Sunday, June 5, 2011

Mt. Evans Ski - 6.4.2011

Yesterday, Brennan Metzler, Andrew Oakley, Doug Evans, and I had a great day on Evans. We skied 3 runs, two of which we hiked for and one of which we hitchhiked for. I would definitely recommend hiking at least one lap because the snowclimbs up the north face through the large slabby rock faces are super fun. However, hitchhiking is really fast, especially as most tourists up there are extremely intrigued by skiers, so I'm sure one could get in 5 or 6 laps in a day. I was really surprised about the lack of snow up there, especially after the late road opening, which I guess was simply a function of the late spring storms. I think all the lines one the north face already require a downclimb and this will quickly get worse as the thin tops of the line melt out.

A quick snowclimb up Spaulding got Brennan his first summit of the day for his Peaks for Peace Project. We found the snow on this south aspect to be quite rotten, warm and punchy, so from there we traversed south to a different, easterly aspect and the entrance to the line. Our first line was the skinny couloir just lookers left of Sunrise Couloir, I'd love to know the name if anyone can help me out here!

Line #1

Andrew enjoys the view of summit lake through the smokey haze.

Andrew gets ready to drop in

Our main concern had been that on such a steep face above a large cliff the surface layer could release and sweep one of us off the cliffs. Andrew carefully skied in and released some of this surface layer below him, waiting for it to pass before continuing to ski down.

Andrew enjoying steep & exposed turns

Brennan contemplating that 1st turn

Brennan making that first turn

Brennan getting into the groove

And cranking through the apron


more stoke!
Next, we headed up the north face to get the second summit of the day. We choose to climb up this awesome diagonal couloir between enormous, beautiful slabs of rock. The climb went quickly, despite a thin suncrust with some very winterlike snow underneath. Interestingly, the dust from last Sunday's wind event, had collected in the bootpack set Friday producing a very strange ice layer in the steps.

climb #2, line #3

Brennan enjoys the nice climb

This move was completely necessary....
Once we reached the summit of Evans we chose to drop into a closer line than we had climbed up, probably mostly because the thought of walked all the way back through the loose rock to the second line was not particularly appealing.

To all Peaks for Peace supporters, I assure you that Brennan WILL ride off the true summit of every peak he counts.

Line 2, the snow continues through a thin choke, behind the rocks in the dashed section, a short, easy downclimb was necessary to get to the start of the line.
Brennan shortly after the choke

Brennan navigating some fun ledges lower down
 I really enjoyed this line, it had some great steeper turns at the top, a fun choke, followed by some awesome high speed navigation through a series ledges. After this line we decided to take advantage of the stream of cars heading to the summit parking lot, for one last lap down our second snowclimb. This too involved an relatively short downclimb to where the snow started in the couloir. This snow in the couloir was great, protected from the sun for most of the day it still held perfect corn.

Brennan drops in

Doug in the middle of the line


Brennan enjoys a steeper rollover

Doug in the apron
As we skied out of the couloir, with a slight change in slope aspect and the lack of solar protection that the couloir had provided, the snow changed to a nice sticky consistency, this didn't seem to phase Doug.

Doug milking those last turns

A great day!
Overall, a great day. The north facing lines provide good vertical and are nicely inset into the rock, while that short east facing couloir provides steep exposed turns, and I would definitely recommend it to someone trying to get after that type of terrain. Its a shame how little snow there is up in this area this year, I might go back once, but the as the downclimbs melt out more and more the appeal will go down for me.

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