Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Lone Peak Cirque Ski Descents

Most people think Lone Peak Cirque is the premier alpine climbing destination in the Wasatch.  It's really a ski destination.  

The Question Mark Wall Descent: From the QMW summit, down ridge to ramp, down ramp to rap, rap into cirque.  JD shot pics from the South Summit.  I'm the dot on the upper section of the ramp.

I've been wanting to get back up there since our last outing but for some reason Jared wanted to run over 25 miles "off the couch" on Saturday.  We made it 20 before our legs revolted and I was too sore to ski until today.  Coupled with a disturbed sleep schedule, I felt sluggish on the ascent back to the top of Question Mark Wall.  

However, once on the skinny part of the ramp I was fully awake.
Approaching the summer rap anchors and about to take off the skis.  Sluff visible pouring over rock.

JD is the black dot on the South Summit about to begin his descent to the ramp.  

JD trying not to blow it as he slips into the rap station. We both stopped making turns after the trees as the snow was crusty and the exposure huge.

JD rapping into the cirque

Once in the cirque, our attention turned to the main project for the day.  I had spotted a steep gully to the looker's left of the main summit wall and was curious about the skiing potential.  From the valley it looked like a beautiful discontinuous line right off the main summit.  
Objective #2  The line goes from the main summit down upper snowfield, rap over cliffs into steep couloir, down to cirque.  

JD excited for the upcoming mixed climbing

JD no longer excited about mixed climbing after choosing the wrong line

The other option looked harder
Lacking time to suss out an easier line and without rock shoes to jump on the slabby rock, we pulled the plug for the day, vowing to return.  We could have just gone around the cliffs and done it "top down," but I prefer to climb the line and then ski back down for a more complete adventure.  A friend has a saying, "ski what you see."  I like, "climb what you see and ski what you climb"

The lower couloir is steep, exposed to some cliff bands, and for us, filled with yummy breakable crust. 
JD enjoying fine breakable crust

Steep skiing back to the Cirque (low to mid 50s?).  Photo by JD

One more because I like the shots with the question mark. Photo by JD

Pete's on the right and the unfinished project on the left

JD heading home...literally.  He goes back to Indiana tomorrow.   But, he somehow squirmed his way into a job out here so home will shortly be SLC.

It was another fine day in the Wasatch.  There's still a ton of snow up there that is trying to corn up but not quite there yet.  The dirt walks are getting longer but aren't too annoying yet.  After a recent run and mtn bike ride, there's still nothing like skiing. 

1 comment:

  1. Curious if it's possible to leave skis on the summit and boot pack down to the rap anchors?