Thursday, May 30, 2013

Spring Skiing in the Pipeline Couloir 5/30/13

A few email messages were exchanged and plans were made to go check out the new snow and see if we could have any fun. The AF twin peaks are the highest peaks in the central Wasatch (BCC, LCC, Millcreek) and the third highest in the range behind Mt. Nebo and Mt. Timpanogos. We decided to go up there and ski the pipeline couloir now that Snowbird is closed.
Rendezvous time! Reminds me of winter.

We had an interesting group what with Mike and his drifters and airbag, me in race boots and lycra pants, and Jon on his split board. Mike says "big skis are for big fun." 

Low on the Pipeline.

Pretty windy with lots of spindrifts--several sections were really firm and I was glad to have double whippets on the ascent. My innards are still afraid of impailment when I descend.
Jon and crew close to topping out.

Gad Valley from atop American Fork Twin Peaks.

This was both the warmest and also one of the coldest tours of the year. Rivers and ponds down low, and a good wind chill up high. This was the only time I got the screaming barfies all winter and it happened on 5/30! Selfie from the summit.

Mike having big fun dropping in.

Split boarders are people too. Jon rips on his.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Deseret Peak in the Stansburys

Today I skied Deseret Peak and the Twin Couloirs with O'Keefe. O'Keefe works a graveyard shift and asked if we could meet as he was getting off work. 4:30a. Which meant I had to wake up at 3:45 to make the rendezvous. The drive out to the Stansbury range (west of Tooele and Grantsville) was pretty painless. We pulled up to the Boy Scout Campground and the Medina Flat TH (the upper part of the road is still closed) at about 5:30, put the stuff together and headed out on bikes. More on the bikes later.

With the heavy rain yesterday and warm temperatures I expected it to be terrible and thus mark the end of my skiing motivation. The approach had supportable snow which helped for gaining elevation quickly. The skiing was fantastic, and me and the Irishman had a fantastic day out.  

Looking at the terrain map again, we hung a left at the fork and most people approach it from the looker's right fork. I don't think it made much of a difference. We couldn't see the peak until we were literally right under it after climbing over the sub ridge. The twin couloirs face due north so they don't really corn up until everything else is complete mush.  We found a mixed bag of snow with debris, runnels, new graupel snow, ice, and corn snow. The corn was my favorite, but the other stuff made it interesting.

Some pics:

After 3 miles of the too-small bike dubbed the torture machine, we at last made it to the trailhead.

Supportable crust skinning was excellent.

Thumbs up for the view! Looking south from the summit of Deseret Peak.

Summit looking north.

Skiing back to the twin couloirs. The cornices on the top left from wind blowing up them.

O'Keefe looking small.

One of the twins.

Twin #2 on skiers right.

The skiing was great!

Selfie on the walk out.

Because the bathrooms were too far away.

Bikes saved up probably about an hour of walking. O'Keefe passing under the Boone Speed route "The Big  Smile."

C'est fini! Thanks for the tour O'Keefe!

Add-ons from the O'Keefe collection:  He's a better photographer than me.
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I think this one might be my favorite of the bunch. Nice one AOK!

Drawing near to the summit.

Spring skiing is pretty fantastic.

Price of admission.