2/19/2012: Apocalypse Couloir, Prospectors Mountain, GTNP

Once again, Becca and I found ourselves making the trek up to Jackson for a three day weekend. With a bit of new snow and a relatively stable snowpack we planned to hit some bigger lines with our friends Aaron and Simon.  Lately, Colorado has been plagued with instabilities and we’ve been seeing plenty of these which is why I haven’t had a blog post since my last trip to Jackson:

Natural Avalanche on Berthoud Pass

On Sunday morning, Aaron and Becca woke up feeling a little queazy…mostly due to my cooking the night before. But they managed to rally and we were hiking by 7:30AM. Our objective for the day was the Apocalypse Couloir off of Prospectors Mountain. In the picture below, the line goes up and left from the center snowfield, hidden from view.

Photo by Simon

We hiked around the backside of the mountain and planned to rappel into the couloir, instead of going straight up it. Three rappels later, we were below the chockstone getting ready to drop in.

Photo By Aaron
Photo by Aaron

Photo by Aaron

WOW. This was as steep and deep it gets. Riding a foot of fresh in a couloir pushing a consistent 55 degrees isn’t something that we get to do everyday, especially this season. The last time I rode something that was about 55 degrees steep was on bulletproof snow, making it less than enjoyable. But this was pretty ridiculous, and will be one of those days I will remember for the rest of my life. This was also Becca’s first time on a line steeper than 50 degrees.

The best part of the line was the rollover, where you got this elevator shaft feeling in it. Its difficult to describe, but it was amazing. I even got to work on my sluff management skills…again not something I get to do here very often.

Photo by SimonPhoto by Aaron

The next section was above the ice choke. The ice here was unbelievably blue, and covered the entire right side of lower section. Normally, a rappel is required here but the choke was so filled in that we were able to make it past without doing so. Which was pretty nice considering  there was a fair amount of spindrift coming down on us.

Photo by Simon
Photo By Simon
Photo by Aaron

We skied the last section all the way to the bottom, ripping big and fast pow turns in the apron. It was the icing on the cake. I couldn’t imagine a better day with my friends in the mountain.  The line was aesthetic, big, and beautiful. Big walls on both sides and ice falls made for a amazing setting and the snow was deep. I’m still grinning right now…even after getting stuck on the way home in Laramie, WY overnight and getting to work at 1PM. But it was all worth it.

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