> 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.