|Phil Esra ascends Jack's Peak|
Next morning it seemed surprisingly cold. We had a stiff headwind skiing across Echo Lake. Below freezing all day and windy all day. Adding to the mountain excitement were numerous displays of recent avalanche activity from the previous weekend's storm. Not that we'd have any unstable snow. 'We should be so lucky!' With one icy traverse above Heather Lake, we reached a campspot with the shelter of some trees and a view of Lake Aloha.
We awoke to blue skies and calm conditions. I peeked out of my bivy bag to see the east face of the Pyramid Peak - Mt. Price ridgeline (including a slide path extending all the way down to lake level) with the pink glow of early sunlight, the color spectrum quickly filling in while I was fumbling for my camera.
|Menno in front of a slide, northeast face of Dick's Peak.|
From there we plotted our ascent of the somewhat higher Dick's Peak. The top section had spotty coverage, so we'd leave our skis on the ridge and scramble the last few hundred feet. Which is how it happened. And, as it turned out, the south-facing bowl that we descended had probably the nicest snow of the day; jump-teles brought us to the base quickly where we saw... some other guys randonnee skiing an even better line right from the summit.
We soon found that the nice snow would only be found on south-facing slopes. Which meant that all of our remaining ascent sections were on nice soft smooth snow. But all of our remaining descents were north-facing. Hard, crusty, and worse yet, variable. At one point, I left an imprint of my face in the hard snowpack, not long before Phil took an impressive tumble. Menno, well, he acknowledged that there was one spot where his form wavered a little.
Descending to below 7000' near Crystal Lake, we post-holed and hiked a brief south-facing section, and then proceeded on skis to the Emerald Bay 'Inspiration Point' overlook, not far from our shuttle car. Overall a good trip. But, with a total of 5 people putting lines down Dick's Peak, I can't help thinking that maybe what this place needs is a better magazine ad campaign.
-Bob Akka, 2/25/02
Another trip (with photos) to the same area in 1997