Backcountry Generation

Despite very warm winter temps for several days north facing slopes around baker were holding stable powder. I realized just before the high pressure system moved out that conditions were just right for hitting the NW Couloir off Mt Shuksan, a goal that when i conceived it a year ago seemed far fetched.

The approach to the base of the climb was laced with a foot of powder and we had high hopes for similar conditions on the steeps. What we found was slightly wind scoured but stable slopes, perfect for booting. Cory, Ben, Jacob, and I had never done a line like this during winter, but we were accompanied by Andy Traslin who flew up the slope kicking steps until we were all overtaken by Dan Hemelstader, they climbed the entire couloir and skied the north face. We stopped at the exposed traverse that they described as too icy to ski, and dug a precarious ledge to transition on.

We had all skied slopes nearly as steep as what we were on top of but nowhere near as big or exposed. Leaving the ledge and making the first turn flushed away any fears or doubts, it was game on! The line is 45-50 degrees for 2000 ft of vert and took us the better part of an hour to ski.

When we reached the soft powder and mellow slopes of the apron the stoke flowed freely from all of us as we ripped sunny open pow turns with our line behind us. Nobody could hold back their grins or whoops of joy, and it was an easy decision to go for another run.

The experience was So different from ripping lines in the ski area and so much fun. We're all chomping at the bit to summit Shuksan and ski off of it now.


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