I headed up to Camas Peak yesterday with a couple friends and we had an amazing day in the bright sunshine, still weather and skiing the three week old snow. The coverage was decent and the trailbreaking light.
We were able to park at the beginning of the lower ridge and the short scramble to enough snow took fifteen minutes. With what looked like one party before us during the three week lull, we followed the trail to the first talus slope whereupon our trailbreakers had ascended and we kept to the trail, first tracks and three weeks after the last snowfall. Eat your heart out ski area skiers! With December cool and dry, the snow was light and sugary and we made fairly fast time to Kidney Lake and then onto the summit, only bootpacking the final five hundred vertical at most. It was Will and Ryan's first time there, and for me, no matter how many times I reach the summit of Camas Peak I am inspired. With great views of the Bitterroots in all directions and a lifetime of skiing opportunities to look upon, it a gem here in the Hamilton area.
Skiing from the summit is always a treat as well and despite the three week absense of snow, we found the conditions quite good, with a bit of wind pack, and powder drifts, and some very light breakable crusts. The three thousand foot run back to the car was inspiring and getting to the summit made me remember how grand it is to ski off of different peaks.