Click on small images to see full pictures.
Corey and Paul arrive in a snowstorm
The Wing Ridge Backcountry ski and snowboarding trip went off in good style and fashion. Participants were Paul Curley and Kyle and Cory Reed. Paul skied while Kyle and Cory rode.
We met Roger Averbeck, Wing Ridge ski operator, in Joseph for breakfast on Wednesday Jan 22. Roger briefed us on the route to the camp, local terrain features, recent past and forecasted weather. He also provided us with transceivers.
Hell's Canyon and Idaho's Seven Devils Mountains
We drove to the Salt Creek trailhead and after a bit of confusion headed up a blue diamond trail and soon started climbing through a reforested burn area. The route to the camp is 2 miles, 1100 ft of elevation gain. It is largely unmarked and requires using different features of the burn and terrain for landmarks. About 3/4 of the way in we met the party coming out and used their tracks to get to the camp. The camp sits at the edge of the burn area and would be difficult to spot in poor weather conditions.
Corey carving the bowl
The camp consists of two sleep tents, a cook tent, sauna and latrine. The high wall tents are situated on platforms. The tents are underneath "A" frames that provide additional shelter and allow the snow to collect around them. The camp is comfortable. Each tent has a wood stove. Instructions are provided in the use of the facility, water filter, latrine and camp etiquette. Since we had the camp to ourselves we were able to spread out and feel at home.
Paul hanging out next to the cook tent
It showed all day on Wednesday. Thursday was a beautiful day with 6-8 inches of powder covering all the old tracks.
The view from camp
We carefully studied the 7.5 min. USGS quad map to select a track from camp in search of good skiing and riding terrain. A short trip through the trees to the west of camp led us to an open ridge that provided access to the higher ridges and bowls both steep and moderate. We used the ridge for the remainder of the time to provide access to skiable and rideable terrain.
Kyle and Corey snowshoeing up the trail they broke the day before
The snow and weather remained good through Friday above camp. Snow conditions quickly turned crusty on the way down making for survival skiing conditions, but not a problem for the boarders.
Looking across the main bowl after digging a snowpit and booting up the last pitch
Returned to the trailhead feeling satisfied, but wanting to stay longer. Just as we were driving away it started raining. Maybe we left just in time.
Kyle turning. Camp is on burned ridge upper middle of photo. Sno-park in the distance.