|Skiing powder in upper Blodgett creek.|
John and I teamed up on Sunday for an exploratory day in Blodgett canyon. We hit the trail a little before first light, with an agenda to head up canyon until the skiing looked good. The lower canyon has plenty of snow on the trail, but the skiing doesn't become acceptable until hitting Mill 3. Having skied Mill 3, the Blue Ice bowl, and the smaller avalanche patch sandwiched in between, we continued up past the pinch into the upper canyon. We skinned about a half mile past the High lake trail junction before heading up to the north with plans to look at the Sears lake couloir. A long climb put us on top of the couloir, but the entrance wasn't filled in, so we skipped it. This is a little unfortunate, because the couloir is one of the better lines in the Bitterroot. We continued up to near the summit of what we are calling Sears peak. From near the summit, we skied the excellent peak-to-creek avalanche path which had powder for it's entire 3,200' drop.
|John steep skinning up to Sears Lake peak.|
|John in the upper half of the Sears peak south gully.|
|Cruising the lower half of the Sears peak south gully.|
|John at the top of our second run. My final run|
is the obvious looker's left gully in the background.
|John at the bottom of our second run.|
It is uncommon to be able to catch the big south facing peak to creek runs with good powder from top to bottom, and I was excited to find such exceptional conditions, and to be able to share the day with an exceptional partner. The ski out was fast, and I was back at the car well before dark. About 8,700 vertical feet with 12 flat trail miles, and done in 11 hours, 20 minutes car-to-car. For future reference, the approach trail took 3 hours at a bright pace, and the exit took 1 hour and 40 minutes at an average pace with tricks (kicker skins to the bridge, normal schussing from the bridge to the car). I think the effort is similar to the approach to Bass lake in Bass creek.
|Powder and sunshine on my final run.|
|Looking back to Caesar's Palace and Canyon peak.|
|3,000' of stable powder from the ridgeline to the creek..|
Remote, wild, and beautiful.
This is why I ski in the Bitterroot.
|Opening turns on my final run.|
|Motivation for the ski out.|
|Joshua skiing powder in the Missions during a failed attempt on Greywolf peak.|