If you should ever fall from your figurative horse, you’ve one choice: get back in the saddle! After my dynafiddle disaster last spring I was in bad need of a successful big mountain ski trip, and with dubious weather looming, Rob and I decided to strike at Left Gully while we could.
With the avy hazard recently dropped from Considerable to Moderate, we decided to take a cautious ascent up, with a fallback plan of the Low risk Right Gully runout. We got into the bowl and were greeted by a party of three who had just skied the bottom 25% or so of the LG. They gave us the skinny on the snowpack: a thin windslab over some lighter snow. As long as it didn’t become a thick windslab over this light snow we should be ok. We booted up until we started to encounter thicker slab and became concerned that there would be no way to avoid the heavily windloaded aspects found just below the hourglass choke point. From here we enjoyed two solid runs. Check it out!
I also took the opportunity to familiarize myself with my new TNF ABS Patrol 24. Like my old TNF Patrol 24, and my current Patrol 34, it carries really well. The Hinch System is pretty great, load is well distributed and provides comfort for a afternoon of dragging heavy gear uphill. As expected the capacity leaves a bit to be desired. It’s not nearly as big as my Patrol 34. Conspicuously lacking any reasonable stowage spot are such things as crampons, emergency bivy gear and first aid equipment. I did manage to fit my new Black Diamond Absolute Mitts, and a Mountain Hardwear Compressor jacket in there. On the skin up, I could easily strap my jacket and helmet to the outside of the pack. In short: great pack, but maybe not for big technical days. It probably makes the most sense for gnarly sidecountry, and easily accessed backcountry in sketchy conditions.