December 30, 2011

Near Point North Face

After about 100 backcountry runs with Dante, I saw him crash for the first time on a "Manitoba-ish" 25-degree incline on Near Point.  Of course, the crash was prompted by rock lurking beneath the powder.  No, it was more like a boulder, but regardless of the terra firma mass encountered by DP, it was a spectacularly loud crash considering the foot-deep powder we were riding.

DP Carefully Entering Near Point North Face
Near Point summit bowl west face, like Manitoba, is a fine mountain for backcountry skiing.  Manitoba is better, much less rocky, but further from our Anchorage homes.  Near Point is thrilling on lightweight gear, but we were riding the heavy gear today.  A nice trip, Near Point, but a bit of a yawner on heavy gear.  
Ptarmigan Prefer the Near Point Front Side

After the nice-to-see, enjoyable but ho-hum low angle Near Point summit bowl run, albiet with a few rocks, we explored the north face. 

Steep, craggy avalanche chutes and rocky cliffs dominate the Near Point north face.  We checked three entry points and finally found one that seemed workable.  We gingerly tip-toed over a rocky entry and dropped into some fantastic smoke-like powder and rode it down to the valley floor.
Near Point North Face

I paralleled DP's track, but don't float quite as well on two boards.  It was my turn to bounce my board on a rock.  We made a rock-free second lap on the backside when dusk began to set in, so we clambered back up the steep slope to the Near Point west face for our trip back to the house.

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