January 25, 2015

Whipple Couloir and Waldo Couloir- Combat Skiing

Why didn't we ski north-facing terrain? Well, when one friend says he has always wanted to ski these elusive lines-you simply go make it happen, when conditions are safe. On Saturday, with a 6:10 AM start, Jared, Aaron and I climbed to the top of Neff's under clear skies, very minor breezes and amazing views of the Cottonwood range. Passing through soft north-facing powder, we kept saying to ourselves, "why are we going to ski death crust?" At the top of Neff's, we quickly found the enigmatic Whipple Couloir, guarded by steep east facing ramps and dry western walls. It looked remote and super aesthetic.

With cold conditions, Whipple was rock hard, and few frozen roller balls were thrown in between. It made for fun, icy skiing all the way down to the bushes. We quickly learned why very few have skied this line. There really is no good way out. We decided to link another line instead of exiting at the bottom or heading back up Whipple and down Neffs Canyon. 

Finding our way like lost goats we moved northeast, back up to the top of the ridge, allowing us a look at the west side of Raymond, limestone walls and the whole works. We skinned over to what we thought would be the Banana Couloir and it turned out to be Waldo instead.  We were thrilled to find the top soft and powdery, but then hopes were dashed as the snow turned to death crust and unsupportable.  Our exit was Mill D North, arriving to our dropped car at the S curve.

While combat skiing for sure, it was amazing to ski these two magical lines.  Even better was the company.

Brothers, Jared eyeing Whipple. Aaron, not sure what he is looking at
Looking down Whipple
The difference in Jared and my camera, amazing.- Courtesy SLC Samurai
Aaron near the top of Whipple
Me, midway- Courtesy SLC Samurai
Jared loving it

More Jared
I love this photo of Aaron atop Waldo Couloir w/ mtn. goat tracks ahead- Courtesy SLC Samurai

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