Whale Peak 13,078′ – 6/9/2013 – Gibson’s Gully – A Backcountry Peak Cherry

After skiing Grays we headed to Frisco and had some sandwiches at Spinelli’s. They make a mean cheesesteak. We then headed to Allison’s place and had a little nap. After that we headed to Hall Valley Ranch road and the Gibson Lake Trailhead to meet up with Danny and Brooke. It has been a while since I’d skied with Danny, I believe it was “Anderson Peak” almost exactly a year ago. Since that time he and his wife Brooke have had a baby and gotten all career oriented. Good things when you’re new parents. On a whim I gave Danny a call and just by chance the baby was being watched by the grandparents that weekend and they were out camping and having some adult time. They found a sweet campsite and we hung out eating venison, prosciutto, cheese and smores while we caught up.

In the morning we headed up the trail in shoes and made decent time to treeline. The snow in the willows was a bit hollow so since Brooke was skinless the two of them headed up the grassy ridge and me and Alli headed up the more direct snow. We skinned very high up the East Bowl and then switched to booting. Minus one very hollow section below the cornice the ascent was pretty decent. At the top we goofed around and sized up the line. There haven’t been many freezes lately but the snow has been great nonetheless. The clearish skies have lent themselves well to radiational “freezes”

I dropped in first and gave the slope a good cut. I kicked off a decent 6″ sluff and watched it run a little. Then I hit the gas and got out in front of it. It formed a little river that was easily avoidable. I pulled to the side and then it was Danny’s turn. He made crisp turns down to a point below me and then Allison dropped in. She kicked up a little sluff too but easily got out in front of it. Brooke was up now and this was here first peak descent. She made elegant turns down to Danny and Allison. We yo-yoed down to the bottom of the snow and then booted down a short section to milk a little bit more. We then headed for the lake and even more turns below that.

Such a fun day and thank you Brooke for the honor of participating in your first peak ski. Danny lets not wait so long for our next ski. Enjoy the pics 🙂

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