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| | |-+  June 7, 2006, Unicorn Pk, MRNP
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Author Topic: June 7, 2006, Unicorn Pk, MRNP  (Read 1644 times)
PeterC
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June 7, 2006, Unicorn Pk, MRNP
« on: 06/08/06, 03:34 PM »

I wasn't going to post about this trip because Unicorn has seen a lot of press around here lately, but I wanted to share this picture of a couloir which drops through the cliffs just above the snow lake basin and below Foss Pk (unlabeled on USGS, but the largest prominence on the ridge between the Castle and Unicorn). 

 

It looks like this line will probably be in shape this weekend, but not long after (and I'll be out of town this weekend).  I'm hoping to live vicariously though someone else's turns...  Does anyone have prior info on this line?  Is it named? 

As mentioned in the Muir report for the 7th, it was foggy on Wed morning below ~6000ft.  This made it difficult for JasonGerend and I to find the right couloir out of the Snow Lake basin, a problem excacerbated by the fact that neither of us had paid particular attention to any route descriptions.  Luckily we guessed right.  For future reference, the easiest gully is on the climber's right side of the basin, around (or on top of) the largest stream (which is marked on maps).  The skiing down this gully was excellent, by the way, as you can gather from the smile on Jason's face in the picture below.

 

Once out of this steep gully (which was starting to show some rocks at the top, will probably be continuous for ~1 more week?), we GPS'd our way through a land of white for a short distance before hitting cloud top and starting to get some views.  Unicorn is an amazing peak viewed from the north.

 

We skied up to the col (which is as cool as the pictures earlier this week suggest), stashed our skis, and ate some lunch.  We then continued on foot over a short rock step and up towards the Unicorn summit (which is the northmost of 3 summit lumps).  While Beckey lists the route on Unicorn as class 3, we had brought a light rope/rack having heard rumor (http://www.mattandmaren.com/unicorn_0005.html) that it wasn't.  The rumors were true, at least the way we went.  Jason's (first ever!) gear lead was 20ft of ~5.5 on solid rock.  We found a piton en route which the mattandmaren site suggests was on a more difficult route.  Perhaps we should have moved around to the east instead of just climbing the closest face we saw (sorry Jason!).  In case you were wondering, rock climbing in plastic telemark boots sucks.  Another reason to randonee... 

After returning to our gear, we took a lap on the south side of Unicorn col.  The terrain there is awesome - a continuous, fairly wide couloir or moderate, rolling steepness.  The snow was a bit baked and sticky on the flats, but always skiable.  I wish we had time and energy to continue all the way to the valley floor. 

The run back to the car was great as well.  The fog kept the snow from getting too slushy.  Creek crossings in the Bench area are getting a bit more difficult.  We skied right to the car, although this probably won't be possible in a week or so. 
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