Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Copper Traverse Trip Report

John and Bob have done this traverse before and I was very grateful to have the opportunity to follow them. Chris and I left town at around 6 a.m. on Sunday in his Trooper and decided that we would take the way through Horseshoe Bend. His wife had gotten hit a few weeks earlier so the rig has some body damage. As we drove down Eagle Road we passed a cop and since we had only one headlight (with a marker light on the side that's out) he whipped around and pulled us over. We were glad that he let us go, I theorized that you could probably get a ticket in Eagle for driving an undetailed vehicle, and without shiny wheels we would have really been in trouble! We were also thinking that we should have said that the vehicle was fine when we were leaving the bar. Which would have been appropriate, since the cop asked if we were aware of the body damage. "Well no officer, we were unaware that the fender fell off. I guess we should go look for it." Finally we were in the woods! We were rewarded with a sighting of a mountain lion in the road. We stopped and watched her meander down the hillside. We arrived at the parking lot right at 8:30 a.m. I amused myself by throwing snowballs at the restroom while John was in there and then gear was donned and dumped and transferred to the shuttle vehicle. Bob and I took off, with Bob breaking trail. A short while latter, John and Chris caught up.

We made it onto the ridge of the first peak and started up. The conditions were very good for skinning. It was nice and cold and the snow was not too deep.

After about two and a half hours we were on the summit and eyeballing the terrain. Oh! The terrain! Don't even ask me where some of this stuff is. Well, you can, but I'll lie! We ate lunch. I had my usual; whatever anyone didn't want. Which was a score since it was one of Chris' most excellent turkey wraps. First rule of Mooch Club: Don't feel guilty about taking what's offered. After lunch we skied some most excellent terrain!

After gaining the saddle again we continued up to another peak and skied off the ridge and onto a flat traverse that gained another saddle. We skirted around a peak and onto Copper's face and up to the summit.

Once on top, with light fading and energy running low we were moving with purpose. Bob and I were going to ski from the summit since there is a glitch in our brains that makes us crave directisimo. John says it's lack of intelligence, but I think it's really just a mild case of blissful ignorance.

I transitioned from skinning to skiing and stomped a gap in the summit cornice to access the chute. Chris and John skied down onto the shoulder and took a sweet looking line down. I slowly slipped down through the gap and cut a small windslab loose. After that is was one turn to the right, then another to the left and so on. Bob boarded through the gap and was next to me in no time. We then survival skied out to the shuttle vehicle and ended a most excellent day!

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