Wydaho Snow: 1.31.15: Indian Creek, Middle Indian (aka Peak 9103′)

Today Maestra and I took advantage of the recent record warm temps and subsequently “stabilized” snow to explore a new region and peak: the Middle Indian (aka Peak 9,103′) at the fork of Indian Creek drainage off the Palisades Reservoir.

We found great snow in spots, dangerous crusts in others, and scoped out some incredible ski terrain on the Middle Indian itself and the surrounding peaks Blowout Mountain and Little Ferry Peak.  Scroll all the way down for eye candy you won’t find anywhere else.

Palisades, Indian Creek, Middle Indian Peak NW Ridge Aerial (Google Earth)
Middle Indian Peak Aerial View from NW, Indian Creek, Palisades, Wydaho  (Google Earth)

We also popped off the biggest whoomphf either of us have experienced in several winters at ~8500′ on a W facing aspect of the NW Ridge of Middle Indian.

1.31.15: Shooting cracks on the NW Ridge of Middle Indian immediately following a large whoomphf in the snowpack.  The settling event covered an area of several hundred square feet.
1.31.15: Shooting cracks on the NW Ridge of Middle Indian immediately following a large whoomphf in the snowpack. Cracks are visible below dog, behind and emerging from the photographer’s shadow, and to looker’s left of the dog. The settling event covered an area of several hundred square feet.  Some depth hoar apparently accompanies the prolific surface hoar now growing.

After a five day work week of record temperature highs under chemtrailed skies I wasn’t harboring high hopes for the ski conditions today but I remembered the wisdom of Wild Bill and went out anyway: there is no such thing as bad snow, only bad skiers.

I opted to check out a new-to-me zone so the thrill of exploration would overshadow the annoyance of variable snow and dangerous breakable crusts.  The snow was way better than expected in spots:  I didn’t see any sign of tracks on Middle Indian, but noticed a skintrack veering off towards Blowout Mountain.

On super shady N aspects above 7000′ the snow was still quite sugary and downright powdery above 8500′.  At lower elevations the snow was dangerous breakable crust on N aspects and in most spots shaded by trees on all aspects.

On W and SW aspects the conditions were  super variable.  At upper elevations there was 2-3′ of sugar and surface hoar atop supporting sun and wind crusts.  At mid elevations perfect cream cheese approaching corn graced the sunny spots.  It was a little crusty in the shade but still fun.  At lower elevations on WSW aspects it was actually colder than at mid elevations, the crusts became more breakable in spots, and the shaded slick breakable crust really tested my skiing ability and patience.  Since I was skiing alone in uncharted waters I opted to take it nice and easy when conditions deteriorated.

I was skiing my tiniest Dynafit skis (161cm long, 65mm underfoot) and loving it during the ascent everywhere the snow wasn’t deep or really breakable.  They handled well during the descent and made for a fun ski: something about being on a tiny, stiff ski in very marginal conditions makes for a lot of turns, a lot of focus, and a lot of effort: all of which make a big mountain seem even bigger.

The fall line down the WSW side of the Middle Indian was impressive.  I’m looking forward to trying it in powder when conditions are right.  The approach was very doable with fast, firm snow: ~2 miles gradual uphill skinning on a snowmobile packed track in and a casual downhill double pole out.

The skies were clear so I made a video about the importance of clear skies.

The best part of the day was the eye candy visible on the S aspect of Blowout Mountain and the N aspect of Little Ferry.  Enjoy!

1.31.15: Sexy lighting on the N Aspect of Little Ferry from Middle Indian
1.31.15: Sexy lighting on the N Aspect of Little Ferry from Middle Indian
N Aspect of  Little Ferry from Middle Indian (looker's left): 1.31.15
N Aspect of Little Ferry from Middle Indian (looker’s left): 1.31.15
N Aspect of  Little Ferry from Middle Indian (looker's right): 1.31.15
N Aspect of Little Ferry from Middle Indian (looker’s right): 1.31.15
S Aspect of Blowout Mountain from Middle Indian: 1.31.15
S Aspect of Blowout Mountain from Middle Indian: 1.31.15
S Aspect of Blowout Mountain from Middle Indian (looker's left): 1.31.15
S Aspect of Blowout Mountain from Middle Indian (looker’s right): 1.31.15
S Aspect of Blowout Mountain from Middle Indian (looker's right): 1.31.15
S Aspect of Blowout Mountain from Middle Indian (looker’s left): 1.31.15

As mentioned earlier, the skies were atrocious this week accompanying the record high temps.  Here are a few videos I made documenting the sorry state of the sky lately.  Tell your friends!

Maestra checking out the summit ridge of Middle Indian, Indian Creek, Palisades, Star Valley, Wyoming
Maestra checking out the summit ridge of Middle Indian, Indian Creek, Palisades, Star Valley, Wyoming
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