January 26, 2008
We had high aspirations of doing the Chair Peak circumnavigation today. Similar to how we had high hopes of doing it about a year ago. And similar to a year ago, Kirsten stayed home because she was sick. And similar to a year ago, we bailed before making it over Bryant Col, this time because the forecasted storm was obviously approaching. The secret seems to be having Kirsten with us. We'll have to try that next time. We did make it up to Bryant Col this time, however, so I figure if for some reason I were to continue to try it without Kirsten, at the present rate of improvement, I will complete the circumnavigation in twenty more attempts. Those last 10 or so where we'd turn around more than halfway through the route would really suck though.
So this time, we skied the Bryant Couloir on our way down. We were really hoping the snow in the couloir would be protected from wind and sun effect, but alas for the most part it was wind slab and crust. Not a pleasant combination. In the constricted part of the gully, where it gets steep for a bit, we all side-slipped the whole thing in an effort not to break the crust, which was several inches thick here, and send it all sliding down the gully. Naturally, we were totally psyched about side-slipping Bryant Couloir. Not a lot of folks out there who have done that. After exiting the gully and reaching the lower slopes above Source Lake, we found better, nay, nice snow on the low-angled, lower-elevation slopes. Yet, this brief introduction to non-survival skiing was not enough to convince us to go back up for another lap, not anywhere in the basin. Nope, we went straight out, and even after stopping for barbecue at Rhodies, we still made it home by 1 o'clock, finding victory in a small thing.