Still no snow other than a squall. The winds have pummelled all aspects over the weeks so we decided to search in a deep and dark couloir. Couliors are amazing. With very little snowfall the winds will fill in these deep chasms. I went for a hike last October and noticed how the North couloirs were already filling in with barely any snowfall. After some debate, Zach and I took a stab in the dark.
I brought two Ranger IPA's for apres ski. It was a bike approach so Zach put them in his pannier. I was thinking to myself that they would probably puncture, but shrugged it off. We made it to the river crossing on Brush Creek and decided it was time to ditch the bikes. We realized we had a wounded soldier, and we could not waste it even though it was 9:30 am.
When we reached Death Pass it felt as if we should be mountain biking, never-mind that its December.
We pushed on and up Pearl Pass, where our wet skins began to glop horribly. When the snow gets wet from above freezing temperatures or the sun, the climbing skins get wet. When you step into the shade the wet skins ice up and snow starts sticking to the bottom of the skis. This can be a miserably slow process. In the spring I will put wax on my skins to prevent this, but usually in December it does not get above freezing.
Our progress was slow and skiing did not look promising. At 1:45 PM we reached the bottom of the North Face of Teocalli after several miles of slogging with glopped skis that felt like we had cinder-blocks for shoes. The couloir that I wanted to ski did not look entirely filled in, so we took the main couloir to the summit that looked promising. I still need to come back for this one...
As we were booting up, the tide changed. Deep, soft, hero snow.
It seemed well bonded and was really deep in the chokes where it had been sloughing. Apparently there was enough snow and wind from the squall to blanket the couloir with this beautiful layer of snow.
The couloir continued up 2000 feet probably 40-45 degrees until it topped out above 13000 feet right next to the summit. The top of the couloir was scoured by the wind, but the lower 3/4's was powder. Zach topping out at 4 pm with Castle Peak in the background.
The eggress had some interesting bits through suncrust, a lot of icy fast down hills and a couple of stinger hills. We enjoyed the remaining IPA cached at the bikes, and we coasted out at 6:30 PM with headlamps on. Sore and satisfied. 9 hrs. Sometimes you just gotta go for it.