I skied Norman Clyde Glacier's north couloir on Friday. Not to be confused with Clyde Couloir in the North Palisades area, just right of U notch. What a beautiful tour out there. We found pretty good wind buff snow on the glacier and in the couloir, and had good weather. A storm followed us out so closely we could just barely feel it at our backs.
Maybe like Brooks, I first saw this line while climbing Slide Mountain. I hadn't heard about it, but knew I'd do it as soon as I could ralley a partner or two. That was two years ago, and have since seen some friends go do it. Don't have to be jealous anymore, except maybe a little for the face shot run Brooks got. Dude! We could barely climb the thing sinking into our thighs on that steep slope with much firmer conditions. Plus it's a bit eery on a glacier, crossing a bergstrom, and staring up in that long schlog up the couloir. My watch read 13.400' at the top. Solo in pow is brave.
Perfect snow coverage above Big Pine I bet to ski any of these big peaks. You're not skinning from the car, don't wait until later in the spring for stuff like Birch.
North side of Kid Mountain from near the trailhead at the old Glacier Lodge Site 7965'. This is the traihead access for Middle and North Palisades, and is plowed year round.
The first thing you see is a set of sweet couloirs. The one on the left goes and is fairly wide. I never got a view of the one on the right, I've heard you need to rap if it isn't a huge winter. Snow depth is not huge right now, just a few feet at the car. Saw Dan Mingori's car in the parking lot. Wonder what they did.
Following the drains usually works out best. As long as you don't fall into a hole. There were lots of open spots in the creeks along the way. Easy to spot going up. Skiing down is where you need to pay attention.
Now we are about 2k up in the mountains where you can get into 3 distinctive paths. Middle Palisades and South Fork Pass, Norman Clyde Glacier (hidden behind that rocky peak in the center, or head right up towards Mt. Sill.
Our first view of Mt. Sill.
Our first view of the Norman Clyde Couloir, hard to make out but on the left. Mt. Sill visable on the right.
I think we got to this spot on the left by 10am. We were feeling good, and I began to think we might have enough energy to ski the couloir and then go look at the pass below Mt. Sill. Nope. There was some mileage to go still as seen on the right.
Can you you say California?
How about East Side?
Greg punched in a steep skin track. The glacier was steep and huge.
Then my turn to make the staircase. Somehow I had energy to do the whole thing, but all along I knew it would hurt me on the descent. I just wanted to do it for some reason. In a few places I was sinking into my thighs and deeper, and needed to spread pressure between my boot and knee at the same time, while pushing on flat ski poles. For the majority of the couloir the flat pole push up mixed with a light step worked fine.
Looking to the west at who knows what. Gotta get out the maps. Later.
Greg and I are psyched! No wind and some sun in a nice little nook. The wind was howling 30-40 as I stood up to take this picture. ice and debris would go shooting past at eye level once in awhile. Winds came from the SW, so this was the right side of the mountains to be on today.
Skiing was pretty good, but oddly firm compared to how deep our boot penetration was. Not that I want my old skinny skis, they would have sunk right through that wind thickened surface snow and I'd still be up there right now.
This was a great vantage point watching greg come down with the light changing and storm coming in.
Looking at the upper half of Slide Mountain on the way out. There is a thread for this peak on the forum. Some nice wide couloirs below the face and great views from the top.
Always cool to be off a climb or ski and see the storm touch down just as you reach the car.