Friday, April 10, 2009

Steep Larrys in good conditions

Steep Larrys, super-filled, with great corn conditions.
The double-fall-line return from Steep Larrys chute.

A crack-of-noon club start on April 7th put me got me on the Mt Allen tram just as the sweep patroller was dropping in to the Fingers chutes. Why such an early close?? They sure don't keep those open until 3! Welll, up the tram, up the boot trail anyway, out the gate, up Mt Allen, over to the Logical chute; at least it wasn't whiteout visibility today; bluebird in fact! I followed my hard left cut from the other day, and my short boot up, and peered into the next chute- looks like it goes!
A new line to explore! This led over to the double-fall-line shot from the top of Steep Larrys, that I had looked down on a couple years ago. Today was the day to explore that double-fall-line.

Looking down and back on the boot trail climb.

A straightforward boot led to unconsolidated sugary snow over a 50 degree rock slab. Two-kick steps soon became 12 kick, 15 kick, hard-to-build steps, over slick rock slab, with decent rock handholds making it possible. Interesting, time-consuming climbing finally led to the "summit ridge", a strenuous pull over the final steep headwall. I was on top of the Larrys entrance through the cliffs! Crazy Larrys, or Extreme Larrys, I've heard it called; "Steep Larrys" sounds better to me. It was way more filled than the last time I did it, no rocks at all in the chute. After a 38 degree start, it rolled to a 51 degree measurement, then stayed around 45 to 50 the rest of the way. Last time, I had a few measurements at 53 degrees; not so today.

It was good soft corn, too. 3 PM by now, and the due west aspects were soft corn, not too slushy though, with NW aspects of settled powder, super nice conditions. The occasional tree branch dropping snow keeps you alert, but no rollerballs, no significant wet slide activity. I did the chute, took the left exit to the top of the bowl below, then climbed back up, exploring the north edge of the ridge.

A future project with a rappel entrance into a treed, secluded little chute.
Grouse tracks on the edge of the ridge.

Coming back, I chose a steep entrance into the double fall line shot, and made it back down into the Banana with no problems. This double-fall-line return was actually the crux of the day: a technical (ie: rocky no-fall zone over cliffs) 55 degree, 2 meter wide entrance, leading to a hard right double-fall-line that was really a traverse (top photo). Maybe not as classic as some of the Mt Ogden lines, but something challenging to do when Mt. Ogden was closed anyway :-). There still seems to be more north-facing potential off of Mt. Allen, but it may have to wait till next year.

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