The North Face of Mt Baldy – We skied the obvious diagonal rock-lined chute.
This particular Mt Baldy (there are 34 in North America) is a prominent 2321m peak rising above Wildhorse Ck in the Nelson Range. For years now I’ve been eyeing the dramatic north face while working at Wildhorse cat-skiing, and have heard stories of quality skiing from some of the Ymir locals, but finally Andrew put together a trip to check it out.
On the approach – From the Wildhorse access road it’s a pretty sustained 900m climb to the summit. This is the only view we had of the face, and it really didn’t help us when we were later trying to work where to drop in.
Ski Crampons – Cam hasn’t yet sorted out ski crampons for his new wider boards, so while Andrew and I were switchbacking up the steep (facets on top of frozen snow) ridgeline, he was working much harder kicking steps. When I read Andrew McLean’s published opinions dismissing the value of ski crampons, I can only assume he’s taken one too many to the head. They can be essential.
Cam Dropping In – By the time we reached the summit, clouds had engulfed us, and working out where to drop-in was far from obvious. Eventually I just skied the most promising line (at perhaps 45 degress) down to where it appeared to drop off, and established that we could connect into what we hoped was the main chute.
Andrew negotiating the Pinch – the chute dog-legged then narrowed to a ski width. As the third guy through, I was reduced to side-slipping and hopping.
Classic – After another couple of dog-legs it opened up into a classic rock-lined chute, with good quality snow. Then just before it opened out into the bowl below, an ice-fall forced us to boot-pack up and over into an adjacent chute to complete the run.
Powder Skiing – After all the excitment of the chute, it was great to finish with some high quality powder turns. From the bench below the face we skinned up onto an adjacent ridgeline, and skied a 2500′ line of perfectly spaced glades back down to the sled. Here’s a short vid of Cam on the upper ridgeline.
It wasn’t deep, but given the drought we’re experiencing in the Kootenays, we were all pretty stoked.
Heading Home – Thanks to Trevor for use of the sled.