Fadgen's Adventures

Fadgen's Adventures
Green Creek Lake

Monday, February 13, 2012

Bull Trout Backcountry Ski

I'd been hearing about the great skiing off of Bull Trout Point for the last year or so.  Every time you drive over Banner Summit you can see the mountain and the possible ski lines.  Dylan and I convinced Mom that she should get up before the crack of dawn and head out with us on another adventure.

The 2.5 hour drive was uneventful other than some thick fog between Idaho City and Lowman which slowed us down.  Luckily as we headed up toward Banner Summit the skies cleared.
Bull Trout Point is somewhere back behind this hill

All smiles at the start
 We quickly packed, put on our gear and hit the flats.  I had a topo of the area and we had a general idea on where we wanted to be, but having never hiked or skied here we were a little in the dark on where to go.  So, we followed some faint ski trail into the trees.  Unfortunately, the faint ski trail petered out and we were on our own.  We fought through the thick lodge pole pines to make the ridge after an hour or so.

Heading up out of the trees
Once we got on the ridge the sun was shining and it was pretty warm.  Ralph had told Dylan that he usually skied the north facing bowls off of this ridge.  When we looked over the edge we could understand why -  the snow looked great.  The only problem was that it was really steep and it looked like it would be difficult to get back up. I was concerned about the steepness and the possibility of starting a slide (even though the avy forecast was moderate) and expressed this to Dylan and Tam.  Tam gave us a flat out, "NO!  You're not skiing those lines!"  Oh well, time to continue on up to see if we could find something else.

On the ridge and in the sunshine
Heading higher
The problem was, we couldn't find anything else off the north side.  It was all a little too steep.  So after 3 hours of climbing we stopped to have some lunch at about 8800 feet and discuss our options.  At this point we were a little tired (at least Tam and I were) so we decided to just ski down through the trees on the south side through a large bowl.

The snow was nice and creamy through the trees and a little like spring skiing where the sun had been shining on it.  There was a little whooping and hollering going on as we exited the bowl into a wide drainage.
Dylan in the south bowl
The fun thing with these backcountry ski trips is the varying snow as you drop down in elevation.  Today we had mostly frozen corn type snow without much ice.  Dylan took the lead with Tam and I following.  Dylan took us through some areas that had tight intersecting gullies.  It seems like every time Tam hit one of these gullies her skis would pop off and down she'd go.  Once she came over a rise only to drop down onto a spring!  And what a spring it was, flowing water that had grass and mud around it!  Being the good husband that I am, I didn't take a picture of this crash, but did get a good laugh out of it.

Once out of the drainage we came to a wide flat area that would be a marsh in warmer temperatures.  The snow was still firm but we had to put our skins back on and break trail for a mile or so to get back to the car.  Extremely painful.

Once back at the car Tam showed us a large blister she had on her foot that had torn open during the slog.  But, being the trooper she is, not a curse word was uttered (to us) during the hike back.

Got to love her!
Tamara during a happier time that day
All told we were out for 6 hours, walked/climbed/skied for over 6 miles and gained 1800 feet elevation.  All to ski a little over 700 feet of vertical!

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A team of adventurers consisting of John, Tamara, Taylor, Dylan, and Shadow Fadgen