Another day broke clear and sunny at the Fairy Meadows hut and a couple of us set our sites on doing a tour to Mount Damon, on to Pioneer Pass and then to the triangular face that I had seen the day before form low on Granite Glacier. By now, the skin track up to Friendship Col was getting pretty slick from all the traffic, but we were able to dig in our edges and make it without having to set a new track.
Reaching the col, the weather continued to be splitter, so we skinned and booted a short section to the top of Damon. It was a short descent, but the summit gave us great views of the north side of Sentinel which looked pretty impressive from our location on top of the peak. There seemed to be a bit of a slob sitting on the best line from the top, so we stayed a bit to the skiers left in order to avoid it and made our way back to the Gothic Glacier without incident.
Moving onward, Brian Ladd and I skinned towards Pioneer Pass and ran into a couple others in our party who were on their way to ski Colossal. The morning light was still in effect and upon reaching the pass, the shadows and sun’s soft rays made Granite Glacier look extra rad. After a long break, we followed tracks from skiers on the previous day and skied the steep pitch off the pass and onto the glacier. We got good views of the 505 Couloir on Pioneer Peak from our position now and I’ll have to return to ski it someday.
Gliding across the low angle snow on the glacier, we skied down to the base of the triangle face, which started from a point on the western ridge of Sentinelle…the little brother to Sentinel Peak. After scoping out the lower slopes, we decided on booting up a steep chute/couloir top access the upper face. The snow was pretty sugary underneath, and at times we wallowed up to our waists as the snowpack fell apart in front of us. Finally, the pitch eased back and the snow firmed up as we got higher up and we followed the skier’s left side of the face on our way to the top.
It was fun to be booting after all the skinning we had been doing on this trip and the top of the face came quickly, with more sick views of the surrounding area. The central location of this slope is what really drew my eye and I though it would be cool to look up and see ski tracks on it from below, which is why I wanted to ski it. A few techy turns poking trough some rocks at the top lead us to the face and we continued down on great powder snow.
Now, it was time for us to ski the steep exit chute. Since we had plowed a pretty good size trough in the sugary snow on the way up, we hoped that it the slope would hold together for us on the way down. We also hoped that we wouldn’t tag too many rocks on the way down as well. Negotiating it went smoother than anticipated and a small crux at the bottom mandated a small air to straight-line in order to reach the glacier. Fun times! Last but not least, tour to Sir William and Enterprise…stay tuned!