Austin Peak-Spines, Three Couloirs, and Pow
photos: Wysplit_ride and Matt Lloyd
*A lot of photos, but a lot of lines dropped.
This is my first trip to Austin Peak in the Absarokas. I first found out about this peak while at a quaint little cowboy cafe in Cora, WY. In the cafe is a huge photograph of a few people standing on top of the peak with an amazing couloir dropping off the summit. From the moment I saw that photo, I knew I had to see what the line was all about. Little did I know we would be skiing spines, three couloirs, and amazing late April powder on our first visit. Might as well be Little Italy.
Climbing up the south is very mellow with some amazing bowls. I was blown away when we reached the summit ridge and peaked into a whole north facing zone of couloirs, spines, and endless lines. A true North Shore of the Absarokas.
Surrounding area scenics on the approach:
Matt near summit plateau with south lines and a point at the warm up run:
A short spine for a warm up run. Matt's warm-up sequence:
With the warm-up run out of of the way, it was time to make our way to Austin Peak and the Northern Zone. Little did we know how good it would be.
Matt on the summit ridge looking at the main spine in the center that we would drop next. This is just below Austin's summit.
Matt traverses over to the spine/couloir:
The line was a bit sketchy because clouds moved in and blocked our view of the bottom. We knew cliffs lurked below, but where:
Matt drops into the north sequence:
Wysplit_ride at the bottom:
Little did we know that these two hundred foot cliffs block the bottom of this shot. I thought about trying to drop, but we made a good call:
With one cool line dropped, it was time to climb back out and drop from Austin Peak's true summit. The clouds were beginning to clear:
A view of Austin Peak summit (right) and first line schralped (left):
Looking down the main northeast couloir that we would drop off Austin Peak. Second couloir of the day. Apparently in a TGR film, Jason Tattersall kicked off an avi in this couloir and then skied it. We just kicked off about 12 inches of fresh sluff and did not appear in a film.
Matt drops off the top of Austin Peak:
Wysplit_ride coming out of the apron of Austin's Couloir:
Matt with the main Austin Peak couloir in the background:
With two couloirs down, it just didn't seem like enough. There was a true north facing couloir that led off the direct summit, but did not cliff out. It was about 2000 vertical feet of amazing turns and aesthetic features. It was magical.
Matt dropping the final couloir of the day:
Wysplit_ride halfway down the couloir. Getting ready to surf some slough.
A perfect end to a perfect day.
Today was one of the most perfect days I have spent in the mountains this season. A new fantabulous ski zone, amazing lines in abundance, and riding with a good buddy that pushed for that one last line that was oh so good. I am still on cloud nine.