The weather window was pretty good over the weekend! Heather and I gunned for a line I’ve had my eye on in the Western Cwm of Borah. Unfortunately, the couloir was raked with chunky avalanche debris and the crux slot, along with much of the line, looked hopeless for skiable surface conditions. As a consolation, we decided to traverse around to the standard Southwest Ridge and ski the big avalanche bowl/path leading down to the trail.
Abundant sunshine and warmish temps were no match for the winds above 10,000′ leaving the snow hard. A few millimeters of pixie dust on the snow surface blew around in the wind adding visual appeal to otherwise white ice. Heather and I sat on the ridge for a while watching three climbers/skiers ascending the upper mountain as we waited for the snow to soften a bit. Clicking into our skis just below 11,000′ at 1pm, we skied, traversed and dodged some rocks as we arched turns on our way down the headwall and into the gully below – finally reaching softer corn snow around 9,500′
We milked all the vertical we could out of the patchy snow below 8,000′ — finally taking our skis off just 5 minutes walking distance to the parking lot. Of course that included several dirt walking sections along the trail down low but we managed to ski 3,000′ vertical before pulling the plug and walking the few minutes back to the car.
Despite the rather low snow year in the Lost River Range, the cool spring-time temps have aided in preserving snow coverage at the mid elevations. The gully skiing appears to be pretty good right now. Get out and get some!