Blacktail Mountain, South Gully

Blacktail Mountain, Bridger Range                  February 22, 2015

We had big plans for big things but it seemed our objective might have too much snow.
Making it riskier and more of a wallowfest than we were looking for.  So we got up early
and sat around at the Ranger Station for a few hours as we decided what to ski
and let the temperature warm up a bit.
Some how I managed to convince the others that we should go on a highly questionable ski
mission.  I knew Brendan wanted to ski this line but we had trouble finding the right day
earlier in the season.  Conditions would be far from ideal but exciting to check it out.
Sam and Brendan sage brush walking
After a little research we found a bit of public land for access and we had a game plan.
No surprise that we started with dirt walking, at least it was fast and easy.  Also the weather
was nice and cold with no wind.
Brendan checks out a big tree on the hike up.
Sam and Brendan glad to be skinning.
At first it seemed pleasant on the summit, but the cold came back in no time and motivated
us to get going.
Sam high up in the South Gully
The entrance seemed straight forward.  But there was a little confusion getting into the gully
because the trees were thicker that expected.  After some unnecessary traversing we were
in the gully proper.  Being a low snow year there were lots of features but the line went
clean.  Well, “clean” as in no major obstacles.
Sam and Brendan navigate as best they can.
Unfortunately we ran into some refrozen avi debris with a couple inches of snow on it that
was difficult to ski.  The gully ended up being tighter that expected and the snow did not
extend down as far as we hoped.  We skied as far as we could then found a spot in the
sun for lunch.
Now we had to do more dirt walking.  Because of the private land in the area we could not
just go down the gully into the valley.  Instead we had to go back a couple ridgelines to get
back to our approach route. 
Well shit.
Once we gained the ridgeline we used to ascend we were able to ski for a bit.   Which
involved lots of log jibbing.  At one point we found a field of snow that we thought
might offer a better exit so we proceeded down.  Soon the snow ended and revealed
the view in the picture above.  Not wanting to explore the unknown we decided to go
back to our approach route.  From here Sam and Brendan went down to the left and
I chose to go up to easier ground for walking.  I followed the cliff line and at the top
were I intersected the approach route realized it was the same spot we had dropped
in a few minutes ago, haha.
Sam enjoying the last of the shreddable snow.  It may not look it but this skied fine.
Thirst motivated us to hot step it back to the car.  We had enough of walking around in the
woods caring our downhill sliding toys.  We made it back to the car and enjoyed a sunset
over a frozen landscape on the drive back.
The line.

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