I think I’m going to try for ‘turns all year’ this year (my first time) and on July 4th, my friend Chris and I hiked up to Buck Mountain to ski its East Face, scoring a 3000′ descent of decent summer snow.
I’m not totally sure why, but I’m still accustomed to the early bird starts and we got going at about 4 am…even though the firm, summer snow pack would have probably allowed for us to sleep in a bit longer. No matter though, and to tell you the truth, I would kind of rather be back at the trailhead at around 10am and be able to get on the river, or do chores around the house, instead of the humping the skis back down to the van in the afternoon heat.
The creeks are running damn high right now and my feet got wet in the tennies while negotiating a couple crossings. We were forced to stay on the south side of the creek in Stewart Draw a bit longer than normal because of the swollen creeks, but managed to find a snow bridge higher up and made our way across. Eventually, we found continuous snow and were able to get our AT boots on at around 8800′. No skins necessary and we booted the entire way to the summit, managing to top out in under four hours.
Off the top, the snow was pretty smooth for the first few hundred feet and it was still exciting skiing, even though I’ve skied this peak multiple times before. After that, it was pretty sun cupped…but still firm. The skies were threatening, so we kept moving, milking the north facing gullies on the south side of Stewart Draw on the way down. What a difference the daylight made on the lower slopes before reconnecting with the Death Canyon trail, as the arrowhead balsam root glowed in the mid-morning light. It felt great to be back on the skis after a week off. I’m not sure what’s in store off next weekend, but I have a ‘novelty skiing’ adventure in mind.