The eight mile road is gated so we parked at the trailhead and started walking up Saturday morning (4/16) around 10:30am. We walked about 100ft before reaching continuous snow and broke trail through the recent powder dump. Some routefinding and bridge-crossing shenanigans were had, but we were able to generally follow the Colchuck Lake summer trail. It started dumping snow just as we set up camp in an alcove on the lake.
We woke up at 4am on Sunday (4/17) to clear skies and sub-zero wind chill temps. It was the kind of weather that makes you zealous to break trail, just so you can feel something. I'm 5'3", and most of the time, I was breaking through knee-deep snow. But the alpenglow on the distant peaks, the cold snow at our feet, was magic.
Aasgard Pass looked too intense from our perspective (signs of wind-loading, exposed rocks all around the top) so we opted for the Colchuck Glacier, weaving in wide switchbacks. The snow was very stable across this whole face, and there was just one slightly exposed hole near the bottom under a giant boulder. When we crossed the ridge into Banshee Pass, however, conditions were another story. The snow seemed stable, but when I started making a new skin track above my partner's, we found a very reactive 1ft. deep wind slab and decided to turn around.
We ripped the face with immaculate timing. Another party had crossed the lake using our skin tracks, and the sun had turned our powder into thick troll snot. We shwacked our way back to the car and skied the road in TAY style: side-stepping long stretches of dirt and gravel, doing unspeakable things to our bases and edges.
Dragontail Peak, Colchuck Glacier Tracks
Zoom in to see our beautiful skin track and S turns.
Wind Slab Activity
Instability over the ridge onto Banshee Pass