West Sheridan 12,962′ East Bowl – 5/24/2017 – Making Due With Plan B

Back from Cali, finally getting back to the hills after spending some quality time on the rock with my boys. I touched base with some partners and we decided to go for Mount Sherman’s West Face. It looked like it was in when we were driving back from BV the other day but I wasn’t exactly sure cause it was after sunset when we saw it. I rolled up to camp and was treated to the wails of a mountain lion. It was close by, because I could hear it over my music. Getting to sleep was a little tough as every noise had me on edge. Gary, Pat and Jeff answered the call and we met at 7am to give it a go. The wind was ripping when I was on my way over the night before and I was questioning the idea from the start but hey you never know till you go. With all the new snow over the past week I was hoping to get it in pow. The wind had a different idea. We made easy time of the approach and worked our way up to the base of the gully that went to the summit. The apron was firm and my hand pits were showing q2s and q3s below the wind slab. When we got a bit further up Gary started talking about not liking what he was seeing so after a short discussion on what to do next we put on our skis and bailed. Hopefully the next few days of sun will help the snow transform to spring snow; if the wind stops. If any member of your group has doubts turn around, respect your partners and the signs the mountain is presenting you and you group.

From there we skied over to the base of West Sheridan’s Northeast Ridge. We skinned as high as we could and then booted up the 1,400′ ridge. The snow was whumphy on the ridge and was causing me more concern than the West Face wind slab. Reactivity always gets the senses immersed. The shear quality was terrible so I didn’t say anything. It stayed put and finally we were at the summit. The cornice that guards most of the bowl is a lot shorter this year than the last time I was on this peak. That day we didn’t mess with the East Bowl, today was a different story. We were hoping the leeward nature of it would keep the wind down and the snow would warm up nicely.

Gary dropped the cornice and I shot everyone from below the cornice. The snow was really funky. It was like 2′ of corn on top of wintry snow on top of hard. It didn’t ski very well, or I should say I didn’t ski it very well. We talked a little about going back up for the North Gully but nobody really seemed interested. I figured the skier’s left would be wind loaded and punchy and I figured the skier’s right would be very firm. Oh well a day spent in the mountains is a good day and now I know what the snow pack is doing. Hopefully southeast will be better tomorrow after the sun. We’ll have to see what Lackawanna delivers.

 

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