>Devils Bedstead East

> On the 19th, I got to check another long time objective off my list. I’ve wanted to ski off the top of Devils Bedstead East for several years now but the window of opportunity for that peak is pretty short. The reasons; the Kane creek road is blocked at the Trail Creek turnoff by an enormous snow drift, and by the time it melts out, the nights are usually too warm to set the snow, making the climbing and skiing pretty weird. Plus, spring weather has a way of dulling the senses of any would-be ski mountaineer. Hot weather this week melted the drift out enough to squeak past and the road beyond was open almost all the way to the trailhead.
On Monday evening, Brad and David picked me up at my house and we drove to a suitable camp site about 1 mile from the end of the road where we had the luxury of a camp fire and cold beer. We all worried over the warm weather and shared serious doubts about the snow conditions on the steeps. The next morning, under starry skies, we packed up and were able to drive to within a ½ mile of the trailhead where we were stopped by avalanche debris blocking the road. We hiked across several patches of knee deep rotten snow and our doubts of making the summit increased with every boot-full of that hateful mush.

When we reached the upper basin below the north face of the Bedstead we eliminated the mush problem by donning skis and skins, what a relief! Effortless skinning brought us to the base of the 2,500’ monolith where we pow-wowed over snow conditions for a bit before deciding to give it a closer look.

As luck would have it, our bluebird day slowly crumbled into a wind-bitten series of short lived snow showers and the day got cooler instead of warmer. Although the weather made for an uncomfortable climb, it set the snow and later made ski conditions much safer but climbing up the last 1,000 forced us to climb on mixed class III rock in AT boots or posthole up the open snowfield.

At the summit we “enjoyed” the full force of the wind, but were able to get our skis and gear ready to ride by staying just out of its grip 15’ below the top. We all made our own way down the face in snow that started out as bulletproof on top and ended in mashed potatoes at the bottom. Later, back at camp, everyone agreed it was some of the some of the most sustained steep skiing we’d done.
David and Brad climbing the face about 2/3rds of the way up from the basin below.


David looks at the steepest section of what we would later ski


Brad climbing on the ridge 200 feet below the summit.


Brad On the Summit, taking in the view.

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5 responses to “>Devils Bedstead East

  1. >Good work Wes. I heard you guys skied it from one of your buddies. What about the cornice??? We skied the Bedstead in 2006, after a few blustery days and had 2 feet of powder the whole way! Pretty unique conditions! Hopefully we get some more cold nights before it’s all gone! I have so many more lines to ski!

  2. >Hey Marc, I’d heard you guys had skied it in 2006, and heard it was unique conditions indeed! It’s a long way to the bottom if things started to slide up there.The cornice,, I’ll keep that one to myself. I’ve heard Luck never gives, it only lends. I guess I’m behind the 8ball now : ) Heard you were on the Big Three in the Pio’s a couple weeks ago, did you get em all?

  3. >Hey Wes- You got any other ski adventures planned? Seems like we’ve lost our window of melt freeze… now its just melt! We’re headed out today to do some climbing over there. I started working on a new crag last year, and we’ll see if its free of snow yet…

  4. >Was hoping for some turns off of Smiley mtn this weekend but the weather turned me around. I’ve been trying to get my head around skiing the NF of Borah in mid June but i’m still uncommitted. Ready to ditch the skis and lighten my load but everytime I look at the hills I’m still picking out ski lines. This has been a great spring season for going big! New Crag? in the LRR?

  5. >Yea, new crag in the LRR… Should be good to go by mid summer. Hiked in yesterday and climbed the warm up route. There’s some seeping and ice at the bottom of the crag, but it’s only going to get drier. I’ve scoped many new crags… it’s just a matter of time and money!

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