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May 4, 2003, Earl

Posted by Jim Oker on 5/4/03 8:16pm
Encouraged by the Ranger's report that the road had finally melted as far as Beverly Creek, we decided to pounce. Sure enough, clear to the Beverly/Bean trailhead, and we were able to ski roughly from the crossing of Bean Creek. We climbed to the NW ridge of Earl with the party divided on whether to skin all the way or kick steps (seemed to be about even on effectiveness). We followed the ridge to the summit area and hunkered down on the north point of the summit ridge in horizontal snow and waited for visibility so we could ski a gully we'd spied on the west face. Sure enough, our window came and we dropped into the steep trees on the northern end of the west face, then worked our way to skiers left which brought us down into the gully. By this point we had perhaps 2" of fresh on  firm but edgeable crust at the top, turning to similar fresh on a bit of corn in the middle, and just plan corn around the bottom of the gully. Great turning, safe slope, and perfect timing for this wonderful line which gave us about 1500+ steep feet from the summit down to Bean Creek. Wow! Snow got very grabby for the last little bit to the creek as we got onto lower angle slopes. Time to sand and wax my bases for the spring snow I guess.
Sounds great, how long did this tour take?

It took us a little under 3 hours to the summit. We waited up there for quite a while for the weather to clear, and it was a pretty quick run down to where the snow ended and then a bit of a walk out - maybe 2 hours down with lots of hanging out and enjoying the scenery along the way.

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Jim Oker
2003-05-05 03:16:16