Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The proper Gash tour

 John, Blake and I ventured out into the storm on Sunday with plans to head to Gash point proper and "see what happens".  We ended up doing what I call the proper Gash tour which is: up to Gash point proper, down the North facing avalanche path until the skiing peters out, back up to the east shoulder of Gash proper, down to upper Gash creek, then up the North ridge to Gash knob, down the North bowl or ridge, back up to the knob, and out the South bowl to the car.  The wind, low visibility, and sensitive shallow wind slabs added some spice to an otherwise safe and straight forward tour.  The skiing was excellent with 6 to 10 inches of light powder over a firm, stable base.  The exit is still quite rocky, and even John took his skis off twice on the exit.  We took a vote back at the car and the results were:  Brian:  best tour of the year.  John: best tour of the year.  Blake:  claimed it was his best tour ever, but I don't believe him.  8,700 v.f. and done in a little under 8 hours car to car.

As a side note, I finally got the basic Gash route descriptions up on the Bitterroot Route descriptions page.

Rimed trees on the climb to Gash knob.  Photo by John Leherman
John and Blake rallying back up Gash point properbafter skiing the North face.
Climbing to Gash knob.
John diving into the South Bowl at Gash Point.
I also skied at Heart lake with Leah and Blake on Saturday.  We parked about 3 miles from the Heart Lake trailhead and toured back to Heart, Pearl, then Dalton Lake.  We ended up getting a snowmobile tow from two locals - thanks guys!  New wind slabs and a weird deep sandwiched ice crust layer kept us from skiing the Dalton chutes, but we had a great time bowl bouncing around Heart and Dalton lakes.
The Dalton chutes are quite filled in.
Bird's eye view of Leah ripping through the powder above Hear Lake.
I'm the little dot skiing down to Heart lake, visible on the left edge of the photo.

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