Thursday, March 24, 2016

First ski of Spring: Nugget Creek

The traditional stop at the Mizpah cabin 
One of my favorite parts of the trip --- skiing across the Mizpah bowls
We encountered fog on the ridge line
The pattern continues:  great snow on the ridge lines, poor snow down below.
We did the High Porphyry/Nugget Creek run on Wednesday as part of Wayne's Wild Wednesday Walks group.  It had snowed several inches Tuesday and the temperatures were in the low 20s--- perfect!
We ran into fog on the ridge line, and there was an icy base below the new powder.
Wayne Phillips had tweaked this route to bypass the final hill climb, traversing it through a series of open, lovely meadows on the south side of the hill.
Skiing down the ridge line back to the car, a drop of nearly 3,000 feet, is always interesting, and the icy base made it more so Wednesday.  We had to be careful we didn't break our necks through the tight trees on icy slopes.
This is a classic Little Belts backcountry ski trip that starts at Showdown Ski Area, climbs to the top of Porphyry Peak, travels south along the Mizpah Ridge, veers to the east and drops down a long ridge line above Nugget  Creek to U.S. 89.
The trip is 9.4 miles long, gains 1,555 feet and loses more than 2,800 feet.  There is some tricky route-finding where ridges split.  The trick is to find the right one to avoid being drawn toward Ranch Creek.
For a look at the route and a map, CLICK HERE

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