(Last Updated On: February 3, 2011)
It’s a good day in January when you feel safe venturing to places like this.
Mount Owen has been on my wish list for a few years. On Saturday, I was happy to check this one off the list!
Friday night, Frank and I debated what we should ski the next day. A week-long high pressure had settled the snowpack and we knew it was our chance to venture into bigger terrain than we’ve been able to access with this season’s constant storms. We love powder, but we were feeling the itch for something more, something bigger.
After wavering many different possibilities, we decided to head toward Mount Owen. Owen was in our realm of possibilities, but so were a few other things in the area. We scoped out a few things along the way…
But, Owen looked to be in the best condition. So, we naturally gravitated toward our original plan.
After poking his pole at the suspicious hole, snow caved in to reveal this gaping hole- signs that the huge hanging cornice to our right was trying to rip itself free of the mountain it clung to. We took this is a a sign…
However, recent visitors on this same ridgeline ignored these signs. Here is the first place where they fell through the cornice. We found about 5 more of these as we continued our climb. We figured they were trying a mountaineering version of Russian Roulette.
At the summit, we discussed our decent possibilities. Dropping of the west side looked good. But, we were a bit leery of windslabs. As we peered over toward the northeast face, the snow looked better and more predictable. The entrance was the hitch though- a steep and icy path through the overhanging cornice.
Due to camera malfunction and the fact that Frank skied a line slightly different from mine, I have no good ski shots of Frank. However, Frank managed to capture a few good ones of me!
Frank’s POV video here- definitely worth the watch.
While it was great to check another one off my wish list, it was even better just getting out on a fun line on a blue bird day. A little booting and a bit of intimidation at the entrance to our ski line satisfied the itch we’d been feeling the need to scratch with this wonderful long high pressure. Next up- Beckwith.