We started from Stevens Gulch Trail Head around 4:50am July 3, 2011 to climb Torreyss then ski Dead Dog Couloir.
Hoople starting at 4:50 am This was my first ski decent of Dead Dog and my friend Hoople’s as well. What a great morning no wind and the temp at the trail head was about +45F. The parking lot was already starting to fill up since it’s 4th of July weekend. We were not sure what the snow was going to be like since it’s been so warm the last weeks. From other trip reports we could see there was still plenty of snow in Dead Dog. Shortly after starting out we found the snow on the lower part of the trail was pretty well frozen so we were pretty encouraged it would hold up for us.
Nothing exciting to note about the hike up except it was perfect hiking weather and it was Hoople’s first time up Torreys.
Torreys with some of Dead Dog Couloir shown We did see a party of 5 starting to climb up Dead Dog. We were a little concerned that we would be held up by them and the snow would be too soft. We ended up only waiting for them to top-out about 30 minutes, not too bad.
I'm waiting for the climbers to top-out
Around 9:30am the snow at the top felt good so Hoople dropped in and ran into trouble right away. The snow was starting to sluff quite a bit. Being on tele’s and not skiing in a while it knocked him over. It was difficult getting back-up with the sluff coming down. Also there is a massive rut in the middle of the couloir. In areas it’s about 4ft. deep and 3 ft. wide. So anyone skiing it this year watch out for it. The rut looks fairly small from the trail like a boot pack up. It’s avoidable but a pain to deal with. Looks like the melt water has been running down the path of the climbers coming up and melting it out. Also there are lots of rocks throughout the snow which also throws you around.
Hoople now glissading down the rut. He's the small spec toward the middle top. I dropped in after Hoople made it to a safe(r) zone. I didn’t get thrown around as much. NTN’s are a great system. Unfortunately I didn’t have the greatest run of my life because of the things I mentioned earlier. Lots of side stepping to get around those damn rocks. Down where it opens up there is a lot more room to avoid the rut and rocks. The snow actually felt like it got better the farther down the slope. I stopped right at the bottom of the couloir to pick-up a ski we found in the snow debris. If anyone lost a K2 ski (I don’t remember what model with a Marker AT Binding) I dropped it off at the trail head. Other than that I had a great ski out. I had a great ski all around. I can’t complain about skiing in July.
Hoople after the ski with a good view of Dead Dog Couloir in the background.
Me with Dead Dog Couloir and several other possible runs in the background.
Also if anyone finds trekking poles in the couloir let me know. We left some up there by accident.
I do want to mention in the middle of the run we did hear water running in the snow and I saw it on the lower side of the rocks causing the snow to peel away a little bit. Be careful there are areas, particularly on looker’s right, that want to slide. Had we left a little later I don’t think we would have had as much fun on the run. This was not happening when we started into the decent but developed quickly. We hurried off as fast as we could when we saw this.
Image #10 (not yet uploaded)