Dec 152017

Morning beacon check on the way out of Coyote en route to Tornak Hut

We are just returning from a hut to hut tour between Coyote Yurts and the Tornak Hut.  While the valley approaches are relatively thin snow, it is quite supportable and allows for quick and easy skinning.  Once above 8500′, the snowpack gets deeper and we were finding good to very good boot-top powder skiing on cold aspects (East-North-Northwest) and even skied a run of corn on the south bowl of Fox Peak.  Yep, corn in December!  The Thanksgiving rains, early December powder and the past 2 weeks of high pressure (with inverted temperatures) have made for some of the most unique early December ski conditions we have seen.  The snowpack and ski conditions resemble spring-just thinner.  It’s not really a bad thing, although we would welcome a 3 foot storm of cold smoke!  Skinning is easy, the pack is supportable and the stability is generally good.  We are seeing snow depths of around 1 meter above 8500′ in this zone (on cold slopes) and around 50-60cm of supportable melt/freeze (corn!?) on warmer aspects.  Both Coyote and Tornak Huts are looking great and awaiting more skiers to enjoy their cozy confines.  The new sauna at Tornak Hut is fantastic!  Laying on the top Sauna bench while gazing out the window and catching the alpinglow  lighting up the Boulder Mountains is quite a way to top off a ski day.  Come on Up!

Shadows in the burn

Spooning them nicely

It’s a powder skiing palyground out here!

Ridge running

arcing through fields of untracked pow

Laying into smooth powder

Backcountry Art

Climbing toward the mighty Tornak Peak

Climbing the “American Direct” on the mighty Tornak Peak

Izzy, stoked after a mixed ascent

The team atop the mighty Tornak Peak

Enjoying a hot lunch at Tornak Hut

Wolverine tracks atop Fox Peak

The Pioneers dominate the view south

Jess, conducting some baseline stability tests

Sampling the East powder on Fox Peak

The Grouse are numerous in this area

Ski track, and the Coyote Yurt visible on the point

ah, the burn creates some striking textures

Evening light on the tour back to Coyote Yurt

Sunrise at Coyote Yurts

Morning light at Coyote

Where to next? Let the signs point the way!

Practice, practice, practice is the only way to become truly proficient with avalanche rescue

Tracks in the Burn

Morning powder off the point of Coyote

Who says Tele is dead? Miles sure doesn’t think so!

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