Thursday, February 21, 2013

Sky Pilot Ski Tour

Posted By on Thu, Feb 21, 2013 at 6:15 PM

With high pressure in the forecast, we pulled the plug on making tracks for Sky Pilot Peak, the iconic Bitterroot beauty located west of Gash Point.

Sky Pilot Peak, Bitterroots

Tours to Sky Pilot generally head over Gash Point and we did not stray from the standard.

Heading over Gash Point
We ran into Blake and Will at the trailhead and they had the jump on us to the summit of Gash where we watched Blake tear up the north face of Gash headed for Sweathouse Creek. The weather was still bluebird and cold so we dropped off the backside following another set of tracks and made the descending traverse run to North Bear Lake where we enjoyed good south facing powder through the subalpine and down into the spruce forest. When we bottomed out, the weather rolled in and began blowing and snowing big flakes. Spying the other two skinners ahead of us near the north face we carried on into the gathering storm and lowering ceiling. By the time we had reached the lower north face, the summit was totally obscured, and we ascended into the white out. It was powder until we booted above the constriction where the snow turned to crust. We passed the other two splitboarders on our summit approach as they ghosted out of the gloom in the whiteout and we only managed a shout out. We wasted no time on the summit and switched over to skiing and began the ski by feel descent on the right side of the summit bowl before making our way left into the main gully and then descending good snow to the bench. We chose the tight right route next to the summit cliffs for our descent to the lake and other than one steep roll with some exposed ice the skiing was pleasant powder to the lake.
At North Bear Lake, Sky Pilot in the BG
The return to the summit ridge and descent to the trailhead was uneventful and fast with good powder all the way to the lower bench.

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