Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Gash and the Mystery chutes in Sweathouse Creek

James skiing into Sweathouse creek.
Leah, James and I were treated to perfect ski conditions during an exploratory ski tour into Sweathouse creek.  We parked at the end of the snowplowing, and cruised the mile or so to the lower trailhead before making the normal climb to the northeast shoulder of Gash point proper.  After digging a quick pit to check out stability, we decided to ski the upper half of the north face off the exact summit.  I have never skied this avalanche exposed slope before, and with 8" of perfect, stable powder, we knew we were in for a good day.
Keeping a watchful eye on the scenery during the approach.
Closing in on Gash (photo: James Pyke).
James skiing the summit pitch of Gash point.
From a bench about half way down the face, we climbed west up a short chute, then continued up to top of the middle Mystery chute, which drops 2,000 vertical feet down the north ridge of Gash point into Sweathouse creek.  The chute was excellent, with an open larch bowl funneling into a long, clean gully which we took all the way to the creek.
What a day.  Hidden lake peak in the background.
Leah skiing in Sweathouse creek.
Powder, blue skies, open Larch stands, and 2,000' ski lines.  Good stuff.
(photo: James Pyke)
James at the bottom of the middle Mystery chute.
We took a quick break at the base of the chute, exchanging high fives, and eating some lunch in the warm sun. James headed out to civilization, and Leah and I re-climbed the chute.  From the top, we skied the upper bowl again before making two difficult westward traverses into the west Mystery chute, which we took for 2,000' to Sweathouse creek.  After a long snack break, we followed James' track up the regular north face of Gash point.  I pegged it up the track, and managed to take a quick lap in the short chutelet at the top of the North face before rendezvousing with Leah at the top of the final ski run.  The egress was chilly, and we stopped many times to revive cold fingers.  We were back at the car around dusk, just in time for fish and chips at the Hamilton House in Victor.
Leah heads back up for more with the Sweathouse spires behind.
Near the bottom of the west Mystery chute (photo: Leah Samberg).
What great exploratory "Gash plus" tour.   About 9,500 vertical feet, and done in just over 12 hours car-to-car.  It is worth noting that we were inspired by Blake's probable first descent of the middle Sweathouse chute earlier this year.
The route according to Google maps.  The South and North
bowls of Gash are visible in the background.

No comments:

Post a Comment