There exists a hazy aerial photograph on which both Will & I had spotted an intriguing white line many years ago. While I am generally busy working in the winter, Will had a lot more time to explore and after several eventful failed attempts finally managed to locate the entrance to (and descend) what has since become known as 'Rum Doodle' couloir, named after his favourite book - W.E.Bowman's wonderful 1956 parody of the grand mountaineering expedition books of the period (if you haven't read the book go away now, read it then come back...).
This line had been on my hit-list for many years, but lack of time, conditions or partners had always conspired against. Today finally everything lined up!
A short walk followed by a surprisingly good mix of spring snow and powder on the first descent took us to the main climb of the day:
Our second warm-up run was even better than the first...:
With the most snow recorded for 40+ years it should have come as no surprise to find the automatic weather station almost buried...:
Greg questing in search of the entry to the fabled Rum Doodle couloir:
There it is!
Greg checking the piton for the first rap:
Looking down the main event:
Greg on the first abseil:
Conditions = 'acceptable':
The second 'abseil' (in a normal snow year...) - we skipped this with a short straight-line... amazing how much speed you pick-up in a short space!
More good turns in the lower section of the couloir:
A quick 300m vertical dropped us back up and over for our last ski down - we were fully braced for this to be a crust-fest but were pleasantly surprised by heavy but very skiable powder all the way down!:
A grand day out with over 2000m of really good skiing - hats off to Will for persevering with the exploration all those years ago...
Will be raising a glass to you tonight!
"I put my breakfast aside and went to Pong’s tent. I found him filing a fork into a bowl. He took no notice of me. After a while he laid down the fork and began to grate a piece of rock. I thought I had better let him get used to my presence before trying to communicate with him; so I sat down and watched him. After chopping up a portion of climbing rope and mincing an old sock he threw everything into a pan of pemmican stew and stirred for five minutes, adding sand and paraffin to taste. Finally, he strained it, spread some of it on a slice of leather, and took a hearty bite."