June 2, 2012

Memorial Day in the Pipeline

Jason  sent the text Sunday night asking if I could ski in the morning. The storms had been brewing in the high mountains over the weekend and I could see a faint dusting of snow on Twin's west face. We couldn't tell how much depth was really there but I knew I had to get another day in the alpine on skis as the ever impending doom of summer was quickly befalling us.  Meeting Jason at 5:40 AM is always a treat, he is all smiles and ready to roll towards another objective in the mountains. His boundless energy is so inspiring. We have had some outstanding ski adventures together and this promised to be another one. 6:00 AM we threw our packs on which had minimal water, some food, a down jacket and light crampons and a shovel and speedily found snow about 200 feet from our vehicle. With skis on we made haste and moved efficiently up the ski run of Snowbird resort with our objective looming high above us. The Pipeline Couloir, known for its aesthetic beauty which makes a snake like mark down the northeast face of American Fork Twins West Peak was our aim and with the resort closed for the season and with no one but us, a light breeze, cold temperatures and some moose tracks, we knew the Pipeline was ours.  Before we knew it we had reached the bottom of the Little Cloud lift and speedily skinned through the brand new lightweight white stuff into the apron of the couloir. Conditions seemed reasonable as we regularly tested the slopes.

Setting Booter- Photo by JDorais
 With the sun now shining pouring rays out of a clear blue sky onto the glorious alpine setting our spirits were lifted to the point of setting a booter at a quick pace and then along the ridge avoiding the steep open slope of the entry point of the couloir.  There must have been 18" of new snow which was rapidly going through metamorphosis.
Nearing top of Couloir on Ridge - Photo by JDorais
  We then threw on the skis for the final push to the summit of the West Peak and then had some simple scrambling over loose snow, rock and ice to the top.
Entering Couloir- Photo by JDorais
It was an incredible morning and in just a few moments we were skiing off the summit then down climbing the rocky section and putting the skis on for the last time and entered the couloir after a fruitless ski cut. 
Midway down the Couloir- Photo by CAmbrose

Midway - Photo by JDorais
The Apron- Photo by CAmbrose
 The powder was light and the line skied better than it had all year I suspect. All the way down to the car we laughed about how incredible the morning was. In less than 2 hours and 45 minutes round trip we were on our way home to celebrate Memorial Day.