Sunday, June 14, 2009

Parry Peak Descent

I was trying to decide whether to try Quandary or Parry Peak. The book says that Quandary is in shape until early June, Parry until mid June. After the great descent of Eva last year, Parry was chosen.

This time I made it all the way to the reservoir in my Dodge pickup. The open field to south of the dam is fairly steep, but gives way to a long and slowly ascending meadow deep into the valley. I crossed a couple of snowfields on the way up that required some deliberate stepping.

Three other skiers were making their way to Parry as well. I followed the skiers up the east most couloir as seen in photo 2. They were kicking steps in their AT boots, but I donned my crampons since I was in my mountaineering boots. The snow was good for kicking steps. I decided to leave my board at the saddle because a full descent was getting a bit dicey this late in the year. I did head up unencumbered and bag the peak. At this point I noticed two other skiers making their way up the slope. A final talley for the day was 3 telly, 1 AT, and me the lone splitboard.

The descent from the saddle was fairly steep at about 35 degrees with a narrow neck just below the ridge (photo 3). Once past the narrows, the middle section was superb riding. The bottom got slushy and flat as is the pattern. I made it most of the way across the flats saving me a bit of hike out. The skiers made it all the way across the flats, but I had to hike to the next drop off. This left one last piece of descent down to Fall River Reservoir. This section was steep and sticky with many obstacles (photo 4). I even lost my ice axe somehow and had to hike back up to find it lying in the narrow snow section in the middle of the photo.

I don't think this descent is going to last past next week so do it or don't. You can see most of the line in photo 5. The descent starts right of center in the photo on the prominent snow finger. It continues directly toward you in the photo thru the valley.

The descent ends just above the reservoir. It was a nice hike back along the foot trail next to the Fall River Reservoir shore. I made it back to the truck to find many vehicles where there was only three when I left! An old timer from Wyoming commented that his van and my truck were the only two American vehicles there. All in all it was an awesome day and I was very happy with the performance of my new BCA backpack.

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