Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Turkey Chute and the South Fork of Avalanche Canyon

Christian and his friend Aaron who's on the Targhee patrol came over from Driggs to do a little skiing in the Park this past Tuesday. We had originally planned on skiing up the south fork of Avalanche Canyon into No Woods Basin and out Death Canyon, but the weather was a bit too cloudy. So, we decided to ski the Turkey Chute off 25 Short and head up the south fork to have a look around.

We made good time up 25 Short with a skin track covered with a bit of new snow, and traversed the ridge to the top of the chute. The entrance to Turkey Chute is always a little rocky, and today with the new snow it was a bit more challenging. I first started to downclimb with my skis on my back, but felt really sketchy in the loose dirt and snow. Christian started to put his skis back on and go for the sidestep down, which didn't look too bad. I followed in Christian's path, while Aaron chose to downclimb a bit different path than what I tried, and he seemed to not have any problems.

Once we were in the snow looked pretty good. The high pressure from earlier in the week left us with a melt freeze crust under the 3-4 inches of light density new snow. I did a ski cut at the top and only got minor sluffing, so I continued down to a safe zone at the dogleg. Nice dust on crust skiing.

Aaron making the best of 4 inches!

Christian enjoying the Turkey Chute

From the bottom of the Turkey Chute we headed up the south fork of Avalanche Canyon. Avalanche Canyon is one of my favorite places in the park, especially the north fork in summer. The south fork is pretty mellow for skiing, however, there are many great looking lines that drop into the south fork from Buck, Wister and Point 10,960. The Northeast couloir on Buck looks like a great way to finish skiing from the summit if you've already skied the regular route. Also the Southeast couloir on Wister looks like a fun corn ski.

Skinning up the south fork

The NE couloir on Buck

We made our way up the relatively flat south fork, almost to the divide between Veiled Peak and Mount Wister. The cloudy weather made us feel not so motivated, so we made our way back. The skiing was pretty variable, but nonetheless enjoyable. It was about 3 PM by then and we saw some folks heading up canyon on our way back. They had not skied anything yet, and wanted to see how far they could get before dark. Not really sure what they were thinking, but who's to say what's crazy.

West Face of 25 Short and Snowdevil Ridge

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