Graduation day for Heather

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Mountain Stats:
Stouts Mountain 8,620′
Base Elevation (Piney Basin Lodge) 5,750′
Distance from car to summit: Approx 3 miles
What a fantastic day! Turbo, Jon O., Heather and I made plans last night to check out some northeast facing terrain in No Cut Timber Canyon on the south side of Stouts Mountain. We parked at the Piney Basin Lodge and quickly gained elevation by skinning up the ridge that forms the south wall of No Cut Timber Canyon. It quickly warmed up as the sun passed above puffy clouds floating in and out of the range.
The snow felt great as we quickly climbed the ridge to the area where we had intended to ski, but the sunshine and quick ascent gave us the motivation to continue to the summit of Stouts instead of doing a few laps from the 7,500′ sub peak along the south ridge.
Turbo, Heather, and Jon O. dug a pit and conducted some snow stability tests while i continued breaking trail up the southern ridge of Stouts. I found a rhythm that worked well for me and before i knew it, the summit was just a few feet above me. It wasn’t long before the rest of the crew appeared on the small knoll just below me. I thought to myself… “hey, this will be Heather’s first big summit with skis on her feet!” Sure, we’ve skied a lot of small hills and from the tops of ridges this year and last year, not to mention chairlifts to the tops of mountains, but this will be her first human powered summit (outside of Kelly Mountain!) that she will have the opportunity to ski right from the summit.
I waited for her to reach my position just below the summit and encouraged her to continue past me and be the first one of our group on top… which she gladly did! I can’t really explain why, but seeing her put all of her skills and the effort required to ski to the top of Stouts and then ski back down is an experience I’ll cherish forever. The smile on her face (click the image of her for the full size) as she skied to the top of her first winter summit says it all!
We ate lunch and lounged in the sun until the excitement of the down hill got to us. It was hard to leave such a wonderful view of the Pine Creek Bench and Swan Valley, but the first turns from the summit quickly changed our mindset of lounging into a bunch of boys and girl whooping and laughing as we slid down the mountain back to where we started.
Thank for another wonderful memory, Heather. And thanks for another “best day ever”, Turbo, Jon O. and Heather!
The south side of Stouts Mountain as viewed from Highway 31 just above Swan Valley.
Turbo just below the summit of Stouts. The Pine Creek Bench and the South Fork of the Snake River Canyon just to our south.

Heather and Turbo skinning the final distance to the summit of Stouts.

Heather Lords on the Summit of Stouts Mountain in the Big Hole Range, Idaho. This is her first REAL summit she has skied from! All human powered, well other than the car to get to the trailhead! No lift served skiing here boys and girls!

Heather and Jon O. peer down the Northeast face of Stouts.

Heather and Turbo racing from the summit!

Jon O. doing the tele dance down the south face of Stouts.

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Heather skiing the heavy snow on the south face of Stouts with the Pine Creek Bench and the South Fork Canyon below! This is one of my favorite ski runs simply because of the majestic East Idaho scenery.

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A fun gully shot half way down the south side of Stouts.

-Dean Lords

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2 responses to “Graduation day for Heather

  1. >It was a beautiful day spent with wonderful people in our own "private Idaho" as all our pictures show! Thanks for sharing your first "summit to valley" ski with us Heather! We will let you break trail and dig test pits for us anytime!

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