(Last Updated On: March 30, 2010)
During our ski descent of the S-Tube the day before, Brittany and I admired the NE face of Hancock and made plans to ski it the following day. After all, we could utilize our existing skintrack for the first climb of the day, plus the snow was exceptional on the S-Tube and it looked just as good over on Hancock. We parked the sleds bright and early and were dismayed to find that our skintrack was blown over and wouldn’t help very much. Worse still, the snow now had a zipper crust in a lot of places and was really bad in others. Wind seems to be a constant theme this March in the Elks.
Checking things out seemed like a better option than turning tail and heading home, so we gained the ridge and dropped down the crusty SW slopes to enter Democrat Basin. Winter or summer, Democrat Basin is an amazing place and well worth a visit even for the most jaded outdoor traveler. The wind was still pluming off one of Richmond’s summits:
We began our second ascent of the day, this time heading towards Oh-Be-Joyful pass, right under the school bus sized cornices precariously hanging off of Richmond’s South ridge. It’s a good place to move as quickly as possible.
We were worried about our climb back out of Democrat Basin and if it would be too hot on this sunny face, but the windy conditions were now doing us a favor and keeping the snow relatively dry and cool. We spent our time admiring our “John Hancock’s” on this beautiful face:
Looks like we’re in for some snowy weather, hopefully without too much wind and we can get back at it soon.