The big Wasatch thaw continues and so does the ticking of big lines. Last week Billy and I went to explore an eye opening line he’d been eyeing for some time. I had a faint idea of what he was interested in, he sent some pics and I agreed to go check it out. We started early at White Pine trail head, it was already warm out. The moon showed the way.
We skinned through Red Pine drainage into the upper headwall and switched to booting to gain the ridge of White Baldy. The line starts off the summit onto the east facing hanging snowfield, connecting some questionably skiable ramps that trend to the skiers right, and finishes onto the apron next to the large diagonal ramp.
Billy peaking out onto the face. 😉 The snow was surprisingly good! It was wind effected powder that hadn’t been baked by the sun yet.
The snowfield was STEEP and a rappel afterward seemed highly likely. I gave Billy a ski belay since we didn’t know what he would find for anchoring into and a fall here would ruin your day.
The last two years I’ve been using a lightweight single 60m 6.0 rap cord from SKIMO.CO (a little plug for my friends there). It’s been such a great addition to the ski mountaineering kit. It’s light and much less bulky, it worked perfectly to get Billy off the face.
I pulled and coiled the line while Billy built an anchor. The turns off the top were some of the most fun i’ve had in the Wasatch. You don’t often get that much of steep airy experience here in the home range.
What had appeared to be a potentially skiable ramp would need some dangling on ropes, so Billy looped a rock horn and we slid down.
My experience in anchor building is pretty limited, I don’t rock climb and though I feel competent, I’m pretty slow and rusty on the few occasions a year that I find myself in need.
We got onto the ramp and it was pretty flat, the snow was rotten and it didn’t really lead anywhere. We decided to keep rappelling. Three roped sections were required to get back down to earth and snow. It was really impressive to watch Billy build 3 bomber anchors in quick and safe fashion. I felt like I was being guided, but since he is a guide I guess that makes sense.
We were both laughing at the end of this one and couldn’t think of a more contrived thing we’ve skied. But, this is true freedom, pick what you want to do and do it your way. Once fitness and skill are achieved then the imagination is the limiting factor and the backcountry becomes the ultimate medium for expression and play. We did ski more than we rapped, so it counts as skiing.
All fathers are proud of their babies, even if they are a little ugly. The proud papa skis away from his creation.