| West Face, Yawner ‘05
The sheriff's office reported the Willow Creek road open to 11,ooo at the Equity Mine.
A lack of coverage, weather, or low road closures, were some of the main problems on earlier trips.
The San Juan Snowcat operations had laid an inviting track from the TH. Starting at three or so, I made the 12,3oo ft pass in the purple of twilight. There were several frozen moths stuck to the snow in this area.
The Yawner Face looked better than the last time, so I traversed down to the right approximating the Colorado Trail into the timber of the first basin. This awesome cirque is mostly out of view from the pass. I used ski crampons for the next saddle at 12, 4oo, and met a crisp wind.
I detached crampons, and traversed again through a smaller basin, heading for San Luis' 12, 6oo' pass. I walked a short initial section of the ridge, and then put the skis and crampons on to battle 60 mph wind to the summit.
I managed a few shots for the panoramic collection. Snow Mesa, and Cannibal Plateau were fantastic looking areas to explore for a stray flatlander.
I descended from the summit into the Yawner gully, and paced myself for the long run to the valley floor. I stopped only once to take pictures, enjoying the rest in the moment. I saw some desperate conditions on this line in the dry years, so it was nice to see it at its finest.
I split in the forest to skirt the base of Point 12,562, finding the west fork of Spring Creek. This is too deep in the forest to see an obvious route to the pass. It was getting late in the morning, but still shady on this side. I crossed to the west before the unpronounced avy paths, and slugged it out back to treeline, taking the low angles to the pass.
The west facing snow was still set up through a winding trap gully down to 11,400 in Willow Creek. I skied the cat track out to 11,ooo. Still one of my best days.
Here‘s a link to Eric Kling‘s report with some interesting notes:
" Unfortunately, it was here that I signed my name in the summit register directly under a fellow whose 14er snowboard descents rivalled my own...by a lot. Marc Marceaux of Superior CO, claimed San Luis as his 47th on May 11.
Damn. (San Luis was my 34th).
Oh Well. We can still do what we came here to do."
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):