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NWAC Avalanche
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| | |-+  June 22, 2008, East Coolies, RMNP Colorado
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Author Topic: June 22, 2008, East Coolies, RMNP Colorado  (Read 2298 times)

Posts: 509

June 22, 2008, East Coolies, RMNP Colorado
« on: 06/25/08, 08:16 PM »

Day 52
East Coolies, RMNP, Colorado

After the second snowball tumbled past, whizzing by in slow-fast motion, following the shallow runnel along the still-steep  avalanche fan, I became acutely aware of the cornice overhanging the slope above.  And then, once again, about the lack of helmet situation I found myself in.

I stood on a narrow shelf of snow below a curtain of wet ice from a waterfall – I think it was safe to call it that – cascading from the very steep exit pitch along a double fall line route to the col.  I cursed myself for leaving my brain bucket with a friend the last weekend, the fun and follies of a ½ pound of butter on toast meeting out punishment by way of giddy stupidity at critical moments.  Like departure stupid checks.

Frankly, it didn’t look safe anyway. And I felt extremely exposed.  If I climbed above the ice bulge, which would have been easy from a traverse line to the left and following a steep snow line under an overhanging cornice back right, I would be exposed to the cornice fall from above, the waterfall from below, and the siren of fantastic snow in between.  Many a Greek tragedy have been written about folly such as this.  But still, the snow was fantastic.  I was sure I would have skied it if I had dropped in from above (ironic, eh?), but here I was exposing myself to way too much objective danger.  For what?  Was this not my local ski run?

I thought about the end of the season at Hillman’s Highway and how the sounds of the creek was the first clue to watch for, a sure sign the water was near to reclaiming the gully for another summer season.  That was a dangerous time, that undermined period, like a snow-bridged crevasse, only a matter of time, not if.  I looked closer at the seeping rocks and the water  emerging from under the sun baked snow above, and concluded I didn’t like what I saw.    

I’d stood on top only an hour before, so I knew what I was looking at, and it didn’t give me warm fuzzes all inside right then and there as I did the mental math.  Oh, no, quite contraire.   I sunk my boot into the wet, ever softening corn snow, wondering if there was a moat beneath this waterfall.  Mmm, that’s a lovely thought – compounding the ten tons of snow hanging above me, there was now the possibility I was standing on the edge of a 20 foot moat.

I thought happy thoughts.  Lots and lots of happy thoughts.  I turned my back on the upper slope and slouched behind my pack.  Protection, such as it was.  

I decided the slope was a week past its prime, would wait for another year.  It was time to  scram.  And fast.

I cut a shelf with my axe, dropped the pack and went to work.

Wonderful, wonderful corn down to the talus fields.  From there, sunshine, solitude and the boot pack back to the summit.

* rmnp1.jpg (76.48 KB, 600x451 - viewed 431 times.)

* rmnp2.jpg (44.87 KB, 600x451 - viewed 420 times.)

* rmnp3.jpg (43.89 KB, 600x451 - viewed 421 times.)
« Last Edit: 06/25/08, 08:23 PM by MW88888888 » Logged

Posts: 292

Re: June 22, 2008, East Coolies, RMNP Colorado
« Reply #1 on: 06/26/08, 04:03 PM »

Been there done THAT!  Nice writing by the way...always fun to read.

Posts: 316

Re: June 22, 2008, East Coolies, RMNP Colorado
« Reply #2 on: 06/27/08, 12:11 PM »

thanks for the awesome tr. I skiied one of those same coulie in october a few years back under a full moon. it was redicouls skiing, as it was so thin and rocky.
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