The other day Aaron skied the STS couloir, to safely enter he belayed Mark. Mark cut away the cornice and then Aaron coiled up the rope and snowboarded in. Leaving behind his poles…… Thinking we could turn a mishap into and adventure we went up Cheops prepared for everything.
I had dreams of skiing this wild ramp.
But once we were standing under neath it, it did not seem like the right choice. Lots of faceting near the rocks made the upper ramps questionable and overall it did not feel like the right time. It is probably a better line to ski in the spring when there is more snow and the snowpack is more stuck to the rock slabs. Since it felt like plan A was not going to happen we started looking into other options. As we headed up we thought about the West face of cheops and how wild our last ride down there was; so we started looking into plan B, which exited a couloir we have never skied. Plan B looked Ok but as we studied it more it looked thin and rocky near the top and also perhaps better with more snow…so onto Plan C.
Plan C, was a line I kidded about skiing the other day and then found ourselves dreaming of today. Looking at it from all angles, and taking shots of the rappel it started to look like the best option. A connector from a line Aaron and I skied years ago into the STS. It looked like full on adventure on a sunny day.
We gathered Aaron’s poles on the way by and by the time we got to the ridge it was blowing up to 50 km an hour. Ridge to summit looked challenging under the pressure of these winds so we decided to get into plan C. We set up an anchor off a t-slot and walked into the line on rappel. We got some great views of the line and decided to head down it. Since the anchor was still in place I ski cut the first thirty meters on belay and then I unclipped and headed down. Wind smeared softness with some hardness in spots, minor sloughing and bammo out on the face. Chancey snowboarded down.
Getting around and into the next part of the line required some down-climbing. At this point it was blowing constantly up to 70km with ice pellets blowing into us. All around us appeared blue and perfect, while we were in a wind tunnel of ice shards. It was “REAL” though.
After the rock step we regrouped on top of the connector and set up a t-slot and an anchor around a rock. Nice and safe we rapped 10 m down.
Then skied into our final pitch.
Working our way around a few little cliffs and ice bulges we finally joined back up with the STS couloir. Plan C Connected….