It's been a temperamental last couple months. Avalanche danger is on the alert, especially just before and after the recent blizzard. Luckily, the winds and snow didn't hit the Bitterroot nearly as much, in fact, there was 5" of undisturbed fluff at the base of Sheafman Point, and quickly worked up to 10" of the standard Montana cold smoke. A bit of an inversion going on though, the snow got better and better on the way back down.
|Sheafman Point - via W. Crow approach (alternate would be Mill Creek trailhead)|
I was about to throw it in for the weekend, but after a thorough read through of the most recent report from MissoulaAvalanche.org I decided Sheafman would be a safe option. Using HillMap.com and its slope overlay, with exception of a few isolated areas, the entirety of Sheafman has no extended slope over 27 degrees. Moreover, the abundant downfall left behind by the fire creates lots of anchors aside from the trees/stumps.
|That moment you know it's going to be great.|
|Plenty of stuff to duck-dive-dodge.|
TIPS UP! Lots of downfall equates to plenty of tree limbs laying in wait to grab your ski tips and pull you under in a flash. Be careful!
|JetBoil - Zip|
I ran out of water whilst atop Ward Mountain during the last tour. I'm now bringing along a JetBoil (Zip version: basically, no push button lighter.) Melted down some snow and now I'm free from the choice of either monitoring my water intake, or carrying an extra bottle. The entire kit fits inside of the cup, and weighs less than an extra 16oz of water.
|Two false summits.|
|Trying to spy Mill Point south of Sheafman...|
|Sheafman Point looking dapper.|
|The chunky-monkey that prevented me from safely getting to the tippy top.|
|The second shelf looks like a good potential ski line, both in person and on Google Earth.|
|Dynafit Cho Oyu skis!|
|About 1 mile before the trailhead.|