No Axe, No Crampons, No Problem

Written by on March 30th, 2014 // Filed under Wasatch Podcast

Apparently skiers and riders at most Utah resorts suffered delays from high winds yesterday. We also suffered delays on our tour, but I don’t think the high winds were too much of a contributor.

WhiteBaldy03-29-14_63_smallerWe wanted to ride something that would have good snow, but wasn’t going to take us for a ride. Last night’s wind event limited our options, but we were still keen to try for a pretty big objective.

I’m not setting any speed records these days, and anything from the parking lot to 11k’ is a big day for me. We decided if we rode the northwest face of White Baldy we’d not only get to summit something rad, but we’d find some safe snow with a long top-to-bottom sustained pitch that wasn’t crusted from yesterday’s blazing temperatures.

WhiteBaldy03-29-14_78_smallerWhiteBaldy03-29-14_185_smaller WhiteBaldy03-29-14_112_smallerAs it turns out, we chose wisely. When we left the trailhead, however, we didn’t take into account the hard, consolidated snow along the ridge lines. You really don’t need crampons or an ice axe to traverse this kind of terrain, but it sure makes it easier and faster, so we slowly but surely made our way along the ridge to the summit, each step painfully slow as we kicked in a boot pack with our soft snowboarding boots.

WhiteBaldy03-29-14_258_smaller WhiteBaldy03-29-14_295_smaller WhiteBaldy03-29-14_309_smallerGreg and Eric dropped into the skiers left chute, while Andy and I slowly pushed to the summit and rode the skier’s right chute. A little bit of down climbing, a slightly spicy rock hop through the entrance, and it was 1200′ of slightly wind–affected but gloriously soft powder.

Next time: crampons. Lesson learned.

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