“The Hourglass” on Mt. Angeles

Posted by Tyler Reid - February 12, 2013 - Dispatches & Trip Reports - No Comments

Jack Ganster doesn’t worry too much about summits; instead his motto is climb to ski. Well he’s quickly learning that if on the phone I mention to throw in an axe and harness it means we’ll be doing the opposite, ski to downclimb.

Similar to checking out The Pipeline a few weeks back, this was another recon mission – a line that has great potential but as of right now is not quite “in”. Both of these lines come off the east face of a sub peak along the south ridge of Mt. Angeles and both are accessible from the backside. While the “climb what you ski” mentality certainly has a place, these things are funnels for falling objects (snow, rocks, rime ice). Skiing top down reduces your exposure to said falling objects, but requires that you’ve done your homework.

Katy and I recently scouted ways to access the top of this line and found a narrow gully that connects with a hanging snowfield on the west side – a cool little alpine climb that puts you right at the entry notch. With an 11:30am “alpine start” Jack and I retraced this route.

Three turns in after a short exposed traverse, the first pinch was too narrow to ski and required a quick downclimb (“pointing it” would not have gone well given the variable snow conditions).

Things open up in the middle and the angle eases off for a few casual turns before things get steep again at the constriction. Similar to what we ran into in The Pipeline, a weird wind feature made this section unskiable.

An alternate entrance on the looker’s left side can be accessed from the top of The Pipeline and is a little mellower. These lines are worthy of classic status and should be nicely filled later this season with another meter or two of coverage.