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Trip Report    

Backcountry Ski/Snowboard - Norse Peak

Pickhandle Point, Crown Point, and Bullion Peak were ascended. We ascended Pickhandle Point via Gold Hills and Pickahandle Gap, Skied the NE slope off Pickhandle Pt twice then ascended the SW ridge of Crown Point and traversed the ridge to Bullion Peak and skied into Bullion Basin and out the trail to return to the Crystal base area

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • The four of  us met at the Crystal base area at 7:30 discussed conditions.  A storm was forcast to commence mid morning and to bring .5 to .75 inches of precipitation and high alpine winds.  The avy forecast was considerable, considerable, considerable with risk increasing as snow accumulated.  The avalanche problems were 1) wind slab and 2) storm slab with a well settled snow pack so the issue lay with new snow and wind slab.  (Of note was Paradise in the same forcast region was to recieve 1.0 to 1.50 inches of snow).  Also from prior days tour we knew the good ski snow lay on N aspects.  We determined the Norse Peak tour with 4-5 decents would result in a late afternoon return, less flexibility in choosing safer terrain and decents on S aspects so we choose Pickhandle basin. We left Crystal base area for Gold Hills by 8:00 AM, just as the snowfall commenced and ascended Pickhandle Point via Pickhandle Gap and skied the NE face of Pickhandle Point twice then gained Crown Point by ascending its SW ridge before traversing the ridge (Bluebell Pass) to Bullion Peak.  We skied down Bullion's NW ridge a lineal 100 m or so before skiing into Bullion Basin and then out the Bullion basin trail.  The skiing on N aspects was excellent with 10 inches of ski penetration.  We  were back at Crystals base by 2:30 PM and estimate 7 inches of new snow accumulated during our tour.  The wind slabs we encountered were small typically less than 4 x 4 meters and 6 cm thick and located  very near ridge top.  The winds were estimated frequently hit 30 mph which matched Crystal's summit station recordings.   It is rare to do such a tour during a storm.  The sun greated us briefly a few times as well. Great day!  We traveled  7.5 miles and ascended 3560 ft.