Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Nokhu Crags Powder Day

We went to Cameron Pass this past weekend to get some couloir skiing before the big day. We're busy for the next few weekends and so figured this would be the last chance to ski Nokhu Crags. I've got my eyes on these two parallel couloirs on the west slope of the crags and so I hoped to ski at least the lookers right one on Sunday. On Saturday we figured to ski the classics, Nokhuloir and Grand Central Couloir.
I also had my eyes on possibly skiing Rock for Brains but figured that would not likely have enough snow.
We stayed in the truck Friday night and got up early Saturday. It was quick getting to the campground and we found a great spot on a dry patch. We set up the tent and went off to the east face of the crags. It was an easy approach and there was flurries and clouds keeping the day chilly. Good for us, since we had not gotten the earliest start. We were also surprised to find a good bit of fresh snow on the approach. We were socked in and did not see the crags well until we hit the moraine. It was amazing to me how aesthetic it is in there!

Monday, April 16, 2012

RMNP Ski Tour March Day 4

The next morning I woke and felt much better. We cooked the dinner planned for the night before for breakfast and decided to do a little skills practice while waiting for the snow on the way out to warm up a little. We went over to some rock fin poking out of the glacier and Kate placed a few anchors and we practiced rappelling. This went well, looking at creative placements for nuts and pitons.
Then we went back and packed up. I should have paid more attention to Kate's pack, but let her take care of loading it. Later on in the day this was a problem again, similar to the way in. Packing went quickly and soon there was no evidence that we had stayed there.
The hike to the top of the couloir we had booted up went quickly and soon we were descending it. It was still firm and with the heavy packs a little unbalanced, but still very fun and aesthetic.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

RMNP Ski Tour March Day 3

Today we had plans to ski a number of couloirs, first Dragon's Tail, then Dragon's Tooth, then Corral then Hour Glass. We got up relatively leisurely figuring to give the day some time to warm the snow before we got into it. This worked fine, especially given it was a cloudy day to start.
We had to hike along the divide for about an hour to get to Flat Top Mountain and then down a bit to get to the top of Dragon's Tail. I'd read up about this quite a bit, but it was still a bit difficult to find from the top.
Sign for Chaos Canyon

Monday, April 9, 2012

RMNP Ski Tour March Day 2

Today we were a bit sore from yesterday but in good spirits. I figured it would take 3 hours to get from camp at Foot Bridge to near Andrew's Pass, counting elevation gain about 3k feet. I did not take into account some very gentle switchbacks, down trees, or booting up a couloir, all which ate up considerable time, adding perhaps 1-1.5 hours. 
One not so large deadfall to negotiate over

Sunday, April 8, 2012

RMNP Ski Tour March Day 1

Kate loaded up and ready to go
We came in from Grand Lake via the North Inlet trail. Thankfully the backcountry permit application is free in the off season, so it didn't cost us anything to camp for the weekend. However, we did have to pick the permit up from the backcountry office where they made sure to doom and gloom us about the conditions. Not that they were wrong, we did find lots of down trees and a fair bit of rotten snow down low, but they always seem to blow it out of proportion.