Monday, March 1, 2010

South Face of Ptarmigan

After having at least one beer too many, I awoke groggy. Tom was already stirring downstairs and I knew we had to ski. The avalanche report and various blogs were all the same: dust on crust. It wasn't looking good. Bass always seems to have the inside line on these things so I gave him a call.

Bass had skied Corn Biscuit 6 times on Friday and said conditions were good, but conceded there was more fresh snow in Anchorage than Turnagain Pass. After 8,000 vert the day before, Bass was looking for a "mellow" day. Ptarmigan Peak above Anchorage would be the objective. The approach involves a 3 miles approach along a popular nordic trail. There was about 8" fresh at the lot and Bass started breaking trail. The wind picked up and we debated whether we should continue. Human factor this... Wind loading that.... As we climbed the wind mysteriously died down. Must have climbed out of it. The wind slowly begin to pick up and by the time we summitted it was back with renewed fury. The couloir was out; the face was the route.

The entrance was narrow and steep. Bass gave the slope a ski cut and whoosh. Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but debris. It failed on the supportable crust and ran about 1,000'. I dropped in and it was steeper than it looked. It mellowed out to the point where I was comfortable getting an angle measurement: 43°. The top of the chute must have been in the low 50's. The skiing was excellent although a bit wind affected.

The South Face

Tom on the way up

Bass on the way down

No comments:

Post a Comment