Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Wisherd Ridge, Five Bowl Friday

I had a free Friday morning to ski, and after ruling out a number of more adventurous outings due to time and avalanche constraints, settled on skiing as much as possible at Wisherd Ridge.  The pre-dawn, rainy jog up the Twin Creek road was surprisingly enjoyable, and soon enough I was switching from running shoes to ski boots at first light.  The skin to the ridge and over the top was equally enjoyable.  I topped out as the clouds burned off, about 3 hours into the day.
My goal was to ski a run in each of the five bowls, and I started with the short and steep northeast face of Bowl 5.  The skiing was just OK, but it was quick, as was the climb to the southeast shoulder of Bowl 4.  While it would have been strategically prudent to take advantage of the deep snowpack to ski the usually-scrappy north chute, I skied the normal southeast face, then booted up the North chute.  I skied Bowl 3 right down the middle, before climbing right back out the same way, and skied the open southeast face of Bowl 2 as far as the skiing was good.  One final, easy skin put me atop Bowl 1, which I also skied via the Southeast face.  Having only exited once previously via a very much not recommended bushwack below Bowl 2, I was treated to a fast schuss out the logging road below Bowl 1.  Once on the main Twin Creek road, I just stuck to the switchbacks to avoid too much isothermal snow bashing.  The entire exit went in exactly an hour, with 35 minutes of skiing, 5 minutes of boot to shoe swapping, and 20 minutes of running.  Five hours car to car at a moderate pace with fast conditions.
Bowl five.
Bowl Four.
Bowl Three.
Bowl two.
Exiting from Bowl one.
Back at the car after a great morning.
Thoughts: While I still prefer the Rattlesnake (or Marshall) for close-to-town skiing, it was quite enjoyable to spend a morning in the hills close to town. The five bowl tour is definitely recommended.  I need to allow an extra hour and go back to add Sheep mountain to the mix.

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