We need some snow. In the mean time, Leah, Kyle and I made do and skied the north face of Sky Pilot via Gash Point on January 14. We left town at a semi-leisurely time and were skinning and walking (see first sentence) from the lower trailhead shortly after 8 am. Everything went smoothly, and we enjoyed fast travel conditions on the skin up to Gash Point proper (2h 45 min) and on the downhill traverse to Bear Lake. A couple of pits and a long climb put us on the top of Sky Pilot around 2 pm. The skiing was fair, and we were soon making our way back up and out via Gash Point. By tacking on a second Sky Pilot lap, I managed a little better than 9,000 vertical feet. Also, I spent the day making mental splits and rules for a sub-6 hour Sky Pilot. So stay tuned for an attempt sometime this winter. Really nice to be back in the Bitterroot Mountains.
We dug a couple of pits on north and south aspects and found some clean shear failures throughout the snowpack, most notably at the new/old snow interface (up to 6" deep CT 11 Q1 and ECTN13), and about 24" down from the snow surface (CT30+ Q1). We didn't see any suface hoar anywhere. Bring on the snow!
|Sky Pilot from Gash Point. The north face ski route|
takes the obvious snow ramp. Photo: Kyle Scharfe.
|skinning above Bear Lake with the east|
face looming above. Photo Kyle Scharfe
|Kyle demonstarting impeccable pole technique|
under the watchful eye of the Sweathouse spires.
|Kyle and Leah steep skinning on the north face of Sky Pilot.|
|Leah enjoying the skier's right chute on the north face of Sky Pilot.|