Backcountry Exploration of First Creek
Luis, Allen, and myself kicked off our backcountry mission around 9AM at a car loaded Second Creek parking lot. Our plan was to skin up past the Broome Hut and up to the ridge where Winter Park connects. From there, we would decide if we should go with plan A or B. Snow conditions were not ideal. They were icy and totally packed out, after all when was the last snow? Luckily the temperature was great, in the high 20s. The clouds also added a lot of character for some photography.
On the ridge we were getting blasted with a solid 30MPH breeze and even bigger gusts. Being above 12,000 feet in almost whiteout conditions with snow and wind makes for a rough time. We decided on our plan B:
A First Creek Backcountry Mission
We Traversed the ridge above The Cirque and Parsenn Bowl down along the steep walls of First Creek. Due to snow conditions we decided to snake our way through the 40-60 degree slopes on a narrow lower angle treed area around 25 degrees. The snow was crusted with about 4 inches of wind blown and sun baked slab above 20ish cm of faceted snow. This makes for a bumpy tough ride at slow speeds.
Once out of the steep area we were treated to more slabs and shallow snow pack on very low angle terrain. Picking our way down through brush and heavily treed areas until the inevitable happened, torn pants and a bloody legs. Luckily we had the gear to patch up both!
We made our way down to the road after roughly 700 more vertical feet, rough snow conditions, tight trees, and some split skiing. At the bottom, we assessed our boards, clothing, and limbs to find that we made out pretty well! Some torn pants and a small cut! Because of that, it was time for some celebratory fish Tacos at Pepe’s.
Honestly, as terrible as this trip report sounds, this area could be very fun! We will be sure to check this out in the spring when the snowpack consolidates! Check out our map below and let us know what you think! Finally, remember the backcountry is dangerous! For that reason, know before you go. And above all, practice safe travel through avalanche terrain!