SATURDAY: DAY 2
After a good day, it was time to set up the small tent in the campground. Pete the Pete and Éric were leaving work many hours away on Friday and we supposed to join us at the campground. They made it, but never found our spot. When they woke up, they found that a moose gave them a welcoming gift next to their tent.
Temperature dropped below freezing that night and it was still pretty cold when we got out of the tent. I needed to get my winter coat on for breakfast. Lucky had some awful coffee, so he decided to add something to it to make it taste better.
Prior and after the previous day’s skiing, Lucky tested a different road with his girlfriend’s car. The road still had a lot of snow and he couldn’t make it to the other spot in order to access different terrain with similar steeps and couloirs.
Saturday morning we parked next that same road and started getting our gear ready for the hike on that road. As we finished organizing our backpack with all our gear, a group of locals showed up with a pickup truck. Not sure who joked around about getting a ride, but the guys offered to carry our gear at the end of the road. He also asked how much he could receive on ebay for all of our stuff. 😮
So we started hiking along the road without our backpacks, crossing water and snow in some parts. The pickup made it, we were starting looking at some new freaking lines.
The approach wasn’t clear cut. The first part involved a serious bushwhack in hiking boots and the odd above knee snow. The rest was a route finding skinning. As we gather at the bottom of the apron, crowd was making it through the woods. Okay, this is Tuckerman, a crowd here would involve 10-15 people.
Although the temps moved below freezing that night, temps we definitely felt warmer. Blue sky and no wind. I didn’t forget to put sunscreen on my burnt face today.
All Lucky’s ski buddies plus the many locals that he meet were all there. There was two main couloirs on this face, the one called Trois mousquetaires on the left had a ice fall at 1/3 up and a crevasse lower down and the couloir de l’aigle was still frozen solid. The couloir’s funnels into the shade for a few hundreds feet (see previous day pic).
We started off skiing to the left, at first everyone climb to the crevasse while Lucky stopped at the ice fall higher up. This place felt definitely steeper than the previous day’s low 40s degrees slope.
Snow had a soft topping, but the cover was still pretty solid. We eat as the others started up the Eagle chute.
This climb was definitely nerve racking. Lucky did it on a frozen surface a couple years ago. YIKES!!! 8-[ The choke/funnel is pretty long. At one point we stopped to let a telemarker down. She definitely seemed intimated by the choke and our group looking up at her. She nailed it and started relaxing once passed the choke. Once on top, you forget all about it. Enjoy the view, eat a bit and look at the extra couloirs on the next ridge. Wish list for the next day?
We started skiing before everything ended up in the shade and started freezing. Definitely a fun run. We skied the bottom of the other couloir when we noticed locals that Lucky knew skiing from top of the icefall and down climb. Snow was apparently great above, but the downclimb wasn’t for the lighthearted. These locals would climb back up and hike on the ridge and dive into Couloir en S that we skied yesterday. Of course, I believe that the 2 of the 3 were leaving to Bolivia. It included the guide from Vertigo that gave us the Avy course the previous winter.
Clouds started moving in. The forecast called for 70% chance of rain on Sunday. Followed a local out of woods and he gave a ride to Éric and Pete + our gear. Lucky and I walked along the road.
As we got back to Lucky’s car. There was a gathering, drinking beer and munching. Talking and laughing. We finally meet up with the bunch from Zoneski. We hadn’t seen them in the morning, but they were skiing next to where we parked the previous day.
Great day…again. Terrain was steeper (probably 45-48 degrees) and gnarly on this day.
What will we do with the rain in the forecast. Will we leave and cut our trip short? We wouldn’t lose anything, Lucky and I just passed two amazing days on amazing terrain.
Mines Madeleine : 16 mai 2009
TO BE CONTINUED…
Originally posted on Tue May 26, 2009 11:15 pm on firsttracksonline