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| |-+  April 2007 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  4-8-07, Guye Peak (5,150), East Face Couloir
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Author Topic: 4-8-07, Guye Peak (5,150), East Face Couloir  (Read 2352 times)

Posts: 519

4-8-07, Guye Peak (5,150), East Face Couloir
« on: 04/08/07, 08:39 PM »

Day 41
Guye Peak (5,150), East Face Couloir

[It was a long struggle.  So much to do, no time for play.  Says who? 

Negotiations were difficult.

It looked as if the G4 talks at Malta would bare no fruit, when the delegate from Finland through in the final chip.  Somehow, an afternoon of skiing was now on the table.  But at what cost - at what cost?!?  No matter now off to the Pass!]

I arrived at the summit at 1 pm, a balmy 54 degrees on the approach drive.  Unreal.  Luckily, it had been warm all week so the snow was firm underneath, with no wallow factor.  I hoped.  I gambled and left the snowshoes in the car.  Brought the axe and crampons though.

Arrived at the base of the couloir before 2, reaching the base of the crux section at ten after.  I dropped the pack in a cave created under an overhang and switched into my couloir climbing gear.   Above me, it was difficult to see how the upper couloir looked, but the crux section looked dicey.  There was a small ski-wide snow tongue to the climbers left of the rock bulge above that dropped from a double fall line snowfield overhanging the bulge, and it appeared that was the route of descent.  The ascent took the right side of the rock bulge, with the scariest part of the climb stepping over a particularly deep (15 feet?) glide crack below the rock bulge, that required full-on axe and kick steps to pass the steep hanging snow above.  I followed the snow back left to the snowfield above the rock bulge and saw a glorious sight: the narrow couloir above was smooth and steep.

I worked up to the narrow bottleneck above the crux, and found the couloir took a sharp turn right, meaning all snow from above (and/or human occupants) would come crashing into the rock walls, or cascade over the adjacent cliff at the bottleneck.  Noted.  Luckily, above the bottleneck the slope kicked back to 40 degrees or so and was a walk in the proverbial park. 

Axe plant, step, step, axe plant, step, step, axe plant, step, step.

The snow was very wet, 5 of corn with a firm base.  Perfect for kicking steps, but looked like the afternoon heat would make the sloughing a real concern on the way down.  It looked like a party of two had skied the couloir the day before or even that morning, and I was able to follow their boot pack somewhat in the boulevard of the upper couloir.  The section just below the steep tongue reaching for the summit ridge was worth ever penny of effort just stunning rock walls shooting overhead, wide enough for a couple skiers on descent, and a top out between rock spires.  Magnificent.

I reached the summit at 2:50, just shy of two hours from the parking lot. 

I decided to forgo the dicey 4th class to the true summit, instead clipping in at the False peak, to allow a true uninterrupted run.  A couple of turns off the north facing summit snowfield and I made the right-hand turn and down the steep East Couloir. 

The descent was a study in patience.  With each set of turns I made in the virginal corn, a wave of slough would slosh its way down the center of the couloir, creating a pleasant rapids sound and river of snow that I knew held hidden monsters.  I would ski a couple turns, find a safe zone, and watch the wave of slough go crashing down the couloir and ricocheting off the rock walls below.  Intense.  When the river of sound slowed, Id rock back into the fall line and repeat.  Delight!

At the crux, I found the toe side entry was mandatory, allowing sloughing snow to cascade over the rock bulge below, and for me to set up for the snow finger exit.  It was pretty tricky skiing, no falls allowed, but refreshingly technical in the hero corn conditions. 

Once I jumped the last glide crack at the base of the crux, I hooted in delight and cranked turns out to the basin.

Back at the car at 3:30.  Home by 4.  A summit, a couloir and 2 grand of skiing, all in a three hour tour!       

* Guye_Peak_East_Face_couloir1111.JPG (99.93 KB, 784x588 - viewed 912 times.)

Posts: 539

Re: 4-8-07, Guye Peak (5,150), East Face Couloir
« Reply #1 on: 04/09/07, 08:19 AM »

Sorry I couldn't meet up with you this weekend. That is an exciting little run. Thanks for the picture. Is that from two Sundays ago on Kendall when we were looking at it? And yes, mind the sloughing in that crux. It acts exactly as you described.

Posts: 316

Re: 4-8-07, Guye Peak (5,150), East Face Couloir
« Reply #2 on: 04/10/07, 09:12 AM »

nice shot! im envious of the bomber snopac you guys got now, we still got persistant weak layers and shit loads of depth hoar on north aspects,,
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