Sunday, May 29, 2011

Bench to Fishhook Ski Traverse

Mark, Jared, Chris and I started at the main trailhead at around 8 a.m. and took the Bench Lakes trail.  We walked in ski boots for a mile or so.  There is a lot of snow left up in the Sawtooths, but the trails are choked with debris in the lower elevations where there is no snow.

We skinned past the trail to the lower Bench lake and continued onward and upward.  We then booted across the narrow ridge below the Thumb.

Almost to the Thumb!

The snow was very nice all the way to the lake.  Excellent turns were enjoyed by all!  At the lake we transitioned back to skins and started a traverse to meet up with the top of the Gun Barrel couloir.

Turns down from the Thumb

En route to the top of The Gun Barrel

In no time we were sitting at the top of The Gun Barrel eating lunch.  We were all very surprised by the weather.  There were clouds threatening us all day, but none ever encroached our blue sky.  I was the lucky one to drop into the couloir first.  The top third was glorious.  The middle third was filled with chunder from the walls.  The lower third was once again glorious.

The Gun Barrel

The fun was over and the work began.  We skied as far as we could down the Fishhook.  We were where the trail began when we transitioned to boots.  The "trail" was about as easy to follow as ant tracks across the sidewalk.  As three of us wandered into a swamp, Mark walked over to the trail.  Once on the trail, we made really good time.  We were back to the trailhead before 6 p.m.  I hate to sound cliche', but it was truly another great day in the Alpine!

McGown N. Couloir (April 30th)

Jared, Chris, Bob and I skied this beauty on McGown.  Snow conditions on the way up were perfect.  We were all dreaming of the turns on the way down.  But alas, the sun touched our line and dashed the hope of excellent snow.  No worries.  It was still nice.

Since we had four people we ran a peloton up and it was nice to not get too worked booting up.  It was good to save some energy for the skin out on the flat road back to the van.