Words By: Simon Coward
Report by Simon Coward
Images: Tommy McDonald, Phil Price and Simon Coward
As I write this trip report, I can barely wipe the stupid grin from my face, yesterday with Tommy M I rode one of the top 5 lines of my life.
The line we rode yesterday began as an idea after a ‘peek’ over the edge of a col we climbed to (on a different descent) and a “hmmm, I wonder if that goes” conversation between a couple of us. We left it percolating, then a week later Phil sent me a photo from across the valley. The line we had peered into didn’t go, but the one next to it sure did, and looked like a super cool feature that appeared it would likely have very limited days of acceptable risk riding over the course of a season.
Photos: The Line and the inspiration - line goes from just below the main peak all the way to valley bottom (photo: Phil Price)
As this winter season continues to shape up we are gaining confidence each week in where we can venture to. So, with some nerves and a verbalized mindset that we would walk away if anything seemed off Tommy and I headed off to check out the line.
With the warm weather we have had we were a little worried that some of the more south facing parts of this line might be a little sun crusted, though as we climbed it seemed that much of the lower angle SE (and even S) facing alpine terrain had been largely spared (at least in this zone) from being baked by the sun. In fact the snow had stayed really dry and ski quality would have been incredible in the zone we were ascending, though that wasn’t what we had come for.
Photos: The uptrack and some cool alpine views
As we made our way through the low cloud we were fortunate enough to get that cool feeling of breaking through to blue sky and have the bulk of the 93 N mountains present themselves. In a cool place, with amazing views and light we carried on to the top of our objective.
At this point we had to figure how to get in to it, some belayed cornice cutting and some further exploring led us to an entrance at the highest point of the line. We then cautiously and in short chunks started to piece this amazing feature together.
Photos: The first (a bit sun crusted) pitch from near the summit
Photos: Looking down the line to the valley 2000 + feet below
The steeper south facing first ramp did have a little sun effect however that it was short lived, much of the line was a shady east aspect and we were treated to a steep, fall line 2000 + foot line all the way to valley bottom in almost all powder and dry surface facets. It was really quite outstanding, Tommy and I rode short pitches and took photos from safe zones, playing it as safe as possible and just soaking in the surroundings.
Gallery: Shots from our descent
It was a day that will take a while to wipe the grins off our faces from. It is a zone I am sure has been ridden before but Tommy jokingly dubbed it the Milky Way, a name that is shamelessly unofficial but will be what we refer to it as from here on in.
Photo: The line from below
Looks like a little snow in the forecast later this week and the coming weekend. Still some great riding out there, if you get out past the next bend!
Happy Snow Hunting
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