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| | |-+  december 30, 2012, black hole sunday
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Author Topic: december 30, 2012, black hole sunday  (Read 8838 times)
bs.
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december 30, 2012, black hole sunday
« on: 12/31/12, 02:21 PM »

back in october, scott asked me what lines were on my list for this winter.  i hadn't worked out much of a hit list yet, so i responded with the couloir that has fascinated me since i first tacked the scurlock photo on my wall--the black hole.  i had regarded it primarily as a late season objective, so last week when scott and i were discussing the best way to capitalize on the full moon, i was stoked when he brought up the idea of a moonlight trip up the napeequa valley.

the trip started with a bit of an adventure--a split coolant hose as my "new" syncro lugged 5 people and gear over steven's pass.


but the van, named skadi for the norse godess of winter and mountains, must have wanted us to succeed, for the leak was repairable with little more than my new leatherman and a few trips over the snowbank to harvest ditch water to refill the radiator.  we soon found ourselves having a midnight whiskey toast at the trailhead.


we skinned by the light of the almost-full moon, setting a leisurely pace up the napeequa river valley, enjoying the surreal monochromatic vista.


the moon set and the sun rose just as we reached the base of the line.  after a break for coffee and breakfast, we started up the less steep lower section in surprisingly good snow.


weary smiles turned to excited grins as the steep, narrow upper section came into view.


the snow got deeper as we climbed, but repeated hand pits indicated it was stable and well bonded.




did i mention it was an absolutely beautiful day??


as the pitch increased, so did the snow depth, making for some pretty slow progress near the top.


but finally we wallowed through the last choke and into the summit saddle.


after 12.5 hours of effort, we had to stop for a few minutes to enjoy the views.


then it was time to figure out the slightly tricky entrance.


most of us chose the way we had come up.




but not all...


there wasn't a safe stopping point anywhere in the narrow upper reaches of the couloir, so i waited until it widened a bit to get my camera out. (and it finally occurred to me to create a custom "black hole white balance" setting to get some halfway normal looking colors).


the conditions ranged from good to great.






it was my first big day in my "rando splitboard" setup.


there may be some video evidence of our exploits.


we found ourselves at the base of the line at 3pm, too tired to go after any of the gullies or pillows that surrounded us, so we transitioned over and started the exit.  we made quick time with the last of the daylight, and with only one stop for coffee, did the skin out in a mere 4 hours, bringing the total tour time to a non-record setting 18.5 hours.


much thanks to scott for leading the way on the midnight approach and helping me realize one of my season goals before 2012 has even ended.  to the rest of my partners for this trip--it was cool meeting you guys, and everyone gets credit for dealing exceptionally well with the stress of broken ski poles, missing headlamps and crampons, skin descents on splitboards, and of course the vagaries of my temperamental project vehicle.
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Zap
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Re: december 30, 2012, black hole sunday
« Reply #1 on: 12/31/12, 03:10 PM »

A "Black Hole on Sunday". A great trip !
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Pete A
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WWW
Re: december 30, 2012, black hole sunday
« Reply #2 on: 12/31/12, 03:23 PM »

wow! nicely done!
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Pete_H
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Re: december 30, 2012, black hole sunday
« Reply #3 on: 12/31/12, 04:26 PM »

Funny. We toyed with the idea of going after the Black Hole yesterday too but settled on another objective. Looks like great conditions.
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jacoblmandell
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Re: december 30, 2012, black hole sunday
« Reply #4 on: 12/31/12, 04:37 PM »

looks like you got it with primo conditions!
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powhound
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Re: december 30, 2012, black hole sunday
« Reply #5 on: 12/31/12, 05:48 PM »

Looks epic, and brutal! I still wish I could have gone...
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Saign
flowing alpy
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Re: december 30, 2012, black hole sunday
« Reply #6 on: 01/01/13, 02:31 PM »

great tr folks
spectacular indeed!
bF
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Rowan Stewart
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Re: december 30, 2012, black hole sunday
« Reply #7 on: 01/01/13, 10:06 PM »

Wow, such an impressive tour- this is now on my someday list. Awesome photos ben!
Corey, (I don't know if you remember doing laps with me at baker the day after thanksgiving?) its cool to see you here, I am so envious.
_Rowan
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Walking makes the world much bigger, and thus more interesting.
-Edward Abbey
Eckels
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Re: december 30, 2012, black hole sunday
« Reply #8 on: 01/01/13, 11:09 PM »

Awesome pics Ben! It was great meeting you and Scott and getting a line thats been on my list for a while too. Footage from the day is coming together nicely.
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String
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Re: december 30, 2012, black hole sunday
« Reply #9 on: 01/02/13, 10:15 AM »

Rad day! Check that off the bucket list. Thanks for the guiding Scott and it was nice riding with all of you. I'll post my pics when I get of of work.
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alecapone
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Re: december 30, 2012, black hole sunday
« Reply #10 on: 01/02/13, 03:41 PM »

 The smile on young Andrews face in pic five, and the gratitude from everyone has me more stoked then the line itself. Glad we got it as good as it gets.


Thank you guys.




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scott
Lisa
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Re: december 30, 2012, black hole sunday
« Reply #11 on: 01/03/13, 06:39 PM »

Nice one Ben and Scott!! That's been on my list as well, I however will be doing it as an overnight trip Wink



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Eckels
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Re: december 30, 2012, black hole sunday
« Reply #12 on: 01/03/13, 11:25 PM »

That's great to hear Scott! Thanks for extending the invitation and leading the way!

Linked below is my video and write up from the trip

http://thesnowtroopers.com/2013/bandit-peak-wa-blackhole-couloir/
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bs.
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Re: december 30, 2012, black hole sunday
« Reply #13 on: 01/05/13, 04:19 PM »

i'm not normally the biggest fan of videos, but this season i've seen some great ones.

nice job andrew!

(oh and my deadhead gf really appreciated the song choice)
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JoshK
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Re: december 30, 2012, black hole sunday
« Reply #14 on: 01/09/13, 04:11 PM »

Awesome, just awesome! What an incredible looking line and my resolve to return has been restoked after a broken binding on my friend's ski turned last season's attempt in to a long approach scouting mission.
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Oyvind_Henningsen
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Re: december 30, 2012, black hole sunday
« Reply #15 on: 01/14/13, 09:19 AM »

well done
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Lytt til erfarne fjellfolk!
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