Our guide Rochus does all the cooking while at the Moloch Hut. Rochus’s cooking is good – although not the gourmet repast that we’ve gotten fat on from Kim. Still its quite a setting to be fed and warm; with not a tree around for kilometers. Our route today will take us on a tour of the regions’ glaciers – up to Sentinal Ridge, then Sentinal Peak, then down Zwillings Glacier (I am told it’s Swiss for “twins”) then down to Graham Glacier and back.
On another gorgeous day; the biggest danger appears to be to take this view for granted. Every morning it seems to be getting warmer and warmer and we’ve been starting slightly earlier accordingly. By half past eight we are already well above Dismal Glacier and halfway to Sentinal Ridge. You can see the “bow wave” of the lateral moraine raised by the outside corner of the river of ice below curving around Inominata Ridge and towards the Meeting of Glaciers to the west.
Approaching weather-hewn rotten rock towers near Sentinal Peak.
and the final approach to Sentinal Peak itself
Sentinal Peak itself is wind-blown. Curiously in the Moloch area the prevailing wind appears to be north-easterly but warm as opposed to around Falcon and the Durrand Glacier south where the wind was south-easter. I am told this is purely localized and an unusual weather shift. Anyway, there isn’t enough wind to transport a ton of snow or make the snowpack dangerous so off we go down Zwillings’ Glacier. Here is Sharon
There’s more then one interesting rock formation on the Zwillings Glacier – very Bugaboo’s spire-like. Here is Joel
The further we descend the further we get into crevasses and icefalls and the more we place ourselves in the hands of guides and local knowledge – a strange place for me as this is the first time I’ve skied with a guide. There is a constant stream of communication between Rochus and Ruedi via radio; and it turns out that we extraordinarily fortunate to have such a long run on Zwilling’s Glacier due to the extremely stable snowpack. We start from Sentinal Peak at 2750 m and end up at 1975m 0439097 5685208 – a long run!
Here is Rochus on our skin back up; we are maintaining separation to distribute weight but are un-roped.
One of the strangest, most magical places I’ve had the privilege of touring.
After threading the icefall and crevasse needle we contour over the top of Zwilling’s Glacier under Zwilling’s East and over to Falady Col; 2474m 0438427 5685791. This col is named after a friend of Ruedi’s and involves a little bit of hiking.
After this hike, we are on top of the Graham Glacier and well, you know the drill. After going up, we go down. Here’s Sharon getting down.
Both Zwilling’s and Graham’s are a treat to ski; the snow is so consistent and deeper. Its still pretty light snow too given the warm temparatures. Best still is that we can see the heli-skiers get dropped off by the Selkirk – Tangiers outfits lower then us! The bottom of Graham Glacier isn’t such a great place to have lunch as its in shade so we skin up to the middle ice falls (2298m 0438667 5686234) and take a break and drink in the view. Here’s Sharon right after lunch on the way back up the glacier with Falady Col and Zwilling’s East in the background.
We continue on to Zwilling’s West which, at 2772m or 9150 ft was the highest altitude reached during this trip. Winds are stiff at the peak so we don’t hang around too long but blast down the east side of the ridge line towards Sentinal South. A short skin up and we’re at the top of Sentinal Face looking down to the Moloch Hut. Off we go into the wild white yonder; Sharon, Mark, Carl and then me – from downhill to uphill.
Chasing Sharon down Sentinal Face
Mark cruising on his new AT setup; anyone want to buy some Karhu 7tms teles which don’t work too well?
and here I go
posing for the camera and loving those fat Kneissl Tankers
This is what Sentinal Face looked like before we harvest the pow – Ruedi’s groups’ tracks are to the right
and after; the day ends with 1920m of elevation gained.