1-28-2011 Sky Pilot Peak

January 28, 2011 at 22:28 | Posted in Backcountry skiing the Bitterroots | Leave a comment

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Colin and I headed for Sky Pilot at dawn from Gash after getting heinously stuck 4 wheeling in the Junuary, crusticy road.  After many hours of breaking trail through breakable crust and wind slab and exposed rain crust we dropped the south side to North Bear Lake. Contouring across the major south facing avy paths brought us to the climb to  the upper bench and thence onto the rollover face of the upper north face. More breakable crust, wind slab, and rain crust, slipping and hanging onto poles, with nothing but awesome blue skies to inspect it all. We summitted and dropped off the south side to take a better look at the east face. WOW! What a burly run, not for the anything but possessed and advanced skier…We lit some incense at the top of the mountain in a hollowed out snow ghost and thought  about all that backcountry skiing has given us and taken away…After what seemed like a descent of purely shitty snow, we wrapped to the south face and suffered some warmed up crusts, jumped a glide crack, and skied to the lake. Awesome. Long torturous slog back to Gash through thick timber, rotten snow, wind started blowing again, and a rare glimpse of two Pine Grosbeaks. Gash to the truck was a long moderate run, with a tail wind. We found some rare ankle powder in the trees where it had all blown and after 45 minutes of skiing more crusts, we  arrived in spring mash at the truck. What a great day, dawn to dusk, 9000 vertical feet of the crappiest snow of the year, yeaa!

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