Sunday, November 25, 2007

Backcountry tele: Deadman bowls

Looking for turns

Climbing back out

What a wonderful run!
The snow was a bit thin, but it didn’t stop us from enjoying some great telemark skiing on the big bowls on Deadman Creek in the Little Belt Mountains Saturday.
The bowls are located about halfway into the Deadman Creek run that begins on the east side of Kings Hill Pass. The trail climbs from U.S. 89 to a long north-south ridgeline that eventually drops into Deadman Creek bottom and ends at the highway, about 8 miles south of the pass. The bowls drop off the east face of the ridgeline. They have a 200-300 foot drop, maybe 400 feet in several spots.
We found a rock band about 50 feet below the ridge we had to negotiate carefully to get into the good turning snow. I still scuffed up my bottoms.
Then we stayed about 100 feet below the ridge and skied up and down to the bottom, so we didn’t encounter that band again until heading up.
The snow was about 20 inches deep and the consistency dense powder. It was about 5 inches less deep than the snow I had encountered Wednesday on Porphyry Peak while skiing Showdown.
We skied about seven runs until the shadows of the setting sun began to obscure our vision and the area grew colder.
We left at the right time.
Although it was a bright, sunny day, the wind howled at the ridgeline all day, and on the way out it really screamed, covering our tracks and began to drift.
The only downside to the day was encountering snowmobile and truck tracks, probably from hunters, that had encroached into the ski trail area, even though it was clearly signed as off limit to that kind of travel.
Despite that, this was dandy early season backcountry skiing.

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