click to enlarge pt6-deathstar_ch_0318.jpeg

Chad Harder

Called the “Death Star” by some, the Vader-ish weather station on the summit of Point Six is a common reference point that overlooks Jenni Lake and the bowl that surrounds it. It’s a short 30-minute bootpack or skin from the top of Montana Snowbowl’s Lavelle Creek lift. Alternately, it’s a two-hour push up from the base of the mountain once the lifts stop running in the spring.

Regardless of how you get to the top, you’ll find lots of room to spread out coming down. Drop off toward the northwest for short, steep turns down "Three Tiers" and "Too Steep to Tele." Or head southeast into Jenny Bowl. Depending on current conditions and recent snowfall, sometimes the best turns are found by heading just partway up the bootpack and dropping into the more east-northeast facing aspects. Beware of big cornices around here and dramatically different conditions as you work your way in and out and around Jenni Bowl. The Missoula Avalanche forecasters often pull data from this zone, so checking for updates should be of particular interest to anyone planning this pre-bloody-mary sidecountry trip.

Also note that almost every year there’s a story about someone getting lost in this zone. Missoula search and rescue teams get plenty of practice combing through the drainage. Be sure to pay attention to how you get out of before you drop in. It’s a long, cold walk out to Grant Creek from here if you go too far.

Ross Peterson

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