When we left the McCully yurt on 4/13, went back to Enterprise, and took a rest day. Snow squalls covered the mountains, and things were lining up for a potential day of pow and stability. Mike asked me where I wanted to go touring for Friday/Saturday, and I respond Chief Joe. You can see the aesthetic lines from town, and I drool over them every time I am in the Wallowa Valley. Mike said he was down to give it a go, so we sent.
Rest day scoping the lines...
We got an early start friday and shwacked our way up the lower mountain. When we reached the cirque containing our objective couloirs, we dug a snowpit in an area of sparsely gladed trees aside the avalanche path/aprons. The snowpack was great; 6" of "right side up" new snow, bonded well to a strong April snowpack. We felt good and booted up the far lookers left couloir.
Mike booting up...
The weather was in and out all day. Actually it was mostly in, and clouds socked the mountain. After climbing the couloir we waited for a window of visibility and dropped.
Mike ripping it up, poles and all….
The weather was supposed to break in the afternoon, and feeling good about stability I climbed up our boot-pack again, hoping to snag another one of the couloirs down the ridge. As it turned out the weather never broke. I waited at the top of the couloir for 45 minutes and then dropped back down the boot-pack couloir. Shreddy, go!
We had a fun day working the weather, and in the evening discussed touring the next day. After some back and forth we decided to head back to the Chief. We had a trail/ boot pack set, and 4 more virgin couloirs.We made much better time Saturday and were in the Cirque in 2 hours. Getting to the boot pack it was obvious we made the right decision.
We booted up, and dropped one of the dogleg couloirs first. The couloir has an upper snowfield and then drops through a rock lined chute.
Mike shredding out of the chute....
Mike was tired and posted up in the basin while I went up for another. Looking at our tracks from run 1, Joseph and Wallowa lake in the background.
I traversed up the ridge to the main couloir. Looking down the face.
The snow was perfect; settled, stable, pow. Such an amazing run!
What an amazing 2 days. Some objectives have more sentimental value than others, and riding these lines meant a lot to me. Almost like a right of passage into the Wallowa. Thank you, Chief Joe.
Our tracks seen from town.