| Evans Summit Ski: North Face Couloirs
Summit Lake Bowl Parking Area at 12,840'
Snow climb of North Face Couloirs
Summit Ski descent of South Face to North Face Couloirs
-Elevation Climbed: 1,420'
-Vert skied: 1,420'
-Mileage RT: 2.0 miles
- Round Trip Time: 4 hours
Route: climb blue, ski red
Ascent of North Face Couloirs:
Bill and I met up at the Eco Lake Lodge at 5:30 am with steep corn turns on our minds. Hoping the recent cold and windy weather had subsided we jumped in his truck and headed up to the Summit Lake TH. Bill got hosed on the $5 'not open to the summit' road fee. Instead of getting change for a $10 out of the early riser machine, he got change for a $6. I didn't know they made six dollar bills, weird.
By 6 am we were hiking up toward the North Face. The snow in this area is as deep as it has been in decades making the normally impressive terrain resemble a skiers late night dream. We debated upon hitting the south east face of Spalding as a clean line from the top was in, but decided to do Evans first to let things corn up a bit. As it turned out, the weather wouldn't cooperate. The North Face of Evans looks super steep from the trailhead, this was going to be fun.
Mount Evans from Summit Lake
There is nothing mysterious about this route, its pretty straight forward. We climbed a brief headwall into a small upper basin below the north face and then headed up the directly north facing terrain. The snow was well frozen but quite variable. Crusty powder, hardpack, ice and refrozen death cookies were our breakfast buffet items. Mmmmm, cookies.
Bill climbs the mini-headwall to the base of the north face
doumall admiring this fine terrain
The climbing today was nearly as fun as the skiing…
Traversing out to the base of the couloir
The wide open lower section of the couloir was in the low 40 degree range. Utilizing a pre-existing bootpack for some of it, we made nice progress into the more technical area above.
Ascending the lower section of the couloir
We decided to divide and conquer two couloirs at the top of the face to get sound beta for our ski descent to come. I took the more direct and defined couloir while Bill headed up a more technical narrower couloir. It got steeper:
Bill (top) goes right, doumall (bottom) goes left
Here is a pic looking up the route I climbed which ended at the base of the summit cliffs. From there it takes a right across a snow ledge into to small saddle on the summit ridge.
Bill finishing his route which took him directly to the summit ridge.
Bill working some steep snow
Bills vantage point
The wind was really kicking for this time of the year. My guess would be gusts of 45. Clouds were blowing super fast over the tops of our heads blotting out the direct sun. Corn was not in the forecast. Another group of skiers caught us here and joined us for the short jaunt to the summit. Luckily, there was snow right up to the summit boulder, I was going to get this summit skied! Score!
Skiing off the summit of Evans:
This summit is likely never ski able from the exact top but with an out stretched pole toting arm and an above average snow year, it goes.
The skiing over to the north face required following the snow covered switchbacks.
Skiing from the summit of Evans down the upper south face
I had to walk for about 50 horizontal feet to get into the small saddle which accesses the North Face.
Then there was a bit of skiing, and another 20 horizontal feet of walking to get to the snow ledge above our ski couloir.
The final bit of billy goating
We decided to ski the route I ascended as it had more consistent snow coverage and a more direct fall line. Getting off the upper shelf into the cold slot required a few 50 degree turns, then the couloir remained in the mid to upper 40s until the apron. Our turns were calculated. Trap crust, a few inches of powder or refreeze seemed to be spaced evenly and equally: technical skiing. We headed out skiers left near the bottom to get some more wide open turns on a broad north east facing slope.
Bill Middlebrook skiing
Admiring our line:
And down the headwall to Summit Lake
The route on the upper North Face: Green Bill Ascent, Blue doumall Ascent, Red Ski
Good to meet you Bill, we should do this again soon!
Trip reports on ski descents of Castle, Conundrum, Belford and Oxford should be up soon.