Forums Trip Reports Chamonix Couloir, Beartooth Range: Another MT TR
Viewing 17 posts - 1 through 17 (of 17 total)
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  • #576877
    nickstayner
    700 Posts

    Here’s another MT TR for y’all, cross posted from my blog to add some more content here. Be forewarned though, no riding action shots since this was a solo mission. Just nice Beartooth couloir eye candy.

    It was my turn to pay Kate a visit in Billings, so figured I’d stop by East Rosebud on the way. Hiked in Friday afternoon to test out some new bivy gear.

    The line in all its foreshortened glory (hard to believe there’s almost 4k’ of couloir up there)

    Sporadic rain overnight and forecasted warm temps for Saturday got me out of bed at 5 AM despite the NW exposure of the line. Booting up, I encountered the crux of the line in the first thousand feet (if you don’t count postholing through unfrozen glop for the next 3000′ as a crux anyway)- a 15-20′ water ice bulge through a tight chimney.

    Surmounting that thing proved to be sort of fun, and I wondered if I would ride it or downclimb it on the way out.

    The rest of the ascent was a pretty grueling bootpack, especially after not sleeping the night before due to continually finding ticks crawling around me. Oddly enough, three ice climbers (two of whom I knew from Bozeman) caught up to me about 2/3 up the couloir and took over breaking trail for a minute. Sadly, the flow they were looking to climb was only about two hundred yards beyond and I was relegated to punching through the crust again.

    Truly a beautiful line though (apologies to B. Fredlund for the next two photos):

    Even encountered some windbuffed pow near the top of this massive line

    The descent ran the gamut of conditions: began as windbuffed pow, turned into scoured rock sneaking for a minute, rode a long section of breakable crust and wet slide chunder, then began to find cornlike snow up against the skier’s left side of the couloir. Below 9k’ things were mostly awesome mashed potatoes, though I had to enter a crazy fogbank for a minute.

    Another 1500′ or so brought me back to the ice crux. Feeling worked from the descent and having a slightly dry base that was sticky unpredictably to the wet snow, I opted to put the crampons back on and downclimb, rather than “air it out” or straightline. Plus it looked a good bit more intimidating from the top than from the bottom (as is so often the case).

    After the downclimb, I worked to the edge of the couloir to strap back in for a final few hundred feet of linking snowpatches back to the snowline. The Cham is a truly beautiful line and since I’ll be in Bilings next winter I’m positive I’ll return to it and the other beauties of the East Rosebud many times.

    #655545
    barrows
    1490 Posts

    Thanks for that Nick, a sweet looking line. Perhaps worth returning to in an attempt to find better conditions.
    Good decision to climb down that ice, in the photos it looks like a straightline there, in those conditions, would be quite risky! Maybe it would be OK to straightline it with deep, perfect, powder below, but otherwise…

    #655546
    iriecoyote
    291 Posts

    Great TR. That’s an amazing couloir. Thanks for sharing!

    @barrows wrote:

    Thanks for that Nick, a sweet looking line. Perhaps worth returning to in an attempt to find better conditions.
    Good decision to climb down that ice, in the photos it looks like a straightline there, in those conditions, would be quite risky! Maybe it would be OK to straightline it with deep, perfect, powder below, but otherwise…

    excellent reply.

    #655547
    nickstayner
    700 Posts

    Thanks guys! Definitely worth returning for in better conditions, though sometimes I think that dealing with variable snow conditions is one of the fundamental essences of splitboarding and I don’t mind it so much.

    There are also at least three other couloirs in the vicinity that have very similar properties and different aspects, making a massive linkup possible if timing and conditions allowed.

    #655548
    acopafeel
    134 Posts

    What a sweet line Nick!

    #655549
    Ecobrad
    2068 Posts

    Awesome line and determination. Way to charge it solo. Be safe out there. Straightlining ice in couloirs is for pros with support helis.

    #655550
    barrows
    1490 Posts

    @ecobrad wrote:

    Awesome line and determination. Way to charge it solo. Be safe out there. Straightlining ice in couloirs is for pros with support helis.

    Also for when you have a totally perfect runout…

    #655551
    nickstayner
    700 Posts

    @ecobrad wrote:

    Straightlining ice in couloirs is for pros with support helis.

    Haha, fully agreed. I guess what I wrote came off a bit wrong. It wasn’t like I was jonesing to ride the ice, more that I was slightly disappointed that the 3,980′ had to be marred by 20′ of downclimbing :). Glad you guys enjoyed it though!

    #655552
    UTAH
    830 Posts

    Very aesthetic line, nice work.

    #655553
    digerati
    82 Posts

    Way to get after it, Nick! :bananas:

    What happened to finals!? ;D Stoked to see you made it out, in fine style… good luck on the exams :thumpsup:

    #655554
    mej
    81 Posts

    Nice. I just happened to be checking that area out on ACME Mapper a couple days ago. Couloir central for sure, especially if the south facing stuff was in.

    #655555
    wasatch surf
    979 Posts

    yummy!

    #655556
    stoudema
    551 Posts

    Nice report, looks like a nice line! Love the first photo!

    #655557
    HikeforTurns
    1113 Posts

    Sweet line!

    #655558
    keffler
    319 Posts

    “almost 4k of vert” :drool:

    Nice post Nick. One of my touring buddies is from Montana and we’ve been talking about doing a trip up there next year!

    #655559
    ale_capone
    864 Posts

    Nice one Nick!

    #655560
    nickstayner
    700 Posts

    Thanks guys.

    One of my touring buddies is from Montana and we’ve been talking about doing a trip up there next year!

    Keffler, you should definitely come visit this place. I would suggest this time of year and later for best chance at riding something big/still finding decent coverage. In the earlier winter months, the northern front of the Beartooth is typically cold, windy, and drier due to most of the SW track storms hitting the Cooke City region first.

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