Ryan really wanted to go ski Eagle Peak and lured me into the idea with the possibility of a skin track and boot pack that his friends had left behind a week before. I was a little skeptical, having skied a total of 3 days this year, and Eagle peak being a massive steep mountain, but I just didn't want to extinguish that light in Ry's eyes....yet.
Eagle Peak (seen from the eagle river nature center side)
If everything had lined up perfect we may have made it despite the 11:30 departure from the nature centers parking lot. But the going wasn't quite as easy as we had hoped. No avalanches have come down from above and buried the creek, so it was a bit of a melting maze of weak snow bridges and alder dodging. Then we got to the end of the creek where there is actually a rough trail through the worst of the alders, but no bootpack. Instead it was deep and steep, I lost my optimism at that point and Ry and I had a sit down and evaluate session.
So we wasted probably 40 minutes of the day debating how long it would take us to get through the alders and if we would have time to make it to the top. In the end we decided that it was a beautiful day and we should just keep going.
Ry Above Tree Line
It ended up being relatively easy to get through the alders and above tree line. We made it to the base of the couloir we wanted to go up at about 5, we looked at pics we had taken in the morning, and we were still a very long ways away. The snow was variable hard packed with light sustrugi and patches of breakable crust and it was going to just get steeper. I'll admit it, I wanted out of there, I was not psyched anymore to keep going.
Ry Heading Down
So we debated a little more, and in the end turned around. Now that I'm home I wish I would have kept going, but in that moment where we turned around I felt good about our decision. I'd like to go back up there, but probably will start a little bit earlier.