It's been awhile since I had a start this early. But sure enough at 3:05 the alarm went off and I was out of bed. With our bags packed the night before we were out the door a little after 3:30. We arrived at the Mount Blackmore trailhead and we were heading up by 5.
We kept a speedy pace as our headlamps lit up our little patch of the forest. We managed to catch first light hit Blackmore and watched the light slowly work its way down the mountain toward the valley.
We made our way up the ridge to the saddle between Blackmore and its neighboring peak, Elephant. We finally got some sun on our faces and warmed up a bit as we began to transition for our first descent of the day.
The snow had been baked by the sun which left us with less than stellar crusty conditions for the decent down the backside of the mountain. Thankfully that was not what we came for this day. After reaching the valley and following a creek for a little it was time to eat an early lunch and get ready to approach our objective.
After some delicious lasagna with meat sauce curtesy of Mountain House, we were heading towards our objective for the day, the North Couloir. Upon arriving at the base of it, we dug a pit to see if it was safe to ski.
The snow was damn near unbreakable. We were almost able to take out an entire column, surface to base. Feeling pretty good about the snowpact, we sent it upwards.
This kind of skiing has a real mix of pros and cons. Being able to travel deep into the Montana backcountry, ski a crazy line, and not see another soul the entire day is a pretty spectacular thing. Doing stuff like this is an incredibly rewarding experience if you can get past those early start times and late finishes. Doesn't come without the cons. And being dead tired after a 20 mile day certainly hovers around the top of that list of said cons. Somehow it's always worth it.