Friday, April 19, 2013

Post-season Snowbowl - 2013

Snowbowl is now closed, and I have been taking advantage of the easy access to snow.  Even with moving responsibilities, I am still hoping to get out once a week or so for the next few weeks until the snow is gone. The normal format is to meet folks at 7R at 5:30 and make one top to bottom run, skinning the runout, chicken chute, and east bowl.  Tuesdays and/or Thursdays are the most likely days, so hopefully folks can join - bring your lightest gear and be prepared for challenging ski conditions since the snow is often barely refrozen on the ski out.

Saturday 4/13 - Spent the day back by Murphy peak with Kyle and Leah.  We left the parking lot at a respectable 7:30 am, and skinned out to Burgundy/Mahogany in a driving graupel storm.  After skiing Mahogany, we skied a new (for me) gully system north off the saddle between Sanders and Murphy peaks.  From there, we climbed back towards Sanders, but turned around due to icy conditions about 400 vertical feet below the summit.  After reversing our tracks, we climbed Murphy peak via the standard NW ridge, skied a variation to the south couloir, and returned to Snowbowl by climbing Mahogany and traversing on the road below Point 6.  We had a spectacular communication breakdown while skiing the closed cliffs by far East, but suffice it to say we all ended up skiing different chutes, and Leah got ditched (SORRY LEAH!!!).  All in all a great day given the poor weather and relatively high avalanche danger.  Approximately 8,000 v.f. according to Kyle's watch (I think this number is inflated), and done in 10.5 hours.

Monday 4/15 - With taxes settled up, I did a variation to the normal Jenny bowl loop.  I was at the end of a seemingly unexplainable period of low fitness, and was dragging pretty hard on the climb.  I saw locals Greg and Don on the climb, which was nice.  The climb to the resort boundary took about 45 minutes, and I barely beat an hour to the top of Point 6.  It was cold and windy on top, so I made good time transitioning for the ski down Jenny bowl on acceptable wind and sun crusted snow.  With plans to also top out above LaVelle, I stopped at the first bench and re-gained the ridgeline just north of the resort (well north of the normal exit).  New wind slabs up to 18" in depth had me sneaking around for the safest route through this section.  A quick jaunt put me on the knoll above LaVelle in about 1.35.  I ran into the perpetually motivated Natalie on the summit, and she was kind enough to let me borrow some warm gloves for the treacherous descent to the car through some of the worst snow of the season.  3,700ish and done in just under 2 hours car to car.

Thursday 4/18 - I made a simple one-run Snowbowl lap with Jason.  I made a good hard push, topping out in 40 minutes, 28 seconds, from the top of the wood stairs to the top of the knoll above LaVelle (2,600 vertical feet), which is a best time.  There was a reasonable established skin track which helped speed things up.  After rendezvousing with Jason on top, we skied difficult but manageable breakable crust back to the car.  I was on the Broad peak skis today, and I can't help but think that I would have finally broken the 40-minute mark with race skis and poles, even though the descent on race skis would have been grim at best.

Tuesday 4/24 - I set out with twin goals of maybe/possibly/finally summiting LaVelle in under 40 minutes, and heading out to Murphy after that.  The skin track went all the way up the gut and out toward the West ridge, and provided an efficient, albeit painfully steep at times route to the top.  After a consistent, hard push, I topped out at 38.57, which is my fastest time, and probably a FKT?  2016 Edit - Haven't heard otherwise, but it is foolhardy to think 38.57 is still an FKT...  I ended up rendezvousing with Leah and Natalie on the summit, and abandoned Murphy peak plans for a nice run with them and celebratory beer for Greg back in town.  The skiing was almost good, with barely re-freezing corn, and we all had a great run down the East bowl.  

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