ski cuts convinced us that there would be some manageable sluffing, but likely little else. As reported, crowns were reassuringly still visible.

Just before this pic was taken, I made a rookie mistake and dropped my pole. It tumbled down the chute and around the bend left before stopping, giving me the privilege of skiing the top section with a pole in one hand and an ice axe in the other.
(Photo by JD)

It just felt better to hold something in my right hand, hence the axe.
(Photo by AO)

JD getting grungy:

AO getting started:
(Photo by JD)

Nearing the choke:
(Photo by AO)

Exiting the bottom of the couloir:
(Photo by JD)

AO milking the apron:
(Photo by JD)

From there it was still a few thousand feed to silky apron skiing to some trees to getting cliffed out to finding the secret passage, to some major bushwhacking, to the road and cars. Awesome day.

124,900 feet for the year

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