Monday, February 02, 2009

High Pressure High Routes

Some folks in Salt Lake City see the high pressure on the weather map, hold their breath and hang up their skis. Others like Andrew McLean charge 10 in 10 days, or myself, I try and get after some longer higher tours that I haven't done in a while, especially since I live in British Columbia these days! Back home in BC, the storms are rolling in, with lots of weak layers being preserved by the more northerly colder temper regime (I am snow geeking out here!). But part of the beauty of the high desert is the strong high pressures and rapid stabilization of the snowpack in these warmer temperatures.

Blah blah blah. You can log on to the Utah Avalanche Center website, and see for yourself, the decreasing avalanche danger. Not that it is fully greenlight out there right now (is it ever?), but things are pretty good and I am slowly building my confidence in the snowpack here and ramping up some tours in some bigger areas.

Sunday we started off with a tour from Big Cottonwood Canyon to Mill Creek via Reynolds Peak, the Wilson Chutes and Gobbler's Knob. Lots of ridge walking in the sun, and great settled, soft and consistent powder on the north facing shots. With a car stashed in Mill Creek, we got to ski out over 4,000' down the NW side of Gobbler's in amazing snow as well. I'll let the google earth image and the photos do the rest of the talking.

Google Earth image with our tour drawn in

Walking along Gobbler's Knob Summit Ridge

Richard drops into the Wilson Chutes

Looking 4,500' down the last run of the day to Porter Fork!

Today (Monday) we decided to tackle the crown jewel of the Wasatch, Mt. Superior, with some skiing in Cardiac Bowl and a long and beautiful ski out Mineral Fork. We went for the long ascent of the East Ridge of Superior for the added ski mountaineering aspect of the day and summit climb. Once again some great north facing settled powder and some billy goating on ridges and entrances so we can sneak into Mineral Basin where hardly anyone had been. Maps and photos will give you the full picture instead of my babbling...

The East Ridge of Superior. Classic.

Hiking up the East Ridge.

Dreamy and creamy turns down from the Summit of Superior.

Poking around to find the entrance into Mineral Fork

Mineral Fork void of tracks

Some more google earth images of the tour. I think red was up and blue lines were down!

Get out there and enjoy it while you can, I have 4 more days until I head back up to the land of snow (Canada). The weather forecast says atleast 2 more days of high pressure here in Salt Lake though...hmmmm.

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