A month or so ago a buddy threw out the idea of going down to his cabin in SW Montana, we all jumped on the idea and made some plans.
There was some tentativeness from the group as the day before we were set to leave temps dropped into the MINUS 35 range (without wind chill). Luckily things had warmed up to a balmy 5 degrees as we loaded up the snowmobiles and what seemed to be an endless amount of gear (yes there was beer and booze too).
On 1/22 Tues we rolled up the canyon and got to the cabin at about 130pm. We geared up and snowmobiled 15 miles that day. Our goal was to break the trail with our snowmobiles so that it would be easier the next day. The snow got really deep, 2 feet as we got higher in the drainage. Steve’s snowmobile broke down in the first hour. What luck? As he rounded a corner he ran over a frozen owl which then got caught in this tracks and stalled the sled. It fucked up the clutch assembly. Steve opted to stay there and start a fire while we continued on our mission. After 3 hours we finally made it back to where Steve was, only he had started walking back, guess he was cold. We towed the busted snowmobile back to the cabin and picked up Steve enroute.
Wednesday the 23rd came early. After a huge greasy breakfast we left the cabin at 9am in the 5 degrees temp. The wind bit on our noses as we rallied the snomos at 30 mph. We snowmobiled up 8 miles and parked at the Sailor lake gate. From there we started our skintrack up to the lake. It was tough to decide what we should ski, the terrain was imposing to say the least. There was a lot of exposure and we were looking to minimize that, finding the powder was priority numero uno. We skied a short little shot after changing our minds on what to ski 2 times. We finally skinned up a south facing slope (shallow snowpack in the scree). We busted out one lap on great snow on the apron. Round two: skinned back up and then bootpacked about 400’ to the ridge. V started a fire (named the chute Burnt Pine) on the ridge, of which we dropped off of. The run was very rocky at the top. I was able to go last and missed the rocks, getting into great snow after about 100’ and skied the whole chute. We were back to the sleds at about 4pm. V's knee is hurt from a fall in the chute.
Digging a pit on the 2nd day
Our turns on the apron
Total vertical toured = 2000ft – 1.5 miles of up time; got 1 200', 1 400’, 1 800’, 1 500’ (back to the sled)
On our last day of the trip, 1/24 we got a bit of a later start. The group was a grogy from too much grog and the legs a bit tired. But the skies were crystal blue, except after we started the snowmobiles. Smoke bilged forth and we set out again. Only today we were one dude down, V was going to hang at the cabing to recoup the knee. Steve, Nate and I parked at the same spot as the day before. The trail was great and we had no issues getting up there. We skinned across Sailor lake towards the big apron that was calling our name. A quick climb up through the trees looker left and we were on top. The pit showed moderate conditions, CT 17 if I remember right. The aspect was somewhat shaded and was on the leeward side so the snow was excellent. The group ripped that twice, and I hit again for the last run. Steve and Nate explored the nice snow in the trees. We named it the Duke chute b/c the duke I left at the bottom of it. All in all a total of 2100’ skied – 1.3 miles up time
Nate ripping on day 2, a nice rooster of cold smoke