The Monarch Mine operated seasonally until 1947 with peak production of 1160 ounces of gold in its 1930's heyday. Five men seasonally worked the mine in 1935. They worked from mid-May through mid-October. Snow in this region is just overwhelming.
Despite the evident risk, we pressed on, but settled on a safer route. Up into the clouds we continued climbing on skis. We decided on Jewel Mtn for our first run. Visibility was poor, but many prior descents enabled avoidance of the big cliffs of Jewel. With the winds in our favor, the snow floated down on an almost perfectly vertical descent, and the unsettled fresh snow skied like a dream. Ski cuts freed foot-thick soft slab and sloughs that accumulated in sizeable a basin fan.
|Unsettled Fresh Fluff|
In a powder delirium, yours truly searched for that last untracked pitch on the final lap. Slighlty disoriented in the flat light, I entered a swale that might have led to powder nirvana, but instead I skied into a hellish predicament on the Bahrenberg property.
Barhenberg prospected for gold on the Jewel Mtn north slope and glacial moraine in the 1930's. Territorial Alaska Department of Mines' report on mining activity in 1937 described parts of the Bahrenberg property "so precipitous that it is entirely inaccessable." I must have found the precipitous part.
After nearly all of the snow slid from the 50-degree slope, I couldn't go up and couldn't go down. So, I resorted to a painstaking rock traverse on skis.
|Almost across the rocky traverse|
It was getting late, so we descended to the Crow Pass Trail. Rounding the corner, we made the stunning discovery of multiple avalanches across the trail. The slides came down after we ascended, perhaps naturally triggered, or human triggered - seven skiers arrived on Summit during our 1st line down Jewel and they descended well ahead of us. Either cause was disturbing.
|One of Multiple Slide Paths|