Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Pyramid Peak Skiing - 2.26.2017

When Pyramid's west face ripped out two weeks ago we knew it was a good chance to ski it. Then it snowed 6 feet in Seward and visibility was bad in Turnagain. Seward was prioritized, but we didn't forget about Pyramid

This weekend the sun was out at Turnagain and we were looking for areas that had cleaned out since the buried surface hoar event. Pyramid was the obvious. From the Wolverine parking lot we followed the power-line and an existing skin track to Seattle Ridge.

The views from this end of Turnagain Pass are unreal and different than what you get from the non-motorized side. Spine Cell is pictured below, some day we will ski it! The peak behind it has a pretty rad face too, I think Jeff skied it in the past.

At the ridge the calm spring day turned into a punishing wind tunnel from the westerly gap flow racing down Turnagain Arm. At the top of the west face the winds had calmed enough to enjoy the views. Kern and Peterson hiding in the wispy clouds:

Looking up Seattle Creek. Big Chief is poking out near the back of the valley.

After navigating the giant cornice at the top, Charlie dropped first. The avy path at the bottom is giant, its pretty cool to get on a big face like this one!

It doesn't matter what the snow is like - Charlie rips - its fun to watch.

Zack with Penguin Ridge in the background; that's another great Southcentral day trip. Girdwood is tucked away in the corner in the clouds.

Andalyn and I brought up the rear. The snow wasn't perfect, the boys described it as a backcountry groomer. But, its hard to get big lines in perfect snow, so I was happy to just get good stability.

Once under the face and out of the wind, the snow turned into yummy settled pow. Gabe is rarely on the ground, nor is he often right side up in the air. Here's one of two:

We worked our way down until reaching impenetrable alders and bulldozed concrete avy debris above the creek. Charlie:

Following a moderate drainage out of avalanche terrain, the skin back out was straight-forward.

Back at the top the winds had moderated enough to enjoy the amazing weather and views. Josh:

Explorer, Byron, Carpathian, and the Skookum Glacier. We skied the north face of Byron last month, and gosh it was awesome. I'm still dreaming about the Explorer spines and the Skookum.

Wolverine and the north side of Eddies. I think that south face of Wolverine might be my favorite 1,000 vertical feet of skiing at Turnagain.

With one last look at the dream zone around Portage we switched to ski mode.

Skiing back down towards the road was awesome: party-skiing creamy pow with natural kickers everywhere. Charlie skiing above 20 Mile:

The lower pitch was a skill building mix of suncrust, thick trees, and navigating. Once back to the powerline we were home free.

This is a great moderate tour with even better views - everyone should do it! Just make sure stability on the west face of Pyramid is bomber!

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