Silver Creek Basin
Jan 22nd, 2011 | By rob
Seems like all my tours have been on Kendall lately. There's so much fun terrain on Kendall, it's hard to stay away... I was rolling solo for the day, and with low avalanche danger and poor skiing conditions, I decided to scout a route on Kendall I had been thinking about. I started off at Yellowstone Road and had to ford Coal Creek, which shows our snow level is low (there's usually a snow bridge across it at the right spot). An extra large cup of coffee, sun and my light spring touring skis meant I found myself at upper Kendall Lake a lot quicker than anticipated. I broke out the metal and went up the chute I had been eyeing for a couple of years.
At the top, I had a tough choice : down climb a good portion of the chute and call it a day, or press on and explore some new territory. I had good cell reception, so I gave tnt a call and let him know where I was. There was a nice mellow bowl that dropped East towards Gold Creek, and I skied down ~ 500ft and then threw the skins back on and made my way North to peak into Silver Creek Basin. I was expecting to find some steep and hairy chutes funnelling into Silver Creek Basin, but to my surprise there was a mellow chute dropping all the way into the basin. Decision time. Should I press on solo, out of cell phone range? I figured I had enough daylight left in the day, gave tnt another ring, and told him I was dropping in.
The ski down was very challenging, with a lot of frozen avalanche debris scattered throughout the chute. I skied very cautiously, and it took a lot longer to make it to the bottom than expected. Skins back on, I had to push myself hard to make it up to ridge on Kendall. I had a headlamp, but the last thing I wanted was to be skiing on frozen chunder by myself and in the dark. I attained the ridge around 5pm, skied down to the Lake and made it to the start of the forest service road just as the sun was setting. I opted to head down the road to Gold Creek rather than deal with the trees and darkness back to Yellowstone. Headlamp on, I slowly made my way down the road to Hyak/Gold Creek, and then hitched a ride back to my car on Yellowstone. It was a long day, but it felt good to get out and push myself.
Update: I recently found a great photo of Kendall, and realized what I skied was the bottom half of Silver Lining. I'll have to get back and ski the entire line soon.