Mission accomplished. Lars got scared. Earlier in the week the patriarch of our family of skiers, the Samurai, wanted to climb and ski the Great Chimney on Mount Olympus. His run of bad luck was extended as we never even found the entrance. It's a line he's wanted to do all year so I feel bad poaching it without him. Sorry Jared.
|The Great Chimney as seen from the Neff's trail head on April 24, 2010|
For Lars' second and last day in town, we wanted to up the ante from yesterday's adventure on the Pfeiff and this seemed like the perfect outing given the mediocre weather forecast. Up with the birds at 7:00, we started hiking on dirt around 8:30. Found snow 15 minutes later and skinned up a debris choked couloir until the Great Chimney came into view. The lower couloir (below the chimney itself) was icy, runneled, and fairly steep at 45-50+ degrees. But, the chimney was almost completely filled in with a mix of snow, ice, and snice. JD and I soloed the short 40 foot pitch and then brought Lars up.
|Looking up the Great Chimney|
|JD eagerly getting started|
|Fun, unnecessary stemming|
After gaining the upper hanging couloir, we were surprised to see how continuously steep it was. An initial reading with the inclinometer read 58 degrees on the double fall line. Hmmmmm.... Just the kind of slope that inspires confidence in icy conditions over an icy chimney.
|We quickly booted up doing our best Ueli Steck impersonations in the firm snow|
|The final slab before the summit ridge|
We put our skis on and timidly debated whether or not we should just go for it. Repeated slope measurements came in at 57, 58, 61, and 62 degrees, getting steeper near the top. Realizing that this slope rarely sees the sun and wasn't likely to soften any time soon, we lost some style points by making tentative turns for a rope length belayed off a single knife blade.
Once off the rope, I side slipped the sustained icy 57-58 degree pitch until able to pull off skier's right and clip into a small tree. I tried to get the other guys to ride the below pictured spine because I thought the pictures would be nice. They declined.
|Urban Alpinism at it's finest|
|Lars, about to become a father for the second time...that he knows about.|
Psyched not to have fallen off the mountain and into someone's yard in Olympus Cove, we rapped 25 meters down the chimney and found that we had a whole new perspective on slope angles. The lower couloir which had previously seemed steep, now looked comparatively flat.
|JD avoiding the runnel and patches of ice|
Lars got his fix for awhile but plans to be back next month....