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Mar
29
2008
Pyramid Redux
Posted in Kenai Range & Skiing Tags: turnagain  

On Saturday Todd, Dan, Yvonne and I climbed Pyramid Peak (3378'). Unlike my last ascent this was a mellow ski ascent without any epic and no bushwhacking. I was disappointed; after all my tough talk to Yvonne about what a burly peak this was to climb we waltzed up the entire thing in less than 3 hours.

Down low the snow was a hard crust over rotten snow which was nice in that it kept the snow machiners from getting up high. One actually got stuck in the snow just behind us while we were booting up; we waved and kept going! The hard snow continued for a while so Todd and I slapped on our ski crampons and skinned right up the hard snow but Yvonne and Dan had to boot pack for a while until the angle eased off and the snow got softer.

Once above treeline we skinned up to the ridge and soon were skinning up the final summit ridge where we were treated to a spectacular summit view. Up high the wind was howling so we wasted no time ripping the skins and skiing over to the west face where we scoped out the descent.

The West face was not in - the entrance was steep and crusted and the actual run had avalanche runnels down it so we backed off and skied over to scope the north face. The north face was steep and gnarly so we backed off and scoped the south face. The south face looked good - but it had tracks on it and we hate tracks. (We didn't skin up 3000' to ski someone else's tracks!) So after consulting for a while we dropped the East face.

Dan and Todd skied a nice line on a Northeast aspect while Yvonne and I opted for a little easier line on the true East face. Dropping into the face we had to side slip down about 100 feet of rime ice on a 35 plus degree slope which was followed by about 500' of hard pack crud. Yvonne came down after me and skied it flawlessly and then we dropped 500' down a north facing bowl to where Dan and Todd were waiting for us. We then continued down another 1000' through beautiful beautiful snow finally dropping over a rise where we were surprised to find Peter, Amy, Wayne and Carrie eating lunch!

After that it was social hour with trail breaking back up to the ridge and another run down through the trees hucking small cliffs and trying to get up the courage to jump snow covered trees (I always chicken out at the last second and steer away).

Then it was back up to the ridge again and out to the highway - skiing 2000' of manky hard pack snow, breakable crust and avalanche debris.

Pyramid Peak is a wonderful spring peak and unless you feel the need for self flagellation I would suggest climbing it when there is ample snow coverage instead of fighting newly hatched devil's club in May. The skiing isn't the best (in comparison to the popular ski peaks up closer to the pass) but the views can't be beat. If you pick your way up the open slopes approaching from the south east it is a mellow ascent and you can be on the top in about 3 hours.



Gallery
  •  Leaving the trees on the way to Pyramid
  •  Dan with Sharksfin in the background
  •  Nearing the Upper Ridge
  •  Yvonne skiing across the funky cornice.
  •  Heading up the Summit Ridge
  •  Turnagain Arm Ice
  •  Rime Ice on the Summit
  •  Yvonne, Dan and Todd on the Summit
  •  Dan and Todd scoping the W. Face.
  •  Dan looking down at the ice.
  •  Dan Scoping the N. Face of Pyramid
  •  Yvonne rips it up.
  •  Yvonne skiing the NE bowl
  •  Todd Rips it up!
  •  Yvonne heading back up for another run.
  •  Peter heading up.
  •  Pit stop to admire our tracks.
  •  The ski gang!
  •  Heading up...
  •  Heading up...
  •  Todd hucking his meat.
  •  Heading up yet again!
  •  Busting through the top cornice.
  •  Heading down.
  •  Self portrait.
  •  Skiing Mank!
  •  Last bit to the valley floor.

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