Elevation Gain: 4,600'
Vertical Ski: ~3,550'
Snowdevil Skiers: kansas (Darrin) and me
Start of snow (end of ski down): ~10,800' & ~1mi from TH
Skinnable slopes: ~10,800 - ~13,750'
Summit Ski: In
Once again, with fresh powder in May, and iffy Avy conditions - I was searching out a reasonably easy ski for the weekend. With the Angel's ~30 degree slope and 'minimal' inherent avy danger, as well as the recent snow should fill in the summit ski, it was the best to be found.
So Darrin and I head up to the dry trailhead Friday night to sleep for a few hours before booting up the annoyingly rocky trail for a mile. Thankfully around 10,800' the snow becomes continuous so that we can start skinning. The wind started as occasional gusts, but as we neared the base of the Angel, had picked up and was a steady annoyance. We geared up for the windy onslaught just at treeline. Once out onto the Angel the wind would pick up snow and ice shards and throw them at us from all directions.
We could see Eric (lostsheep5) and Zach (EatinHardtack) up on a higher slope digging a pit on the most avy prone slope. With the swirling winds, there wasn't a consistent wind direction to cause much of a wind slab layer. Within a few feet of each other, you would have reworked powder, old crust surface and wind slab layer. I felt that with the lack of continuity in the snow surface, the wind slab patches would be isolated and wouldn't be a problem on the lower slope angles we would be experiencing. Plus the wind kept the snow surface very cool most of the day. So we only had to battle the winds today, and the less than ideal snow conditions, that made either booting or skinning up a challenge. All the skiers, except me, booted up after the skinning the first slope. I found it easier to battle the winds with the skis on my feet. Learned a few lessons about wind on Columbia earlier this year...
First view of the Angel, shrowded in snow mist
Skiers booting up...
Skinning up the angel - Photo Credit: Darrin
Darrin battling the winds
Darrin booting up
The wind was absolutely horrid, almost knocked me down a couple times. Most of us would brace during the worst of the wind, and then sprint as far as we could go before the next gusts or ice tornadoes hit us. Any exposed skin got quite the exfoliation. Snow vortexes were the worst, as it was hard to gauge the wind direction to brace for, as it rapidly changed. Little did I know at the time, but my camera would fall victim to this snow pelting, and refused to work until I melted out the snow that filled in my light sensor. So I missed all photos from the top of the Angel and back from the summit.
First view of summit
Winds cleared for a momment
After 7.5 hours we reached the summit, all 6 skiers in attendance. The last 1k was brutal, and it felt never ending. At 13,750' I had to swap out my skis for crampons, as the fresh snow was all ablated away, and an icy surface remained. Thankfully the summit wasn't as windy as the Angel, so we could relax for a few minutes, before we all departed. The fresh snow filled in all the rocky spots, and the ski was almost perfectly continuous. Only a few side stepping areas.
Me dropping in - Photo Credit: Darrin
Darrin dropping in - GoPro Image
Darrin fighting the warm ski, snow sticky - GoPro Image
First Turns - Photo Credit: Darrin
Photo Credit: Darrin
Darrin standing like a skier, so proud! - GoPro Image
Fisheye effect.... - GoPro Image
Ski conditions were pretty good, and the areas of fresh snow were nice! I think we had most every type of snow type along our route down, powder, sustrugi, ice and corn. Lots of fun was had by all, including ulvetano's dog. Who while uncomfortable looking on the summit, had tons of fun racing down the snow! (Got some GoPro video of the happy dog)
Darrin skiing. My camera started working again! Hurray!
The valley, winds have died down
Skiing the body of the Angel - Photo Credit: Darrin
Ripping it past the snowshoers - Photo Credit: Darrin
Having some fun - Photo Credit: Darrin
Darrin enjoying the corn
Darrin throwing some snow
Me enjoying the final corn turns - Photo Credit: Darrin
Darrin's perspective of the ski - Photo Credit: Darrin
Darrin with a Smile! - Skiing is NOT stupid ;) - GoPro image
It looks so nice... now!
6 sets of ski tracks
Shavano in the late afternoon light
Music inspired by the failed Rapture while skiing the Angel....
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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