Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Raina and Peeking Amphitheater

The Front Range goods are just that...good.  We've had a decent spring/summer snowpack, so it's couloir season (also know as cooler season, or coolie season).

Local Anchortown friends Matt, Agnes, Marc and Gayle headed close to home to explore what the North Fork Eagle River Valley had to offer.  And I must say, it had lots to offer - sunshine, warm temps, corn snow...and Coolers!!

The group headed up Falling Water Creek.
Mission essential snacks.
Making our way to "Couloirland"
Said couloir's on the lookers right.  We skied the main couloir off of Raina's NE face.  We certainly scoped out the N couloir, but it looked pretty burly.
So about now the group is split.  Gayle took a much mellower route that overlooked Ram Valley, and Matt and Agnes basked in the spring sun, took a nap, and ate some bon-bon's.  Meanwhile, Marc and I booted the 2000' NE couloir.

Marc earnin' it.
Bootin' the coolie.
It was all ice axe's and crampons for this boot pack.  Marc and I finally made it to the top, after a dicey top-out on the cornice.  I must say, we were tattered.  We shoved some food down our throats, drank some water....oh wait i'm out of water.  That's what you get after 6 hours of climbing.

Polar Bear (center).  Notice the large crown face.  This slide down to glacial ice about two weeks ago.
This is the view from 6500'.  These pictures never do these runs justice. (Denali, Sultana, and Beguya in the distance)
The entrance was surprisingly steep...lets play guess the slope angle!
Enjoying the jump turns.
Marc taking advantage of the late May corn harvest.
So now it was time to gather the stragglers.  Matt and Agnes (both with fresh legs), set off on a sprint only to see corn snow rooster tails in their path.  We linked up with Gayle, and made the long run to the toe of the moraine.

We stopped and marveled at Raina's N couloir.  Matt was wishing he got the shot.
Agnes in awe.
The North Couloir of Raina Peak in all her splendid glory.  Definitely on the "to-do" list.
We finally transitioned back to sneakers, well some of us, and headed down the valley.

Making our way back, with Eagle Peak in the background.  Interesting note, this peak got skied a couple of times this year.
We finally made it back to the Delta Tango in about 9 and a half hours time, not a bad days work.  I grabbed Meg and LB, and we all enjoyed beers and dinner at Marc and Gayle's.

This is where our travels took us today.  ~10 miles round trip???
I also got a Spot for my b-day.  If yer lucky, yer on my email list.  If yer not, too bad soooo sad.

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