(Last Updated On: November 22, 2010)
After our last visit to North Pole Basin, the big couloir dropping from near the summit of Galena Peak was at the top of our wish list. With Gothic Road still open and another storm approaching, we knew our chance to ski this line was now or never. Besides, it was my birthday, and I like skiing good lines on my birthday. Pete Sowar and John Jasper joined Brittany and I, and they came up with the supremely appropriate “Santa’s Chimney” name for this line:
What would Santa leave in our stockings this year? I must have been naughty this year, because Santa gave me a lump of coal…
Santa served me up my lump of coal right after that photo was taken. As I went around the corner, I hit a hollow spot that sent my ski tips under some harder wind affected snow and sent me headfirst down the slope. The true steepness of this line soon became apparent, as it took me three rolls before I finally came to a stop. Since the conditions are still somewhat thin, I was using my old skis and equally old Fritchis, and while they have been basically trouble free over the past 10 or so years, I guess they were ready to be retired. The heel moved on its’ track to a size way bigger than my boot, and the adjustment screw refused to move it back. Great. Only one thing to do. Just 1200′ more of one-ski skiing left to go:
Luckily, Jasper was able to fit into my broken ski well enough to shuffle out the flat valley, while I adjusted one of his skis to my smaller boot. It would have been an epic slog out otherwise. Despite the broken gear, this was still a great descent in an amazing zone. All things considered, I’m more interested in skiing aesthetic lines than seeking perfect conditions, and this line qualifies with ease. This stuff will never get old to me:
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