Category Archives: Wydaho Snow

Wydaho Snow: 3.20.15: Ferry Peak Holding Up Despite Record Temps

It’s still possible to ski good snow top to trailhead on the W side of Ferry Peak despite prolonged record warm temps.  The E side of Ferry Peak via Sheep Gulch is melted out down low as are most other S facing aspects on the lower 1/4 of the mountain.

Today Dani, Maestra and I awoke to a pleasant surprise: bright blue skies and overnight lows well below freezing in Star Valley.   We opted to take advantage of the relatively safe spring conditions to ascend and descend a big gully surrounded by steep faces that wouldn’t be safe with higher avalanche danger: North Gully.

Dani ascending the North Gully on the West side of Ferry Massif.  South faces to looker's left are spotty at mid-elevations and barren or rotten down low.
3.20.15: Dani ascending North Gully on the West side of Ferry Massif. South faces to looker’s right are spotty at mid-elevations and barren or rotten down low.

S and SE facing slopes had lost coverage but E and N aspects protected plenty of snow.  Snow was firm on all aspects encountered during the ascent and softened up nicely for the descent.  We tried to avoid super-sun-affected S facing slopes and other areas with low snow levels.

Maestra chilling atop Point 9560+.  Ferry Peak proper (elev. 9612') is that knob in the background.
3.20.15: Maestra chilling atop Point 9560+. Ferry Peak proper (elev. 9612′) is that knob in the background.
N aspect of Brad Peak from Point 9560+.  A large slide ran most of the way down the handle of The Rake.
3.20.15: N aspect of Brad Peak from Point 9560+. A large slide ran most of the way down the handle of The Rake.
3.20.15: Looking down the East Face of the Ferry Massif from Point 9560+.  Several wet slides had released on this aspect during the recent heatwave.  Coverage looks great but we would have needed an earlier start to ski this safely because it catches sun earlier in the day than the West side of Ferry.  Snow does not extend all the way to the highway near the bottom of Sheep Gulch.
3.20.15: Looking down the East Face of the Ferry Massif from Point 9560+. Several wet slides had released on this aspect during the recent heatwave. Coverage looks great but we would have needed an earlier start to ski this safely because it catches sun earlier in the day than the West side of Ferry. Snow does not extend all the way to the highway near the bottom of Sheep Gulch.

The snow proved great on ESE aspect during our descent around 2pm: creamy sun-cooked corn.  Shady slopes were still crusty at that time.  Small debris fields in N Gully weren’t fun but not bad either.  Down low heavy sled traffic had packed down a nice track out that would have been scary if encountered while refrozen.

The sky was gorgeous this morning with aerial spray visible over Idaho by mid-afternoon, so I made a NW Wyoming Skywatch video from Point 9650+.  As I’m writing this it’s sunset and it appears that the spray planes are returning.  Will warm temps come in their wake?  We’ll see.