Friday, March 30, 2012

Wolverine Basin Ski - 3.28.2012

With continued fears of overheating snowmobiles on icy roads, on Wednesday Josh, Sydney and I decided to avoid our sleds and ski Mount Emmons. I've had some fun days with Josh and Adam lately on Red Lady, so, of course, I was excited to check out a different basin on the north side of the peak.

After dropping off a car at the Slate River trailhead we headed to the Kebler Pass trailhead to begin our skin. However, things are getting a bit thin down, so we actually started with a short bootpack before reaching snow.

Josh and I have had fun trimming a little bit off the skin each time we do Red Lady, this time we made it to the top in 2:15. Good views as usual; it looks like a couple lines off the west side of Gothic still go but its certainly getting thin there too:

After a few windy minutes enjoying the views on the summit we headed north to the top of Wolverine Basin. Oddly, the basin has a strange, almost imperceptible, twist making it very hard to see down from the top, and tempting to get a little too far out on the cornice for a peek. Our line:

Despite the warm temperatures, the north facing terrain still takes a while to warm up. We were a bit early to the top, tried to wait it out, but eventually we were all impatient to ski. Josh dropped first:

And, as usual, came shooting out the bottom:

I dropped next, and after a few firm turns, found softer snow on the solar wall of the chute. Sydney brought up the rear:



Looking back up at the upper basin, definitely some fun terrain there, our line on the lookers left:

After the upper basin we discussed our options for descending the remaining 2000 feet to Slate River. We skied Wrong Chute recently, but had found some rather scary, unsupportable snow there. Since none of us had skied Wolverine Basin before, we thought it would be more fun to ski it out. The rest of the run was mellow, but fun glades and benches. And on the plus side, because of the nighttime inversion, the snow remained supportable corn all the way to the bottom. The exit egress back to the trailhead was also much shorter than the Wrong Chute slog, which I appreciated. So did Josh:

So far this is my favorite area of Red Lady: its steeper than Redwell Basin and more interesting than Red Lady Bowl. A fun tour would be an upper Red Lady Bowl lap followed by Wolverine Basin out to Slate River.

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