Sam, Anthony and I skied Success Couloir on Saturday starting from Paradise at 1:30 AM and climbing the ID and then finishing at the Comet Falls Trailhead. Climbing conditions on the ID were very straightforward and there a plenty of reports detailing this. Conditions on the summit were about as pleasant as I’ve ever experienced with minimal wind and comfortable temps.
After a short stop at the summit we made our way over to Point Success to begin our descent. The warm temps were a concern of ours starting the day and the line gets sun pretty early. The snow conditions off Point Success were awful icy coral reef. Fairly standard fare for the upper mountain, but definitely attention grabbing with the relief below us.
Skiing lines top down can pose some navigational challenges and we unfortunately trended a bit too far skiers left off Point Success requiring some exposed traversing to get back on track. Sam was in a good spot to transition back to crampons while Anthony and I sketched our way across on skis.
At the upper cliff band we found a steep snow ramp with a few rocks leading into the line. Anthony down climbed while Sam and I rapped. A more ambitious skier could get down this in the right conditions. Once through the cliff band we had to navigate what we felt was the crux of the line; a steep roll and traverse across the Kautz Headwall. A tumble here would be a real bummer. The snow through this section was still pretty funky with a mix of ice, coral reef and pockets of softer corn.
At around 13k conditions drastically improved and we found ourselves looking down thousands of feet of fall line 45 degree corn (with some icy bits to keep us honest of course). We leap frogged down the seemingly never ending line. The shrund near the bottom has has just started to open and didn't cause any issues for us. Conditions remained excellent all the way down to 8k which far exceeded our expectations on such a warm day.
We traversed across the lower Kautz Glacier at around 8000’ which led to a short scramble up a loose moraine. From here enjoyed some more skiing before having to work around a waterfall at around 6700’. Once past the waterfall we joined the exit of the Van Trump Glacier and hiked out to the Comet Falls Trailhead.
If you like sustained steep corn skiing for thousands of feet this is the line for you! Still feeling blown away by the quality of this descent.
Sam Rapping Upper Cliff Band
Anthony skiing below the crux
Sam in the Lower Couloir
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