East Face, Deming Mountain
Group: Mark Koelker, Joe Otremba, Tony Glassman
We have been having some great days lately. The snowpack has been stabilizing out quite a bit and with the sun shining and daylight savings behind us, longer tours and bigger missions are now in the mix. After having a most excellent ski down Wichita the other day, I really wanted to get out for a bigger day. Joe Otremba hit me up wanting to get out, Tony was down after he skied Wichita with me, and Mark luckily got the day off and so we had a solid crew for a longer mission.
With an alpine start at the trailhead at 5:15AM, the original plan was to ski Deming Drop. I had brought rope and anchor material to do a belayed ski cut at the top of the couloir. The plan was to, if it was a go, drop it by 2's. I was then going to take pictures from a distance of the last two dropping. After getting a nice look at the East face of Deming from Wichita, I figured it would be a good backup plan just in case. And so once again, I underestimated the Gore, and it ended up taking us 6 hours to summit! This left us on the summit at little before noon, and Joe and Mark had to be back to the car by 3. So with time working against us in a few different ways, we went ahead with our backup plan and skied the East face of Deming, which in turn granted us great open face pow turns!
On the trail at 5:30, and the stars out bright. We caught glimpse of a few shooting stars as we followed the trail straight towards North star and Big Dipper.
Joe Otremba and Mark Koelker. Splitboarding model extraordinairs.
And then the sun makes its way out into the sky..
Making our way to the basin. East face in view. Again, this was our intended back up line.
Not wanting to climb up the face proper, we opted on summiting Eccles Pass and then taking the ridgeline all the way around and up to the summit. What doesn't look like much from afar, the rocky crown up from the West side of the pass ended up taking much longer than expected. Although it did take longer, it was really fun to get on a little bit of a spicier scramble. I was kicking myself for not bringing by whippet or pons' but it was all manageable. There were a couple fun class 3 moves. The spice is nice!
Great views of Red from the pass.
Let the fun begin!
And the ridge continues..
At least it wasn't windy up there..
Great views of the surrounding Gore. So ugly! Unfortunately, i'm going to keep the close up beta shots to myself :)
6 hours later, we reach the summit. The winds helped keep the snow cool, but the sun was radiating and time was working against us. Mark and Joe had to be back to the car by 3, and so between setting up a belay, dropping in, and climbing back out we decided that going ahead with our backup plan was the best choice for the day. There will always be another day. I got a good look at Deming Drop and took all my beta pics because, I will be back!
After about 30min of 30mph winds blowing in our faces, it was time to drop in.
Well, we didn't ski what we had intended on skiing but it still ended up being a great day out! It was nice to get on a longer tour for a change and having some great open face pow turns added onto the fun. We then skied to the basin and were back to the car an hour after skiing off the summit. Great day out with you fellas!