Back in 1999, I had my first winter "mountaineering" experience trying to "climb" Lone Peak. With two friends, we ended up on the shoulder of Bighorn after a cold night crammed in a snow cave. We decided we didn't know what the hell we were doing and post holed home.
Older and wiser, we were able to hike up from Alpine and tag both summits easily in a half day. Skis, experience, and going light have made the mountains smaller
Heading for Lone, we "spur of the moment" decided to tag Bighorn since none of us had ever stood on top..
|Adam skiing the crust|
Once down from Big Horn, we traversed under it's rocky southwestern aspect and headed over to the notch between the South Summit and Question Mark Wall. We had intentions of skiing Pete's Staircase down into the cirque if it was filled in. The ramp looked doable but the standard summer rap wasn't filled in enough to warrant the effort. Looking back, I wish we'd done it as the cirque is an impressive place in the summer, let alone in winter conditions.
|Blow this kick turn and...DEAD! Jason skinning above the South Summit Wall.|
|Pete's Staircase below Question Mark Wall|
|JD ripping skins|
While waiting for the other guys to tag the South Summit, we looked over and decided we should probably ski above Question Mark Wall because we thought the pictures would look cool. I went first while Jason took pics and then we switched places.
It's not really long enough to make more than a couple turns and it was much scarier for the person watching than actually doing it as the cliff isn't apparent on skis.
|Zoom in. JD skiing above the Lowe Route|
After the photo shoot, we had some lunch on the South Summit and debated the descent. A couple of us had skied the NE Couloir before and while the rest had the desire, we all decided to just take the rolling line labeled Heaven's Halfpipe in the first picture. The steep stuff can wait, especially with all the tragic accidents of late. The crust had softened nicely and we all made ridiculously tight 1980s turns while trying not to run into each other.
|1980's group ski with tight turns for all|