Sunday, February 19, 2017

Bertha Creek Ski - January 2016

When I went south for Christmas it started snowing at Turnagain, and it hadn't stopped when I got back from Japan almost a month later. The constant snowfall meant there were no weak layers in the snowpack. It also meant the alpine were relatively off limits in the zero contrast January light. We needed somewhere with a source of contrast other than sun, a zone with rocks.

All by ourselves, breaking trail up a huge valley, it felt good to be home.

Picking one of ten incised chutes above us we skinned up before switching to booting to finish it off.

We watched from a hanging loft as Andalyn dropped first and retraced our steps.

At the bottom we headed back up for round two. This time, with a break in the clouds, deciding to drop south into the Lipps drainage. Dropping we immediately lost light as we skied creamy featureless snow down to the valley floor.

Not intending to make that mistake again we heading back up for more north facing terrain. We dropped into a near clone of our first chute. Khalial:

Still alone in the deserted world of white and gray we had time for more.

This time we picked a fatter line farther up the valley. Moving up the skintrack, the days constant snowfall and wind began to settle and crack in pockets around us. It was enough rapid loading that it would be our last line of the day. It was a good one:

Luckily the fun wasn't over! Thru interesting decision-making we ended up in the extreme mario gulley that is lower Bertha Creek. We'd see Hans go screaming towards a corner in front of us, air a pillow, skim a pool, and disappear out of sight. This was invariably immediately followed by screeching brakes and warnings of imminent death.

Invariably around these corners we'd find a waterfall plunging into an open pool. For better, or for worse, no one fell into any of these and one final wallow out of the gorge brought us to a boring, but direct return to the car.

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