On good snow years like this one, Kootenai Point is one of my favorite venues in the Bitterroot. It recieves little to no ski traffic despite the amazing terrain, relatively short approch, and short drive. The exit can be a bit arduous, but so it goes in the Bitterroot. I returned on 3/11/2012 with two ropes to ski a pair of lines which require rappells to link up snowfields.
|I skied the Manger and Shepherd couloirs |
and exited via the lower portion of the Exit bowl.
I approached via the normal east ridge route, and was gearing up on top of the Shepherd couloir within 3 hours of leaving the parking lot. This is the first scary/difficult ski objective of the year, and I was surprisingly nervous dropping in. The skiing was no-fall but moderate aside from a sideslip around an ice bulge and thin sugar snow traverse to the rappel (32 m). I rappelled from a large tree on the skier's left edge of the couloir. In retrospect, the rappel is possible with one 60 meter rope, but caution is advised. There is a small cliff band about 200 feet below the rappel, and I decided to jump it. I stuck the landing and was able to relax for the remainder of the run.
|A braver skier would have made turns around the ice bulge.|
|The rap. Downclimbing is not an option.|
|Looking down into the Manger couloir. Getting in was a bit scrappy.|
|Avalanche debris at the bottom of the Exit bowl.|
I am still trying to reconcile the tragic death of Jackson-based skier Steve Romeo, who was killed in an avalanche 3 days prior. I met Steve briefly in Jackson last summer, and was immediatly struck by his unwavering passion for all things skiing. The circumstances of his death are truly unnerving. Rest in peace Steve. Your unwavering love of the mountains will inspire me for years to come. LIVE TO SKI.