Headed out to Covelo and up to Mendocino Pass with jibC and Drjib.
Sorry for the lack of quality/quantity of pics - forgot to bring extra batteries for the camera. The camera kept dying on us, so we had to snap pics quick.
Was able to drive all the way to the pass. JibC drove the snowmachine while Drjib and myself got towed behind. 7 miles later we arrived at the base of Black Butte. The snowmachine got stuck a little lower than we would have liked due to powder snow and all the weight of towing us. So we left the machine and started skinning to the summit.
Somehow, on the drive up, one of my vintage ski poles lept out of the back of jibC's truck. One of the reasons I like my ski poles so much is because of the huge baskets. Now I was down to one pole. I didn't think it would be a big deal. Drjib was also at a disadvantage with his poles having such small baskets. We were skinning up deep, unconsolidated mank. Hully cow! We had a very difficult time skinning up the steeps. Drjib's poles would stab deep into the snowpack and were useless. I was struggling with my one pole. We fell over many times. Kinda like not unclipping from your pedals while mt. biking. Needless to say, jibC kicked our asses and summited first.
This was my first time to Black Butte in the dead of winter. The other times I had been there was either early season or spring when the snowpack was fairly thin. I was looking forward to skiing Black Beauty Ravine from right off the summit. It's a really steep (I wanna say 50 degrees, but I'll settle for 40) chute that empties into the old growth below.
We were not denied.
Looking northeast from the summit towards Black Beauty
jibC and Drjib getting ready to drop in
The mank turned into bottomless POWDER!!! :D
The Coast Range represented with avy-free conditions as always!
jibC getting caught up in the steep and deep of it all in Black Beauty Ravine
I found the skiing to be easier than the skinning with only one pole
We skied the trees below the chute and traversed right to scope out some lines next to the big cliff. There are some really gnarly lines to be had here. I almost dropped this line.
It's a hanging snowfield that ends with what looks to be a ten-foot or more air at the end. In more consolidated, corn conditions the snow might actually stick to the rock. If the batteries hadn't of died in the camera, I would have some more pics of the awesome terrain here. There is an excellent, long, skinny chute that divides the cliff in two. It looked sweet.
We took a high traverse left and caught the ridge and skied on down to the snowmachine, which we dug out and I caught a nice 7 mile ski back to the truck while Drjib hung on for dear life behind jibC on the machine.
This place is incredible! Anyone with a snowmachine needs to ski here.
I'm coming back for sure!