Monday, December 04, 2006

Deadman is doable!

Dave and Sandi Ashley on the Deadman run
It’s the time of year to start trying the old backcountry ski standards in the Little Belts.
On Friday we got another 5 inches of powder at Kings Hill on top of a 15-inch base.
Friends Dave and Sandi Ashley of Helena were looking for a new area (for them) to ski, so I thought we’d take a chance on the Deadman Creek run.
It starts at Kings Hill Pass on the east side of the road and travels via a high ridge that drops back down to Deadman Creek on the White Sulphur Springs side of the pass.
The trip is about 8 miles.
In addition to the new snow the temperature dropped into the single digits and there was a slight breeze. Luckily, the sun was out most of the day.
I had been having great luck on Showdown Ski Area hiking up and telemarking down the last few weekends. The snow is settling in there quite nicely, so I thought the same might be true on the Deadman side.
What we found was pretty good snow in the trees all the way, where the trail is located.
Whenever I ventured off for some tele turns I inevitably whacked rock, marking up my skis. The powder on the sidehills on Deadman hasn’t consolidated yet.
I had only one long tele run in the big bowls before the trail drops into deep forest.
I’m sure we were the first to lay down tracks on Deadman this year.
There were signs that we had pushed a pretty sizeable elk herd ahead of us as we skied.
I’d recommend Deadman for anyone who wants a straight-forward tour during this early season.
I’m pretty sure the snow would be too thin along O’Brien Creek, although we’ve had cold enough weather that the snow-bridges are surely setting up.
The warmer weather Sunday will certainly be consolidating some of the powder.
The heart of the backcountry season can’t be far away!

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