Sunday, April 23, 2017

Cardinal Mountain

After a couple of weeks with a lot of time on the bike I was eager to get on skis again. I joined my friends Ben, Ann, and Chase for an exploratory tour up towards the north side of Cardinal Mountain.

From the Red Lake trail head it's about an hour hike to snow at around 7500'.

At 8500' there is a lot of snow!

Looking up at the ridges and buttresses of Split Mountain.

 Above 10200' the views open up nicely. The Northeast chutes of Cardinal are directly above Ben and Chase's heads.

We continued up to check on the North Couloirs.

This one did not appear to connect to the top, but the narrow "pinner" to the right looked like it probably did.

Looking north to the South Face of Split Mountain. Currently there is a lot of avalanche debris in there.

The impressive wall at the head of the canyon. The dark rock is old metamorphic rock known as a "roof pendant" sitting on top of younger granitic rock. More info here

The middle of the three couloirs is apparently the "North Couloir" in the guidebook. The left couloir ends up on the main ridge somewhat further from the summit. A large cornice guards the exit on that one.

Stunning scene.

We headed up this face east of the couloirs.  The skinning was difficult on firm snow. Ann and I lost motivation but Ben and Chase persevered.

The guys are just starting down in this pic. They're tiny dots on the right side near the shadows above the two rock islands.

They got into high winds and blowing snow on the ridge but found decent skiing for the most part on the descent.

Although it was getting late in the day and the snow had warmed quite a bit, the skiing was still good fun.

Olive boogies after her dad Ben!

End of the line.

Felt great to be on skis and up in the mountains again!

A heads up. There has been and will likely continue to be a lot of wet avalanche activity especially, but not limited to, sunny/warm slopes. Be aware. Be cautious.

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