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| | |-+  May 21, 2011 - Tour d'Esmerelda Basin
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Author Topic: May 21, 2011 - Tour d'Esmerelda Basin  (Read 1996 times)
BeckyB
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May 21, 2011 - Tour d'Esmerelda Basin
« on: 05/21/11, 05:59 PM »

Even though the forecast said otherwise, Pete and I decided to pretend that the high pressure from the previous three days was going to last one more day and drove out the Teanaway River road Friday night with our sights set on Stuart.  We parked about 1.5 miles from the trailhead.  With high-clearance you could go a couple hundred yards further, but it was dark and late and we didn’t want to push the risk of getting stuck in the snow. 

We left the car a bit before 5am this morning under high clouds with dark gray skies to the west.  We followed the tracks up to Longs Pass, arriving around 7am.  On our way up, the dark gray skies from the west moved in and we experienced a couple of little rain squalls.  Standing at Longs Pass, in the rain, looking across at Stuart whose summit was engulfed by a cottony chapeau of clouds our enthusiasm for this objective waned.  We were joined at the pass by three other Stuart-bound skiers, far heartier than we, who quickly deskinned and started their descent to Ingalls Creek.  I hope they’re TAY posters because I’d love to hear how it went for them!

After considerable hemming and hawing, Pete and I decided a Tour d’Esmerelda Basin was the new objective (neither of us had ever skied in the area) so we clicked off a few turns on mostly well-consolidated, but occasionally mushy snow back down from Longs Pass and then started a traverse towards Fortune Peak.  We arrived at the summit around 10:45 in deteriorating weather. We even had some frozen precip!!  We spied a couple of fairly large slab releases on steep E and S aspects on nearby peaks that we speculate were triggered by cornice fall and sun-warmed rocks. The clouds to the west were darker, lower and marching our way so we decided it was time for the car.

The snow that we skied on the SE aspect was a bit overcooked and we easily set off several slow-hissers, but even on our “skinny” spring skis, the turns were very fun!  Back to the trailhead at noon (fyi, the bathroom is unlocked and stocked with paper) to begin the skate/shuffle back down the road. 

What we could see of the Cascadian still looked fat.  Ulrich’s was looking a bit bonier. Not sure we’ll have any pictures worth posting.
« Last Edit: 05/21/11, 06:08 PM by BeckyB » Logged
mikerolfs
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Re: May 21, 2011 - Tour d'Esmerelda Basin
« Reply #1 on: 05/23/11, 05:44 PM »

Hi Becky,
I was part of the group that met you on Long's Pass.  I later learned that we did indeed wake the guys in the megamid.  They skied Cascadian and we met back at Longs Pass later in the day.  Our ski was uneventful and fun.  We got to the summit at 2pm and back to the pass around 5pm.  I wouldn't call it boney, but there was a spot that got pretty narrow around 7000'.  The ski line comes straight off the summit which is very satisfying.
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