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telemarker

[TR] 8 Mile Mountain North Couloir Climb/Ski - North Couloir and around... 6/5/2010

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Trip: 8 Mile Mountain North Couloir Climb/Ski - North Couloir and around...

 

Date: 6/5/2010

 

Trip Report:

Not wanting to pass up on one of the rare perfect days we've had in this perplexing spring skiing season, Tom Janisch and I toured around 8 Mile Mountain. This peak has tons to offer in regards to ski touring. It has faces on all cardinal points of the map. I've skied its northeast face a couple times, and Tom has been on the fun south slopes. After an earlier tour this year to adjacent Peak 7828, I noted with interest 8 Mile's steeper north face. So, I stewed all season waiting for a nice spring day to go have a look-see.

 

View of the north side of 8 Mile Mounain, taken from Grindstone Mountain a couple years ago. Left arrow is the approach, middle arrow the couloir, and the right arrow the exit.

8m0.jpg

 

With all the snow virtually melted out to 5,000', Tom and I hiked to then around the north side of 8 Mile Lake to near its end, then bushwacked north until we broke out in the northeast basin below our target peak, where we found...continuous snow! In fact, the coverage is still quite good up there. We skinned up to then jumped over a notch to where we could enter the couloir, where the firm snow allowed a speedy ascent to the summit.

 

It's funny how some couloirs look prohibitively steep, then are disappointingly mellow, e.g., Cannon Mtn. Couloir. Well, 8 Mile Mountain's North Couloir was the opposite. It looked steep on photo, and in reality, it was a bit steeper up close and personal, and consisted of frozen corn that refused to soften in the warm temps.

 

We hung out on 8 Mile's summit plateau, and soaked up this gorgeous day in our backyard. When it was time, Tom wisely decided to downclimb the steepest portion of the couloir. He stated he would call up to me as soon as he was out of the way of my incoming sloughs of hardened corn. I met some other climbers on the summit and we had a good chat about the other groups we knew of on nearby peaks.

 

With what seemed like an eternity to my anxious mind, I finally heard Tom's go ahead from below. I locked in and slid out onto the frozen steepness. The couloir was steep from the get-go, and icy. It doglegs about 100 feet down, so that added to the committing feeling of this obscure route. I side-stepped the first 10 feet, then made a nerve-wracking turn in the frozen shit. A couple turns more and I was thankfully in softer snow. At the dogleg, it turned icy again, and at its steepest I had to self-belay with whippet and ice axe at a constriction where only the edges of my tips and tails were keeping me on the slope. Below this small portion, the skiing remained consistent, and consistently hardened until I reached Tom basking in the sun.

 

We skied down to the Trout Lake basin, traversed South to the west basin o 8 Mile Mtn., and climbed out and over to the south slopes of peak 7828. From this notch (seen in the photo, right arrow), we had a mellow corn run down to 8 Mile Creek. The valley bottom, surprisingly enough, held great coverage and we were able to ski nearly back to 8 Mile Lake, thus completing our own little circumnavigation.

 

My GPS Sez:

 

18.7 miles

7,800 vf

Max Speed 21.2 mph

 

Tom breaking out into the wide-open basin on the northeast side of 8 Mile Mtn.

8m1.jpg

 

Looking north towards Mt. Cashmere.

8m4.jpg

 

Tom powering up as only Tom can do.

8m5.jpg

 

Looking back towards Cannon Mtn. and Enchantment Peak.

8m2.jpg

 

Janisch traversing over to the north couloir.

8m6.jpg

 

8 Mile Mtn.'s north couloir.

8m7.jpg

 

Tom in the couloir.

8m8.jpg

 

8m10.jpg

 

Tom in the upper couloir near the summit.

8m12.jpg

 

Summit of 8 Mile, looking back north.

8m14.jpg

 

Can't remember the name of this peak. Maybe someone can help me out...

8m13.jpg

 

Tom heading back down...

8m15.jpg

 

On better and safer snow! The couloir above Tom.

8m16.jpg

 

Traversing into 8 Mile's west basin to our exit notch.

8m18.jpg

 

If you don't look at the sagging cornices above you, do they really exist?

8m19.jpg

 

Peak 7828, where Tom, Will Terrano and I had toured early winter this year.

8m21.jpg

 

Big Tom surfing the mushy south slopes.

8m23.jpg

 

Tom reflecting on a pretty damn good day in a pretty damn good location.

8m24.jpg

 

Edited by telemarker

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Splendid and nerve-wracking all at the same time. Nice idea for a tour (except that steep thingy that Tom had to downclimb) cleverly pieced together from previous ski tours.

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Awesome!

 

Great to see you are back at it John!!!

 

Thanks Scott! Man, dust off your splitboard (oh wait, you haven't stayed still long enough for it to gather dust this season!), let's hit some fun stuff soon.

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Nice trip!! :brew:

 

Man it is so cool to see all that snow in June still. I never would have thought it possible if you had asked me back during that crummy "winter" in February! I can't wait to get some turns in tomorrow since it's been a while...just need to decide where to go.

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John, this is just fantastic!!

 

"only the edges of my tips and tails were keeping me on the slope"

-that's some awesomeness right there!

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Nice trip!! :brew:

 

Man it is so cool to see all that snow in June still. I never would have thought it possible if you had asked me back during that crummy "winter" in February! I can't wait to get some turns in tomorrow since it's been a while...just need to decide where to go.

 

I agree. The snow from about 5,000' upwards is in excellent condition! In fact, i've been surprised all season for the east side at least, at how good the coverage has been as compared to last year.

 

Go ski Stuart!

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John, this is just fantastic!!

 

"only the edges of my tips and tails were keeping me on the slope"

-that's some awesomeness right there!

 

I didn't really think so at the time. :o

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john, you have balls of steel to drop into that couloir. hopefully my pictures will add some perspective.

0422.JPG0435.JPG0443.JPG0453.JPG0484.JPG0461.JPG

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Nice john! A great looking line. A number of us have been eyeballing that for quite a while.

 

A handful of februarys ago we went in and ski/snowboarded the north facing lines on 7828 in your first pic. That area has a "big" feel to it and the lines are steeper and bigger than they look from a distance, an anomaly for the area.

 

Again, great work this past winter/spring!

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Thanks Ron! You're right, this line sort of caught me off guard in its seriousness, but it was fun nonetheless. Mid-winter this will be a real gem of a line!

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