Thursday, February 28, 2013

Dickey Creek Essex, MT

Skiing the vast mountains of the Flathead Valley has been a joy! I am amazed every tour when I don't see a single person out there and snow flies up to my chinny chin. We have had a solid snowpack and I have been lucky enough to have the time and partners to explore all that makes this place Amazing!

Last week I rallied with the always psyched to go big, Dan Koestler. I picked Dan up at his place in West Glacier and drove 30 miles or so up route 2 to the town Essex. On the north side of Route 2 is Glacier Park and to the south is the Great Bear WIlderness.  We pulled off to the south. A quick unload of the snow machine off the truck, a makeshift ski rack on the side and a cordellete attached to the back for Dan to grab onto and we were off as the sky began to show that it was going to be a rare, gorgeous day in Glacier country.

The trail up to Dickey Creek is always plowed for recreationalists and with a few inches of fluff on top of groomed, we throttled the four miles in 15 minutes and were blown away at where we were already at 7:45 a.m. 

Sleddy, revved for another adventure. 

Dan skinning up the first shot we did. With 20 new inches of snow the day before we were a bit nervous of the avy conditions and felt we should investigate the less exposed terrain to get a feel and dig a few pits. The snowpack was decently solid, but the sun was pretty warm so after one lap we were needed to get to the other side of the drainage with northern exposures.
Looking back up at our first run of the day. We skied the smaller shoulder of the peak on creamy powder .

Dan skinning up towards our second lap on the shoulder of Elk Mountain, not to be mistaken by the Elk mountain across Route 2 in GNP.  A shady north facing shot, skiing back into South Dickey Creek

A lone skier is pictured in the center of this photo. He was the only other person in this drainage and we felt he was ballsy skiing the terrain and getting after the lines he did, solo. I think he made 4 laps at about 2000 ft from ridge to the valley floor.

On the south side of Elk Mountain is Almeda Lake and Mt Adams. I plan to return and ski this peak. It looks Awesome!!

Jah Kid Bufo enjoying some north facing chowder on our second lap from the shoulder of Elk Mountain. The saddle in the background is our access point and we climbed to the summit of the peak on the left ridge, No Name for our last run down the NRC chutes. 

Dan accessing the terrain from the summit of No Name Peak. Great fall line runs drop off both sides of the summit  and Marion lake sits 2,000 plus feet to the east and other side of the ridge.

Dan wondering if he is skiing in Canada, Not Really. We had Great conditions down this 2,500 foot fall line. It had already slid on the left side and center so they snow was the softest out of the gut a bit on skiers left and down at the bottom we were skiing deep debris in the center punch. 

Looking back up at the Not Really Canada Chutes. We skied off the summit  angling lookers left and then right down the center, fat line back to Sleddy. What amazing terrain up in South Dickey Creek.
Most of the time I feel lucky to be where I am at that time. This winter has created that moment over and over again. The mountains contain a prize and a lesson from each experience. When you go out and search for this meaning and existence it feels good when you become conscious of our connections with the mighty peaks.

-Kid Bufo