Mt Despair south face & Triumph environs
On Friday 16 April, kamtron, eze, and I launched on an exploratory mission to the Damnation / Triumph / Despair area, curious if it was feasible to take a more direct route via Damnation Creek to access ski lines from a camp at Triumph Pass. The approach unfolded about as well as could be hoped, and we enjoyed a few days in this seldom-visited wilderness.
Given the snow conditions during a time of spring transition in this zone, this trip more heavily weighted the mountaineering part of ski mountaineering -– it was more about travel through the mountains than the quality of the downhill turns. A person might even call it bad snow, but any snow is good snow that covers the alder, downfall, scrub cedar, loose scree, and slick slabs that predominate in this downright Pickets-ian area. Having suffer-traversed some of our access path in the summer after climbing Despair’s N summit via its eastern buttresses, I was grateful for the relative ease with which we entered and exited.
Anyway, on Sunday 18 April the objective at the top of our list did get skied: the south face of the south (true) summit of Mt Despair, continuing down gullies to lake 3,951’ for a total descent of 3,300 vertical feet:
More details can be found here: https://skisickness.com/post/vt617-mt-despair-south-face-and-triumph-environs
A couple pics to give a flavor for the scenery.
eze nears the base of the s face; in background, Mt Triumph rakes the sky, and immediately to its right is our campsite at the col: