Thursday, December 31, 2015


After a perfect Saturday, the secret was out, and we'd need to go deeper to avoid the crowds. With virtually no solar radiation, sunny south faces seemed appropriate. We decided on a tour around Pastoral Peak.

Climbing above the inversion with lovely purple tones to the west.

First light kissing Kickstep from Taylor Pass; many fun memories in this picture:

Photo: Brady Deal

Two hours after leaving the car our first line was in view. Carpathian looking nice too.

Photo: Brady Deal

There was only one problem: the ridge ahead of us had little snow, big exposure, and cross loading. Solution: ski a bonus run.

Brady dropped first:

The face ended up being longer than expected. I watched each skier go in and out of sight as they dropped lower and lower. Mary:

No longer separated from our objective by unnecessary treachery, Bad Santa was up!

Maybe next time...

After cooking in(and up) the climb out of the basin below, we looked down our next line.

My wonderful teammates let me drop first:

Photo: Brady Deal

I pulled off to watch Zack shoot by. Fun looking terrain back there.

Still not down:

Photo: Brady Deal

With our unexpected bonus lap, we needed to start in the general direction home. Can't wait to come back for more of this zone.

Taking advantage of the last sunlight, Brady dropped off the summit of Grandaddy Peak towards Granddaddy Couloir:

With a thin and rocky choke, Granddaddy was interesting. Listening from above as Zack and Brady scraped over the rocks was a bit of a sensory experience for Mary and I. I suspect the boys kind of enjoyed it though.

Mary finishing up the line.

At the bottom of the Granddaddy, Zack brought up the point that it wouldn't take much more work to ski another lap down Cornbiscuit. I should have listened, instead we experienced this special joy at the bottom of Bertha Creek:

Yes, that is Zack in there. Sorry Zack!

But, it could have been worse, and a short cross country ski brought us to the parking lot, where it was still 4 degrees.

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