Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Eddies North Ski - 2.11.2017

Updated 1.22.2019 to include another great day on Eddies.

When we skied the southwest face of Wolverine last week I couldn't take my eyes of the wall across the way: pinner chutes so tight and incised that that they're barely visible. Despite sunnier and easier options I convinced Alex and Bobby to check em out.

Things started off well with a forgotten beacon and a memorable scramble in and out of the Wolverine Creek gorge.

Photo: Bobby Lieberman

Then we were out of the gorge and into the jaw-dropping valley. Breaking trail in the morning light as the final snowflakes of the last storm fell out of the blue sky was one of those really special moments of perfection.

Photo: Bobby Lieberman

Arriving at the bottom of the chute, we could see that it had slid during the night, then filled back in. Perfect. Under the imposing south face of Wolverine we switched over to booting. Noah Lohr and Eric Dahl's insane line from last week is visible behind us.

I was so busy trying to keep up with Alex and not lose my toes that I barely noticed the 2,000 foot climb go by. Near the top we stopped while Alex dug a pit and looked back down the line.

The top was awesome. To the north, Wolverine looked huge, to the south we could just see the dark north wall of the Library and the Kickstep Glacier. We all wanted to look farther over the edge, but alarming cracks in the cornice and a painfully cold south wind kept us away. Wolverine:

Bobby dropped first:

A few huge, fast turns down the steep and exposed entrance and he disappeared into a giant powder cloud. Bobby rips; its a rush watching him ski.

Alex dropped next. Across the way, a strong inversion fog was building in Turnagain Arm.

Alex about to go over the edge of the bowling ball:

I played caboose. The line was everything I hoped for: tight and steep plus fast and heavy slough. The right wall had great double fall line to ski while the slough poured past. Alex:

After countless jump turns we pit-stopped to lose our down layers. Looking back up I watched Bobby slash the walls then air back into the chute:

Alex with the line winding out of sight above him:

The apron was even deeper.

If you look closely you can see Bobby's head poking out of the apron.

At the bottom it was already 3:15 and so so cold. Above us the wind transport off the peaks and into the couloirs was picking up. Far from the car, and already with a small margin for frozen toes it was time to call it a day. I can't wait to go back.

In late March of 2017, Charlie, Gabe, Nathan and I returned to Proper. Charlie had a rare break from residency and was feeling frothy for a fast day, so shortly after leaving the Tincan parking lot we were standing on top and looking into the Portage zone. Lots of incredible memories there including the SkookumCarpathian, and Byron.

When Kate and I skied Proper the other night, it only took 1.5 hours to the top. Next time we're shooting for under an hour. From the top we peered over the edge into the north face and beyond at Eddies and Wolverine. Charlie:

Nathan dropped first into the shaded and steep wall of M4.

We surfed the double-fall line, letting our slough pour away and into the gut to the left. Gabe:

As the line choked into the deep gully of debris and bed surface we traversed back onto the face and skied bonus alder spines. The other day we tried this same move - with this year's high rain lines, the alder spines had turned into alder cliffs. Sorry Kate!

At Ingram Creek we ate lunch and transitioned for the climb up and through the Eddies spines.

From previous wanderings (and browsing Google Earth at work), I suspected that the weakness forming the the Eddies north chutes would continue through to the south side and provide a connection. Once under what seemed like the right chute we booted towards it. Nathan:

We stemmed, high-stepped, and crawled over the cornice, and voila, popped onto a little perch at the top of the next north line:

Across Wolverine Creek we looked at the imposing west wall of spines on Wolverine. I remember skiing that with Mike and Waldo back in the day. I'd still love to link that up with a few other lines in the area.

As we leap-frogged down the line, I looked back up to watch Charlie ripping the edge and practicing perfect slough management.

Then he zipped past and disappeared around the corner.

I chased after him, and we looked up to see Nathan zooming through the complex terrain next to our chute. So much to ski back here.

At the bottom is was time for the med-school boys to get back to work, but not before a wet misadventure down the ravine on the egress. Lesson learned, exit the valley before it turns into a series of waterfalls. Admittedly, maybe we've learned this lesson before.

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