Allen and Lisa Light and myself (Jon Carney) finally mustered the energy for a huge day to check out Broken Top and Ball Butte. We resigned ourselves to knowing that turns could be few as the day was long and the weather was very poor at elevation. We got going about 8:45 with a lot of terrain to cover. We opted to put the AT and Tele gear in the packs and motor out on the skinny skis. This worked out well and we made great time with the usual layer change and pack adjustment stops.
The first stop was due to grabby snow as Allen shows by digging out a basket that was snatched up by a tree well!
The procession continued and we cleared the tree line. Things were looking great but within 5 minutes of reaching the base of the crater the wind just started whipping. We had gusts easily into the 30's and I suspect much higher. A quick and unanimous decision was made...............
Allen and Lisa below taking in the low vis and increasing winds.
We continued the trudge on out. Took a break at a main intersection of the numerous snowmobile trails in the area to check GPS and the map.
From this point we proceeded to the base of Ball Butte and left the established trail to traverse around to the west at about 7200'. The glades of Ball look very inviting. Not a huge elevation gain, but lots and lots of terrain.
So it was a recon day. We've all had them. But we had the skis on and it was great fun. The final assessment.....Ball Butte is quite do-able in mid-winter. Two hours in before climbing before turns, hike and ski some cool terrain and probably about 1 and 1/2 hours out. The out is mostly a gradual downhill except for the last 3/4 mile. The car will likely be a welcome site.
Wwwwooorrrrrrrrch out! Wwwooorrrtch out! Those damn Texans are everywhere.
Allen on the Descent….