Copper Mountain


Another glorious day on Copper Mountain.

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

After being scared off from our original idea for the day, Couch Peak, by Lew's beta and the recent avy death in the Soldiers (condolences to the family and also Luddite), we opted for what the Sawtooth NF Avalanche Center described as safer conditions, mostly in the Moderate range. This meant the northern Sawtooths and our favorite ski destination, Copper Mountain.

Bob had had the head cold that was making the rounds, so he wasn't feeling super. And as we climbed the south ridge, our poles occasionally became stuck in the sun crust. So we were planning on taking it easy. So we were feeling mellow and enjoying the occasional patches of blue sky (but not the solid blue that Sean and SuperDave had yesterday). Soon enough we were on top and had a very leisurely lunch.


Then we checked out the north face. Here's Bob looking over the abyss.

Bob was carrying a rope with plans of playing on the summit cornices. We built an anchor and I belayed Bob as he backed off over the lip, shovel in hand. He dug and poked, finally satisfying himself that things were stable, and then climbed back up. A group of four was watching and I think secretly laughing at us. Until, that is, Bob put his board on and went back over the side.

Down the north face

If you click on the picture for the bigger version, you can see his tracks. After about four turns he disappeared from my view. I couldn't convince the other group to ski the big chute and I had no idea where Bob was. So with no one to keep an eye on me, and not feeling too much like sticking my neck out, I skied off the moderate shoulder and down the ridge/chute on skier's right to meet Bob. Then we slogged back up again. The skiing was awesome--

But the view on top was even better in the low winter light (below).

Cornice hop
White Clouds

Although the sun crust on the south face had softened a bit, I still wasn't too keen on it. So we went over to the west side and skied a shaded gully. The top of the gully is more like a broad face, but it hadn't been affected too much. Here Bob blows some smoke.



He was having a great day, while I was struggling a bit. But we were both having a blast.

Armed and dangerous

Here's Bob lower down the mountain in the gully.

You'll notice the many trees standing up through the snow. The last time we skied this run they were all buried; Copper doesn't have as much snow as one would expect in January. The Banner Creek weather station shows only about 34".

Giant half-pipe

The tight gully was a challenge for me, but one I enjoyed.

Gee, it's great to be out in the mountains!



Other ski trips

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Mr. Natural Home | 2010 | Back to top of page | Questions :: e-mail to splattski