Cog & Great Gulf

May 6, 2022 at 10:00 AM
Name: Jonathan S Shefftz| NE Rando Race Series
Location: Cog & Great Gulf

Route map and pictures posted here:

Snow stability, definitely spring at long last! So no concerns there. However, did see what appeared to be the remains of a sizable avalanche whose debris piled up ~200’ vertical shy of the full runout of Airplane Gully. Unfortunately, was impossible to assess how recently the slide had occurred, and my picture of that didn’t end up showing much detail (and hence since deleted).

Started skiing at 10:10 – snow was still a bit crispy (somewhat unseasonably cool, plus mainly cloudy and windy, exactly as forecast), but still quite pleasant.

Coverage in Airplane Gully was good, about average for this time of year, essentially full length at 1,150’ vertical easily skiable down to the base of that one really prominent boulder (and a bit more via low-speed maneuvering through the increasingly tighter trees), with width that should stay good until the incoming heat wave starts choking off the lower sections.

Turkey Chute was almost more like Turkey Bowl up high: the Strava tracklog shows us entering at the lowest point, but skier’s right offered a bit more vertical and pitch. The choke should stay good until the incoming heat wave (then after that would have to thread a rather dangerous needle between the ice bulge and undermined snow).
Got a good look at Pipeline (but forgot to take a picture): seemed like the ice bulge might be navigable.

As for the Cog, but the time you’re reading this delayed write-up, plan on hiking with trail runners the entire length, in both directions. Encouraged by the view from the webcam and from the parking lot (remember to bring your $10 per person, and park in the lower dirt lot for “hikers”), we started skinning at the Upper Waumbek Switch (i.e., after ~1,500’ of entirely snowless hiking in trail runners). The powerline trail was good skiing at first, but then we had several portages. For the descent, one of us transitioned to trail runners as we were packing up to leave Great Gulf. Another started off with ski boots, then eventually switched over to trail runners partway down on the descent to the Upper Waumbek Switch. I stubbornly persisted with ski boots all the way, but the skiing was worthwhile, since not only did I save my quads (even if the frequent transitions didn’t save my sanity), yet I also beat down our partner who stayed in trail runners … by literally a ski’s length at the “finish line” of the Upper Waumbek Switch!