I left White River CG at 7:30 pm on Saturday, intending to climb through the night to the summit, meeting friends at Shurman. Arrived Shurman at 10:30 pm, much too early to ski, so bivied for a few hours before beginning the climb with friends Dave and TR at 4:00 am. Our paces were different, so I chose to go ahead unroped, arriving on the summit at 7:30am. Spectacular sunrise, mild temps, easy routefinding, forgiving climbing conditions. Used crampons but no ice axe (although my ski poles have self-arrest grips). Waited a couple of hours on the summit, celebrated briefly with Dave and TR, and began the ski. The first 1,500 feet was bulletproof but smooth, with some routefinding around crevasses. Below 13,000 the conditions were mixed, from windblown powder pockets to corn to boilerplate. Below 11K was all corn, and good. It is probably prudent to mention that upon return to Shurman I was warned by the climbing ranger about skiing solo on the mountain. He very politely and diplomatically informed me that I was in violation of park policy, and that I needed a solo permit. I had been aware of solo permits, but my intention had been to climb with my friends and ski in increments as they descended behind me. Obviously this plan was ill-conceived. I recommend a solo permit for other solo skiers, and in the future will obtain one.
7/17, Southwest Chutes on Adams
Oh my god, why haven't I been skiing this line every year for the last decade?! Dave and I left the car at 10:30am, climbed to the summit without crampons or ice axes. Very soft snow, clear skies, windy. The skiing off the summit was horrifically suncupped and bulletproof. Survival-skied down to the false summit, dropped into the main chute, which was thick and creamy corn all the way down. Had a beautiful traverse along the Round the Mtn Trail back to the TH. Wildflowers spectacular.
This was the dessert of the trifecta. A 9:00am start took us to the summit at 1:00pm. Again no crampons or ice axes necessary; the snow was mostly soft and major steps had been kicked up the headwall. Another bluebird day with mild temps. The suncups off the summit were man-eating, so we carried our skis down about 400 feet. Skiing below that was mixed, but perfect corn below 9,000 ft. Finished the day with a sandwich and beer at the amazing Timberline Lodge, before the long haul back to Missoula.
A thank you: just want to say thanks to the climbers I met at the White River CG just before beginning my climb. They gave me much appreciated route info and wished me luck as I began my climb into the night. Cheers to you for that good energy!