| Northeast Face, Silver Pick
The most recent storm missed Wilson, and the big storm from the previous week had plenty of time to set up. I did not bring the snowmobile for this trip since the complete route would be a loop. The road was closed a half mile down last week. I had cel reception at the trailhead, and got to talking with an old friend until 10:30. I over compensated my start time with a 12:30 departure from the road closure to recover the approach. So starting on only two hours of sleep.
There was a nice track into the basin, and made treeline about 3:00 am! But I was sweaty, and slightly dehydrated. I changed layers to sit still for an hour or so, but I would hardly call this a rest. If anything, the chills sapped my strength. I was hot&cold for the rest of the skin up to the pass. I noticed a couple skiers making their way up into the basin. I wrapped around to the Gladstone saddle. The sunny south slopes were a big welcome.
The Southwest ridge was very challenging, and time consuming given the new punch crust. There were two groups of three skinning up to the west side of Wilson. They gained that distance as I worked slowly on the ridge. The false summit was the crux. A class 3 angled ledge brought me to the top. I fell for it that's for sure. It was down a couple hundred feet of very steep class 3+ to initiate the class 3 summit chute for another ~500 feet. The west side couloirs were becoming a more appealing ascent route by then.
At the summit, it was chilly with a humid nip. I dressed for the descent, and skated off the summit over to the top of the Northeast face.
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I rode down the north ridge for about 7 yds and was greeted by one of the climbers pulling out of the west couloir just as I was dropping in to the east.
There was no crust on this aspect, and some of the new snow had sluffed to the red dirt layer. The upper face came alive with sluff on the first cut. Things were pretty static though, and very few clues of the chicken farm underneeth. I hit a few, but the floatation was excellent.
The main upper chute.
The Northeast Amphitheater
I was tempted to descend to treeline, but traversed on the board as far as I could, split and kicked across the shelf, eventually descending to the forest over a couple drainages. I had my doubts at one moment, but was reassured by the map. I assembled the board and rode to the lower switchback on the silver pick road, and cruising to the tailgait from there.
It was 11:30 at the truck.
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