Thursday, March 12, 2015

Backcountry Skiing in the Inner Basin, Northern Arizona

March 7, 2015
Backcountry skiing

Arizona Snowbowl, the resort on the western flanks of Mt. Agassiz and Humphrey's Peak, received 45 inches in a single storm last weekend.  So now the San Francisco Peaks of Northern Arizona had a descent base and a couple feet of fresh snow on top; it was time to get into the backcountry.

4 of us (Sean, John, Evan, and myself) made our way up to the summit of Agassiz around 9:30 am. Thanks to the 2,000 ft. lift ride, we only had to climb 500 ft to the summit. From the top of Agassiz we skied down it's exposed eastern face and eventually into some trees below Doyle Saddle. From there we traversed up and around into Telemark Chute, which is a prominent avalanche gully coming off the summit of Fremont Peak.  Telemark Chute skied so well that we did it twice. It was unskied when we got there and we shredded it, literally.

We made our way back towards Snowbowl and had a short but sweet run near Doyle Pass. From Doyle pass we climbed up the eastern ridge of Agassiz and traversed around it's southern flank towards the resort, where we got one final run in (this time on groomers). The entire day I had to keep reminding myself that I was in Arizona. We got 5 great runs in and we only saw 2 other groups of skiers the entire day. 8 hours on the go.