Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Bass Bowl Bounce (Extra Credit)

In late January, I was able to join forces with Andrew and Jeffrey for an extended Bass Bowl bounce tour.  The Bass Bowl bounce might be my favorite tour in the range.  Once the long slog out to Bass is in the bag, skiers are posed to knock out as many bowls as possible on the way out to the car, and there are a lot of good variations, even with mid-Considerable avalanche danger.
Jeffrey and Andrew getting their groove on
as they climb the Groove tube above Bass lake.
We met at what is becoming a customary early-but-not-terrible 6 am, and were skinning before 7 by headlamp.  We all had race skins, and made good time to the lake, despite a few stops to manage blisters.  At the lake, we were absolutely blasted with snow and wind, but we put our heads down and pushed across. As expected, the wind subsided at inlet, and we swapped trailbreaking leads into the clouds, and, eventually, to the top of North Bass peak, 5 hours into the day.  With 6" of overnight snow and a lot of wind, we kept avalanche exposure to a minimum, but still had a excellent rolling run down the rolling 1,500+ vertical foot east face of Bass peak.  

Nimble and light got us across the upper Bass creek crossing with skis on.
Still enjoying the new ski setup mounted up by LB snow. Photo: Andrew
In the larch high on Bass peak. Photo: Andrew
Powder skiing on Bass peak.
From the base of Bass, we climbed to the Bass/Kootenai saddle, then continued up the Groove tube, crossed one exposed slope, then continued out to Point 8,285. I have always skied the obvious north bowl, but with heightened/Considerable avalanche danger, we instead skied the 30 degree southeast bowl for over a thousand vertical. Another great run, and a new one for me.  We still had two big climbs ahead, so we transitioned quickly and Andrew busted a nice skin track up and through steep but sheltered terrain to point 8,145 just southeast of Smokey Joe. This was another new run for me, and the thousand plus feet of rolling powder skiing were every bit as good as I had hoped for.
Beta photo: North bowl of point 8,285.
We summited, then skied mellow powder off the back side.
The more "customary" run is to ski the visible bowl.
Top of the Spurge couloir drops lookers Rt from the saddle just in front of Jeffrey. Photo: Andrew
Good skiing off 8,285
Andrew skiing off 8,145
We took a longish lunch break of sorts before the last climb, then pushed up through the burn to Lappi point. We were all tired at the top, which is notable because it takes a pretty long day to tire this crew out. Although in retrospect we should have skied to Lappi lake and out, I forced a run down the skier's left edge of the main Lappi bowl then out via the "standard" steep tree sneak into the west Lappi bowl. We eventually hit breakable crust, but not before skiing almost 2,000 vertical feet of good powder.  The trail exit was fast as always, and we were back at the car well before dark.

Jeffrey above the burn, closing in on Lappi point.
Touchy slabs kept us on the ridge on the ski down to Lappi.
Really nice day out in the hills with a great crew.  Another possible best day of the year so far. For stats, a touch over 9k and out for a little over 10 hours.  If you are looking for a good long day in the hills, go do this tour.
Our route in orange.  Other (more standard) variations are shown in pink.

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