With the forecast calling for a mild flurry and rising temperatures we were in no rush to get going on this last day of skiing. Sharon and Rob decided to sit out and enjoy the perks of a fireplace in the visitors centre while we explored options to find some turns in the Connaught drainage. Visibility would be poor but fortunately not enough snow had fallen to raise hazard levels dramatically. Off I went with Kendall and Tim to find skiable powder on some of Cheop’s north facing slopes.
Kendall looking longingly at lines
Line we wanted is in picture centre – bowl we actually skied is picture right
Approach is as usual to Balu Pass but then head towards the west ridge. Variability of snow on the ridge made for interesting route-finding.
Tim skinning up the W face of Cheops
Kendall contemplating the Cheops approach ridge
Horrendous windslab made a bootpack to the couloir entry necessary ~ photo Kendall Card
When we finally got to the couloir entry, visibility was not great. Overhanging cornices spied on the route up were a cause for concern as was the fact that we had no harness and only emergency prussik cord. I really didn’t feel like rapping off 6mm cord on a waist-tied bowline and couldn’t get a good look over the lip of the couloir entry. So we retreated 50m down the face to the entry to the main face. Fortunately the clouds would intermittently part to let us have enough view of landmarks to make the entry. This 500m, 1800 foot shot gave us lots of turns and a nice treat of snow. Perfect way to round out the trip.
Low/no visibility at the couloir entry
Finding the entry to the main ramp and avoiding overhanging cornices made life interesting
Sequence of Kendall showing that it was worth it
Tim also deciding it was worth it
The last 100m or so of skiing in the main path was wind-slabbed so we headed out to skiers left to look at pillow lines. Here I found a nice chute. In honour of Tim’s aching feet and evilly-fitting boots, we gave him first tracks. He promptly slayed it. Kendall finished it off and I got sloppy thirds – lots of snow to end it all.
Tim gets first lines down a short chute to close out the trip
Kendall drops in
Elevation profile for day 4 – a relaxed pace with lots of stops
Day 4s track