Sunday, May 8, 2011

Corn!! Finally

Richie Morgan and myself ventured up to Rocky Mountain National Park this morning to ski the Notchtop Couloir, which has been on my list of must-do ski descents. Just last week another friend of ours Aaron Miller went back to ski the Notchtop and ended up wading through 8+ inches of fresh snow only to turn around close to the top due to deteriorating conditions and  exhaustion..Awesome effort considering Aaron was going solo..
      The Notchtop couloir is a pretty sweet line, averaging around 35-45degrees, it makes for a pretty fun ski descent if you can hit in the prime conditions...On a day like today that prime time was between 9-10am...Rich and I got to the base of the couloir after a 3 hour approach at around 10:20am..A little late and kinda my fault! I totally spaced a  switchback lower down on the approach trail and due to the fact that most of the trail signs are still buried from all the late season snow that has been falling we lost about 30-40 min due to back tracking..."I have no idea whats going on" ( inside Joke ). Although our original plan was shot due to the fact that the snow in the couloir was getting way too soft for my liking, I still had a backup plan to keep hiking up to the Ptarmigan bowls and possibly ski one of the bowls that faces north and doesn't have a school bus sized cornice hanging from it..
      Turned out to be a good plan..The snow had stayed pretty firm back in the north facing bowls that I was able to front point with just my boots and no crampons up to the top of the bowl..Probably 5-600feet of climbing, and it was good! Turned out to be an awesome day and now I must go back to ski the ever reclusive Notchtop couloir...Logistics:  Departed Boulder 5:45am,  at the trailhead ready to rock 7am, Skiing the Ptarmigan bowls 11am, Back to the car 1pm... Enjoy the pics..

Here are some of the skiable lines in the Ptarmigan cirque and around Notchtop Mt. Red arrow - North Face of Notchtop, pretty gnarly line...Green Line- Notchtop Couloir.. Purple Line- Ptarmigan bowl..

                                                First sight of Notchtop and Ptarmigan cirque...

                                              Close up view of the North face of Notchtop..

                                                                        Staying hydrated..

                          Some school bus sized cornices guarding the North facing Ptarmigan bowls..

         The only Ptarmigan bowl that wasn't threatened by a cornice..So it was the one I climbed and skied..Definitely steeper than I expected..Probably around 40-45 degrees in the entrance...

              Richie cracking a cold one before our walk back to the car..Pretty good start to the spring season!


No comments:

Post a Comment