Ok yeah, I’m starting to sound a little like a broken record.
Initially I wasn’t planning on heading back up to Bitter Creek so soon, but I gave the Greek a call and it just so happened he was looking to take some friends on a moderate snowshoe.
“You don’t say. Hmm, you know I might have just the place”…
Plus, with the weather on Friday, the views were sure to be there.
01JAN2016 New Years Day
I got to Index half hour early or so, the wind was just screaming up the US-2 corridor.
Fortunately Heybrook Ridge and the Gunn Peak Massif blocked pretty much all of the wind in the North Fork Sky valley.
The Greek and his friends showed up a little after nine and we were off.
There were fresh footprints along the track, but they fell off at the shooting range.
Really, there isn’t too much to report. The track is solid all the way up with heaping portions of peace, quiet and solitude.
By the time we got up into the cirque some of the party was running out of steam and they stopped for lunch.
The Greek and I continued up towards the ice wall, but the pull of cheese and sausage was too much for him and he fell off and descended back to the feast.
Wind slab from high above was a slight concern and we’d seen a couple small releases on the way up, mostly powder rivulets. In the cirque itself, surface hoar was abundant. (Always check NWAC)
Alongside Bitter Creek, a gully had run out, and high on Jump-Off Ridge the crisp lines of recently released slabs were visibly glinting in the sunlight.
Views were fantastic. The wall and other ice features seemed to glow dimly in the shade of the cirque. High above, the ridge lines were laced with golden light.
The North Fork Sky valley was framed perfectly by the walls of the cirque, and approximately in the middle were three human shapes, bonding over sausage.
The trip down rewarded us with warming sun and rapidly evolving views of the jagged visage of the Index-Persis complex across the way.
THE BOTTOM LINE
All in all I think it took our group 3 hours up and 1.5 or so down.
Now that the route has been brushed and a trail well stomped in, it’s golden, just waiting there for you.
Lots of animal sign, but I think our group of four probably scared off anything within earshot because we didn’t see any critters this time.
Oh, and just my two cents:
Shooters, I like to shoot a gun as much as the next guy. I am not “anti-gun” or “anti-shooting”. What I am “anti” is you people leaving a giant f&%#ing mess wherever you go.
Clean up your $#!t and maybe the Forest Service and outdoor enthusiasts will be a little more sympathetic to your outdoor usage needs.
Frankly, you should be your brother’s keeper out there and pack out the crap your less considerate fellows left behind.
I do it, I’m always picking up candy wrappers and water bottles that jackass hikers left behind.
Love it or leave it, bruh… and I don’t mean leave your $#!t.