Note: OK, just click on thumbnails for larger images…thanks.
I couldn’t find anyone to ski with yesterday, so I went on a solo adventure back up into Garnett Canyon. I checked the temps when I woke up, the Airport read 10F…the top of the Village said 20F…a nice inversion! The sun was rising just as I got to the Bradley/Taggart parking lot and it was a great motivator for the morning skin. I noticed the serious hoar frost that was developing and hope that the next snow comes in warm and wet! A track went down to Bradley Lake, so I followed it. The lake was frozen, but the track stayed close to the shore. I stayed even closer when I heard the ice moaning and cracking as I got to the other side…my heart was thumping.
It was nice to ski across the lake, but I paid the price by choosing to go directly up the canyon. With the thin snow, there was lots of deadfall, creek crossings, and open gaps between boulders that made the trip more technical until I got to the meadows. In hind-site, I would follow the summer trail until we get more snow. It started to get hot, especially once above the meadows in the North Fork of Garnet, I had been in a t-shirt from the lake. I had chosen to ski a line I had never skied before …what I call the South Sentinel Couloir. It’s just the gully on the south side of the Red Sentinel…so called because the Sentinel Couloir is on the north side (TR to come). I skinned above the Caves and then booted up the couloir. It got a bit thin about 2/3’s of the way up and I hoped I wouldn’t have to take my skis off on the way down.
The view of Glacier Gulch opened up when I reached the col on the west side of the Red Sentinel. There is another one on the east side, and that is how you access the Sentinel Couloir. I checked out the lines on the South side of Teewinot and I think I even saw a new one. The snow in the couloir was variable but nice. A combination of wind buff, corn and dust on crust…quite nice really. With a bit of side slide slipping and a kick turn, I was able to ‘ski’ through the rocky section. The turns below were great…until I got in the shadow of Nez Perce. The snow had set up already and it was only about 1PM.
I followed the summer trail back to the valley…not ready to commit to the canyon until there is more coverage…which I hope is soon! All-in-all a fun day that got me above 11,000ft, which is nice.