My buddy Giri and I hit up a couple of classic big mountain lines at A-Basin, CO today. Our day started off with a hike up the North Pole to the craggy, steep couloir known as Notch 1. The hike out to the Notch was a little interesting with visibility coming and going and a nearly sheer drop down the south side of the ridge for what looked like close to 1000 vertical feet. Once we got into the low spot marking the top of Notch 1 we were able to relax a little and scout the line.
Looking down Notch 1
With isolated snow showers coming and going, we had to wait on top of the line for a good 5-10minutes while visibility improved. Here's Giri taking it all in. (judging by the angle the slope makes below his legs, I'd say its safe to say that Notch 1 averages the low 40s for about 3-400 vertical feet.)
The snow in Notch 1 wasn't exactly ideal deep, open 'er up powder; but it was soft enough that we could get our edges in and push out some nice turns over the moguls. Here's Giri turning down the fall-line setting up a heelside turn. (I can't believe how well this shot turned out since it was taken with my 1.3MP "dumb" phone.)
After successfully navigating Notch 1, Giri and I traversed over to Willie's Staircase. The staircase is about a half-hour of suck. By that, I mean its about a half-hour plus of sustained low to mid 40-degree bootpack. Here's a shot just a little over half-way up. We were headed for the rock cluster in the center of the photo. (note the group of 4 to the left of the rocks for scale.)
We relaxed at the top of the staircase for a bit, discussing safety, snacking on a PB&J, fruit roll-ups and some cheese before dropping into a beautiful apron of soft snow. All in all a great time at A-Basin today. I have to keep reminding myself its May.