December 2, 2006

Frosty cliffs

Most of the approach was easy skinning, but climbing the valley's headwall involved a little route-finding. The way we chose ended up taking about an hour to climb a mere 200ft, as we wallowed over short cliffs in 3 feet of snow on top alder on top of air. It was hard enough that one should consider giving up, but it was way too early to turn around.

Snooping around for a way up. About to start the wallow-fest.

Recent fracture line, maybe released by a cornice falling?

Most of the remainder of the ascent to the first ridgeline went quickly, but the final bit posed some problems. It always looks easier on the map. We picked a way that was steeper than some other options, but had denser trees. It worked, with a little bit of hesitation crossing some steep exposed slopes right near the ridge top.

Half-way up now...

Ed approaching the final slope

The final slope to the main ridgeline had lots of rolls and looked like it had received plenty of wind... not a good combination. We decided to go as far as we felt comfortable.

Near the summit ridge...

That ended up being the ridge top, and the first time we had seen the sun all day.

Some crags. Some far away crags.

We didn't climb the final bit because it was getting late

A 3500ft descent awaits us...

The descent was better than expected. Nice long pitches and very skiable snow - five or six inches of powder on a crust that varied from firm to soft.

Some ridgeline spires.


Grainy photo of me

Post sunset colours from the forest.