The recent snow and winds from this last storm kept Heather, Turbo and I from our plans to spend four days skiing various peaks in the Lemhi Range this week. Not inspired by the unsafe terrain above tree line in the Lemhi’s, we spent a day at Targhee after the big dump. It was, in my opinion, just okay and in my mind, not the EPIC day they made it out to be. It was still a good day spent with friends sliding down the snow.
Plan B to ski Mt. Brietenbach today fell through with the severity of weather and avalanche concerns in the Lost River Range. So as a consolation prize, the three of us returned to ol’ reliable; the north face of Stouts Mountain just south and west of Pine Creek Pass.
The summit was capped by grey clouds as we parked at the mouth of Flemming Canyon. Many inches of new snow blanketed the parking area and the result was spending 30 minutes digging the car out and returning to park on the side of the Highway.
We made our way up Flemming Canyon, turning south into Gopher Canyon. The snow deepened and upward progress turned slow and tiresome. As we reached the top, even Turbo said he was gassed!
The snow was deep and light; quickly returning the needed power to drive our skis downward. We skied down to where we connected with our up track and of course, we had to go back up. IT WAS JUST TOO DAMN GOOD!
On our second lap Turbo pulled out a fairly impressive slab as he ski cut the same roll over as i had just ski cut, but just slightly lower. From our safe perch on a rib, Heather and I watched the debris crash down through the gully and trees.
I performed another ski cut on a roll-over and was able to release a small pocket which cleared the slope and allowed us to ski it safely.
The snow stayed deep and fluffy all the way to the valley below. We skied a short section of gully which offered a nice little “near vertical” surprise. The knee deep soft snow made it simple!
Our friend Morris wasn’t able to join us and i told him I’d do a head plant for him; which i did, going super fast! I guess it looked pretty bad and Turbo was more concerned than humored by my head auguring into the snow! How my ski ended up backward and past my crater is still a mystery to me!
Stouts has yet to let us down. It is one of those peaks i could go back to time and time again.