Mount Watson - South Slope ski/split, November 2005
With a pronounced temperature inversion, leaving the low-lands cold and foggy while the mountains basked in sunshine and 10k-ft freezing levels, Andy, Tod, James, Paul and myself embarked on a futile mission to bag and ski/board down from the summit of Bacon Peak. In the end, the short November days and a nasty ice-crust on all slope aspects except those directly exposed to the full intensity of the sun, left us high and dry of our objective and searching for ways to salvage the trip. While Paul the peak-bagger went and tagged the summit of East Watson via the West Route (steep snow to 50 degrees), Andy and James scoped the sunny south slopes of Watson for yo-yo possibilities. Tod and I, on the otherhand, still processing the reality of not making Bacon on this trip, simply picked our noses and watched Paul's ascent from a rock outcrop on the glacier below the slabby north side of the Watson Massif...that is until we discovered the goods that Andy and James sniffed out!
Anyway - a tip regarding the approach: rather than follow the standard summer trailhead, it is much easier to continue on the logging road as it curves to the left, reaching a large clearing. Continue past the clearing a short distance, and look for a large, open, gladed slope at right (there will likely be snowmobile tracks). Skin up this slope to it's top, and descend a narrow forested gully-like feature to a small basin west of Anderson Butte. From the small basin we continued southeast through a small saddle and stayed right, eventually gaining a timbered ridge leading us toward upper-Anderson Lakes. We continued upwards from Anderson Lakes and made camp at a small lake at 5,300 ft.
While Bacon was a bust, skiing/boarding the mush on south-facing slopes of Watson was a hoot. We enjoyed three laps on this slope, with liberal applications of Zardoz© enabling a continued enjoyable and not-so-sticky descent well into the basin below. Ok, now THAT was worth it!
At the end of the day, we enjoyed one final descent back down to Anderson Lakes proper and skinned and skied back down to James' truck. Yes, knowing how to snow-plow down fast logging roads with the skin-less splitboard halfs is an aquired skill, with myself crossing the finish-line in dead last. Phew!
Mouse-over thumbnails below for a description and click to enlarge.
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