TR: Mt. Edwards 6/1/2013
This descent was a particularly rewarding one for me. I have wanted to ski the steep and complex north face of Mt. Edwards ever since scoping it from across the valley while skiing Kelso Mountain with Lacy back in spring 2010. The face holds a series of broken couloirs that rarely fill in with continuous snow, as Mike and I found on a trip to Edwards in 2011. We got a great descent of the Goatfinger Couloir that day, but the direct summit descent still awaited. With excellent spring snow coverage and a highly publicized project putting out some useful photos and beta on the lowly 13ers such as Mt. Edwards, I learned that the north face of Edwards was filled in and ready for a continuous descent. It was pretty easy to convince Hans to join me.
Our objective, as viewed from the summer trailhead in Stevens Gulch. We had to park some 1.5mi before this, as a large avalanche on the east side of Kelso Mountain had deeply buried the road at some point earlier in the winter.
The weather was a bit strange, with some low clouds coming in and out amidst patches of blue. It made for some gorgeous light on Torreys Peak.
We cramponed up firm snow. With the complexity of the face, we knew it would be easy to get off-route and cliffed out if we didn't know our line. The easiest way to know you're descending the correct line is to climb it first. Here's looking up the steepest pitch on the route, probably 50+ degrees over not insignificant exposure.
After a quick summit, Hans descends the steep pitch above large cliffs.
Me stoked about skiing hard snow above exposure.
Me dropping with Stevens Gulch far below. This shot gives a good perspective of the pitch (this was just after the steepest bit).
Once below the steep choke and an angling, hanging ramp, the line opened into a broad couloir. Hans cruising.
I found a bit of recycled pow on the skiers left side. It quickly switched back to hardpack.
Hans rallies the apron back to the valley floor.
At the parking lot earlier that morning, we had encountered our friends Mike and Jordan, with the same idea as us. Since they were using a snowmobile assist, they were ahead of us, and since we didn't see them on the summit, we assumed they had dropped a line off the backside of Edwards. Sure enough, when we reached the bottom of our ski line, we could see Mike and Jordan back up on the summit. They had successfully skied the Edwardian couloir on the south face, climbed back up, and were preparing to drop back down the north face.
Mike makes a hard turn at the top of their chosen line.
Mike and Jordan had chosen an entirely different line than Hans and I. Theirs was probably a bit more technical and more inset, but less direct from the summit. It was really cool to see another group interpret the same face in an entirely different way.
Where's Waldo? Jordan weaves through the rocks.
A look back up at the face.
Lou Dawson's 14ers guidebook has a footnote about the north face of Edwards, and calls the couloirs on this face "The Remarkables." We dubbed our line the "Remarkably Direct North Face" as it was the most direct line we could find right off the summit.
Hans and I climbed and descended the route marked in red; Mike and Jordan climbed and skied the green route.
Amazing line. Very stoked to get this one.