Triad - Kumquat Couloir
The Kumquat Couloir on the north side of the Triad is a line I’ve been eyeing for a while. Reading Sky’s report of this really stirred up the curiosity with some his lovely accolades ( https://skisickness.com/CascadePass/Kumquat/ )
On 5/11 there was finally a break in the weather and Sam, Anthony and I felt that conditions may finally line up for the Triad with hopes of May pow up high on steep north aspects.
We got a 3 AM start and stayed in trail runners until 5500 taking advantage of a nice firm booter which made for a quick start to the day. We were able to skin up the Roush Creek divide and then made a mile long descending traverse on firm snow towards the Triad. Efficient skinning got us to the saddle south of the easternmost peak of the Triad group and a short descending traverse set us up a few hundred feet below the entrance to the line. Sticking with the theme of perfect travel conditions we were able to skin right to the top of the line by 9am.
The contrast between north and south aspects right now is pretty wild. Once we reached the saddle we found a winter snowpack and cold dry snow. Anthony made a ski cut and a few turns on belay finding nothing but stable spring pow. The upper pitch of the couloir is fairly steep but our near perfect snow conditions kept stress levels low.
At the bottom of the upper couloir there is a bench where we regrouped before traversing left into the lower portion. The lower portion of the couloir is exposed to fairly significant overhead hazard and we were very happy to have some cloud cover during most of our descent. More great skiing in the lower couloir quickly turned into some exceptionally poor skiing. The lower angled bottom portion and apron were a disaster zone of debris and runnels, not surprising.
From the bottom of the line we made our way up to the Eldorado-Triad saddle. The skinning was easy and the incredible views in the Marble Creek Cirque kept us entertained. Once at the saddle we searched around for any old rap stations with no luck. We found a rock to sling and made an easy rap back down to the Eldorado Glacier basin. Another descending traverse and the usual Eldorado exit had us back at the car by 3pm.
We really lucked out with our whole day. The travel conditions allowed us to move efficiently, the intermittent clouds kept overhead hazard at bay and the snow in the line was great. Some days it all comes together!
J-Berg at sunrise
Traversing towards the triad
Sam C photo
Anthony dropping into the Kumquat
Sam C photo
Skiing the upper couloir
Sam C photo