Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Blaze Mountain, East Face

Ski tracks on the East face of Blaze Mountain. Photo: John Curry
I was able to get away during a family visit to Big Sky and take advantage of a perfect trifecta of good weather, stable snow, and a strong motivated partner. John Curry and I headed out from the Beehive trailhead well after sunrise with the intention of skiing the East face of Blaze Mountain and whatever else we could find along the way. We made good time ascending the basin, and were soon on top of the mellow peak just east of Beehive. I had planned on dropping to the Northwest, but John suggested we ski a nice looking couloir into the head of the Mirror lake basin. A spicy downclimb had us on top of the line, and we skied it down to the basin and continued all the way down to Mirror lake.
Climbing out of Beehive Basin. Photo: Jobn Curry
Dropping in on the first run. Photo: John Curry
The East face of Blaze Mountain is heavily wind loaded and holds acres of thin, intimidating wind slabs. We probably would have turned around had the avalanche danger not been low. But it was, so after a brief discussion of wet slide concerns, we felt OK committing to the line. We traded pulls, with me kicking up the chute and around a few thin steps on foot, and John skinning the upper face, which required many, many switchbacks. We scampered to the true summit amongst extensive mountain goat tracks. After taking a break to enjoy the windless summit, we skied the face with stable powder.
Climbing Blaze Mountain. Photo: John Curry
John starting down the East/Hummingbird face.
That was fun. We both skied the face in a single push, and John's legs cramped,
forcing him to straight line the final apron.
We took another run above Mirror lake before putting in the final ski track out to Beehive basin. We were both tired and relieved to top out on the last climb. From the divide, a quick schuss had us back at the car. Thanks John for such a great day. 7,000+++ vertical feet, done in about 8.5 hours car to car.
Climbing for our third run. Photo: John Curry
John on the last climb


  1. Hey, I am always amazed at your blog posts! I made a site, where you can add pins to your own map; sort of a geographic archive if you will. I couldn't imagine what it would looks like with all your outings. Anyway, take it or leave it.
    This is what it looks like on mine;

  2. Where'd you hear it's called the Hummingbird Face?

  3. That is just a name I invented. I edited the post to make that point clear.