Sunday, April 13, 2014

Spring skiing in the Highwood Mountains

Skiing up North Peak in the Highwoods on a gorgeous, if icy, Spring day
Temperatures were in the 70s last week, but plunged to a meager 8 degrees on Sunday morning.
But, the skies finally cleared after a full day of wet, spring snow in Great Falls.
Mark Hertenstein and I hadn't been skiing in the Highwoods for a couple of years.  In fact, he hadn't seen the 25 windmill Scion Kop project northwest of Geyser on the flank of Highwood South Peak.
Despite the snow in town, I was skeptical that we'd find much in the Highwoods.
There were about three new, fluffy inches on top of any icy base that is more than four feet deep.  On the south and west facing slopes, there was just a skiff.
Lunching in sunlight at 25 degree angle
It was so beautiful, though, that we decided to head up toward North Peak (elevation: 6,943 feet) anyway on our standard route up an old road/trail along the southeast flank of the peak.
We climbed to within 400 feet of the top before turning around and heading down.  There was a stiff, cold wind blowing on the ridge line and it had beaten the snow into an ice.
It was tough to set our edges into the ice and down right scary heading back down, always cautious not to get out of control.
Mark said he'll hang up his cross country skis for the rest of the season.
We'll see.

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