April 30, 2010 - We decided to come in from the West side, so we took the sawmill gulch road, just north of Mackay. It was a rough trip, but we were able to drive up quite a ways. Having a four wheel drive is necessary. This saved us loads of time the next day. We quickly set up a tent on the only flat ground available, which was in the road, and went to sleep.
We woke up around 5:30 and started hiking around 6:15. We hiked a little ways up the dirt road until is started cutting back up the south/southwest aspect. We found the cairn and continued up Sawmill Gulch. There really wasn't a trail since there was too much snow, but we managed to make our way through the dense aspen until we rolled up and over into a meadow with a nice creek running through it. At this point, we put our skins on our skis and headed off at a faster pace. Ascending up past the tree line, we climbed higher and higher. At one point, my buddy, Hairy, slipped and went sliding down the slope, hitting some rocks and launching off a cliff out of sight. We paused for a minute, then asked if he was ok. We heard a yes, which made me breathe a sigh of relief and we waited for him to gather his things which were strewn about. We had the saddle, which connects to the north ridge, in sight and we continued our journey. When we reached the saddle, some clouds started rolling in. We continued up the west ridge, trying to find a way. I'll admit that it was somewhat difficult deciding where to go. We managed to ascend up snowy gullies, then skirt across sketchy rock to another gully that would ascend even higher. After 8 hours of hiking, we topped out. The view was pretty incredible due to the fact that the sun decided to burn off the majority of the clouds as we hit the summit. It was quite convenient.
We rested for a bit, donned our skis, then headed down the north face. The skiing was a bit crusty towards the top, but in no time, it turned to awesome powder. it seemed like it went on forever. We cut north and headed down into a bowl that would take us up back to the saddle. We skinned (relatively) quickly up to the saddle, took our skins off, then continued back down the way we came. We soon took our skis off towards the bottom and finished the descent on foot. We were back at the car by 5:00. It was easily one of the coolest mountains i've skied. I would definitely do it again.
Having never done any other way to the top, I feel like we went up a fairly dangerous way. I'm assuming that there are easier ways to go, but on a fun scale, this one was fairly high. I would recommend this route to anyone who feels bold and has moderate alpine skills. Another way which might have been faster would be to ski down into the bowl where we finished off the saddle and skin up the way we skied down. i couldn't tell you how long it would take, but it definitely would be safer.