I would like to preface this trip report by stating that the South Ridge Route, Murphy Peak, all photos, and all descriptions of this day actually are located and occurred in Nevada, [somewhere in the Ruby Mountains]. Any similarities to Point Six, Burgandy Ridge, or Murphy Peak, outside of Missoula are illusory, and just your mind playing tricks on you!
By way of introduction, I would like to cite Confucious, who famously said "He who talks about favorite ski area, soon skis in tracks", and also an old New Mexico saying, "You can lead a blindfolded mule to the best snow, and he will never leave"
So it is with trepidation, and a sense of certainty that my back-country ski area is doomed
that I present this trip report, [with as many false clues and photos as I can manage to fit in]
I will also apologize [in advance] to Daryl, a good guy, and certainly undeserving of the lies I am about to tell about him!
Daryl and I have corresponded over the past 5 months or so on different SP pages and issues, and it seemed high time that we met in person, so when he e-mailed with a proposal to climb Murphy Peak, I considered it a good[?] plan.
At this point dear reader, you need to realize that high pressure has been dominating our region,[and my head], and the possibility for new snow was nil. Further, I would have ditched the climb, if there had been any fresh powder. It is embarrassing to say, Daryl would have had to depend on his own capable route finding skills and experience to locate and ski to the peak, that is provided he could resist dropping into the many inviting lines that beckon along this ridge. By way of explanation for my potential callous behavior, you must also know that I am now, and will always be a powder junkie!
Pow! More Pow! I have my priorities in order!
So at 9:15 am on January 13, 2007, I met Daryl at the base of the Grizzlies chair, as was pre-arranged, he showed up with his admission ticket for the day [$36.00, ouch
,[and no they do not sell single ride tickets, [thank God, and Ronnie Morris]]]. We missed first chair, [mostly because Daryl was dawdling], but got on the second chair of the day, and headed for the top of Montucky Snowbowl ski area.
The day was bright, the temp was negative something [snot icicles formed almost instantly], the snow was squeeky, and that Nevada Peak was calling.
We skinned up, and headed out the west side of Point Sixteen to where the road takes a horseshoe bend. Here I showed Daryl my advanced technique of telemark descent with climbing skins on [very nearly landing on my head], a useful, if somewhat awkward style for those unwilling to pull skins for a 200 ft. slide down to the saddle.
Our climb up Burgandy Ridge was uneventful, the conversation sparse, due to poor conditioning on my part, but I managed to squawk out a few incorrect names for certain "named" bowls and runs in the immediate vacinity.
This was made even more difficult by the fact that ice had glued my mustache to my beard, since we all know what formed the ice, I was unwilling to have my photo taken, and kept my back to the camera whenever it came out.
The top of Burgandy [Whine] Ridge, as well as most of this route beyond the road is wind swept, and heavily corniced, this necessitates travel on the slope sides, which on this day were somewhat heavily compacted [read white ice] snow, but we made good progress, and descended another corniced ridge. This time using side slip, and side step techniques [that would have made Scott Schmidt proud], until the ridge widened enough to allow a death defying schuss of ~50 ft. to the saddle between Bottle of Whine Ridge and Murphy Peak.
Daryl,[tired of looking at my pack] led the next ascent of the steepest incline on the route. This necessitated several Zigs`s of the track, and careful placement of said Zigs`s to avoid getting out on obvious wind slabbed slopes. This led to a shoulder on the ridge and a fun rock step, which had a gulley of unconsolidated snow, and was guarded at its top by an arching white pine snag. We passed through this in style, and were on the summit of O`Murphy Peak by 12:45 pm.
Feeling in no particular hurry, and anxious to investigate the South Couloir of McMurphy Peak, we grabbed our drinks, and hung out on top of that precipitous incline, sharing climbing, and for Daryl, caveing lies for nearly an hour. After we each called bull sh#t 5 times [the legal limit], we headed it on back to the skis, and began our undulating descent back to Snowbound ski area.
As an interesting aside, I was so enthralled by Daryls masterly telling of caveing stories that I forgot to eat anything whilst stopped on O`Malley Peak, this very nearly caused a retching incident upon re-climbing the heavily corniced N. side of Empty Bota ridge.
Things being as they were, and us being so close to the ski area, I sucked it up, and we made the final descent and climb back to the horse show bend on the road. We finally pulled skins here, and sped our way down to the Lavelle Chair. This rapidly failing contraption set us upon the top of the famous Paradise run, which, to our good fortune had a terrain park 2/3rds. of the way down. These features were made by the careful [non] movement of state of the art snow making equipment that the managers of Snowhound Ski Resort are still trying to figure out how to use. I threw a rodeo flip, and Daryl did a barrel roll [with a twist], which earned high points from the crowd.
Feeling rather pleased with the performance we celebrated with a bowl of Garlands world famous Green Chili Stew, Daryl cooled the fire with a Guiness stout, I fanned the flames with coffee.
So that dear reader is a detailed summary of a successful outing. If I have left you shaking your head like the AFLAC duck, then I have done my job, and I bid you Adios. If however you remain curious, or in need of clarification, look up Daryl or I the next time you are in Margarine Town!