Monday, January 10, 2011

Coalpit 4 & Bell's Cleaver: January 7

J-Wow and the PA Prince had sent the booter up "The Cuatro" two days prior. We used our phone-a-friend to get the inside line on the creek crossing since the bridge at the power house is out. Shred-Hound quickly found the class 5 skinner through the brush and on to the booter. The Prophet and Powers took turns leading the charge while Cornwallis and I lurked in the back.

Up Coalpit 4

3,200' later we topped out on Perla's Ridge and the Cleaver came into view. There was some debate whether to ski down into Bell's or to conserve vertical.

Shred-Hound Visualizing Lake Bonneville

We made some turns but mostly trascended across the south facing slope. There was a rapidly warning crust and frozen roller-balls, but the going was fast and we were skinning towards the Cleaver. The closer we got the worse the snow looked. A prior wind event had the team worried about snow quality up high. We were 800' below the summit looking up at the NW face of the Cleaver. The dream was over; it was not to be. The consensus was the snow was garbage and Powers starting skinning to a mini-pass east of the Cleaver. But Power's must have been suffering from vertigo. He kept going up where he should have switched back. He was above the pass. Now another kick step and another. The distance to the summit was halved and the Prophet took the lead. The distance was halved again and we regrouped on the ridge about 200' below the summit and there was no choice despite the rock, ice, snow route above.

Leading the Charge

The last 200' took 45 nerve-racking minutes. At last the summit yielded. High fives all around. Powers had obviously won the uphill portion of the tour and was offered 1st tracks, which he graciously accepted. The spine started in the high 40's and and mellowed to a reasonable 41 for the run-out. Snow quality defied expectations: it was creamy goodness and the coverage was excellent.

Cornwallis on the Run

NW Face of the Cleaver (click photo for better view)

The day was far from over. The 3,200' Coalpit 4 waited patiently for her 5 lovers to return. Passion reigned as her tender slope fell away. Light gave way to dark. Snow to rock. Love to exhaustion. Exhaustion to hunger and back to love. What a great day!

This upper schuss is not in the Chuting Gallery so we were at a loss for a name. I felt empty knowing that I would not get to check anything off in the back of the Wasatch Primer. The shot deserved a name. Meat Cleaver? Leave it to Cleaver? Maybe NW Face of Bell's Cleaver should stand instead of some "Cleaver Play on Words."


- U.K.

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