May 3, 2009

Abineau Canyon - Crossfire Chutes - Flagstaff, AZ

When I left Phoenix at 4:30 am, it was 77 degrees, when I came back it was 95, and yes I did ski. The snow pack on the north facing slopes in Flag are in great shape.

The FS Road (418) just opened up for the season, so I thought I get some turns in. The parking lot is at about 8,500 vf. Actually there was a big tree that recently feel across the road about 100 yards before the parking lot - no biggy.

At 8:00 I started the hike up. The approach is about 3.5 miles to the base of the chutes, and consistent snow started at about 9,000 vf. Nobody was available to join me, but just as I was pulling into the parking are, I ran into a Flagstaff local who had the same plan in mind. I chatted with him up until we came to the avi debris from 2005(9,500 foot level). He was skinning up and I was boot-packing, but I started punching through here, so I had to put my skis on here. He continued on at a blistering pace, so I wasn't able to catch up.

He actually made it to the top of the ridge (about 12,000 vf). He boot-packed up the last 1,000 feet, but once I got to his steps the snow was to soft to follow. I ended up skinning up the face, and I hung to the skiers right of the chute, in the trees. The snow here was in better condition, and the pitch was a little more tame. As with most hills in the San Francisco peaks, the pitch gets stepper as you near the top, and by 11:30 I made it to the 11,500 foot level. I wasn't making much headway, so I ripped off my skins and skied the nice heavenly corn down.

The Flag local did a much better job on route finding through the avi debris, as I struggled to picking my way there all the down trees. I think the next time I will aim for a much higher line to avoid this section.

I was happy to be able to string together the strips of snow for, so I could ski most of the way out.

Here's a vid of the day:

A high res Quicktime version can be found here: Abineau Canyon - Crossfire Chutes

1 comment:

Jason oshop said...

Nice! Looks good for May!