Wasatch Wandering – A Lil’ Mill D Circ
this mornings avy report although considerable is certainly better than the high we’ve been having more often than not.. although if something goes it’s likely to step down to the nasty surface hoar 3-5′ down… unsurvivable.
“We have a dangerous, unmanageable situation in the backcountry. The danger is CONSIDERABLE with deep, unsurvivable avalanches breaking near the ground.”
i thought i’d post this route because it was so much fun. 12 miles with 6,578 feet of climbing. i started at spruces campground. i’ve been feeling safe heading up mill D north on my own lately. today i decided to explore desolation, but wanted some vert so i took the long way there. this was a ski tour by all accounts, but holy shit did i get some sweet turns. the gps (iphone) died half way through so i had to manually add the second half of the route to everytrail.com. you can tell because it starts in the middle. but with google terrain i thought it was cool visual. it might help to click the link as the embedded version doesn’t always render the terrain.
starting up mill d north i skinned up reynolds peak and skied down the NE ridge to dog lake as you can see in the photo below.
the route then heads up little water peak. i skied the NW face in the birch tress down into upper big water. this slope has yet to disappoint. back up lil’ water and along what i think is the powder park ridge (pictured below).
powder park just wasn’t steep enough to drop in. i skinned along scott’s bowl across the red lover’s ridge that i’m familiar with from running and mtn biking, then finally skinned up to jupiter peak. the top of jupiter is just a few hundred feet above a park city lift. so i was joined by some boot packers looking for powder. on the way up there was a solo guy skiing the west facing slope that drops down to desolation lake. it’s lightly treed with a perfect pitch. however seeing someone drop in alone i said “don’t make me come down there and search for you”. i then had another 10 minutes of skinning to decide that i would in fact ski the same line. probably not my best idea, but it was mostly treed, kinda safe and incredible nonetheless. i then hightailed it out of the desolation lake death trap real quick like. back up the deso ridge (red pictured below) and out to the big avy slope from jan 24th.
i however dropped west averting the rocks and into the trees (green line above). this was a bit scetch being alone and having never been there.. it’s a knife ridge. i had scouted it from across the drainage many times and it looked like there was a safe route to trees from the rocky ridge. it wasn’t too bad. through the trees and then up leanord’s peak and over to what i think they call swingset for the final ski down to mill d and the spruces campground parking lot.
the day was awesome. although my black diamond skins conspired to stop me literally in my track, i managed this route in 5hr 15mins. i certainly wasn’t charging, but i wasn’t sitting around either… a nice cruiser pace. it was a beautiful sunny day and there is no place i would have rather been. i’m decidedly not fast by any standards and certainly not by wasatch standards but i’m getting there. 6,500 feet of gain is a good day, however next time i’ll try to bump that up a bit… but first the little business of orcas island 50km. meissner has been talking smack for the last month!!