Black Mountain north face

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Black Mountain north face

Post by TomTuriano »

Received this report from Bobby Downs of a descent of the north face of Black Mountain in the Western Beartooths:

I wanted to send you a shout and ask you a question about Black Mountain in the Absaroka Range (Western Beartooth). In Select Peaks you mentioned that Saari and Lowe climbed the line skier's right of the eastern "Y" chute, but did not ski it. This line comes off the top of Black and is pretty exposed. We had talked to Jason Schutz about the line and he said he had tried to climb it and ski it as well, but on the climb up the snow was too deep.

Bobby and Anjin at the top of their run.

Anjin Herndon and I skied that line off the summit of Black on May 5, 2005 (orange line). The conditions were good powder which made for some really good skiing. A very notable ascent and descent of the line was made solo by Brian Story, the next day, on May 6.

Anjin and I skied from the summit toward the looker's right. There was a break in the cornice a hundred feet down that we could get through. We had to traverse quickly over to where the green line is on your picture. The green line comes off the top and then goes into a gully feature. We intersected the green line in that gully feature.
The picture shows a lot of rock where we traversed over to the green line. Though we definitely had to move around and through the rocks, it was not too terribly bad, just big exposure. Also when we skiied it, those rocks were much more filled in.

From the green line in the gully feature we skiied down and skiier's left over to the red line, which marks the snow ramp. The blue Line does not go!!!! Big cliff!!!!!!!


The snow ramp (the red line) is where Schutz had topped out and decided to go no further due to conditions.

The top of Black, and the green line, is guarded by a massive cornice and a lot of rock. It would be a wild descent if you could get through the cornice and negotiate through the rock.

Safe Travels,

Bobby Downs
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