James didn’t waste much time bagging one of the most sought after lines in Thompson Pass. Heli-skiers frequent Mt. Dimond and there are several ways down but arguably the most aesthetic of all are the “Gun Barrels”. While within the realm of a day tour from the road, James and I wanted to try our hand at digging and staying in a snow cave up on the glacier for a few days to enjoy the sunny Chugach spring weather.

We had a love/hate relationship with our dear Fyukuckpulken (phonetic) sled.

James digging the snow shelter. Nice having an Architect around. 

Day one was a grueling slog in the spring heat to get the sled to the glacier and build the shelter but man was it worth it. Cozy snow living with a hell of a backdrop. Plus no hurry to get out the door or get down from our lines since we could literally ski to our front door from dozens of chutes including the Gun Barrels.

Ethan skiing into the Dimond Cirque, our home for the next 3 days.

Day two we set our sights on the Gun Barrels. Meeting with the Brown Brothers at the Shrund we deliberated on how to cross the massive crack in the glacier to continue up our lines.

The Bergschrund at the base of the gun barrels is where the glacier meets the mountain. We searched for about an hour before deciding on a place to cross. In several areas you could stare down 90 ft or more into a yawning abyss.

Stu probing and crossing the Schrund on a snow bridge.

The Brown’s took the first chute to a saddle below the summit while James and I traversed out above the schrund to our line and began the long ~3,000 ft bootpack to the summit. The weather turned for the worse and by the time we reached the top it was whiteout and lightly snowing. With no hurry to get to the car we decided to try and wait out the snows hoping it was just a passing shower. After an hour on the snowy summit however we decided to bite the bullet and pick our way down the 55 deg spine entrance into the chute below.

James traversing out over the schrund to the base of our line. And to think I didn’t even mess with the exposure of this shot.. get it?

Somewhere in the middle of booting the gun barrel.

The line itself was absolutely sick. The upper spine was steeper than we wanted to deal with in a whiteout but we picked our way down the bootpack using the definition in our quickly filling footprints to navigate by. Once on the main face the turns to the entrance of the gun barrel were some of the best I have ever had. Steep, deep and butter smooth. The chute provided more contrast and we were able to open it up a bit, carving our way back to the schrund in two large sections. Back at the schrund we had planned to air the crevasse, but with flat white conditions we were forced to traverse its edge again as new snow sluffs went zipping by off the steep rocks above – certainly a hair raising experience.

Back at home celebrating a sick line and safe return.

Our line off Dimond (search for little red dots off the summit)

On our way back out.

3 thoughts on “Dimond Gun Barrels

  1. dimond looks insane! SO excited for you and Ben to get out and ride in the snow together!

  2. You make it sound like I did all of the work, but the truth is that you are the real work horse and superman. Thanks for the amazing adventure. Looking forward to the next one. Thanks again.

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