Snowbasins last day! What a party; loads of costumed skiers, live band on the plaza, bbqs in the parking lot... wish I had all day to hang out. A touring buddy/photographer down from Montana was a no-show (something about a gal-pal, eh Kirk? ;-), so I was looking at yet another awesome solo steep tour day. What else is new!
Highlights for me today were:
- Finally hitting the skiers left east chute on Mt. Ogden. This is a classic; akin to Snowbird's Pipeline, and Alta's Little Chute, narrower, but not quite as long. Around 45 degrees, 3 meters wide, with a crux rock in the middle half way down. Maybe that is why a local told me its called "the crippler". It looks like a double fall line, but it feels pretty straight down once you're in it. I was late on a full sun day (April 28, remember!), and I wasn't surprised when my first cut oozed slowwly down, taking out the slushy recent snow layer, which had settled down to a few inches. This made the run a firm crust sideslip; ... oh well! It was still great to get in there, and realize what a quality chute that is. I'm sure a few people have hit this (although I haven't seen tracks in it for the past 3 years), but I predict that this will get alot more traffic in coming years. It is not as steep as it looks. The center rock does make it more of a no-fall zone for the first half, though.
-Squeezing in one last run before work (only the 3rd run actually), I took the standard Needles boot to the top of Taxman, and sideslipped into the next shot up the ridge, which is extremely steep at the top. Wish I had the inclinometer with me; this is in the vicinity of 60 degrees, about a two meter wide entrance between the rock bands, then a relatively safe runout bowl. How did I never see this one before? So accessible! That whole corniced zone is very steep; too bad its mostly cliffs.
The steep, narrow little shot west of Taxman is in the center of the photo above. This is the only photo I have of it at the moment; taken from the top of the Needles gondola.
On the approach to Mt. Ogden from the Needles gondola, I hiked to the first ridge further left than before, then traversed the ridge for a ways. What a beautiful, knife-edge ridge, with some easy rock moves, and good booting conditions. Some small creatures were all that preceded me, their tiny tracks going right along the cornice line. A little taste of mountaineering. Dropped in higher and did a big traverse of the whole bowl, which got me a lot closer to Mt. Ogden than on Friday.
What a fine, fine day, full sun, no wind, and quite the festive atmosphere for Snowbasin's last day!