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2023-03-17 at 22:17 - comment by MaSid

Fantastic Steve! A good alternative to facilitate a lighter gear day. Likewise with the condiment choice. Thanks for helping compact the track as well as creating other options. I’m guessing that the west elk party was Ulrike and crew. Looking forward to her ski/condiment report.

2023-03-17 at 21:34 - comment by SteveR


Patterson Meadows between Hydroline and Patterson ski trails.

Today's mustard: Babci Polish Horseradish, slathered on between rosemary ham and asiago cheese.

The Skier Martin Special- West Elk to East Elk

Report Submitted by SteveR
(trip) Date: Friday Mar 17, 2023

Submitted: Friday Mar 17, 2023 at 21:27


Just me.


A great day to do this very scenic circuit on light touring gear (68-55-62 skis, NNN-BC boots). Big thanks to MaSid for re-establishing the route, which I did opposite to his Thursday trip to avoid having to descend the cutblock in questionable conditions for lighter gear. West Elk to the powerline was easy and fast thanks to more traffic, including two that had skied it earlier in the day and apparently continued on down to Elk Lakes. Full length 50mm skins were slapped on (and needed!) to ascend the cutblock on the east side of the powerline, where the snowpack was MOSTLY supportive enough, but also mined with tree parts here and there, which made me glad that I had chosen the CCW direction. Travel along the ridge between the passes was good, with skins kept on until completing the short ascent beyond the first meadow, after lunch at the south viewpoint. The low angle cutline descent to East Elk was easy enough, with the occasional wallow when stepping out of MaSid's uptrack. After a second lunch at the East Elk snowfa, travel out to Tyrwhitt was quick thanks to trailbreaking by you-know-who, where I was the only one who had taken advantage today. I finished my off-the-groomed travels by taking to the Patterson Meadows, and then enjoyed a quick return to the trailhead on grooming in good condition-with a few tree bombs in the tracks to step around, and fast turns down the big hill on Elk Pass trail. Snow temps stayed fairly cool, aided by a breeze, with only small areas of melting- Swix VP 45 worked fine in the grip wax department all afternoon.

View south near the West Elk snowfa.

Ski penetration was in the 15 cm range on a lightly supportive upper snowpack. Below that, the vast sea of facets provided the occasional moment of wallowing, and some attention grabbing whooomphs. Last year about this time I skied the circuit in the opposite direction and was able to make decent turns on LT gear while descending the cutblock.

The amazing panorama at the south viewpoint.

The East Elk snowfa, melting away in the spring sun. Get it while you can!

Parting view at East Elk Pass.

Elk Range from the meadow that is several hundred m south of Tyrwhitt. An easy lunch spot to get to!


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