Dean & Heather’s Excellent Adventure

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Heather and I had a most excellent adventure this afternoon! It should not be shocking to any of you, given the frequency we post about the Kelly Mountain area, that we are very fond of our backyard. Largely passed over by hard core backcountry enthusiasts, the Kelly Mountain area leaves little to be desired by most. It is low elevation, lacks deep snow, and won’t give you 2,ooo’ of vertical in a single run. It does offer a 10 minute drive from our house, numerous glades and vastness of exploration.

Late in the summer months, we spent many afternoons walking various features in search of potential ski terrain. The Kelly Mountain area has a lot of brush… a lot! So it makes skiing less desirable and requires some pre-ski season exploration to find those perfect shots! Our efforts have been good to us so far!

This afternoon, Heather and I rode the Kelly Canyon Ski Hill lift 4 to the top and headed east to the Boundary Line; one of the brush-less shots we found this fall that would give us access to the Y Junction. The Y Junction is a major jump off point for winter Nordic skiers and snowshoers exploring the vast network of trails in the area.

From the Y Junction we skinned the 1.6 miles up to Morgan Summit and made a quick stop at the warming hut (photo above). I’m sure the handful of Nordic skiers we met along the way and at the hut were a bit puzzled by the big fat powder skis on our feet and helmets strapped to our packs yet so far from the resort!

From the Morgan Summit Hut, we finished the half mile distance to an area near the Hawley Gulch Overlook. I was grinning ear to ear as we peeled off our skins and skied soft snow down the “Buckshot” into the depths of Hawley Gulch. In the above photo, Heather charges through the trees as we make our way onto an open ridge line below.

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Me working the soft snow down the open ridge line as we head for our next destination… the Outer Limits Bowl

the Outer Limits Bowl as viewed from the Buckshot

Heather making her was up the the ridge of Outer Limits. The lower portion of the Buckshot can be seen above Heather. Also, the Radio Tower on Kelly Mountain is visible way in the background on top of the summit ridge in the top center of the photo.

From the top of Outer Limits a tight 40 degree narrow shot dumps you onto the 40 degree slope below.

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some of the goods in the Outer Limits Bowl! Hawley Gulch is waayyyy down there!

After an amazing time in the Outer Limits Bowl Heather and I raced the 2 miles from Table Rock Campground back to the Y Junction only to peel off the skins one last time for the 1.2 miles of gentle down hill and finally to the Kelly Canyon Lodge; just as the hill was closing down from day skiing and preparing for night skiing.

What a grand adventure so close to home. It was ski touring in its purest form; great skiing separated by great touring… a MEGA CLASSIC in my book!

-Dean Lords
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