Peak 9290


A ski adventure up the North Fork of Canyon Creek gets us into new terrain.

Note: click images to see a larger version in a new window

Canyon Creek forms the canyon that you drive up going from Lowman to Banner Creek summit. This route goes up the North Fork of Canyon Creek. A few weeks ago we skied Mount Zumwalt, and last week we did the Copper Mountain Traverse, so we had been eyeballing this big chunk of backcountry for a few weeks. Jim is the one who picked out this peak, and it was an excellent choice.

Originally we had talked about a slightly different route, but when we had "feet on the ground" we chose this one, which worked out well.

Map of 9290
This is the view from Copper, showing both Peak 9290 and Zumwalt. This is looking pretty much due South. Now that you know where 9290 is, I can tell you about our trip. Early morning sun

After leaving town a little after 6, we left the car at about 8:45. The sun was already warming things up (about 40°), but we walked from the car to the summit. Other than a few bare patches and one big, fat log over a creek, we were entirely on snow. Here is Jim above most of the creek crossings, making the turn south and looking at some steeper terrain.

Early morning sun


After a few hundred feet of steeper terrain (although not too steep to ski on the way down), the valley flattens out. This picture may show the summit, but it is hard to tell. We definitely were on top of this ridge later in the day.

Jim in bowl

Then we left the main drainage and headed up a big gully. There were cliffy areas, so we spent a lot of time navigating to make sure we didn't get cliffed out.

Jim with the map
We booted up Jim's gully, licking our lips at all the open ski terrain, Here Jim climbs the final cornice barring the ridgetop. That's a false summit in the background, where we dropped our skis before heading for the true summit. Jim climbs the cornice

Soon enough, we were on the false summit with the true summit in sight. And some monster cornices.

This was taken on our return, so you can see our tracks (click on the pic for a bigger image).

As we were heading for the top, it was just a bit further along the ridge that we had a little problem.

Bob's chute

We were walking perhaps 25 feet back from the edge of the cornice, a distance that I thought was relatively cautious. We were about 25 yards apart, with me in the lead and Charlie bringing up the rear. I was focused on kicking steps when I heard a faint "Help! Help!"

When I turned around, all I could see of Jim was the ends of his ski poles waving in the air. He had fallen through the snow in a "rock crevasse" between the rock cliff and the cornice. He was in over his head, but even so, he had not gone to the bottom of the hole. Note: we never did find his hat, which apparently continued down the hole for some distance farther....

This picture shows him after climbing part way out (I'm not so callous as to take the picture while he was still in danger).

Rock crevasse

Again, another picture taken on our return to help the story along....

The circle shows the hole into which Jim fell. It was a long, long way from the edge of the cornice.

I had heard of such things, but never gone in past perhaps my knees. I think we all learned a bit of a lesson here......

Rock crevasse

After Jim's hole, we were just a bit shook up. But we went for the top, being careful about cornices in cliffy areas.

The summit is a long ridge with delicious-looking slopes. Too bad we had left our skis on the false summit.

We sat on top of a while and admired the awesome views. Sharp eyes will identify Copper Mountain as the broad, white slope with the bare spot to the right and just slightly higher than Charlie and Jim (also see below).

Rock crevasse
Sawtooth panorame

When we got back to our skis, we sat and had lunch. It was t-shirts on top, no wind. Of course, that meant the snow was turning to slurpy soup. When we started skiing, we had another interesting experience. As the skier cut a traverse, he would start snowballs rolling. The pic shows several of them lying in the snow.

I seemed to be the best at this, with one of my snowballs attaining a height of 4 or 5 feet, big enough that Charlie had to yell at me to watch out. He thought the bugger was going to mow me from behind.

Rock crevasse

But no one got mowed, and we had a fun, sluggish ski back in the sticky snow. We had no problem skiing all the way back to the car.

But at the car, we did have a slight problem. Let me just say that next time we will do a better job marking where we bury the beer.

Charlie skis the gully

Mr. Natural Home | 2008 | Back to top of page | Questions :: e-mail to splattski