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| | |-+  Feb 9, Bandit Peak, THE Black Hole Couloir
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Author Topic: Feb 9, Bandit Peak, THE Black Hole Couloir  (Read 2205 times)
markhoroszowski
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Feb 9, Bandit Peak, THE Black Hole Couloir
« on: 02/11/13, 06:37 PM »

For anybody that has seen the infamous picture on John Scurlock's photo gallery of Bandit Peak, you understand how the imagination can go wild with ecstasy imaging the descent down the Black Hole Couloir.



And what it looks like when you are up in it...


And if you've read the trip reports from the following guys you realize that maybe that your imagination can become a reality if you're open to a 7 mile approach:

What the skiers before us said is true... it's a BIG day and it's an EPIC day. Pictures and story below, but here is what you need to know in a nut shell:
  • Budget 18 hours - there is no set clear trail through the Napeequa valley, which is kind of like the bastard step father of Gold Creek
  • There is some major avalanche terrain that you have no choice but to cross
  • After a 7-ish mile approach, you still have to climb 4000+ feet straight up a couloir... and then make it back
  • After leaving at 3:45am we took ~7.5 hours to approach (included getting stranded by the river), ~3.5 hours to climb the couloir, ~1.5 hours of break time, ~5.5 reverse approach
  • The wet storm and snow pack days before had naturally slid almost everything... we only set loose a small pocket in the couloir - our OCD for spacing and smart stopping places paid off
  • If you're going to park at Tall Timbers Ranch - call ahead and check if it's OK to park there... we almost got disallowed
  • Remember your ski pants
  • Bring enough food... and some iodine tablets for water refills

Useful resources and tips
  • Topo: http://www.peakbagger.com/peak.aspx?pid=24774
  • Tall Timber Ranch: http://www.ttr.talltimber.org/
  • Route finding... you're on your own for this one. The first few miles are brutal before it opens up to mellow meadows - especially because you're starting/finishing in the dark. Our reco is to get to the east side of the Napeequa river as quickly as possible...  Looks like starting on the road that leads to the cabins just before the bridge just before the Tall Timbers Ranch is the best place to start the hike
  • Pit Vipers highly recommended

Now the fun stuff Smiley

Crashing in the back of the car for a couple Z's before hitting it at 3:45 am


Jesse decided he should get new skins and trim them at 3am... forgetting his ski pants was also a good call.


The easy crossing...


When you cross a river, sometimes it crosses you. After getting stuck and cliffed out on the west side of the river, we back-tracked and had to cross it twice. This was the more sporty crossing. Jesse exhibited great pole riding on this one...


Like I said... wicked avalanche terrain


Climbing the couloir... it keeps getting steeper and steeper.






Views from the couloir... Glacier Peak looks amazing... and VERY skiable Smiley


You know what the best part about going last is down a 50-60-degree(Huh) pitch? Nothing... Other than the fact that you still get to ski it Smiley


Looking back up at some of the most fun skiing we've ever had...


Looking at some amazing views...


I had a great time playing around in the great snow up top... but you can see where little pockets were pulling from the side.


Jesse getting after it...




Dave found some nice snow... we all did. The top half skied amazing. The next quarter had some debris that was surprisingly soft and fun, and only the bottom quarter had hard pack debris, avy-scraped ice, and chunder...


The final views before sunset...


Trip summary:
Longest approach ever = longest couloir we've skied. It easily rivaled (surpassed?) our Terminal Cancer Couloir ski descent.

And in the remote chance you're still reading, here were some other amazing photos form the trip...

Not all streams are easy to cross.... but damn they're pretty...


The views were just soooooo goood


Dave getting artsy with his photos...


Cool stream... cool views...
« Last Edit: 02/11/13, 06:40 PM by markhoroszowski » Logged

-Mark H
philfort
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Re: Feb 9, Bandit Peak, THE Black Hole Couloir
« Reply #1 on: 02/11/13, 07:08 PM »

Nice!

Your times are interesting. When we did it, it only took a little more than 3 hours for the approach, but more than 6 hours to climb the couloir! I think we stayed on the east side of the Napeequa the entire time - I think the only water crossing was Twin Lakes Creek, but I could be wrong.

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markhoroszowski
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Re: Feb 9, Bandit Peak, THE Black Hole Couloir
« Reply #2 on: 02/11/13, 10:13 PM »

Nice!

Your times are interesting. When we did it, it only took a little more than 3 hours for the approach, but more than 6 hours to climb the couloir! I think we stayed on the east side of the Napeequa the entire time - I think the only water crossing was Twin Lakes Creek, but I could be wrong.



We remembered that from your report... we were mystified as to why it was taking so long. On the way up we tried to get in from the west side and then got stuck on that side of the stream... easily burned 1.5 hours getting up then coming back for a safe place. East side was the way to go. Based on the pictures it looked like we didn't have nearly as much new snow to plow through on the way up the couloir - that helped a bit Smiley Thanks for paving the way us!
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-Mark H
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