So, let’s start out with the fact that the title of this blog is not an April Fool’s joke. I did, in all seriousness, spend an entire weekend at Mount Washington. Really. No fooling. I even did some touring in the back country right next to the hill. And had fun. Skiing powder.
While a little dark, this gives you a good idea of what the North
Bowl at Mount Washington looks like. Big scary cornices up on the peak,
and a traverse across the bottom of the bowl.
|This is the ridge behind the Sunrise Chair as seen from the high point on Burnt Ridge. Cliffy!
Now, before I describe the weekends adventures, I need to talk about my girlfriend. She is awesome! She donates a considerable amount of her time and energy to the Mount Washington Freestyle Club each year helping to run competitions. This past weekend was the BC Freestyle Champs, and she was in the thick of things keeping everything coordinated. I was lucky enough to be able to accompany her and help with the competition, which also gave me the opportunity to fit some skiing in. I have to say, the kids I saw on the comp were inspiring. 12 year olds pulling backflaps? Yup – saw that. Our next round of Olympic Freestyle skiers? Yup, saw them too. It was awesome!
The touring part of this adventure consisted of two runs down “Burnt Ridge” (I think that’s where we were). My buddy Joe and I first traversed in across the North Bowl and then skinned up to the top of the ridge to have a look around. Now, the North Bowl is spooky. Sitting under a cliff band off the top of the main peak of Mount Washington, it is loomed over by cornices that are at least 30 feet high. Supposedly it is blasted twice a year, but even with that I felt nervous crossing underneath them…
Off the top of the ridge, we started to traverse across following the many tracks already running there. I noticed that no one had dropped into the trees immediately to our left, and knowing that there was a bench immediately below us before a big cliff band, I figured why not give it a shot?
The pay off for this decision was instant. Steep, stable, deep powder, still cold with no tracks through old growth trees. Woot! We arrived on the bench and again began to traverse to our right. I again noticed that all of the tracks seemed to be going to the same place, the end of the ridge. There is a large open area that leads down to McKay lake, but it was all tracked up and sun affected, so again I decided we should try the trees.
I knew there were cliff bands from skiers left to right, but I felt confident we were past them. I was right! We hit a small zone right between the large opening most people ski and the cliff bands that was untracked. It was also steep, deep and stable. 50-60 degrees at the top tapering to 40 degrees at the bottom. It was awesome!
You can see Joe, smiling like a fool after our first run with the line we skied in the background. It was the bigger opening through the trees. We skied it twice!
For our second lap, we (well Joe) decided it would take just as long to skin up from the Lake as to ride the chair, traverse the North Bowl again and skin up to the top of the ridge. I will agree it was good exercise, but I am not so sure it was faster… However, we again found steep, untracked powder in the same zone. Stoked!
Here’s Joe in the line – whooping it up!
This is the bottom of the line we skied, where it was less steep!
This is from Saturday and is the view from the top of the ridge.
This is from Sunday, looking up at the ridge.
All in all, it was a very satisfying weekend. Volunteering, touring, skiing with my awesome girlfriend and I went home with a whole bunch of fertilizer from the silent auction!